I hate the overuse of the word “narcissism” to describe our generation, considering it’s a rather extreme term with negative connotations. If I were grading a paper or revising a piece where someone used the word “narcissistic” in this manner, I would most definitely circle it and write “word choice” over it in red pen.
No. I don’t think we’re narcissistic.
I think that we’re extremely image conscious and self-centered. Though I’m not sure that we’re any more of those things than any other generation. Social media just amplifies it.
Our need for acceptance from our peers is a psychological need. Anyone who knows the first thing about developmental theory can tell you that. The extreme focus on outward appearances (particularly insofar as we’re urged to value conformity to socially constructed beauty standards) is the fault of an ad-revenue-based economy and a lack of media literacy skills.
Selfies have not created a problem. They certainly are not problems in and of themselves. They are simply the product of internal and external forces and accessibility to technology.
The advent and popularity of selfies can tell us a lot about the world that we live in and how our psychosocial development adapts to the environment. But it does not, as far as I’m concerned, speak to our “narcissism.”
I’m getting really tired of people claiming — especially with no research-based evidence — that selfies are dangerous or arrogant. I’m tired of the divide that exists where self-hate is more socially acceptable than self-love. I’m tired of a world where society is worked up and scared over people (particularly women) displaying confidence.
I’m tired of selfies being treated as a problem that needs fixing.
Our society needs fixing. Let’s focus on that. The rest will follow.