They call themselves @ xoxo.nguyen16, @ dieu.est.avec.moi or even @jesus_nousaimes, and their videos on TikTok sometimes get millions of views. These few pseudonyms are a tree that hides the forest of hundreds of teenage or very young Christian women who are promoting the wearing of the veil on this social network to broadcast short videos that are popular among under-25s.
The phenomenon is recent – no video he has seen Cross dates back more than four months – but the numerical scale does not seem negligible. How do those concerned justify this practice? Some of these “tickers” refer to the first epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthians (chapter 11, verse 5): “Every woman who prays or prophesies without her head covered is ashamed of her head: it is as if she were shaved. »
@ god.is.with.me # foryou ♬ original sound – David Okitakula Kazadi
Wearing a veil is “too much with style”
Héléna, 22, she said Cross that she was “atheist” two months ago. Later “personal problems”, took refuge in prayer and even began a career as a catechumen. Access confirmed by his parish, located in Hauts-de-France. Her veil, which is worn daily, is described by the parish catechist leader as “Discreet and beautiful, like that of the Virgin”. He did not seem to be overly surprised by the faithful of this church.
Héléna justifies her choice by wanting to “reconnect with (his) Spanish descent”, restoring the tradition of covering women with a mantle at Mass. She also sees in her veil “A new beginning, self-protection, strengthening in faith.” Not hiding the fact that she finds him “very with style”…
Leanna, 14, explains that she wants to imitate the Virgin and feel ” closer to god “. She specifies that she wears her light veil only in the church, “at Mass or in prayer”, even if he accidentally takes to the streets with it, from time to time.
At TikTok, these teenage girls are changing tips, bragging“The Love of Christ”, explain how to tie a veil to them – which to some evokes the white finesse of Carmelites – while dancing to the latest music. These “influencers” are not destined to receive orders. The veil is also one of the few signs of external religiosity they wear, and is sometimes accompanied by piercings, tattoos, original hair dyes, and lavish makeup.
How to understand this new trend? A teenager’s focus on appearance or an authentic sign of religiosity? Sociologist Isabelle Jonveaux (1), a specialist in online religions, notes that this phenomenon could be part of a desire already seen among young believers: to reconnect with more rigorous practices of religion, “Finding concrete forms of asceticism”.
“May God make it easy for us”
“Since the Second Vatican, everything about bodily practices – such as fasting – has lost a lot in a hurry,” notes the academic. There is a lack of limitations in Catholicism that is met with practices that sometimes come from other religious traditions. ” such as the wearing of the hijab (headscarf) by Muslim women.
In one of the @jesus_nousaimes videos, as well as in at least one other account, that phrase appears “May God make it easy for us”a formula widespread in the Islamic tradition but unknown to the Christian lexicon.
This trend also refers to the influence of evangelical Protestantism. The North American organization Head Covering Movement has been promoting the coverage of Christian women since 2014. Evangelization specialist Sébastien Fath does not see this as a new phenomenon, but as “updated survival of majority practice in many Protestant circles until the 1950s and maintained in recent times in Pentecostal circles “.
Far from being confined to the evangelical galaxy, veiled tiktokeus reveal a rather ecumenical affiliation. @ mny.emmx – whose video “What I’ve heard since wearing the veil (Christian)” published on April 25, was seen by almost 900,000 people – the story of his “pastor”. The Orthodox cross was displayed on the account @ dieu.est.avec.moi, which reached 1.5 million views in one of its publications. And others are Catholics, like Hélene and Leanne.
@ mny.emmx alala # tiktokchretien # chretienne # voilechretien ♬ F her DRILL BEAT – Guapy
Confessional plurality, blurring of borders
This denominational plurality is no surprise to researcher Isabelle Jonveaux. According to her, the Internet “Encourages the consumption of Christian content which will seem in a somewhat undifferentiated way. Internet users listen to and watch everything in the form of ecumenism. “
“In general, since the 1970s and 1980s, we have witnessed in the individual practices of Christian believers a lot of blurring the line between what comes from their own tradition and what comes from external influences, especially Eastern religions such as Buddhism. The Internet is helping to amplify a phenomenon that already existed before.deciphers the sociologist.
Can these practices be established over time? It is difficult to say, but it is important to put into perspective the scale of the visible trend, especially in the digital sphere. Basically, the phenomenon could be part of a dynamic well known to researchers: the deregulation of religion in modern societies, accompanied by the development of à la carte beliefs.