Social Media’s Relation to the Idea of “Amour Propre”

Something Jean-Jacques Rousseau mentions in A Discourse on Inequality is the term Amour propre. Amour propre is a translated in French as “self-love” and is the concept that one’s esteem is dependent on the opinion of others. As Rousseau explains in his book, the savage man is concentrated on himself and what it takes to survive, while the civilized man is someone who cares about the opinion of others. As man turns from savage to civil, he is forced to compare himself with the others around him. With this, civil man is often inconsistent in the way he presents himself and they way he truly is. In modern society, this is the common way to survive, as one must be able to compete with others to dominate and achieve what one wants in life. It’s unfortunate that a modern life style entails a lack of authenticity at times in order to strive forward.

The topic of “Amour propre” can be related to social media and the ability to be someone else behind a screen. Being able to make an account on Facebook or Instagram allows one to be able to post and share information about oneself with others. Social media can be a place to escape for those who want to be perceived differently than the way they are seen in the real world. In some cases however, people are too afraid to post exactly what they want and tend to pretend to be someone else on social media because of the constant worried about the way others will perceive them. It is due to modern society that people like “civil man” have lost their realness and feel the need to display themselves differently.

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