Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Fake Princesses

There is a scene in The Crown, Episode "Beryl," where Princess Margaret is being photographed for her annual birthday portrait. Muffled beneath gauzy poofery, she smokes incessantly as Cecil Beaton gushingly invokes the glorious fairy tale that shall inspire the lowly. 

Margaret poses, smiling prettily, as the camera flashes; then she slumps backward, her unhappiness visible on every pore of her beautiful face. 

The rest of the show depicts her misery. She did not choose this role, or the facade needed to maintain it; she is trapped in a gilded cage.
The irony is that while we are certainly not all princesses, many of us are stuck in the same false imagery of our own making. Social media has become a platform where only the simplistic "wonderful" is posted, omitting any of the requisite "bad" that we all have in our lives. The result is that the viewer sees only the fairy tale, and believes it. But she is not inspired by it. She is depressed by it. 

Seth Stephens-Davidowitz puts it bluntly: "Don't Let Facebook Make You Miserable."
The pressure to look a certain way on social media can do much more than distort our image of the musicians other people actually listen to. . . None of this behavior is all that new, although the form it takes is. Friends have always showed off to friends. People have always struggled to remind themselves that other people don’t have it as easy as they claim.
Think of the aphorism quoted by members of Alcoholics Anonymous: “Don’t compare your insides to other people’s outsides.” Of course, this advice is difficult to follow. We never see other people’s insides.
"My So-Called (Instagram) Life" by Clara Dollar, explains how relying on her false media self cost her a relationship, and she attempted to use it to get back at him:
And so it went, and I kept at the beautiful box I was crafting for myself. A shoe box covered in stickers and fake jewels. The kind you would make for a pet parakeet you have to bury. I would dream about Joe at night, and in the morning I would post something silvery and eye catching. It was always just tinfoil, though, not truth. And I prayed no one would notice. . . 
A girl who follows me, with whom I’ve spoken only a handful of times, told me it was so “on brand.”
My brand, specifically: funny, carefree, unromantic, a realist.
I’m like the chief executive of my own company, so I’m familiar with my branding, but its success doesn’t thrill me the way it used to. Instead of feeling validated by her comment, I felt deflated. I barely know this girl, and yet she knows me, knows my “brand,” and I am overwhelmed by the desire to tell her that I am fake, that I am heartbroken.
I have Instagram on my phone, but barely look at it. I really should delete it. If any "friends" post something obviously self-serving, I unfollow them from my feed.

For more humorously truthful Facebook postings: Joyce Wadler's "Facebook When You No Longer Care."  

To quote Stephens-Davidowitz: We're all a mess.  

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I disconnected from FaceBook completely. I have not logged into my FaceBook account in more than five years, and I do not regret that.

FaceBook is a waste of time and a platform for Lashon HaRa.