Are Relationships Becoming Performative For The Sake Of Social Media?
A man recently dumped his girlfriend because he found almond milk in her refrigerator instead of regular kind. How do I know this trivial and childish detail about a complete stranger’s break-up? Because he put it out on Twitter for everyone to see. “I went to grab milk at my girlfriend’s house this morning. I was shocked when I found this where the milk usually is. So I did the only responsible thing there was to do,” he wrote, along with a picture of the milk carton from his ex’s fridge, on which he had left a not for her, which read, “I think we should see other people.”
I went to grab milk at my girlfriend’s house this morning. I was shocked when I found this where the milk usually is. So I did the only responsible thing there was to do. pic.twitter.com/va2kZHctse
— Dan Crowe (@HoleDeal) December 10, 2019
- A man supposedly broke up with his girlfriend because she had almond milk in her fridge.
- He tweeted an image of the almond milk carton with his break-up note.
- While his post may have been just for fun, did he take the consent of his partner before shaming her so publicly for her choice of milk?
- Why has public validation become so essential in relationships these days?
Our relationships are no longer personal, as the desire to seek public validation has overtaken them.
While this could just be a joke or an attempt to seek attention on social media, what stands out is the performative-ness that is so common on social media. Did a cheeky prank on your partner? Bought them an expensive gift? Executed a heart-melting romantic gesture? Had a funny breakup? Did you have a camera in place? Our relationships are no longer personal, as the desire to seek public validation has overtaken them. We want people to know what we did. The people in question may not necessarily be your close friends or relatives. In case of Insta and Twitter, heart-warming marriage proposals and nitty-gritties of relationships are catered to complete strangers.
Perhaps I am too private a person to understand the charm of putting up one’s relationship on display. The same reasoning makes me uncomfortable with the public display of affection. We get it, you love your shona babu, but must you be joined at the hip at every party you attend. Must you shove your tongue down each other’s throat at malls and gardens? Is this public display of affection an attention-seeking behaviour or is it genuine disregard for what people think? I agree that in a world so full of hate, we celebrate love, but then is PDA really just about celebrating love?
However, the difference between PDA and putting up your relationship on social media is that in the latter, you want to grab attention for sure. No one puts up a cutesy anniversary status, thanking almighty for being blessed with the “best hubby in the world” or a picture to be left unliked or unloved on your timeline. No, one wants it to be liked, shared and showed some love in the comments section. The need for social media validation of your relationship isn’t that surprising though, is it? Isn’t this desire the reason why we put up travel updates and selfies?
When a person puts up a video of them pulling a prank on their partner, which makes them look dull, do they factor in the nastiness that may come their way?
Another important factor that we often do not discuss when scrolling past such social media posts that offer a “candid” or “fun” take on someone’s love relationship is consent. For instance, whoever this man’s girlfriend is, was she okay with him shaming her so publicly for her choice of milk? We know how nasty comments can get on social networking platforms which allow faceless strangers the agency to comment on your pictures and opinion. So when a person puts up a video of them pulling a prank on their partner, which makes them look dull, do they factor in the nastiness that may come their way?
In the comments under the mentioned tweet a debate on natural milk versus nut milk broke out. People began to takes sides, as to why the guy was right to dump a girl who drank fake milk or how the girl was better off without such a touchy guy who couldn’t even bother to ask why she had almond milk in her fridge. All this drama over a breakup post which may not even have taken place. The couple or the guy in question aside, what does that say about us? If people are so liberally putting up their intimate relationships on display, then we are guilty of consuming them too.
Image Credit: Bustle
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.