Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Presumptive Narcissism: The Problem with the Selfie Culture

I'm creating a new term for you today. Presumptive Narcissism, the idea that people are interested in you, desire you and even stalking you because they pay any attention to you. Let me back up and start with what I have discovered to be a disturbing trend. When my dad was my age, he would often tell young ladies they were pretty and they would say "thank you". Now that my daughter is a teenager, I wouldn't dare tell one of her friends they look pretty. When older men that I knew in the church would complement young girls, they were often seen as creepy. Even in simple remarks that I have made about a hair cut looking nice or a complement on a jacket, it has been as "weird".

This phenomenon happens mostly to girls in their teens and 20s, the same ones who take and post pictures of themselves constantly. They bait for complements, and when they get it they freak out that it's creepy that someone noticed them. They proceed to tell their friends and the Facebook world that someone is a stalker and creeping them out.

This stems from a few things that come together to make this perfect storm. First is the existence of micro-celebrity-ism. With Youtube, Facebook, and Instragram used by so many they can count their followers, see their likes and the comments and feel a sense of being famous. Social media have given us an opportunity for good outlets, such as my opportunity to write a blog. This can someones go to far and make people become conceded, and even narcissistic. The ultimate sign of celebrity status is being stalked by people, feeling like you are elite in your beauty and charm.

As these young people get compliments and feel like they have celebrity status, they begin to feel that anyone saying anything nice to them is a form of stalking. A man saying "you look nice" is no longer a complement. It is, in their mind, at attempt to "get with" or seduce the girl. They feel as if there are no innocent intentions, they are desired and in constant danger.

Of course most of these girls are being presumptuous. Most men my age and older have little or no desire to be in a relationship with a 20 year old. There are very few who do, and most of them are not complementing friends of their children. In this day and age, we need to be careful and watch out for child trafficking, sexual predators and those who would take advantage, but the behavior has gone too far. It is possible to be aware of strangers and predators without gossiping about your friends dad who said you look like. We must be aware there is a difference between "you look pretty" and "you are so hot, come see me". Narcissism, however, fails to notice the difference.

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