Selfies Have Side Effects

Selfies Have Side Effects

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by Dakota Antelman

by Lilah Mercadante

Most of us have taken a selfie before, some more than others. There is nothing wrong with snapping a photo of yourself. The trouble comes when you post it on social media. I am an active Instagram user, and I would argue it is the most popular form of social media among my generation. Selfies appear in my newsfeed daily. With these pictures come a string of compliments consisting of emojis and words like, ‘hot’ and ‘babe.’ These comments are self-esteem boosters for the person in the picture.

Of course, what’s wrong with a little self-esteem boost? Isn’t it a good thing to build self-confidence? Yes. But it should be coming from yourself. When a flood of compliments flash on your screen, this boost is coming from other people. It is not inner love, created from self-appreciation. This is where the problems start.

We all know what that feels like if we have posted a selfie before. When you see the notification pop up on your lockscreen and you open the app to see a number next to a heart, it causes a happy reaction. The bigger the number, the better you feel about yourself.

But when this doesn’t happe,n we inflict negative feelings on ourselves.

What happens when you are used to getting 200 likes and 15 adoring comments on your selfies? What happens when you don’t? Every time someone prepares to post a selfie, they hold it in the same esteem as the ones they have posted before. So when they post a selfie and it doesn’t elicit the same response as previous pictures, they wonder, “What is worse about me now?”

Just a few weeks ago, I heard one of my friends say, “It [her selfie] only got 60 likes, so I took it down.”

This is what happens. A lack of positive response from the public can cause a person to feel ugly and bad about themselves. We disregard our own initial appreciation of the photo and replace those happy feelings with the worrisome and depressing feelings we get from public reaction. This reveals that we consider other people’s opinions to be more important than our own.

The silly thing about this is: it is our face and our body in the picture. It has nothing to do with anybody else. So why do we care? Beauty is subjective like art. Some people like modern art, and some people only like watercolors. Some people double tap only on pictures of brunettes, and some people scroll right past people who aren’t tan. Does this mean everyone has to be tan and have brown hair? Of course not.

As cheesy as it sounds, we need to love ourselves. If you post a picture only to get a small response, leave it up. Admire it. Next time you post a selfie think about how it is going to make you feel. Your lockscreen could be ambushed with likes and comments, or it could be sparse. Just remember my warning: Selfies may cause negative feelings, lack of self-esteem, and impending sadness.


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