The selfie

problem

by Shawna Currie

Danny Bowman, a teenager from England, lost 28 pounds to improve his appearance. He

started skipping class and eventually stopped going to school. He refused to leave his house

for six months, raging at his parents when they tried to help him. Before long, he began popping pills trying to end his existence.

 

His pursuit of great selfies became unbearable.

 

“I was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie,”Bowman said, according to a 2014

article in “The Daily Mirror,” a British tabloid newspaper. “And when I realized I couldn’t, I wanted to die. I lost my friends, my education, my health and almost my life.”

 

Bowman is now a mental health advocate. He was suffering from Body Dysmorphic Disorder. His case was extreme, but selfie obsession, is a sign of issues beneath the surface.

 

Today, psychologists are linking the obsession of taking excessive selfies to narcissism and mental illness. Cultural analysts are identifying the prevalence of selfies as symbolic of a self absorbed and superficial generation.

 

Wow. Who knew it was that deep?

It’s hard to argue after an objective exploration through Instagram, where filters, creative angles and cropping techniques present people in a much more favorable light. The sheer amount of selfies, plus the effort put into editing them, does seem to point to some psychological markers.

 

The connection of selfies to mental health is especially alarming when you consider the teens and adults who are in the millennial generation and the most frequent selfie takers.

 

“Selfies when used in excess show lack of depth and a shallow personality,” says clinical psychologist Bart Rossi in a LiveHealth Online article. ”If someone is obsessed with taking selfies it is most likely because the individual is self-absorbed and narcissistic.”

 

AOL news writer Maria Galuppo concluded in one Science and

Tech article that the average lifespan is 27,375 days, the equivalent to 74 years. Galuppo also stated that the average millennial is expected to take 25,700 selfies during their lifetime. That's close to one selfie daily.

Wow. Now that is pretty deep.

A 2015 survey of 1,000 young adults in framesdirect.com research showed that millennials spend more than and hour a week taking selfies. That’s counting the average selfie taking seven minutes to compose and an average of nine selfies a week. The average time, which means somebody is taking 15 minutes for a selfie.

 

And if that wasn’t enough selfie obsession, the selfie pioneering queen herself, Kim Kardashian West, put out her own book full of 455 pages of selfies, titled, fittingly, “Selfish”

"I took pictures of myself with digital cameras when I was in
junior high and high school, and I just got hooked,” Kardashian West told TMZ.
I was always obsessed with selfies.”

Who would have ever thought that selfies would have such an affect let alone play a role in boosting sales in both cosmetics and cosmetic surgery?

 

The selfie craze has increased sales of make-up by more than $1million dollars a week. In 2015 women spent an extra 60 million on lipstick, mascara and eyebrow pencils, bringing cosmetics sales to $800 million, according to an online Daily Mail.com article.

 

In 2014 The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery conducted a survey reported on its website, showing the increase in cosmetic procedures. The study uncovered that one out of every three facial plastic surgeons saw an increase in patient’s wanting to get facial surgery because they had become more aware of their looks due to social media.

 

A group of surveyed surgeons reported a 58 percent climb in cosmetic surgery performed in patients under the age of 30. That is the age range of most millennials during that time, according to the website newswire.net.

 

Selfies cannot be considered 100 percent accurate because of the angles that people are using, according to plastic surgeon Dr. Sam Risk in a 2016 CBS New York article. Dr. Risk reported a 10 percent increase in rhinoplasty procedures.

 

In an interview in with “USA Today,” Dr. Rizk stated that as the selfie has become more popular, he has had more patients wanting eyelid lifts and nose jobs to help them look better.

 

Eyelid lifts? Now that is pretty extreme.

Why do people aim so hard to capture the right selfie? Kardashian may have exposed it in her book. The concern is that selfies are

detrimental to the way people perceive themselves. The obsession to portray the perfect self image has exposed a greater and more deeply-rooted issue.

“The reason for the narcissism, depression, obsession or other mental health issues are not really the selfies themselves, but rather the selfies are the trigger for underlying issues,” said licensed therapist Kellie E. Branch-Dirks in a LiveHealth Online article.

 

Selfie obsessors like Kardashian, who’s not afraid to talk about how much she loves herself, can-be viewed as narcissistic. But maybe they point to a different truth: Is there a lack of self love? Is the real drive what others say?

 

As declared by the Queen B, Beyoncé, everyone has imperfections yet are human. “It’s important to concentrate on other qualities besides outer beauty,” she told ABC News.

 

Yet, the selfie seems to only focus on the outer beauty.

 

“The perfect angle, the perfect light the perfect outfit,” Branch-Dirks told LiveHealth Online. “They hope to fill a void within that can never be filled from outside sources, therefore never achieving a sense of satisfaction that they strive for.”

 

Voids can’t be filled through outside sources. Only within, Listen to Salma Hayek:

 

“People often say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder,,” and I say that the most liberating thing  about beauty is realizing that you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves.”

 

Wow. That’s deep.

© 2018 Naked Magazine. A student publication of Las Positas College

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