‘Selfie’ was the Oxford Dictionary word of the year for 2013, but it’s 2014 now and we’ve moved on to establishing niche micro-categories for our onanistic digital self-portraits (see: the rise of belfies, or butt selfies). Introducing the newest addition to this sacred canon: “farmer selfies,” a.k.a. “felfies.”
The Irish Farmer’s Journal popularized felfies by launching a contest for Ireland’s greatest farmer selfie. The idea soon spread outside the confines of the Emerald Isle as farmers from around the world starting duck-lipping with their chicken coops. Using Statigram, I found hundreds of Instagram photos tagged #felfie, most very recent posts showing smiling faces with cattle, fields, and farm equipment in the background, although ‘felfie’ also seems to be a term for foot selfies, so yeah, beware.
The Toronto Sun documented the phenomenon, interviewing some southern Ontario farmers about their predilection for taking pictures of themselves in front of livestock, braving the elements and proving that rural people are just as enamored with the front-facing camera on their smartphones as cityslickers are.
There are even websites specifically devoted to chronicling the felfie lifestyle. Felfies.com seems somehow associated with the Irish contest, though it may have been created by someone with a rather creative grasp on English. A more in-depth take on the farmers behind the selfies comes from William Wilson, a self-described “farmer’s son from the U.K.” who runs a blog called farmingselfie.com. Wilson’s blog provides more background information on each felfie-taker as it attempts to humanize the people who feed us.
When reached for comment, Wilson told Time, “haven’t got the Time (ironic) right now” to give us a quote, but then he got back to us, remarking on his website’s startling popularity. “We have had over 15,000 views to date from the most incredible places: Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Finland, Denmark, Canada, the UK (of course) and Ghana to name a few,” he wrote.
Despite the growing prevalence of felfies, “you could be a farmer in those clothes” remains a sick burn.