Love Your Selfie: RA’s encourage positive self-esteem
A picture might be worth a thousand words, but with the advent of modern technology and the increased use of social media, is it worth a thousand ‘likes’?
At the “Love Your Selfie” event on April 10, George Read Complex RA’s came together to break the traditional ideas of how “selfies” are promoted and gave students a chance to interact with their captured images. Through an old-school Polaroid and with some tape, 95 individuals “posted” their selfies to the first floor walls of Pencader Dining Hall and allowed passersby to write positive thoughts on each of them.
“It’s all about learning about positive self-image and supporting that through campus,” said Rebecca Russell, student engagement advisor for George Read.
Russell started the program in George Read in October 2014, and with its success, planned a larger event in the dining hall with the help of fellow resident assistants.
“Selfies are usually all about yourself,” Russell says. “This event is more about other people.”
The selfie, which was added to the Oxford Dictionary in August 2013 and is defined as a “photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media,” has become a worldwide phenomenon.
According to data from Samsung, selfies make up almost one-third of all photos taken by people aged 18-24 and are typically posted to sites like Facebook and Instagram, or are shared through text or Snapchat. Some selfies, like the one taken by Ellen DeGeneres at the 2014 Oscars, have actually become so famous that they are worth millions of dollars—and also gave Twitter a run for its money when DeGeneres’ photo crashed the system shortly after its being posted.
But by providing a platform for users to post negative thoughts, sometimes anonymously, higher social media use can have negative social impacts, such as lowered self-esteem and sometimes depression or mental disorders.
“It’s a negative cycle,” freshman participant Davis Pfund says. “The more you look at yourself the more you overanalyze things. Personally, I like taking pictures of other things.”
Pfund, who normally dislikes the use of social media to promote oneself, decided to participate in the event, saying that it was a unique way to get people involved instead of just “liking” an Instagram picture.
“They might even take less selfies after that because they’re less worried and will stop searching for more ‘likes’ and actually appreciate those one or two more genuine compliments,” Pfund says.
Resident assistant and senior psychology major Jordan Barnada says although there is potential for negative feedback on individuals’ pictures, the uniqueness of the event and the good vibes from other posts promote an overall positive outlook for participants, deterring derogatory or inappropriate commentary.
For Barnada, she says the smallest compliment can impact a student’s entire day and that making them smile is what makes the event successful and beneficial.
“I’m taking a class about mentoring and helping relationships and how important it is for people to feel good about themselves before they can have lasting relationships with other people,” Barnada says. “So it’s nice to see this actually come to life.”
The registered student organization Care About Living More (C.A.L.M) also joined in the event to promote their goals of providing students with resources to achieve a healthy balance of mind, body and spirit.
Students could also enter raffles for giveaways to places on Main Street at the event. All donations were sent to Body Gossip, an organization that campaigns through arts and education to empower everybody to be the best version of themselves.