"There’s a specific gendering to referring to selfie-takers as “narcissistic” that I also want to point out as well. Generally, it’s men telling women that they are narcissists for selfie-ing, something that critic John Berger recognized decades ago in his iconic book Ways of Seeing. He points out that in Western art, women have historically been subjects for the male gaze, with little control over their bodies or subjectivities.
Considering the gendered active/passive relationship, women are the objects of desire and inspiration for the male gaze, and to act of their own accord is, as Berger described, somehow suddenly labeled as narcissistic within the patriarchal viewing culture by the very men who want to retain control. The same holds true, decades later, for the majority of selfie critiques issued by men about women taking selfies. Writes Berger of the contradictions inherent in a man painting a woman versus allowing her to view herself: “You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her; put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting ‘Vanity,’ thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure.”
In another condemnation of Western art history’s paintings of nude-women-by-men paradox, Berger famously notes: “Men act and women appear. Men look at women. Women watch themselves being looked at.” A woman taking a moment to actually look at herself is not only brave, but a threat to the patriarchal order. To quell that feminine threat, men immediately labeled her as vain, as someone who is crying out for attention (from men, because obviously who else could save a woman from herself?!). "