Obsessive Selfie Takers Show Psychopathic Traits, Is That You?

Well Kim K has a bestselling book full of her selfies, called, well, Selfie. But we aren’t Kim. And research has found that unless you are her, heavy selfie taking in dudes could reflect serious psychopathy. Read

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By Zanele Makhubo


 

The phenomenon of selfie-taking or the science of narcissism? Well, it depends on which side of the lens you find yourself. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept of taking selfies, the past two years of your life may have been spent under oblivion. This photographic trend which became popularised in 2013 is exactly just that, taking a ‘pic’ of oneself.

For selfie artist (this is an art), being in possession of a smartphone and having on hand the sideways smile are the basic necessities of taking a respectable selfie. The standards of taking what is deemed as the perfect selfie however, have been raised. Literally raised -beyond arms length- to be specific. And alas, for all you techno and selfie enthusiasts, behold, the “selfie-stick”.

Unveiled at the Mobile World Congress, the not so hands free device allows the selfie-taker to position the phone at a distance not usually within reach. Before we became accustomed to taking pictures of ourselves, asking a friend or stranger to be responsible for capturing our photographic moments was the norm.

Although using monopods to handle cameras isn’t a new idea, the average selfie-taker isn’t an established cameraman and since smartphones aren’t yet smart enough to decide the angle at which the pose is snapped, this piece of technology is arguably revolutionary. It it is of no wonder then, that the stick is in itself becoming a phenomenon.

According to a psychologist’s behavioural studies, the pictures that we post and the ways in which we share/present our personal material in public spaces reveals a lot about ourselves. If taking selfies were a philosophical study, could the phrase “I am conscious of myself in the face of others” help us deconstruct this obsession? As social animals, the need for social approval is natural. In the digital age, this approval is measured by the number of retweets and likes garnered by the images we post.

Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook have enhanced the levels to which we objectify ourselves. Does the selfie-stick lend to notions that the value placed by society on appearance is increasingly translating into obsessive attempts to perfect the art of taking selfies? Not everyone agrees.

To many, it is just a form of expression which although is purely aesthetic, is far from narcissistic or objectifying. Whether it is for the reassurance of our human existence, or for purely egotistical reasons, everyone is doing it. From the salesperson who sold you your phone/camera, to politicians at memorial services, everyone is doing it. Like the Sanman and cavemen used drawings of themselves on walls to record their existence, we take selfies!

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