In 2016 we have well and truly entered a phase in society where one can convince others that they are living a life of pure opulence and excitement from the rugged up comfort of their IKEA sofa.
When exploring the world of selfies, social media and identity it is interesting to see that we are all living these lives where we go about our days with interactions, and then subconsciously there is this digital version of our reality which we deem ourselves responsible to maintain. It is as if we are all living, breathing brands which exist only to compete for the crown of having the most likes on Instagram, more Snapchat followers or a bunch of our friends commenting ‘yaaaas babe’ or ‘#hottie’ on our Facebook photos.
I believe, this all started with the selfie.
Images of a single person are not exactly a new thing, acting as one of the most popular art forms in history, the self-portrait has morphed over time to become a marketing tool for our own lives. A simple proof of this transformation is that the lovely Mona Lisa probably wasn’t thinking ‘YAAAS Da Vinci paint me lyk 1 of ur french gurls #lol’
(Image source: Buzzfeed India)
In our modern society selfies are used by celebrities as almost a looking glass for the general public to have an insight into their lives. However, you see, this is in itself an issue. The sponges of young minds are following celebrities such as the Kardashian clan and using their selfies and social media posts as a standard for their own social media presence. The issue with this is that there are aspects of these standards which are unrealistic for the everyday individual; such as the clothes, the bags and designer shoes. Some may say that this issue I am identifying is simply trivial and can be solved by parents telling their kids to switch off their phones however, it goes deeper than that. The idea of the ‘social self’ or the identity we create online is becoming a priority for youth and young adults over reality is what I believe is leading us to a ‘connected world’ (mind the irony). In his article titled ‘For the love of being liked’ Bruce Feiler notes that “…research indicates how deeply our brains are wired to seek social approval” (New York Times, 2014).
As we live in a world where celebrities such as Kim Kardashian are becoming icons for social media, we, even as adults are aspiring to uphold a media presence that reflects these celebrities.
Take the following image for example, this was posted by the one and only Kim K at least three weeks ago now…
(Image source: Kim Kardashian West Instagram)
This selfie sparked international outrage and attracted a total of 1.7million likes. Why do you think this happened? I believe it was a response to how Kim put her high-status to use. Young people look to the Kardashians as role models for makeup, fashion, exercise and relationships and there is much debate about how they use this power and whether or not it is for good.
Some may see this post as scandalous and embarrassing because ‘she has kids’ and ‘she has so much power over youth’ however, looking at it critically I believe it is empowering to women everywhere. Empowering in the sense that it projects the notion that one should be comfortable in their own skin and willing to look at themselves in the mirror without clothes, makeup or accessories and say ‘that’s worthy of a selfie.’
Until next time,
Feiler, B 2014, ‘For the love of being liked,’ The New York Times, 9 May, viewed 13 March 2016, <http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/11/fashion/for-some-social-media-users-an-anxiety-from-approval-seeking.html?_r=1>