Egocentrism and Empathy: Can the fashion image save the world?

Is the proliferation of social media platforms increasing egocentric behaviour and how does the use of the digital image affect our ability for empathy?

Social media platforms have become a ubiquitous part of daily life. It has given rise to the digital image, making it a key reason to purchase a mobile phone. With Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, we have integrated the digital image into our daily lives like never before. According to research young girls check their social media 175 times a day. Internet connection has become the new utility, making ‘popularity’ more important than hot showers. And I’m not exaggerating. When our internet went down  for an evening, my London housemates complained more than when our boiler broke down and we were without hot water for over 2 days.

This throws up questions: 

What does it really mean to be human? And ‘how is social media affecting us functioning as humans in the digital age?


The increase in use of the digital image within social realms is increasing egocentric behaviour. And as egocentric behaviour increases, our ability for empathy decreases. Yet empathy is a key skill required for sustainability. With the fashion image so entwined with aspiration, luxury, beauty and desire, we are told daily what is ‘important’. 

But if the fashion image flipped this consumer paradigm on it’s head, where human connection and being content were the prime goal in our lives; defined as the key aspiration; is fashion photography equipped with the power to change the world, and potentially save it?