Selfie Crazy: 4 Ways The Phenomenon Has Changed Our Societal Expectations

by Stephanie Hayman

"But first, let me take a selfie," started off as a kitschy mantra, but has evolved into something more akin to a social lifestyle.

The dawn of the social picture-taking craze has impacted the choice of every outfit we wear (moreso than before). It's influenced the type of people with whom we pose, and it's also contributed to narcissistic or ultra self-conscious behaviors, masked behind the use of a filter.

I am the prototypical female who engages in selfie-taking, as well, and I'm not afraid to admit it.

When your makeup, outfit, venue and the lighting all come together, it's like your phone is begging you to take a photo of yourself and share it with the world, right?

This fad, if you can even call it that, has not only had the power to affect individual mentalities, but societal values, as well. "Selfie" is not only an acceptable term to use during a game of Scrabble, it has also become a valid entry in the lauded Merriam-Webster dictionary.

Even so, the Instagram selfie craze acts as a double-edged sword that teeters on the brink of allowing you to exude your sex appeal or blow your self-esteem.

There is a handful of reasons as to why this movement has helped boost self-image. But, to play devil's advocate, for some girls, it has contributed to insecurity and the constant pledge for confidence and validation.

1. Narcissistic Tendencies

We all follow those people who exclusively post selfies. If you're posting a headshot of yourself every day of the week, you potentially run the risk of coming across as undeniably full of yourself.

Yes, Instagram lends itself to showcasing your beautiful face, makeup, etc., but if you go a little too crazy, people will unfollow you (God forbid) or label you as vain and narcissistic. Being pretty is not a crime, but don't go overboard and let the double-taps get to your head.

Don't be that girl constantly seeking validation from others.

2. Self-Conscious Attitudes

On the flip side, there are many girls out there (especially teenagers) who are too embarrassed or discomfited to post selfies because they feel like they cannot compare to the rest of the posting-female population.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side, yet some females think no one will deem them "like-worthy" or beautiful if they post a photo of themselves.

Comparison is the thief of joy, and this is one way in which young girls and adults alike can feel slighted to the point where they look negatively on what they have been blessed with.

Everyone is born with his or her own individual beauty, and playing the comparison game on Instagram is not healthy. Plus, most of the selfies on there have been doctored and altered with a variety of apps -- even those that have "#nofilter" in the commentary. Don't be fooled.

3. Fabrication of Real-life Events

I'm 24 and my younger sister is 17, yet we both know of people who stage events and gatherings just to "fake" an Instagram. Did people go this far five to 10 years ago?

If you have to dress up, do your makeup beautifully and tag yourself at an event or specific location just to make it seem like you are socially active, there is a problem.

If you need to show the world your photo at an event or location to seem like the quintessential social butterfly, when you're really spending an afternoon chilling in your bedroom, reevaluate things.

Instead, go outside and run a mile, or continue sitting on your couch, but read a book.

4. The Amount Of "Likes" You Receive

This is the worst. No matter what age you are, you've most likely judged a photo of yourself at one point or another by the amount of "likes" you received on it.

Are you ugly if you receive less than 11? No. Are you Alessandra Ambrosio if you receive over 100? Probably not. If your ratio of "likes" to minutes of your photo being live is high, that does not make you more attractive than the girl who gets two likes in two hours' time.

Instagram has led some females to judge themselves and their looks by the number of hearts and notifications that pop up on their screens.

In the 1940s, how did women know that they were beautiful? Imagine if the only way they felt validated was if they were double-tapped on the shoulder on the street? That concept sounds crazy -- as crazy as determining your beauty by the number of taps your photo gets on Instagram.

It is unclear as to whether or not selfies are here to stay, or whether they are classified as a passing fad or a rising phenomenon.

Even so, selfies should not be taken so seriously to the point where they are the impetus behind your feelings of self-worth. Nor should they be your method of constantly showing the world how hot you are, or above all, to make people jealous.

There are a lot more important things out there than XX Pro, Valencia and clever captions.