Graphic example of how Facebook feeds narcissism in young women.

Young girl using laptop on Facebook page

Okay, so my daughter isn’t exactly a kid anymore, since she’s 22, but she’s still young enough that she likes participating in those awful Facebook groups where random people rank your photo based on how attractive they think you are.

Her profile picture was ranked along with 3 other girls in this group.
Here she sums up what happened.


She got a lot of comments telling her not to be upset, or that people were just jealous of her good looks (she is very pretty, but I didn’t see the photos of the other girls). This morning she told me her feelings were still hurt today in spite of encouraging comments she got from her friends and boyfriend who kept telling her how beautiful she is.

This sort of thing isn’t unusual. It happens every day, all over social media. Not only can such online “contests” lead to bullying based on one’s appearance by total strangers, but they also feed a girl’s narcissistic supply or cause narcissistic injury, even in non-narcissists (my daughter does not have NPD, but can act very narcissistic). Let’s be honest here–we all have some need for narcissistic supply (positive feedback), especially when we’re still young and unsure of our place in the world.

The teenage and young adult women who participate in these contests learn to value surface attributes such as physical appearance or sexiness above anything else. I see it happening everywhere. Millennial girls seem more obsessed with how cute, sexy or pretty they are than any generation that came before them, and I think this is due to the plethora of reality shows, beauty contests and Facebook photo rankings they are inundated with, as well as the trend for taking as many Selfies or Youtube videos of yourself as you possibly can and posting them for the public to see and comment on. This seems to be a generation with more than its fair share of female somatic narcissists and girls with HPD (histrionic personality disorder).

I can’t keep my daughter from participating in these sort of activities since she’s an adult and she seems to enjoy them (and usually gets a lot of compliments about how pretty she is), but I worry about a “low ranking” (which really wasn’t that bad) like she got yesterday damaging her self esteem (which is shaky to start with) or teaching her to value physical appearance above other qualities like personality, intelligence, or kindness.

24 thoughts on “Graphic example of how Facebook feeds narcissism in young women.

  1. These are little problems every child faces (I’m talking about being judged/ compared with others) . Hope a good future embraces your daughter in her life:)
    Just to shout loud – I’m not a facebook fan!

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  2. Why even join in these games at all? I see people, aspies and NTs, post selfies on there and asking people to rate them or tell them how good they think they look. if you don’t want to hear the possibility of someone telling you how you look average or unattractive, don’t ask for their opinion. I don’t get this game and even autistic people are not immune to these games, asking a question and not want an honest answer.

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        • I’ve taken selfies, but have no interest in my photo being ‘ranked’ at my age. Maybe when I was younger I would have. But I’m also aware that while I look young for my age and am considered “cute”, I’m not either beautiful or that sexy, so why bother? It just seems dumb and pointless.

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  3. Your daughter is gorgeous, Lauren. Even so, I agree with Diapered Mom, joining these online beauty contests is asking for trouble. Someone has to be second, third, fouth, etc., and someone is going to be last. If you’re not one of the top choices, it will hurt, so why even go there? But like you said, your daughter is an adult and she has to live her life and learn these things for herself. It’s hard being a loving mom and having to bite your tongue and watch it happen, though, isn’t it?

    It was different when my non-identical twin sisters were only about 11 or 12 years old and our mother allowed them to compete in a local beauty pageant. One of the twins won the pageant. The one who didn’t win had hurt feelings, made all the worse by having to watch her own twin glory in being the town’s Beauty Queen. But the worst outcome is that the twin who won the pageant went on to become a flaming somatic narcissist, which has made her a very unpleasant person to be around, to say the least!

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    • Have you ever seen Toddlers and Tiaras, Alaina? Narc moms enter their children in these high pressure contests from the time they are infants and some of them keep forcing their children to compete even when it’s obvious they don’t like it. That’s how you can tell the narc moms from the reasonable moms–the narc moms keep forcing it on their kids. On the other side of the coin, some of the girls really like it, and want to compete, but it does turn many of them narcissistic.

      If a parent insists on allowing their daughters (and sometimes sons!) to compete in these pageants, they should make sure they have other interest too, and going to pageants doesn’t become a lifestyle, but it seems that for many of the moms, the narcissistic supply of watching their daughters rake in the prizes is very addictive, especially if their child keeps winning.

      I’ve seen narcissist mom/daughter teams. It’s pathetic. The worst is when a mother enters more than one daughter in the pageants–because one is going to do better than the other, and then the mother usually berates the “losing” daughter and makes her feel bad–“why can’t you be more like your sister?” They don’t respect these girls as individuals or allow them to develop other interests. The worst was one I saw where the mother and daughter BOTH competed (yes, they have divisions in these pageants where the mothers can compete too). The daughter was only 6, but lost in her division, and her mother won. The daughter was openly envious of her own mother (which is probably normal for a child that age) but what did the mother do? Instead of comforting her little girl, she kept rubbing in the fact she won and her daughter lost, and told her daughter she was “too clumsy” until she was in tears. It was a horrible thing to see.

      Of course if someone wins, someone else has to lose.
      I think with my daughter in these online rankings, she keeps entering because she usually ranks high. This time she didn’t rank so high, so it was kind of a shock to her, I guess.

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      • Yes, I’ve heard of the Toddlers and Tiaras. I don’t think it’s healthy.

        My momster was the scapegoat in her family of origin. She has just one sibling, a younger sister, who was the Golden Child. I remember hearing their mother, my Grammy, often say that my mom was the ugliest baby she ever saw. And yet… Grammy entered my mother in a beautiful baby contest and my mother won! Grammy kept the picture of my mom as a baby wearing a first prize ribbon on display in her living room. I never understood why she said my mother was such an ugly baby when the proof that she wasn’t was right there on the fireplace mantle. Crazy mixed messages!

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  4. My friends & I did similar things when young, w/o the technology. We had “slam books.” They’d get passed around, & people would leave either anonymous compliments or putdowns in your book. Looking back on it, what a terrible practice!

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  5. Only “beauty contest” I recall my mom ever entered me in was for friendliest smile, at least I think that’s what it was. It was sponsored by a local bank that was celebrating

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