Self-Esteem, Narcissism, and Obsession: How Selfies Represent Something More

Selfies can be a really polarizing thing: some see them as a way to share one's experiences with a network of friends and family and document memories, while others see them as contributing to a culture of narcissism and bringing with them a host of growing problems. This thoughtful video takes a look at the culture that enabled selfies to explode in popularity, a culture that started long before camera phones were a thing. 

Coming to you from The New Yorker, this thought-provoking video examines the selfie's place and how societal and cultural factors led to its rise. It's a fascinating look at the phenomenon. I have to say that personally, while there's definitely some truth in the video, I don't think selfie culture is an all doom and gloom consequence of a misguided attempt to promote better self-esteem (both on an individual and legislative/societal level, as discussed in the video). I do think it has a place in current culture, particularly with our increasingly electronic modes of communication between friends and family. Like most things of a technological nature, a healthy balance is more of an individual issue than a sweeping condemnation of all.

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9 Comments

Pieter Batenburg's picture

I use a DJI Osmo Mobile for shooting video on my smartphone. Some people think it is a selfie stick and when they look at the screen, they are amazed that it moves and I am not shooting myself.

The lesson I got from this video was something that it isn't even about... which is that people have this weird habit of trying to explain human behavior based off of something that's happened within the last 30-60 years (i.e. their own lifetime). And then there's the "Art of the selfie" video that Mike posted above, which tries to frame the topic within the context of the technology (i.e. the camera) rather than a trending mentality (which is what the first video is about). But it's still a "modern" explanation.

People were painting pictures of themselves, and having pictures of themselves painted, long before that. Heck, there's even a caveman "selfie" dated 20,000 years ago:

https://www.wildfrontierstravel.com/en_GB/community/blog/post/world-s-fi...

Ironically, the tendency to forget that there's a world that existed prior to your own frame of reference might be a better example of narcissism than taking a picture of yourself with your phone.

"Ironically, the tendency to forget that there's a world that existed prior to your own frame of reference might be a better example of narcissism than taking a picture of yourself with your phone." +1

Pretty much. As long as there has been man, there have been efforts to create self-portraits of some kind. Because we are more-curious about ourselves than about anything else around us.

Kyle Medina's picture

Please, people have been taking pictures of themselves for decades. We just never saw EVERYONE'S photos because of social media.

Stas Aleksandersson's picture

And probably for the better.

Great video.. till you added Donald Trump. Trump is a narcissist but a self made one. He is also the wrong generation in question. I can only assume that this video has a underlying agenda. I’m not even republican and I’m calling “fake news”