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Posted Jan 21, 2014
Many writers on Psychology Today have already determined that selfies are bad. They've told us so on many many anti-selfie posts. Psychology Today is firmly committed to badmouthing selfies. PT says that selfies are selfish, narcissistic and contribute to low empathy. Selfies are taken primarily by females, and Psychology Today rarely misses a chance to lower female self-esteem and shame women for just about every act that doesn't involve behaving, being nice and pleasing a man.
This post is way out of line.
Just because other writers on PT have differing opinions, doesn't mean I am wrong. The whole point in having multiple voices is to hear what different people have to say. My research and knowledge of tech & psych leads me to believe selfies are NOT bad and the video by Dove shows one positive use.
There are Psychology Today posters that still can't figure out how to use Facebook, let alone taking their own picture in a mirror. If you don't conform to their narrow concept of right and wrong I'm concerned they'll hunt you down faster than JR Bruns can humiliate an unmarried woman.
I'll step up my workouts. There's an app for that.
First of all, a "selfie" is not a form of expression "enabled by new technology." People have been taking self-portraits, and doing fun, interesting things in them for many years. "Selfie" is simply a new term for an old phenomenon popularized by social media because those are currently the most popular places to place pictures of yourself.
There's a key connection between a selfie and social media that's not mentioned in the blog post. In the video, on the other hand, the Dove ad explicitly encourages girls to place pictures of themselves on social media showing their "redefined beauty" so to speak (with the "beautyis" hashtag nonetheless because this is, after all, a marketing campaign).
I think all this is unfortunate because I believe that real beauty lies within an individual. All this emphasis on selfies is; therefore, unfortunate because it still implies that beauty is based purely on what you see in the photograph. Is beauty really just someone's face without makeup? Does everything on someone's Facebook profile completely define them?
"Face" it, folks: "fixing" what we don't like about our public image has never been easier than ever. Just a quick nip-tuck of the mouse and voila: Rebel Wilson is now Kate Moss (OK, maybe that one would require a whole lotta RAM usage and an IMAX-sized monitor). But still, I highly doubt anyone is really going to go for this "beauty" campaign sponsored by a soap company. Thin will always be in, but of course, Photoshop works best if your only public images exist on the Internet and you haven't left your house since the Reagan era (and never will again).
Dove is a company, and companies exist solely to make money, not to appeal to some WTF feminism campaign from Jezebel and Lena Dunham. They would make more money accepting the reality that most people think Rubenesque not only rhymes with grotesque but is a synonym, and partnering with Adobe to parody the "reality" of digital "beauty" by calling Internet selfie-ists "99 44/100 percent FAKE."
At least it'd be funny.
I don't understand the negative reaction to this video campaign. Women of all ages are finally realizing they are uniquely beautiful. The message is healthy and uplifting, in my opinion. Thank you, Dr. Rutledge, for bring it to my attention.
Pamela Rutledge, Ph.D., M.B.A., is the Director of the Media Psychology Research Center and a professor of media psychology at Fielding Graduate University.
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