Self-deprecation

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Self-deprecation is the act of reprimanding oneself by belittling, undervaluing, disparaging oneself,[1] or being excessively modest.[2][3] It can be used as a way to make complaints, express modesty, invoke optimal reactions or add humour. It may also be used as a way for individuals to appear more likable and agreeable.[4] Self-deprecation often reflects low self-esteem and is associated with depression and anxiety and has become increasingly popular in social media, especially among Gen Z. [5]

’Self-deprecation’ is more properly ‘self-depreciation’, since the former (from Latin precari prayer) means ‘to pray against oneself’ and the latter (from Latin precium value) means to devalue oneself.

Purposes[edit]

Self-defense[edit]

Self-deprecation was recommended by philosophers of Stoicism as a response to insults. Instead of getting defensive, people should join in by insulting themselves even more. According to the Stoics, this will remove the sting from the insult. It will also disappoint the interlocutor because the person failed to show upset in response to words that were supposed to hurt them, thereby reducing the chance that they will try to upset the person like that again.[6] People prefer self-criticism over being criticized by others. [7]

However, researchers believe it can have an overall negative effect on users. It can result in them feeling that they don't deserve praise and undermining their own authority. [8]

Likability[edit]

Engaging in self deprecation allows individuals to appear more likable by showing off their flaws and deflecting praise.[9] People tend to have more negative impressions of individuals who seem boastful and who talk positively about themselves. They are often perceived as arrogant, however, this doesn't occur when one describes themselves in a negative way.[9] A person might self-deprecate after achieving something in fear of their accomplishment threatening the self-concept of others. People with higher statuses (i.e., is wealthy, has many accomplishments, are physically attractive) are perceived more positively if they self-deprecate by highlighting their own person flaws and downplay their successes. [9]

Politeness[edit]

In traditional British-English culture, self-deprecation is considered to be an element of modesty. Modesty is considered a virtue, often contrasted to the North American demonstration of self-confidence, often taken for boasting.[10] This is characteristic such as in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, where "blowing one's own trumpet" is frowned upon.[11] In stereotypical English behavior, belittling themselves means appearing polite by putting someone else first.[10]

Comedy[edit]

Self-deprecation is seen as a major component of the comedy of many North American comedians such as Rodney Dangerfield,[12] Woody Allen,[13] Nathan Fielder,[14] Don Knotts,[15] Joan Rivers,[16] etc.

In social media[edit]

Since the rise of social media, self-deprecating humor has become increasingly popular on certain social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok, especially among Gen Z.[17][18] This phenomenon can also be observed among millennials who find satisfaction in self-humiliation.[19] Self-deprecating jokes typically revolve about feeling dead inside, having a mental illness or about people blaming themselves for anything bad that happens in their life.[20] These posts tend to be more popular because it allows users to not feel alone in not being able to live a perfect life. [17] According to the American Psychological Association, 91% of Gen Z between ages 18-21 in the last month have experienced at least one physical or emotional symptom due to stress. Additionally, suicide rates are at 22.7%. Both of these statistics are the highest rates ever recorded for each, demonstrating the increase of mental health issues that Gen Z experiences. In return, users turn to self-deprecating memes on social media to cope. [18]

Social media can be public yet personal and has norms most users follow to avoid being criticized. These types of self-deprecating jokes can let people feel free from the pressure of needing to appear perfect. It lets users display their less-desirable traits or habits while preventing feelings of embarrassment.[19]

Boasting on social media, just like in real life, is often perceived negatively and is another reason why users gravitate towards self-deprecation to appear more likable.[21] People also tend to like a person more if positive information about them is presented by a third party rather than from themselves, even if it is the same information. Furthermore, using self-deprecating hash tags allows individuals to be perceived as less arrogant and more humorous. [21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Self-deprecation". The Free Dictionary. Farlex. Retrieved 2010-06-08.
  2. ^ Self-Deprecation - Personality & Spirituality
  3. ^ Self-deprecation | Define Self-deprecation at Dictionary.com
  4. ^ Speer, Susan A. (2019). "Reconsidering self‐deprecation as a communication practice". The British Journal of Social Psychology. 58 (4): 806–828. doi:10.1111/bjso.12329. ISSN 0144-6665. PMC 6851542. PMID 31102414.
  5. ^ Zizzo, Kira. "How Self-Deprecating Humor has Defined the Mental Health Issues of Gen Z in an Alarming Way". the Rock Online. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  6. ^ William Irvine, 2013, 'A Slap in the Face'
  7. ^ Speer, Susan A. (2019). "Reconsidering self‐deprecation as a communication practice". The British Journal of Social Psychology. 58 (4): 806–828. doi:10.1111/bjso.12329. ISSN 0144-6665. PMC 6851542. PMID 31102414.
  8. ^ "Self-Depreciation: Why Do We Do It? | Arcadia University". www.arcadia.edu. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  9. ^ a b c Austin, Adrienne B.; Costabile, Kristi A.; Smith, Lauren (2021). "Social judgements, social media, and self-deprecation: Role of information source and valence on trait and favorability judgements". Journal of Media Psychology. doi:10.1027/1864-1105/a000299. S2CID 238075562.
  10. ^ a b Sara Mills, English Politeness and Class, Cambridge University Press, 2017, ISBN 1108340415, Section 3.3.4: "Self-deprecation"
  11. ^ "Self-Deprecation". Debrett's. Retrieved 4 May 2014.[dead link]
  12. ^ Muresianu, John (2 August 2021). "Liberal Arts Blog — Rodney Dangerfield (1921–2004) and the Art of Self-Deprecation". Medium. Retrieved November 29, 2021.
  13. ^ Forward, The (2009-06-10). "Is self-deprecation killing Jewish comedy? - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper". Haaretz.com. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  14. ^ Sarah, Osman. "CHATTING WITH: "NATHAN FOR YOU" CREATOR NATHAN FIELDER". Young Hollywood. Retrieved November 20, 2016.
  15. ^ "Don Knotts Obituary: View Don Knotts's Obituary by The Washington Post". Legacy.com. 2006-02-25. Retrieved 2013-07-01.
  16. ^ Morris, Wesley (2010-06-20). "The many faces of Joan Rivers". The Boston Globe.
  17. ^ a b "Antisocial network: how self-deprecation is taking over the internet". the Guardian. 2016-05-25. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  18. ^ a b Zizzo, Kira. "How Self-Deprecating Humor has Defined the Mental Health Issues of Gen Z in an Alarming Way". the Rock Online. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  19. ^ a b "Self-deprecation on social media: for expression or for likes?". The Journal. Retrieved 2022-02-26.
  20. ^ "Self-Depreciation: Why Do We Do It? | Arcadia University". www.arcadia.edu. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  21. ^ a b Austin, Adrienne B.; Costabile, Kristi A.; Smith, Lauren (2021). "Social judgements, social media, and self-deprecation: Role of information source and valence on trait and favorability judgements". Journal of Media Psychology. doi:10.1027/1864-1105/a000299. S2CID 238075562.