The Rise Narcissism through Selfie Culture

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Narcissism is a term that long time ago psychologists used to describe a man who is focused on glorifying himself or herself in order to show up their own self-image or to own their benefit. The inflated self-importance is a delicate thing that is why narcissist attempts to protect and enhance it. But the meaning and the form of narcissism have changed over time.

Today narcissism seems to be the form of a phenomenon of the self-taken picture also known as “”selfie,”” which has transformed our social culture and affects everyone, especially young people.

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This phenomenon has become a movement and is even called “”selfie culture.”” However, taking the selfie is not merely an act of self-taken pictures but also is considered to be one of the biggest contributors to the rise in narcissism as a form of self-presentation.


According to Oxford Dictionary, narcissism is excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance.[1] Christopher Lasch wrote In the Culture of Narcissism that narcissism of our time is as a metaphor of human condition. It is a form of self-admiration, self-satisfaction, and self-glorification in individuals and in all forms of narrow-mindedness, ethnic prejudice, and fanaticism in groups. He also mentioned that the concept of narcissism begins in the ego or self-love and it will change in personality structure, which are affected by ideology, culture, and society.

Thus, narcissists have always been selfish that they think of themselves as being hopefully talented and important in the perspective of their time. They love to express themselves to others by many ways in order to seek glorifications and to inflate self-importance, which we can see in what is happening of our changing world today. People said that this world is beginning to pack itself in itself.

Humans begin to contemplate, to admire himself too much so that they lack of empathy toward other people. This is why Rollo May said in Individualism and Our Age of Narcissism, “”Each individual must learn to take care of himself or herself and thus be beholden to no one else.””[3] In the ancient Greek mythology, there is vey famous image, which called Narcissus – a lover and worshiper of himself. He was a very beautiful young man and many fell in with him. However, he only showed them disdain and contempt. One day, he saw his reflection in the water of the stream and fell in love with it.

Although he did not realize in the beginning that it was just a reflection, when he understood it, he fell in despair that his love could not come true and he rushed headlong into the stream and died.[4] Narcissus was, one might say, enraptured not by a “”selfie””, but by what he took to be a non-selfie. He died in admiring and loving himself. The story describes the beautiful young man, who had self-absorption for the past more than 2,000 years, may have been reflected a form of self-presentation which we call selfie culture today.


“”Selfie”” is an act that person uses his or her smartphone to take picture of himself or herself. The term word “”Selfie”” already did appear on the Internet for the first time back in 2002, it wasn’t until almost 10 years after that the term began to become commonly usedthroughout the world.[5] According to the statistics of Techinfographics, every day, the number of selfies-taken is digitally enhanced 14%,[6] with nearly 52% about appearance.

The movement of the selfie has become very famous so that on November 2013 the word “”selfie”” had been named the international word of the year by Oxford Dictionaries.[8] The wonder of selfies has enchanted the social digital world from famous actors, former U.S. president Obama, and even the pope has no escape from this phenomenon.

Narcissism and selfie culture

Taking selfie is a psychological phenomenon, which is called “”ego-portrait”” and as a form of self-presentation. According to the data mentioned above, we can see the number of selfies uploaded to social networks every single day is very tremendous. Kali Muir said that the selfie seems as though snapping the perfect photo has become more important than truly enjoying memorable moments in life; which could be the reason narcissism has risen with the popularity of social media. He realized that Narcissists tend to overshare details of their life and compulsively lie in attempts to make their lives seem superior to their peers. Therefore, selfie-taken is the ideal platform for narcissists to use to paint the perfect picture of their lives, whether realistic or not.[9]

Formerly, when people took the pictures, which were kept in the albums and showed them to others to see. The pictures were viewed through the eyes of others, and in the beauty that the pictures were viewed by other people’s eyes. But now when we talk about selfie, we are so familiar that I look at myself, admire myself. I find myself so beautiful and I record the beauty of my own look. I only see me, I just contemplate me, I just save what is very subjective of my own view, about me.

It is about that John Powell said that the beautiful or handsome person who plays this game, keeps staring into the mirror on the wall and into the mirror of the eyes of others for his own reflection, he cannot find any deeper consolation. Powell explained that this is a sadness that hangs over the vanity of this sort. In the extreme, this person indentifies his person with his body. He would answer the question, “”What are you?”” with the response, “”I’m good looking.”” And if he could be honest and open, he would add: “”…nothing more, just good looking.””[10] Therefore, the form of beauty between narcissism before and now is different in the way of self-presentation.

Narcissists have the tendency and habit to update for posting on social networks to attract the attention of others, to gain followers, and to polish their images through the selfies. A person, who addicts taking the selfie, has to spend hours for adjusting, squeezing pictures so that their pictures become sharp or perfect without error. He or she then uploads to the network in order to have many likes from friends, to expose the emotions, to have many comments and to be praised.

For young people, it is a “”living resource”” that cannot be moved in their lives. Because the way in which young people today use social networks and post their selfies-taken, will be essential point to show the different factor for the rise of narcissistic behavior. These narcissists have tendency in using Facebook or social networks more than in taking interest in others. This is the root of this attractive phenomenon in the rise of narcissism.

Furthermore, despite of narcissistic behavior, the selfie culture has a shallow relationship with which is the illusive way of life that makes people away from real life, especially young people. It makes people around them annoyed and inconvenient from bringing the “”happy stick”” raised before the eyes to show off. The use of the phone from classic to smart, which can access the Internet, has dragged young people in the corner of their rooms is known the whole world. This leads to a widespread gap of a relationship between people to people and indifference to those around them.

The selfie-culture is really phenomenon of our society today. People can look at other people’s pictures, or send their photos to social networks to show some of their aspects in order to be appreciated by others. These images are not just spontaneous but also a message, which can lead to the rise in narcissism as a form of self-presentation. Although selfie culture is simply the cause of narcissism in some, rather than it overstates the cause in everyone. With the love of taking selfies, you should take a minute to think of why you want to post your selfies on social networks?

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The Rise Narcissism Through Selfie Culture. (2020, Feb 04). Retrieved from