As a relatively vain person, I’ve been trying this year to get comfortable with the persona I project on social media. Suddenly in my guise of blogger there is the requirement to be adept at taking the perfect selfie and being comfortable with opening up your life on the web to your readers. After 100 test shots and various filters applied for every image I upload, it makes you wonder whether this age of social media is making us more vain, or is it just making vanity more socially acceptable? Is admitting that you want to look beautiful really wrong or has vanity now become the one acceptable vice?
I read an interview with Tippi Hendren in which she cooly admitted to being unashamedly vain and all for plastic surgery. Plastic surgery has near enough become part of normal life for us, but that admissions of vanity no longer raise eyebrows shows how our culture has drastically changed. If Hollywood gold can admit to succumbing to narcissistic tendencies, maybe it’s time we all admitted to this guilty sin?
Lucy Clyde, a counsellor and psychotherapist, believes that everyone has tendencies to be vain and that we’re simply more aware of these traits now because of the prevalence of social media. The rise of the duck-face, the belfie and now fingermouthing (look it up) are all trends of seductive poses for the purpose of showcasing yourself in the best light, popularised by Instagram. But if we were led to believe social media then not only would everyone possess model looks, but we would all lead perfect lives and have flawless relationships. Social media creates the perfect lie because everyone wants to buy into it. Where do you draw the line between pride in your appearance and excessive love of oneself? Is it when you distort the truth to achieve a better result (surgery or photoshop) or is this all just part of playing the game?
It may be difficult to say concretely that narcissism among millennials is directly linked to social media, but it does seem that social media encourages and panders to pre-existing narcissism. Is the need to portray a perfect exterior covering up for personal insecurities? Should we be looking inward for beauty rather than for external validation by a tribe of faceless followers and “likes”? Slowly society IS moving towards a place where our faults are regarded as what makes us beautiful, individual and unique.
With any writing or blogging, there is a sense of exposure - opening yourself up for comment whether that be negative or positive. I guess the secret is not to take it all too seriously and to not worry about what others think. Vanity to some degree is unavoidable, but I'll do my best to remain grounded and try to love what I have, not what I wish I had! Surely a little self-love now and again can’t hurt too much?
What does your profile picture say about you?