The selfie craze has swept over social media the past five years, with people ranging from celebrities, politicians – even Pope Francis – posting selfie shots on various social media. And I’m sure we all know at least one or two people who post nothing but selfies on Instagram and Facebook. They are everyone’s favorite people.
But selfies aren’t just a trend among teens and 20-somethings; the word itself is becoming everyday slang. Last year, the Oxford English dictionary named “selfie” the word of the year after research showed its frequency of use had soared over 17,000 percent in only 12 months.
But what makes us all so drawn to taking and posting selfies? We can start with the validation we receive. By posting a selfie online you are inviting all of your friends and followers to like and comment on your picture, and the more likes and comments like “beautiful” or “hot” that people receive, the more loved they feel.
“To some degree, we all require validation of our looks and confirmation that we’re sexually attractive. This doesn’t make us narcissistic, but merely human,” says Julie Mastrine, author of “Make Your Own Sandwich: A 20-Something’s Musings on Living Under (And Smashing) The Patriarchy.” However, even if we shouldn’t, many people do.
Many people are passive-aggressively slammed on Facebook through other people’s status updates, and photos shared or mocked. These people are taunted for being “self-centered” and “narcissistic.” There have even been studies that discuss how these selfie addicts tend to consistently have lower self-esteem than those who refrain from entering the selfie game.
Dr. Carole Liberman confirms what we all may be thinking, too. Photos like selfies are desperately crying out, “Look at me!” This starts in childhood not getting enough attention as a child from their parents who could be too busy working, or who are self-centered themselves.
Some schools are even taking steps to prevent selfies, like the University of South Florida. They have banned students from taking selfies during graduation while getting their degrees and if they are caught taking selfies they will face disciplinary actions, such as having their degree withheld.