Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Psychology of the "Selfie"

hp_miley_narrow-20130710195815104382-300x0

Australia’s “The Age” has a take on the impact of the “selfie” written by an eleven year old girl (!). Well worth a read.

————-

Dark undercurrents of teenage girls’ selfies

If social media only caused narcissism, it wouldn’t be the worst thing. Instagram and Facebook are social networks that not only breed narcissistic tendencies but transform relations into a sexual rat race.

On these ubiquitous portals, the popularity of girls is hotly contested over one big deal: how sexy can I appear and bring it off with everyone’s admiration?

That’s the reason we see mirror shots, pouting self-portraits of teenagers (typically female) and sexually suggestively posed girls in a mini-dress ”before a party last night”. They’re showing how much they like themselves and hoping that you’ll hit ”like” to reinforce the claim.

This isn’t just an interest in vanity but vainglory, being high up on a scale of ”likes” . There isn’t anything inherently wrong with uploading self-portraits. Everyone likes receiving compliments and it makes us feel awesome that our own appearance can provide us with an ego boost. But what kind of photos produce an epidemic of ”likes?” Nothing with too much creativity but hip, titty and kiss. It’s the true scourge of the selfie.

Why are we girls competing to be the Queen of Pouts? Why do we scour through photos of celebrities and all our ambitious friends to find out who is the new princess of prurient poses? Even demure girls are tempted to strike sexually suggestive poses. But they must be careful, not because parents are looking but because they might not score any ”likes” and might then feel a failure, unworthy among their peers.

How confident can you appear at being lascivious? How credible is your air of lewdness? A girl who is just a try-hard will lose credibility and become an outcast. So a lot depends on how much support you can get from other girls.

Girls zealously scroll down their Instagram or Facebook feeds. In Instagram, they might cleverly hashtag the most popular tags, such as #me, #selfie, #instacute to get an influx of ”likes” while they are on the most-recently tagged photos, then delete all the tags as though nothing’s happened.

They’re manipulating their image into popularity. Girls spray their ”likes”. They comment: ”Wow, you’re a model”; ”Oh my god you babe”; ”F–k you’re hot”; ”You’re perfect”; ”Best body”. Occasionally it’s genuine and supportive but it can also be very calculating.

Girls fake flattery to get higher on the food chain. In my mind a comment such as, ”Oh my god, you’re so beautiful!” really means: she has to ”like” and comment on my photo! Then behind her back: ”What the f—! She is such a slut … I heard she hooked up with heaps of guys and got really drunk at a party and in every photo she poses with her tits out and a push-up bra.”

It’s tense because it’s duplicitous. We’re faking it, so that we get to be among the most popular, get to be ”liked” by the most popular and thereby gain popularity.

Seeing some of these images can feel too intimate. It’s almost as though we’re peering through a window. Some photos may be of girls showing skin, or girls lying on a bed. Just about all are seeking some sort of approval from their friends. The aim is not to communicate joy but to score a position.

It’s a neurotic impulse, not a happy one. I’m anxious that girls are higher up on the ladder than I am: boys are looking at her, not me. I have to look like her to be worthy of boys’ attention. Boys’ tastes are not always sophisticated. The aesthetic yardstick is what they see in pornography. So girls have to conform to what boys see in pornography. And then girls post photos to ”out-hot” the other girls by porn star criteria.

Who do we blame for this moral mess? As feminists, we correctly blame patriarchy because boys are securely at the top of the status game. Boys end up with the authority. They have their cake and eat it.

From the moral high ground, they can damn a girl for visual promiscuity, yet enjoy the spectacle at the same time, both with the same misogynistic motives: I like your form but I’m able to scorn you. You’re what I want but you’re less than me. Girls try to conform to this ”ideal” stereotype in their photos and these boys sarcastically comment, ”Nice personality” – really implying that the cleavage is their only attribute. Yet they also click the ”like” button. The boy who mocks a girl showing her cleavage is in fact the same boy who craves sexual opportunities with her.

A common adult reaction to social media is to restrict things, as if that could ever be possible. You can’t force kids to be nice. The real problem isn’t something tangible like sexting or bullying, which adults focus on in patronising and unimaginative ways. The real problem relates to conformity. Kids are compelled to act the stereotype, because those who opt out commit themselves to social leprosy. Social media doesn’t need adult control. What we need is some good taste.

——————

And lets not forget about the Bro side of the equation either.

EDIT: Pic is the famously obnoxious selfie of Mylie Cyrus, not the author of the piece.

EDIT #2: Whoops, make that a seventeen year old girl who is “year 11” in school. Weird Aussies. Props for the correction go to FredN. in the comments thread.

# posted by douchebag1
7:59 am July, 11 wonderdouche twin said...

The girl is obviously taking this at home, he is obviously in the shitter at the local Sunoco, a better question is why does he feel the need to self proclaim after dropping a deuce in a public pool??

