#Selfie Culture & Self-Esteem
We live in a culture that’s filled with hashtags and selfies, details of everyday life shared with the world on social media, along with pouty-lipped pictures and emoticons. What does this personal, yet distant social media world do to people’s self-esteem?
The foundation of social media depends on how many people you know and how you are interacting with them. The more friends, followers, likes, shares, and +1s you receive, the more popular and well-liked you are. Right?
Social media and the selfie culture can crush a person’s self-esteem. Here’s how:
Social media sets unrealistic beauty and life standards, for both men and women. Twitter feeds, as well as Facebook pages, are filled with pictures of muscular men and tan women, telling you how to look younger, be sexier, earn more, and live better. This constant streaming of high expectations is unrealistic, and yet it’s forced upon social media users continuously. These bogus standards make people feel like they’re not good enough and never will be, devastating their self-esteem.
Social media also encourages narcissistic tendencies. Most posts and tweets are self-focused, about what “I” like to do and what “I” think. People take pictures just to show how pretty they feel or how great they look. For those with low self-esteem, the narcissism goes the other way. They focus on the bad, sharing the latest tragedy in their life, no matter how small. When they leave comments, they talk bad about themselves and put themselves down. These self-defeating behaviors of low self-esteem and encourage people to feel bad about themselves and focus on the negative.
Exaggerated Sense of Self
At first glance, social media seems social. However, it’s different than interacting with others in person. On social media, you show only what you want. You make yourself, and your life appears more glamorous than it is. For those with low self-esteem, it may be hard to realize what you see is not reality. It makes you feel worse about yourself because you aren’t that special or look that good or make that much money.
Sometimes, those with low self-esteem try to hide in social media. They post their smiling selfies and talk about trips to the mall, when in fact, they’re spending too much time alone in their rooms on social media. Because of these interactions, family and friends may not realize the person’s self-esteem is so low or that they’re having difficulty. Social media allows those with low self-esteem to hide it, which leaves them without the support they need when they need it the most.
It doesn’t matter how many friends you have on Facebook, if you don’t have someone to rely on in real life, you become lonely. Because of sharing the trials and triumphs of everyone’s life on Facebook, some people can become emotionally detached. It can become hard to interact with people face to face, and to discuss how you actually feel about things. When real life social interactions aren’t frequent, self-esteem drops and people become depressed.
While social media has its role in modern society, the selfie culture is not helping our youth. Instead of teaching humility and empathy, it sets unrealistic standards, encourages narcissistic behaviors, spawns envy and feelings of ineptitude, and lowers self-esteem.