Do I have time for a selfie?

New Yorkers love themselves ... who can blame them?

The selfie phenomenon.

All the way from Istanbul, to Buenos Aires, to one horse towns and villages all over the world. It’s here. And it’s here to stay.

From the young to the elderly, from blue-collar workers to the Commander-in-Chief.
The selfie taking practice is being embraced by all. So much in fact, we can’t but wonder if it confirms we’re a narcissistic society.

Looking over my son’s shoulder as he browsed through Facebook this morning, I couldn’t help noticing the dozens of selfies of his young friends. Young women, in an array of poses, ranging all the way from the “head cocked to the side” position, to the “OMG, is this still going on?” duck lips.

Later today, just seconds after I posted my own selfie to Instagram, I pondered the reasons that motivate us to share our mug with, for the most part, strangers.

Do we do it as a way of recruiting external validation, or does vanity propel us to use the selfie to document our beauty?

Were these selfies to be unedited and “au naturel,” perhaps the subject wouldn’t bother me.

Yet, looking at my own Instagram selfie, edited with various filters and a blur effect, I realize we aren’t presenting our “true” selves to the world.

The selfie appears to be another way to conform to society’s definition of beauty; one whose sad message is that you’re only beautiful if you look a certain way.

“Not everything is motivated by the evils of society, mom,” chided the Son when I broached the subject at the dinner table. “Sometimes,” he said, “a selfie is just a selfie.”

But is it? Thinking back to the heavily edited selfies I saw this morning, I’m not so sure.

In all fairness, I’m certain there are those who take selfies for the sake of documenting a bad hair day. Others might take them to evidence what they look like at a certain age.

Yet the fact that so many of us partake in the selfie phenomenon raises the question of, do we need others to tell us we’re beautiful?

And that makes me sad.

Sad because, even words like “You’re beautiful,” aren’t going to help if we don’t believe it ourselves.

Sad because we may always depend on someone to validate us.

Sad because we are placing so much importance on physicality and so little on what truly establishes our worth.

Sad because the majority of selfies aren’t true representations of what we really look like.

Sad because in hiding behind an edited selfie, we fail to show the world our true beauty, complete with enlarged pores and imperfections.

We may not be able to stop the selfie phenomenon, but we can refuse to play by the rules of peers, society, and our own insecurities.

We can turn the selfie on its head and instead, use it as a tool to affirm, “This is me. This is what I truly look like and I am beautiful.”

Inspired by my sister, who posted a selfie of her beautiful, unedited self on Facebook, I took a selfie tonight.

No make up.
No edits.
Just me.

Join me in the effort to turn this phenomenon into something positive by posting your own beautiful unedited selfie.

Let us effect positive change in how the world defines beauty.

Show the world the beauty that is you!



Note: If you post a selfie, please leave a link in the comments section so other readers can see it.

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Can you pour me some coffee while I peruse Facebook?

Last night, upon arriving from having dinner with the Significant Other, I was greeted at the door by the Son.

“Judging by Auntie M’s Facebook update, she’s either trying to snag an audition on Comedy Central, or she’s off her meds again.”

“Very funny. Let me see.”

There, for all the Facebook trolls to see, my sister had posted the following update:

“Louie, why didn’t you marry me? And more importantly, why didn’t you follow your dream of becoming a sanitation engineer?”

When I clicked on Louie’s profile, I realized he was one of my sister’s old high school boyfriends. And no, he had not gone on to become a sanitation engineer.

Instead, his public profile revealed he was a martial arts expert and a hot shot actor in Singapore.

“Aren’t you curious to know if any of your old boyfriends are on Forbes’ Wealthiest Men list, Mom?”

“I seriously doubt any of those jocks are having cocktails with the Donald.”

“I’ll tell you what. I’ll let you use my Facebook for 30 minutes so you can look up all your old flames.”

Curious to see if any of the Romeos from my past had shared Louie’s good fortune, I asked the Son to pour me a cup of coffee and began my search.

