Not Alone Series: Selfies


Do you support the selfie trend? Do you think it promotes self-absorption, vanity and narcissism? Is there a way to incorporate selfies into the Church’s teachings of modesty, authentic beauty, humility? Thanks to Hannah for the prompt!

I was super surprised by this topic. I haven’t thought deeply about selfies before. I hope we can all agree that #SelfiesAtAFuneral is awful (and I’m sorry if I just introduced you to that), and taking a selfie in the ruins of Chernobyl or Auschwitz is horrifying, but I don’t have a problem with selfies in general.

There’s an element to selfies that can definitely be narcissistic. When you’re editing your life to show only the best parts, trying to make other people jealous, or ruthlessly editing every image of yourself so that it barely resembles the real you, then you might have a problem with selfies.

But there’s so much joy to be found in selfies! In a way, it’s a modern take on the classic “self portrait of the artist.” We don’t call Van Gogh and Rockwell narcissists for painting themselves. In fact, their famous self-portraits are crucial to understanding how each artist saw the world, and by extension, himself. Rockwell even included Van Gogh in his!

I have already made known my position on actual selfies of myself. I take selfies every week for What I Wore Sunday, which is my way of sharing that you can be trendy, polished, and modest at the same time. You should put some thought into what you wear to see your Savior, and you don’t need to have a huge wardrobe to do it.

(I also don’t have anyone to take my outfit photos for me.)

In a way, my selfies evangelize. I hope that when people see my face, perceiving a modestly-dressed churchgoing black Catholic, they see the truth, beauty, and goodness of Christ in me. Even if only one of those four characteristics makes it through to the viewer, I’ve helped make the world a little better. My selfies proclaim to the world that you can dress modestly and fashionably at the same time. You can be a weekly churchgoer. You can be a black Catholic. This is real, and it’s my life.

When I post a selfie of a great hair day to Instagram, I’m not just telling you to look at me. I’m telling you to look at creation and see the Creator.

Thanks to Jen and Morgan for hosting! Check out other responses on their blogs.

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