Seriously? The Dawn of the “Funeral Selfie”

Teenage “Funeral Selfies” have been spamming the web -- but what can they tell us about the generation taking them?
"Love my hair today. Hate why I'm dressed up." Funeral Selfie Tumblr Pic

Photo Credit: selfiesatfunerals.tumblr.com

There has been an overwhelming public reaction to the trending “Funeral Selfie” phenomenon, with criticism ranging from sympathetic to downright vehement.

Just in case you’ve been living in hermitage for the past few weeks, the Funeral Selfie is pretty much what you’d imagine: a self-portrait taken (usually) by a teenager with a cell phone during a memorial or funeral service.

Tumblr has an entire feed dedicated to the Funeral Selfie, where pictures of side-swept banged teens are posted with captions like, “Love my hair today. Hate why I’m dressed up. #funeral,” or, “cried all my makeup off so ew. But funeral :[." BuzzFeed, CNBC and CNN have posted articles trying to comprehend how such narcissism could exist in such an inappropriate setting. Sure, being a teenager means putting your family through about five years of hormone-drenched vanity (I'm still apologizing to my mom.) But the Funeral Selfie is jarring because it crosses the line between naïve vanity and a complete collapse of social norms. One selfie even shows a few girls posing together with pouted lips, reading, “We're those awkward people who take a picture smiling at a funeral!"

Yes, yes you are.

"...the Funeral Selfie is jarring because it crosses the line between naïve vanity and a complete collapse of social norms."

Grandma funeral funeral selfie

“Grandmas #funeral :’( ” Photo credit: http://hyperallergic.tumblr.com/

But it might not be as soul-shattering as we think, says Alicia Eler of Hyperallergic, a site that “deliver[s] playful, serious and radical perspectives on art and culture.” Eler says we need to remember the generation that we’re talking about, which has grown up with rapid technology in a way we can’t imagine. “[Even adults] haven’t figured out the boundaries of a private vs. public internet,” she says, “it’s a highly subjective matter and doesn’t require hard and fast rules — especially not for the teenagers who are shaping it.”

“We need to remember the generation we’re talking about…[they've] grown up with rapid technology in a way we can’t imagine. “

What do you think? Will you be instagram-ing from your next wake? We look forward to your comments below.

If you enjoyed this article:

  • Read CNN’s article on the Funeral Selfie
  • Check out The New York Times’ article “The Children of Cyberspace: Old Fogies by Their 20s”
  • Or, read SevenPonds’ article: “But Is There Internet After We Die? A Desert Sun article considers the digital assets we leave behind when we die”
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