Me taking a picture of a mirror me.
I recently read a study where the researchers posited that blogging and microblogging (twitter, facebook, and other stuff like that I'm oblivious to) are making us all narcissists and are actually, in some cases, manifestations of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Alright, so I didn't actually read this study to begin with. First I read about it in a glossy mag called Fairlady - for women in their prime (over 40, seems) - which likes to do articles with actual substance. Every once in a while. Between articles like In the Mood for Sex about dating your husband and making sure you hire a babysitter and buy lubricant, Bronzed and Beautiful on the exciting yet complex world of self-tanners, and the completely useless staple 30 outfits in 30 days on combining pieces of clothing and accessories with other pieces of clothing and accessories for plenty of pages.
But I like Fairlady. It's like xylitol bubblegum. It's still gum that you chew with your mouth wide open, but it has something in it that actually makes your teeth healthier.
Then I read about the study on the Psychology Today website, where the focus seemed to be on selling a book titled The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement by Jean M Twenge Ph.D. and W. Keith Campbell Ph.D. This book is based on a study by Twenge and John Foster, which I have been unable to find.
So yeah, mostly going by what I read in Fairlady. But I also get most of my news from Twitter.
And that puts me smack in the middle of my initial point.
Yes, there's been a point to this the whole time. Just had to justify my reading of a fashion/lifestyle/and other such crap mag. So none of you think I watch Oprah all day long. Which I don't. I watch a mix of Mythbusters (Aren't they just the shit?), and whatever shows we can buy on DVD (recently Fringe, since the 5th seasons of Lost and Weeds aren't out yet).
Disclaimer: I love and respect Oprah for what she does and how she uses her fame, and would never ever cross anyone who might in fact be in cahoots with Google and secretly rule the world and everything in it, and might have already been party to diving the world into ruled zones. A divide in which she got the women, actual tangible products, literacy, and weight.
I bow to her greatness.
That's me trying to bow, but being as flexible as a carton of milk (soon to be Oilk?).
Is there an epidemic of narcissistic behavior? According to Twenge's definition of an epidemic, most certainly. Since for her an epidemic is "changes among individuals and changes in the culture." Turns out we are in the throes of all kinds of epidemics: traveling, working, eating, marrying, driving, cooking, writing, you name it. And the worst epidemic of all, well, that has got to be an epidemic of change and development.
I'm not denying that NDP might not be the best possible disposition to have in today's world, but I'm also amazed at someone's need to make it into an epidemic. More than ever before, we are raised to be individuals, with individual thoughts and ideas, goals and personalities (some of us even have more than one) which all matter. To someone. In today's world a single life is important and worthy of mention and should not be wasted.
See, for some odd reason I would call that progress.
But no. Because I tweet or blog about what is important to me in my life, I'm manifesting a narcissistic quality. Actually, just thinking that anyone's going to give a shit about these words makes me a narcissist, since I'm not a thought-leader, a politician, a celebrity, an industrial tycoon, or a talk-show host.
Where is the line between a healthy self-esteem and narcissism? Where is the line between narcissism and disorder?
Does it matter? Do I matter?
Closing note: I wrote this whole thing while listening to Brad Paisley's Alcohol on repeat, and especially to that line referring to alcohol that goes ...helping white people dance... which got me to thinking about expectations and stereotypes, which in turn made me think that Brad Paisley is a deep man, but then I thought that maybe he's not, but that I'm a really deep woman, which made me think that I'm a complete and utter narcissist.
Smack bam. Narcissistic slap in the face.
What do you think of all this? Because your thoughts matter to me.