Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


African American women-Psychology, Self-portraits-Psychological aspects, Self psychology, Feminist theory, Selfies, Cultural competency, Black feminist theory, Narcissism, Theoretical


Whether selfies and use of social media is indicative of rising trends in narcissism in American culture is a ripe debate in academic and popular culture. This theoretical thesis will examine current research on social media usage and narcissism, and consider how aspects of culture, historical, and structural racism complicate understanding of the current trend. This project will consider how oppression of Black women's bodies and perpetuation of European standards of beauty in American culture negatively impacts Black women's self-perception, particularly in relation to their hair. Due to ongoing negative perception and attempts to control Black women's bodies through their hair, this paper will utilize two theoretical frameworks—Black Feminist Theory and Self psychology—to provide insight into the ways in which use of social media and selfies may provide space as a site of resistance, creation of a collective voice, a safe space, and/or a place to obtain community and affirmation. This paper will explore alternative ways to appreciate selfies, adding a historical framework and cultural competency lens to the discussion.




iii, 99 pages Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2015. Includes bibliographical references (pages 85-99)

Limited Access until August 2020