Recently, I watched that MTV True Life episode “I’m Famous Online.” There was this kid who was wildly popular on Instagram at just around 16 years old, which I found to be really young to be a social media celebrity. Apparently, though, it’s a fairly normal occurrence, as the Daily Mail just reported on a 17-year-old kid in Australia who has nearly 171,000 followers on Facebook, 85,000 followers on Instagram, and a whole lot of confidence.
Kurt Coleman is his name and selfies are his game. The teen has apparently deemed himself “Australia’s answer to Paris Hilton,” which hopefully means he’s just really sure of his appearance and not that he can’t bring himself to put on underwear. Of his idol, the young man says:
“She’s my inspiration, she’s just like me, that’s why I love her.”
He certainly has a rather impressive number of people who follow his every move, given how quickly every photo he posts explodes with “likes” and comments praising them.
So, why did he start taking so many selfies? As per the Daily Mail:
“I’m hot and I love myself,” he told his loyal legion of fans.
“People are really jealous of me, I can understand why, and I’ll never change for anyone because I love myself.”
He said he takes selfies “24/7 because I love what I see in the camera.”
You know, as much as I hate the “you’re just jealouzzz” thing, I don’t actually see what’s anything bad about this kid. While I would never follow a 17-year-old on Instagram, let alone one who posts so many selfies, he’s got some heavy duty self-esteem–and when you’re a teenager, that is not an easy task. Plus, it’s not like he thinks everyone else is ugly or that he is inherently superior:
“I do [love myself], I love who I am, I don’t think it’s wrong.
“I think everyone should think they’re pretty, it’s literally OK to hate yourself these days.”
As somebody who spent the better part of her teen years hating herself, I can personally attest to how a-okay it is with the rest of the world for you to actively dislike everything about who you are. Being outwardly confident, on the other hand, gets you more flack from other people than any self-negativity.
Selfies get a bad rep as the tool that has turned all us normal folks into egotistical monstrosities that run around taking photos in the least appropriate situations–even when there’s dead people involved. But sometimes, they can be awesome tools! As we learned from the #NoMakeupSelfies campaign for charity, as well as domestic violence, photos on social media are capable of encouraging a positive group mentality. They can even make history, depending on when and where they’re taken. But perhaps most relevantly to those of us who can’t go to outer space, they are actually kind of great.
Not everyone loves having their photo taken (I’m looking at you, frequent untaggers), so taking your own photo is a way to show the world what you look like while still controlling the situation. And when people criticize selfies and the like because some of the people who post them (hi) are not opposed to the nice little flow of “likes,” I’m always confused because…honestly, who cares? If this kid, or anybody else for that matter, feels a little better about his appearance because there are 170,000 people who look at his photos every day, then that doesn’t particularly bother me. Vain people, in fact, rarely bother me unless they use it as an excuse to be awful towards others or to condone poor behavior. So, high five to Mr. Coleman; even if he’s the “vainest teen” in the world, I would prefer to hear vanity being trendy if it meant there were fewer kids suffering from horrible self-esteem.