Thirty minutes later, making use of FBI skills I didn’t know I possessed, I had managed to find forty percent of my previous suitors.

I smiled broadly as one profile after another revealed that these boys had not aged well.

Receding hair lines, double chins, male pattern baldness, and bags under the eyes characterized the once coveted athletes I used to date.

Some claimed to be “in a relationship,” but judging from their badly taken self portraits, I couldn’t understand how this was possible.

Scolding myself for being so shallow, I admitted there was a possibility that these once handsome men could very well have turned out to be exceptional human beings.

Ashamed of myself for fixating on their physical appearance, I relinquished the laptop to the Son and stepped into the kitchen to make another pot of coffee.

“So, are any of your exes candidates for the cover of GQ magazine?”

“No. More like for the cover of National Geographic.”

“That bad, huh?”


The Son was still laughing when I put the mocha pot on the stove.

And so was I.

What started out as a giggle, turned into a thigh slapping, hearty, belly laugh.

I laughed as I remembered the times many of them had said, “I want to break up.”

I laughed for having been silly enough to cry and think the world had come to an end.

I laughed at the realization that everything happens for a reason.

I laughed because if I had Facebook, my status update today would be: “Mark, Steve, Fernando, Tony, Lucas, Michael, Danny, Giles, Edward, and Enrique, who’s laughing now?”

Have you looked up old boyfriends/girlfriends on Facebook?

Note: Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Will the person who invented Facebook please stand up?

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by _Max-B

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve had it with Facebook.

The good Lord knows that as a parent, I’ve had to stand in line to get my son’s attention on numerous occasions.

I’ve been trumped by Wii, Xbox, texting, Jersey Shore, and now, constantly by the annoying Facebook.

Facebook is responsible for skipped meals, incomplete homework assignments, missed dental appointments, and chores that never get done.

Furthermore, every request I make is met with “Wait. I have to check my Facebook.”

The exchange goes something like this:

“Honey, you’re going to miss the bus!” “Wait, I have to check my Facebook.”
“Dinner’s on the table.” “Wait. I have to check my Facebook.”
“The window broke and I have a piece of glass stuck in my carotid.” “Wait!! I have to check my Facebook!!”

Sadly, my child is not the only one to have been lured to the other side.

My sisters, nephews, nieces, and friends, have all voluntarily joined the ranks of the millions of sheep followers.

Even more irritating is the fact that people who claim they never have time to make a five-minute phone call to see how you are, suddenly have time to look through photo albums of people they’ve never met.

Folks who haven’t shown an interest in gardening in their lives, suddenly develop the passion to water not only their own virtual “crops,” but their friends’ as well.

Friends play an important role in the lives of Facebook sheep followers.

Hence, a great part of the day is devoted to making and accepting “friend requests.”

A hot stranger from New York City? Accepted.

A waiter who works at Benny’s Grill? Accepted.

An 80-year-old, toothless woman from Romania? Accepted.

All’s fair in the game of acquiring as many friends as possible.

But it doesn’t end there.

We mustn’t forget the countless number of hours that are spent posting status updates and “commenting” on the status of friends.

Jane Doe “Just came in from having laser surgery on my left eye.”

Low and behold, five people have given this status update a “thumb’s up” to show So and So likes this.

Are you kidding me?

If it were up to me, everything would have a thumb’s down.

Sadly, my son informs me that this feature has yet to be created by Facebook.

You think?

Something tells me they want to avoid scenarios like this one:

Status update: Jane Doe “Just got home from having a wart removed from the pinky toe of my left foot.”

Me-Thumbs down. Comment: “Who gives a rat’s ass? Go put on clean socks and finish your homework.”

So, what’s a Mother to do?

The only thing you can do, wait a “minute” while your son/daughter checks Facebook.

Do you have to compete with Facebook to get a loved one’s attention?

Misery loves company, so let me know!