Who Knew Selfies Could Be So Treacherous?

The selfie phenomenon is no more. Selfies aren’t a phenomenon, they’re constant proofs that one is important, hip or fun or in an enviable place – the Oscars, for example. Where once you’d have to approach a stranger (“excuse me, would you mind taking a picture, just press this button”), now you can do it yourself, unless you’re with a group of more than three. If you own a selfie stick, aka the “wand of Narcissus” (recently banned in Premier League stadiums, the UK equivalent of NFL venues), you can extend your reach and incorporate even more into your visual memories and self-aggrandizement.

Oops. All about self, right? Yeah, thought so.

Now there’s proof, at least with men.

An Ohio State research study focused on 18- to 40-year-old men who enjoy taking and posting selfies. They found that these men posted high scores for impulsiveness, lack of empathy and – no surprise here — narcissism. Ew.

What was even more disturbing was the discovery that the subjects also displayed high levels of the antisocial personality trait of psychopathy.


In addition, these men tended toward self-objectification, meaning they valued appearance above all else. In themselves, and also in others. Self-objectification “can lead to discounting and ignoring other people based purely on the superficial”.

Anyone who’s ever been on the receiving end of another’s self-objectification can vouch for its pain.

It’s true that character traits lead to habits, but habits can also reinforce traits. The more focus on selfies, the greater the narcissism and psychopathy.

If you know a man who is all about his selfies, show him the linked article. If you are that man, stop taking selfies. They’re doing you more harm than you think. They’re aiding your entrance to a very dark place, indeed.

And if you’re in a relationship with such a man, please leave. You deserve better, and it is better to be alone than to be linked to a risky companion. Lack of empathy, narcissism, impulsiveness, valuing appearance above everything, psychopathy . . . that’s a cluster of traits that leads to inevitable “If only I’d known!”.


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