Print

E-Mail Story

Comment

News Letter Sign up


The pros and cons of a selfie-obsessed culture


May 14, 2015

1 Image
Kim Kardashian West became a published author this week. But instead of being filled with her thoughts on fashion or life in Hollywood, her book, "Selfish," is composed of more than 400 photos of her face.

"To be clear: This book consists entirely of selfies," wrote Laura Bennett in a review of "Selfish" for Slate. "(They're) arranged chronologically over three decades, a flipbook of thickening makeup and increasingly complicated hairdos."

The project is the latest talking point in a public debate over life in a selfie-obsessed culture. To some, including Bennett, the photographs are silly but harmless, emblematic of young Americans who spend hours each day on social media sites. However, others worry that selfies represent a troubling narcissistic streak in contemporary America.

Earlier this year, a pair of researchers at The Ohio State University published their investigation into the relationship between taking selfies and the undesirable psychological traits of narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, or a penchant for manipulation. The study analyzed the social media habits and personalities of 1,000 men between the ages of 18 and 40.

"Posting numerous selfies was related to both higher narcissism and psychopathy," Psychology Today reported in its article on the research. "This study suggests that narcissists are more likely to show off with selfies and make extra effort to look their best in these photos."

The study shouldn't be taken to mean that all selfie-obsessed men are psychopaths, but it does illustrate how the practice can bring out the worst aspects of someone's personality, The Huffington Post reported at the time.

Selfie supporters don't deny that the practice can be self-indulgent, but they highlight how the photographs increase the likelihood for personal connection in an age where social interactions predominately occur online, as reporter Jenna Wortham did in a piece for The New York Times.

"It's far too simplistic to write off the selfie phenomenon," she wrote. "Receiving a photo of the face of the person you're talking to brings back the human element of the interaction, which is easily misplaced if the interaction is primarily text-based."

She added, "(Selfies are) about showing your friends and family your elation when you're having a good day or opening a dialogue or line of communication using an image."

As Bennett writes in her Slate review, "Selfish" is not for everyone, most notably those who turn up their noses at selfies. This week also brought a new book for members of that camp: "Unselfish: Love Thy Neighbor as Thy Selfie," is full of pictures of people serving others.

Print

E-Mail Story

News Letter Sign up

Bookmark and Share
« Previous Story | Next Story »
 

COMMENTS

http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ encourages readers to interact with one another. We will not edit your comments, but we reserve the right to delete any inappropriate responses. To report offensive or inappropriate comments, contact our editor. The comments below are from readers of http://www.connectstatesboro.com/ and do not necessarily represent the views of Publication or Morris Multimedia.

You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]



You must be logged in to post comments.  [LOGIN]