Selfies enhance self-esteem issues

Is it possible that “selfies,” the trend of taking a picture of yourself, can lead to depression, narcissism, eating disorders or even suicide?
We all grew up knowing the dangers of these issues, but we never think it could happen to us.

Our world is constantly bombarding us with images of what we should look like, what we should eat, how we should live but we are also putting these pressures on ourselves.

According to The Independent, Danny Bowman, a british teenager, was obsessed with taking the perfect selfie. He became so engrossed that he would spend over 10 hours a day taking about 200 selfies. It had to be flawless.

Bowman attempted suicide when he was not able to live up to what he deemed a perfect selfie, but was found by his mother before the overdose of drugs he took could kill him.

He later told The Mirror, a british newspaper, in an interview that he “was constantly in search of taking the perfect selfie and when I realized I couldn’t I wanted to die.”

However, most are not severely affected by this new trend.

“Most of my friends and I make fun of selfies and joke about them. I don’t know anyone who really takes them seriously, unless they are in high school or already have low self-esteem and confidence issues,” California Lutheran Univeirsity senior Allison Westerhoff said.

Bowman almost lost his life in an attempt to capture the ideal self- portrait.

We are so conditioned to search for the hidden messages behind advertisements and the agendas that are being thrown at us, but this is new territory. It is a competition to be perfect in every aspect of our lives, even in our pictures.

If someone is already susceptible to depression and other self-esteem issues, this could be something to send them over the edge. It could enhance anxiety already felt and spin it out of control.

“Selfies frequently trigger perceptions of self indulgence or attention-seeking social dependence that raises the damned-if-you-do and damned-if-you-don’t specter of either narcissism or very low self-esteem,” said Pamela Rutledge in Psychology Today.

Selfies are something that place pressure on people to achieve impossible goals that if taken seriously can cause people to go to extremes to try and achieve them.
“Some people think their social media presence is so important and can feel down if they don’t feel like they are looking attractive in the selfies,” CLU senior Mackenzie Langford said.

CLU senior Kacy Cashatt is very involved in California Lutheran University’s “Feminism Is…” club and believes that selfies add pressure to be seen as perfect and it is not even possible to do so.

“When someone takes a selfie, it’s usually not one. They take a selfie, check to see if it is ‘postable’ and if it’s not, they continue until it is up to ‘par’… There are also many who are not quite as confident and instead pick on the image they are looking at of themselves and decide the things they could change to look like society’s ideal physical image of a person,” Cashatt said.

Like many things, selfies are OK if you do them in moderation. If you are taking an inordinate amount of them in one day, you might have a problem. Remember that no one is perfect and your life does not need to revolve around taking the perfect selfie.


Katy Sullivan
Staff Writer
Published April 23, 2014