- Tuesday, January 28, 2014
So I’m going to jump right in and say it: I can neither understand nor appreciate the remarkable selfie craze that has taken over my Facebook and Instagram feeds these days. These self-portraits have become so popular, in fact, that hash tags containing the word “selfie” on Instagram return roughly 100 million photos collectively. The Oxford Dictionary named selfie as its 2013 Word of the Year, claiming its use increased by a mind-blowing 17,000 percent from 2012. Selfies are taken at the gym, in the driver’s seat, in the mirror, at restaurants and nightclubs, in fitting rooms, at events, and most likely everywhere in between. Spin-off words and hash tags have been coined to describe specific types of selfies. You’ve snapped them. I’ve snapped them. President Obama’s snapped them. Apparently we’re all a little self(ie)-obsessed.
I’ll be honest – my first reaction to most selfies is annoyance. I have un-followed plenty of folks who can’t stop posting these photos, complaining all the while about this narcissistic and self-absorbed habit which plagues so many. I mean, okay, beautiful-girl-with-perfect-hair – we all know you’re gorgeous. Okay, super muscular guy who likes to lift in tank tops – we all know you’re fit. Okay party girl who loves being social – we all know you’re fun and popular. But here’s the thing – I don’t think these are the real reasons these simple self-portraits have suddenly become our profile pictures, chronicling our lives and capturing the evolution of our physical appearances.
I suppose I should pause and say this: I am not photogenic. In general, I dislike photos of me. So much so that the idea of taking a selfie is not that appealing. Even on days when I’m feeling pretty fabulous, I’d rather not shatter my self-confidence with a rotten capture of my perceived good-hair-day. Perhaps I’m too insecure to share self-portraits with the world for fear of not being as pretty as the other girls. Perhaps I prefer to only post carefully selected photos taken by a “good” camera because that’s how I’d rather people see me. Perhaps my annoyance stems from jealousy of the girl who manages to capture a seemingly perfect image of herself with every simple click of her iPhone.
Regardless of why, just because I don’t struggle with the selfie-craze doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with a desire for affirmation, justification, approval and encouragement—the real reasons we post these pictures online. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to be told I’m beautiful. It doesn’t mean I’m not quick to share a photo of myself on the rare occasion I find one I like. It doesn’t mean I don’t use my social media feeds to share myself with the world in hopes of feeling like I belong, that I matter, that I’m loved.
Unlike any other time in history, social media has given us the opportunity to know and be known by infinitely more individuals than formerly possible. In many ways, this is a blessing. For me, I’ve been amazed at the incredible number of Christian women who are willing to be vulnerable and minister to me through iBelieve, blogs, Twitter and more. It’s nice to be able to read posts from women I’ve never met in person and know I’m not the only girl in the world who struggles with singleness, fear, lack of discipline, or my perception of God’s true nature. I’m not alone!
But in the same vein, I think, more than ever, the Internet and social media in particular have given us a platform on which to stand and unintentionally shout from the rooftops that we want to be known intimately and affirmed in the unfiltered version of who we are. We want friends on Facebook to know when we’re sick or hurting. We want re-tweets when we’re particular witty or clever. We want comments that say things like “gorgeous” or “I wish I had your hair” on our selfies. Because to us, all of these things say “YOU MATTER, or, YOU ARE ENOUGH.” Our poor little fingers can barely keep up with our touch screens as we fumble to sustain the stream of notifications that give us the self-worth we so desperately long for amidst an enemy that does everything in his power to tear us down.
Recently on Today's Features
Have something to say about this article? Leave your comment via Facebook below!
Listen to Your Favorite Pastors
Add Crosswalk.com content to your siteBrowse available content