Beauty suffers in a self-aware age
The actress Emma Watson, one of the most photographed women of her age, has remarked perceptively how quickly childhood is shrinking in an era of social media: “I think it’s amazing how self-aware people are becoming as a result of constantly posting images on Facebook and Instagram.”
It was “a shame”, she observed, that “the period of time when you’re not self-conscious is sped up”. I suspect that Watson knows precisely whereof she speaks, having been in the public eye since the age of nine.
One of the joys of early childhood is the freedom from concern about how one appears to other people. Small children live in the moment, and their minds have not yet learnt to regard their bodies critically. It is a precious time. That is why it is so miserable to hear about seven-year-old girls who are now dissatisfied with their bodies. Social media have helped the self-obsession of adolescence to swell to ridiculous proportions, as – spurred by celebrities who post flattering snaps of themselves – more young women stagger under the imprisoning weight of false eyelashes, hair extensions and stick-on nails.
As you get older, you realise that people are most content, and also most appealing, when they are fully engrossed in something or someone beyond themselves. Sadly, the age of Narcissus is carrying us in the opposite direction.
By Jenny McCartney from telegraph.co.uk