Sites like Instagram, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook offer endless opportunities to not only connect with friends and family but also post as many pictures as your phone can hold. This article claims that more than 93 million selfies are taken every day, and about 14 percent of those selfies are edited.
As many as 34 percent of men, as opposed to 13 percent of women, say they retouch every selfie. But why are selfies becoming so important? Let's take a look at it from a social standpoint. There's a social psychology term "looking-glass self" that describes a sentiment in which who we are comes from how others see us as opposed to who we actually are.
Due to the increase in efficiency when it comes to taking and uploading selfies, the ability for others to see and judge us also increases. With most of these sites having a system of likes, favorites, retweets, and shares, outsiders' opinions of ourselves is becoming more and more important. Everyday Sociology hypothesizes that the entire process of a selfie—posing, editing, uploading, and hashtagging—is not so much for ourselves but instead is a social act. Since selfies are not posted in a private sphere, the act couldn't possibly be just for ourselves. Even the most humble of selfie-takers gain something from the act, even if it is just a small amount of self-confidence.
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This form of self-identity can be an extreme ego boost for some but can be devastating for others. But is a selfie really that important? I always thought of myself as someone who didn't particularly care about how many likes my pictures received, so in order to prove the importance of selfies and self-esteem (or selfie-steem) wrong, I decided to go two weeks without posting any pictures of myself or even taking any. Here are some things I learned.
1. I rely on likes and comments more than I realized.
The first few days I actually felt really self-conscious and, quite frankly, ugly. I didn't have strangers and acquaintances complimenting my looks (even though I edit all of my pictures to make sure I look perfect), and I wasn't getting that constant ego boost from watching the number of likes go up.
2. After getting used to the situation, my self-esteem got better.
After the first week of self-deprecating and low confidence, things started to turn around. Without having to stare at my overly edited face, unnaturally white teeth, or my overly made-up face, I actually started to feel pretty. And for once, that sentiment wasn't based on how many likes on Instagram I was getting, or how many of my friends commented on Facebook. It was based solely on how I felt when I looked in the mirror.
3. Selfies still matter to me.
Even though I started to feel extremely confident in myself without the constant confirmation from others, I still wanted the attention and support that I used to receive. Literally the very next day, I posted a selfie and then later deleted it because it wasn't doing very well in the likes department, and then later reposted an edited version to see if that did the trick.
Note that there's essentially no difference here. I used a filter to make me look more tan, but that's it! So why did I think it would make that much more of a difference? To me, the unedited picture looks better, but to others, the edited one goes over better. Apparently, even with the knowledge that I am more confident in myself without the constant approval of friends and strangers alike, I still desperately crave a solid online presence.
While some argue that it's fake or deceptive to edit pictures or wear too much makeup or even pose in selfies, the fact of the matter is, no matter what you do in your picture, it is still you. As long as you're comfortable with what you're putting out there for the world to see, who cares? You are you, and even if you like to be liked—or you like your selfies to be liked—it ultimately doesn't matter what others think. Post what you want, and be comfortable with you. If you want to show off a selfie that you feel the best in, use #selfiesteem in your picture to join the millions of others proudly showing off their faces!