The moment my "Selfie" self Died: A Personal Story

posted on: Friday, 13 June 2014

Emily Johnston selfie

When it comes to selfies, I used to be the worst offender. I wasn't always taking and sharing on social, but I was sharing with friends, family, my own personal iPhone album and so forth and so on. Basically, if the light was right and the moment was a private one, I was snapping til my fingers would cramp. Yes, I was selfie addict. Occasionally I will take to instagram, twitter or even here on FFG, to share a selfie or two, but mostly the habit was a personal one. I would assess the makeup on my face or I'd snap a pic to see if the outfit in question really is as awesome as I think it is. More often than not the selfie revealed my style was off and so was my sense of length when it came to a skirt or two. God bless the selfie for assisting in such times of need when a friend is not available and you need the truth to be shared. 

However, last month my selfie love changed. 

Let me set the scene, and try not to hate me too much for the picture I'm about to give. I'm sitting on a beach in Barbados with Mr. FFG (remember, don't hate), and I'm relaxing as I look out onto the waves and enjoy the sound of lapping waves. Then two teenage sisters run into the sea. I think to myself, "that's so awesome that these girls get this experience at such a young age." Truly, I'm happy for them and their perfect cellulite free thighs. Ok, maybe a little bitter. Anyway, let's not get off track. As I'm in a happy space I didn't think much could throw me. Then I see the girls take out their mobile phones. They are with their whole family on the beach and the two of them are snapping away - selfies!

With the camera held high above their head, so as to take a full body shot from above, each girl was in her own world within seconds. They weren't taking pictures of each other, just of themselves. Then the scene moved into the water. And yes, I was jealous that these two had some sort of super cool cases that allowed them to take their iPhones into the water for pictures. That little device would have been very useful during the moments Mr. FFG decided to mimic Forrest Gump while jumping off the floating docks. Damn it. 

I paid attention for about five seconds then closed my eyes and fell off to sleep thinking about how much things have changed, how I would have taken those same pictures with a disposable Kodak camera with my girlfriends on vacation so many years ago. Basically, I started to feel like a sentimental old fart. 

So at this point, you're probably thinking "what the hell is the problem here with the selfies as it seems pretty harmless." Yes, you are right in thinking at this point it all is very harmless. But this was just the beginning. Over the course of the next three days we saw this family at breakfast, lunch and some dinners and the scene was always the same. The two girls were completely oblivious to their surroundings and only obsessed with what was happening on their screen with their own image. Breakfast was just embarrassing as the girls adjusted their hair, makeup and bathing suits to capture some rather racy images. They would do this for the entire meal and for the first time I saw what's it like to look at someone taking a selfie. They puckered their lips to the camera, pouted, made peace signs, created mustaches with their hair (this one I found very strange), winked, pretended to eat big chocolate croissants and decorated their face with blue sunscreen as if they were painting their faces for a Navajo Indian ceremony. From the perspective of a bystander, it all looked pretty ridiculous. 

Seeing these two in selfie mode ran a chill down my spine. If this is how you look when you are selfie-obsessed, I wanted to turn in my selfie card and officially retire. This is where my selfie love died. There should be an iPhone and a plaque on the floor near the table. It would read, "Here is the moment Emily Johnston felt selfie shamed and retired her camera phone from self-obsessed usage."

Naturally there are exceptions. If you are checking your red lipstick isn't all over your teeth or if you are standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon and there's no one there to record this moment, snap away. Hell, even if you are super hot looking in an outfit you want to remember forever snap away. Or if you are seeing a friend you haven't seen in forever and want to remember the moment - get that phone out of your pocket.

Shit. I've basically just talked myself back into taking selfies. I hate it when that happens. Pointless writing once again... 

4 comments:

  1. I'm right there with you - young girls and selfies - it's a tragedy. And whilst you write with some tongue in cheek, it's actually a really sad thing; trust me, I have a thirteen year old daughter! Hard to teach self esteem and self worth when someone's currency is determined by how many 'like's their selfie gets. Just wrote about this issue on my blog, it sits close to my heart right now. Good post - thought-provoking. I am curious though - on the beach holiday, did the girl's parents intervene at any point??!! Lou x

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  2. Lou- You make a very good point. Social likes are in fact more important these days than a real life spoken compliment. Hard to stomach but it seems to be our future. Sadly, no one said anything to the girls on holiday. The parents just ignored it and carried on their merry way. Do let us know if you have a good way of combating this problem with young ones as I'm sure there are many here that will have the same problem with their children.

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  3. As someone who avoids facebook, instagram etc I find it increasingly difficult to understand this level of introspection - call me a dinosaur but I seriously think to much naval-gazing is not good for our mental health. Yet I too am captivated by it - from a fashion and "what am I going to wear" point of view and to admire and aspire to your style Emily, for example! Is this the new Imaginary Friend - now that no-one seems to talk to each other any more in the old-fashioned way? And I am constantly tormented too, for example I WANT to know when the Net-a-Porter Sale starts, but because I don't "do" facebook et al I am cast out! Dilemmas! Love your blog by the way. Suzanne

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  4. This made me laugh so hard… Great post Emily! xx

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