It’s a quest for the teenage girl to craft the perfect shot. It starts with a simple selfie. Apply a little make-up, caress the hair into position, lean forward to elevate the developing cleavage, put on some smokey eyes, pout the lips and click. Perfecting the self-portrait is done with a filter, some editing, then to Instagram it goes for critique and peer review with several hashtags to round out the post.
Take a look at any teenage girl’s highlight reel and you see posts seeking validation from their close friends and those beyond. At the innocent end of the spectrum, the selfies will have clothes on; at the risque end there will be little or no clothes at all. Motives will differ with age and audience, yet the search for validation is primary.
Boys get in on the act too, but girls appear to give it a greater priority, effort and social standing. At its extreme, girls inadvertently take up the pressure of storyteller, photographer, editor and publisher to polish a look online far from reality in the pursuit of popularity via likes, shares and more.
It could be easy to dismiss this act as a modern-day fad accompanying the developmental stages of a teenage girl. We should not. It is more than that and must be a serious point of parent reflection, because teenage girls pursuing perfectionism online is a mirage.
– Peter Sutton