8:02 am July, 11 douchebag1 said...

@wonderdouche twin, that’s Mylie Cyrus, not the girl who wrote the piece.

8:24 am July, 11 I Douche, therefore I am... said...

Really? An 11 year old wrote this? I find it a little hard to believe…I agree with every word but I have yet to meet an 18 – 20 year old who writes this eloquently let alone a pre-tween!

8:34 am July, 11 Franklyn DealorNo Doucheifelt said...

Could not have said it better,WDT. A selfie in a gas station shitter? Geez Christ!!

8:51 am July, 11 FredN. said...

Also, not an 11 year old girl that wrote it, but rather a “year 11”, which would 17 years old approximately (junior in High School).

.

Cuz this site is all about the accuracy, yo.

8:52 am July, 11 FredN. said...

DB1, and also, I think WDT and FDR are both commenting on the ‘bro’ selfie posted above.

.

Yo

8:56 am July, 11 creature said...

if it truly was porn, they’d put a boner meter on it…jus sayin

.

sons

9:37 am July, 11 Vin Douchal said...

Cunt. How else am I gonna troll the internet looking at freshies?

.

Piss off, go take your classes so at least someone is smart enough to be one of our future doctors. Stop obsessing over the popular girls and learn how to fix my aching back

9:54 am July, 11 DoucheyWallnuts said...

I second Vin’s Cunt and plea for her to find something more useful to do with her time. The author is just as bad as the self-posting selfie, spending that much time, effort and intellectual energy ripping the concept of girls who enjoy giving guys renoBs. Ain’t that what it’s all about?

10:31 am July, 11 Dude McCrudeshoes said...

The author was on track until she blamed “The Patriarchy”. Sorry, young lady, but what you are describing is classic Histrionic Personality Disorder. Shallowness, Narcissism, Attention Seeking, Provocative Behavior, even the tendency to speak or write emphatically but without detail… it’s all there. Causes very, but most involve parenting. Not The Patriarchy.

10:43 am July, 11 Dude McCrudeshoes said...

Pssst, Douchey Wallnets, I have been meaning to tell you… The significance of the word renob being a backwards “boner” is that it is an antigram meaning loss of wood. It doesn’t mean BJ, Knob Job, Fellatio, Smoking the Flesh Pipe, Swallowing the Boloney Pony, Gobbling the Gerkin, or Singing into the Bonephone.

10:48 am July, 11 I douche, therefore I am said...

Who is this impostor with a capital D? I challenge thee to a pear-off!

.

http://emupp.tumblr.com/post/55022507033/daily-thong-pics

11:43 am July, 11 I R A Darth Aggie said...

She’s looking to smoke some pipe.

.

Might as well be mine.

.

What? you know you were thinking the same thing…

11:51 am July, 11 DoucheyWallnuts said...

Yea, I’m not that deep. It’s renoB because I can say it in public an most people don’t know what it means. But I did have an Aunty Jo once.

11:53 am July, 11 wonderdouche twin said...

Hell I didn’t even read the whole article, just commenting on the two pics available and I skimmed the article for my comment.

12:30 pm July, 11 FredN. said...

But does it mean Blazin’ the Fat Pipe?

12:55 pm July, 11 creature said...

I’m still fired up over watching Miley tootin the man trunk with great gusto on redtube

.

tho she’d probably leave ya with flame pipe

12:57 pm July, 11 Douche Wayne said...

Until edit #2 I thought Australia had a hell of an education system based on the “11” year old’s vocabulary.

1:59 pm July, 11 FredN. said...

Creature, hate to tell ya, but that was an imposter on xhamster/youjizz/fuq. It was really Kelly Osbourne, not Miley Cyrus, that you’ve been yankin it to:

http://s1.ibtimes.com/sites/www.ibtimes.com/files/styles/picture_this/public/2012/01/13/216583-kelly-osbourne.jpg

2:19 pm July, 11 The Reverend Chad Kroeger said...

I’d do that chick in the picture in the ass and the author too. Cunts.

2:21 pm July, 11 The Reverend Chad Kroeger said...

I’m flaming the pipe with Lenny on the road.

5:35 pm July, 11 Guid is Good said...

In a further celebration of what passes loosely as Australian culture don’t forget Shane Warne , Australia’s greatest leg spin bowler (Google it), now famous for banging Liz Hurley who is famous for banging Hugh Grant who is famous for getting arrested for getting a blow job off a black street hooker in LA. Small world.

10:21 pm July, 11 xoffender said...

classic selfie of mylie. looking oh so tasty

1:43 am July, 12 Douchble Helix said...

Women should be seen and not heard.

.

Unless they’re climaxing. Even then.

Leave a Reply

What is 7 + 8 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)