Friday, 23 July 2010

What A Tangled Web

There is a lot of meanness on the web. I'm not talking about the random trolling I used to encounter on the Facebook feminist groups (weird guys who would respond to your every argument with "well, that's because you've been brainwashed to think that way"), I'm talking about the gathering together of like-minded people. "Huh?", you say? Let me explain.

There's an old adage that bullies were usually bullied themselves, and while this is easy to see in the school playground, it's not as obvious in real, grown-up life, until you start spending time on the internet. The web's ability to demarginalise those on the fringes of popular culture has created fun places to hang out and discover that you're not alone, whatever those people at school tried to tell you.

In the early days, those who spent time socialising online were a rare breed. You'd start to tell someone a funny story that you'd heard in a forum but stop yourself so you could quickly fabricate a non-geeky source so that they'd laugh at your story and not you. It made for an atmosphere I can only liken to the Gorgonites in Small Soldiers - a rag-tag bunch of slightly odd-looking people, but always friendly and welcoming.

Then, as online socialising exploded, cliques began to form. Now that you can find people who share your love of anything from West African philately to obscure Swedish electropop, anyone who has felt marginalised is able to pass on that lovely feeling to someone else. A new type of snobbery seems to be raising its ugly head as people fall over themselves to have a life that's "more unique" than anyone else's. FYI - I am aware that there is no more or less unique. There is unique or not. Unfortunately, this means that uniqueness takes you back to solitude, so people turn it into a sliding scale.

The wedding world is one of the worst. I've encountered - and quickly unsubscribed from - a number of wedding blogs that repeatedly sneer at the decision to wear a traditional wedding dress, get married in church, have a wedding cake -  the sort of thing that normo-type people might have at their weddings. A great way to let people know exactly who is not welcome. When a fabulously talented photographer's work was trolled recently, readers took the opportunity to reinforce the "we're such outsiders" label with such comments as "they probably just want a nice dollop of blandness and a side dish of same old same old". What kind of world do we live in where quality is not permitted to be commonplace?

Even if a blog is positive, it can occasionally attract a cliquey bride, whose description of her Big Day entails "we didn't want this... we didn't want that...", referring to all sorts of things that you can guarantee someone reading really wanted for their wedding day. There are practically competitions to see who can have the smallest wedding with the fewest attendants and the lowest budget, because clearly if you invite lots of people you're just trying to make up numbers and... the worst thing of all... "be something you're not". 

In two weeks time, I plan to brush my hair, put on a frickin' gorgeous dress and tell everybody in church just how much I love my man. That's not "me" - I'm a scruff; I'm such a nervous public speaker that I'm actually developing a stutter, and I never wear pale colours because I miss my mouth constantly. If someone is the same every other day as they are on their wedding day, then they're either a really exciting person, or it's a really boring wedding. I can just picture it - and now, Mr and Mrs C are now going to sit and watch Sons of Anarchy, while simultaneously IMDBing all the actors they sort-of recognise from somewhere else. (As an aside... Don't do that. Jackson is so hot until you realise he's actually English and that irritating boy with the mockney accent in Green Street. He has now left my fantasies forever).

Then there are the healthy/ethical foodies - the bloggers are the sweetest girls you will ever meet, but there are commenters who compete to be the most puritanical about their food. It conjures up in my mind the Two Ronnies and John Cleese sketch, only where John Cleese is the fruitarian, looking down on Ronnie Barker's vegan, who looks down on Ronnie Corbett's vegetarian.

Ever act like a bit of a slob when you're on holiday? One chap pipes up with "what a shame about your friends who eat dinner at 10pm, wake at noon, and eat pizza for breakfast... I feel sorry for them." No, really, don't. We love it.

I realise that I'm going to have to change my title to Becca Rants if I carry on down this vein much further, so I promise to perk up and live up to my original positivity purpose a bit better. In the meantime - I have resurrected my Twitter account! Please stop by and say hello - I am @littleacceb. Alternatively, leave your Twitter name below and I shall follow you!

Finally - I thought I'd share an old snap from Christmas 2004, of the place where my Dad currently is... Moraira, Spain. Lucky sod.


  1. Exactly exactly exactly! You have hit the proverbial nail on the head Becca. This is how I feel about it all. There are several wedding blogs I love, but some that I've deleted from my reader because I just can't stand the competition to have the most indie/prettiest/stunning/insert adjective here wedding.

    Our wedding won't be the prettiest, or the coolest, the smallest, or the biggest, and you know what it won't even be exactly 'me and my man' will just be a day with some prettieness, some coolness, moderately sized, and about declaring our love in front of all of our nearest and dearest, whilst surruonding our selves with things and people that we like.

    To me, that's pretty perfect. Sod the rest of them.

  2. Ah yes- and the worst of it is the anti-trend-trend. Which I find appalling. Because, let's be serious- your typical bride takes about a year to plan a wedding. And over the course of that year, makes decisions that are originally "unique" and within a few months time become "played."

    These edgier-than-thou bloggers often find something unique and awesome one week, and the next, can't stand it- and therefore, anyone who is incorporating said trend is a soulless drone.

    Making it trendy to dislike a trend.

    The worst.

  3. This is lovely, I love how you write. And also that picture...made me salivate!

  4. Woo Hoo two weeks until your wedding!!!

  5. I agree with you!! I bet you are looking forward to your wedding now that it's so close! Enjoy it.

  6. I could not agree more. When I started blogging, it was because I didn't know what I was doing with this wedding lark. I knew a few things I didn't want from a wedding but that was the limit of it. Still don't know what i'm doing. I thought blogging might help me find out.

    And in some ways it does, but in many, it leaves me even more confused. I keep changing my mind about everything (latest two blog posts as examples!)

    For example: I bought something the other day for the wedding - and I found myself thinking: this particular item is everywhere, I've seen it so many places, it's a bloody cliche by now. And then I thought: no, this item is not everywhere - it's only everywhere in wedding-blog land, and pretty much none of my friends and certainly none of my family live there so stop being sto stupid and buy it. Ridiculous eh.

  7. Gosh that sketch is applicable to so many things! Unfortunately I am a shortie so I am always going to lose!

    That aside, blogging does confuse and skew your view of life and what you are "meant" to do.

    I like what I like, I'm happy that people disagree with me. I would like to think that others are the same but it is quite apparent they don't! Have conviction in your ideas. That's all that matters.

  8. I don't even think it's just blogworld - I gave up the glossies because I just found myself questioning what was wrong with me. I wasn't out having cocktails with my closest girlfriends every weekend, living in my own achingly-hip North London flat, and dropping four figures in Top Shop each month.

    I definitely agree that we need to respect ourselves enough to have confidence in our own decisions - sometimes you've got to tune out that nagging voice and remind yourself that you do what you want for your own reasons, whatever they may be, and those are the best reasons of all. As Billie Piper sang (oh, yeah... I'm going there) "Because We Want To!"

    With regard to your last paragraph, Anna - variety is the spice of life, but it doesn't take away from the fact that hearing someone say nasty things about your choices is crappy. I'm definitely not saying that we have to be people pleasers. I just feel that people could have slightly better manners and not feel the need to bash everything that's different to what they like - even if that "different" happens to be the mainstream.

    I guess the main reason why I wrote this piece - although it has become totally wedding-oriented! - was to encourage people to check themselves. Remember how sucky it is to be excluded from anything, so just don't do it to others.

    Oh... And yes, I'm super excited about the wedding!! 11 days to go!!!