I am on vacation, on top of a volcanic rock, and my daughter has given me her iPhone to take her photo. She is posing in an Instagram-worthy way, but I am realistic enough by now to know I will never be able to capture the pose to her liking.
On the occasions that I have tried to play photographer, my daughter has deleted my subpar attempts and replaced them with a more likeable shot that better captures her pose, usually a pic that another teen or sibling has snapped.
If you have ever browsed your teen’s Instagram feed or followed a teen on your own account, you will know the like-worthy poses my daughter and her peers aim to capture on their smartphone screens — the glamourous girl hand on hip shot, the lips pursed and eyes wide shot or the cool dude holding up two fingers in a peace sign shot.
As a mother of teens, I have learned that any location can instantly become a photo shoot. I might be driving along, transporting my daughter and her friends somewhere when suddenly my backseat becomes a studio. The flash goes off over and over while my teen passengers mug for the camera. Watching them strike a pose, snap, delete, snap again and post, I wonder about the future for a generation that tries so hard to be viewed in a picture perfect way.
I think about the little camera with a disposable flash bulb that I had as teen. I remember how it took weeks to finish off the film, get it developed and either happily slip the glossy 3 x 5 into a photo album or tear it up and lose the paper memory forever. Unlike my teens, I didn’t walk around all the time with my pocket camera, and picture taking wasn’t an everyday or every hour event. But then again, my friends weren’t glued to their smartphones giving likes to my newest selfie within seconds of posting.
One mother recently wrote on her blog: “I doubt there’s been a day in the past two years when I haven’t argued with my teenage daughter about the amount of time she spends taking selfies and posting them online.” The mom says she can’t understand why her selfie obsessed daughter can’t just smile and instead has to pout provocatively or make the duck face.
When Madonna belted out Strike a pose, Strike a pose.. .Vogue, vogue it’s as if she was speaking directly to the selfie generation. So I have to ask, is all the posing and posting harmless, or have we birthed a generation that is preoccupied with being camera ready?
By some miracle, my daughter has deemed my photo of her on the volcanic rock to be Instagrammable. While I gloat over my success, I’m hold firmly to my inclination that picture snapping has taken on way too much importance in our teens’ lives. What are your thoughts on Generation Strike a Pose? Are they engaged in harmless fun, or obsessed with their online appearance?