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Op-Ed: Are 'selfies' indicative of low self-esteem, narcissism, or both?

By W. Mark Dendy     Feb 2, 2014 in Lifestyle
From President Obama's photo at Mandela's funeral, to Kim Kardashian's revealing picture in a bathing suit shortly after she gave birth, to the millions uploaded to social media sites, those "selfies" may be telling more about you than you think.
The self portraits aka "selfies" disseminated through social media to friends and family — and often the whole world — to see, might reveal a lot about the personality behind the image.
"Selfie," despite the term being popularized in the last decade, is not a design of this generation. Vincent Van Gogh painted 30 self portraits. His purpose for portrait painting, according to the Van Gogh Gallery, was three-fold: "A method of introspection, a method to make money and a method of developing his skills as an artist."
But today's "selfie" tends to define a certain type of behavior that appears to be either one of low self esteem or one of narcissism or perhaps both. And I'm not talking about the ones with your spouse or children or "bestie;" I'm talking about the one's that are taken to show others how good you look or how buff you are.
Kim Kardashian, the self-proclaimed guru of the "selfie" has even given a set of guidelines to maximize your "selfie's" potential:
Rule 1: Always position your camera higher than yourself.
Rule 2: Know the angle.
Rule 3: Know the lighting.
Rule 4: No duck face or exaggerated pout. (Although Kardashian admits it shows off the cheekbones.)
A feeling of self-importance seems to be the theme of "selfies" among the young and old these days. Psychology Today reports that even though social media is a great way of connecting, "it ironically can turn us into addictively self-absorbed narcissists."
According to the Washington Post, a recent study out of the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, found that "increased sharing of selfies leads to decreased feelings of connection and closeness."
But not everyone accepts the negative impacts of "selfies."
A Digital Journal report says that a new "Dove" short film says that "selfies" are "empowering" and "redefine notions of beauty."
From the research available in our ongoing cultural and technological movement, those who overindulge in taking and sharing "selfies" suffer from both low self-esteem and narcissism, perhaps because when one loves oneself, few others will like them.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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