How to Put the 10 Pieces of a Selfie Story for an Anti-Selfie Rebuttal for Teen Girls
“For most American girls, social media is where they live.” Nancy Jo Sales
There is no simple answer to what makes a good life because it makes a unique confirmation for each of us within our circumstances. However, as an older person I have the privilege of looking back at my time line and breathing a sigh of satisfaction and relief. My young brain was never assaulted by a social media circus.
The change is made so much more profound when I fondly remember my teen years. The poster on my bedroom wall was of Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who celebrated success as a musician, writer, humanitarian and philosopher; and, yet decided as a doctor to open clinics in the poorest villages of Africa. His photo with his large drooping mustache was the only one that inspired me.
My pop icon wore poodle skirts to her ankles covered with bobby socks. Gyrating was jiving … a good exercise. Drinking and smoking were simply not permitted and to talk back to parents was a matter of being sent to your room without supper. Only once it happened to me and the guilt of disrespecting my mother still lingers sixty years later. School and good report cards were a serious responsibility with parent’s pride in a job well done was the best star of all. I have yet to post a Selfie.
So how in the world did this all change?
How terribly sad when you do a worldwide web search with the words teen girls, and after the first 3 titles about clothes, shoes and accessories; the next items are about real teens twerking, why teen girls crave older partners and a Facebook page for hot teen selfie shots! Even pornographers have found that they can get more clicks and views with extreme encounters involving teenage girls and boys.
The true tragedy is that young girls with their nascent beauty and nurturing spirit are drawn naturally to affection and rewards and are losing their innocence by trying to become desirable “likable” Selfies before they are old enough to make adult deductive judgment calls.
The deeper tragedy is that there seems to be a tolerance to allow any Selfie to present a falsehood to the world and still get applause even if it’s fake.
It is a hard exercise to look at a potential life line and see how a few 7 teen years can interfere, derail or even cause death to young people’s spirits. The time for youth is short enough to explore, self discover , experience AHA moments, take pride in learning and daring to climb the mountain of achievement because parents will be their cushion when they fall.
Two and half year research by Nancy Jo Sales for her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers described “this world as a chaotic mix of nude photos, cyber-bullying and dysfunctional relationships.“
She was “really troubled by the sexual harassment of teenage girls. It’s something that happens online on a daily basis — sometimes an hourly basis. And it’s so common, it’s become a regular part of teen culture … like ‘sexting rings.’
As well, current research now links excessive behavior on social media to mood changes, false reward gratification, withdrawal and relapse symptoms to difficulty in making value-based decisions. Receiving likes on the internet “releases dopamine in the brain which creates a sense of pleasure. Similar triggers for this experience includes eating chocolate or winning money.”
In your opinion, how conducive is this social environment to the upbringing of young teen girls?
Is it possible that teen girls are a forgotten demographic because they are so vulnerable and profitable without complaints? Probably, no teen girl will write an anti-selfie story mired in this social media influx and group herding with an incomplete lifeline. They may not be interested in reading reports from experts; they learn best from their peers.
But, what if, a short story line can impact a Big Picture overview with consequences, morals and serve as a real rebuttal to Selfies?
What are the ideal pieces of an Anti-Selfie story?
- Motivation: Our society needs a story for teen girls more than ever about Selfies with a serious anti-Selfie timeline.
2. Key: a rash and brash adolescent brain is exposed to decision making
3. Style: a first person narration as if I am telling the story
4. Protagonist: young teen girl obsesses with her cell phone Selfie inhabiting a Selfie domain with other Selfies, both real and fake, encountering Selfie engendered problems. A Giant Clown Face nightmare frightens her about how to stop her Selfie addiction. She seeks answers from her grannie with time wisdom through sand drawings. At the end she realizes the power of Self and the protection of Choice.
5. Antagonist: a Giant Clown Face of epic proportions symbolizing the Social Media Circus appears as a nightmare radiating its power over a young brain. It reappears several times again to reaffirm its control on education, self-esteem, bad choices, friends, shopping and by-products of early sexuality.
6. Plot line: short three days from drug addiction treatment, to nightmare scenario,to talking with grannie about the passage of time, habits, the power of smart choices with a script and redemption of Self.
7. Ending: The story concludes with how to use personal cell phones to set boundaries and interact more positively with the social media and the environment.
8. Themes: It is not the teenage girl’s fault if a Mass Media Circus influences her young brain and corrupts the potential of adulthood before its time. Hold and respect time as if you can hold it in your hand, invisible but all powerful in its choices.
9. Morals: Do not manipulate your ego or truth to be someone else to fit an alter ego. Do not create false norms about traditional cultural values. Do not give away your privacy to a public sphere but to protect your independent Self, separate from media rule or mob control. There is no pretense of any kind allowed based on predatory influence.
10. Something Unique: Interestingly, chose a unique symbol like a little damselfly that plays the role of life’s fragility yet respect. Her nymph larva is about well-prepared survival in a pond environment versus an adolescent feeding off social media.
Who will write this story? Or is there a draft already written?
Your questions, comments and concerns about teen girls will help us to work together on a rebuttal and resolution, if this matters to you, too.
“One Selfie swipe will instantly show me images and words with as brief an engagement as I wish. There is no debate; it’s not a relationship. It can show me ignorance, intimidation or threats, bombast, or absolute fakery. It is normal to favor only cosmetic standards with plastic interventions and sensational spectacles where regular common everyday things and people no longer matter….(excerpts from Teen Girl Faces Time in the Sand: A Timely Tale of Social Media Struggles, Regrets and Survival with Superpower Tool)