Is social media the new monster-in-law?
Up until a few years ago, we only had to deal with the ever-increasing benchmark set by the oldest female in the house, usually the mother(monster)-in-law. The vicious cycle of the saas bahu was a daily opera limited to the confines of respective households and, eventually, the daughter-in-law came to accept that she was ‘not good enough’.
When Fariha cooked her umpteenth daig of biryani, this time to perfection, with the rice not sticking to each other like khichdi and the yellow masala gleaming like sunshine, at some level she hoped her mother-in-law would finally let out a whistle. Instead, her mother-in-law ignored looking her in the eye and said,
“Are you bringing some raita to swallow this down?”
It wasn’t a question but merely an excuse for her to elaborate on the merits of Haleema’s bahu and the many condiments that she served her biryani with.
Today, Fariha feels the pressure has multiplied manifolds. The internet is inundated with stellar recipes, menu suggestions for the entire week, tips on laying out the perfect table and even plating it like a Master Chef. And all of it is tagged as ‘easy this’ and ‘easy that’. It leaves you no excuse to serve a simple, homely dinner.
Huma disagrees with Fariha on there being any pressure. She feels that seeing pictures of fancy dishes, put up by her friends, sometimes motivates her to cook up something special.
Sukaina is dreading the party that she has to throw for her best friend’s baby shower.
“She did it for me so I will do it for her of course. But, mine was years ago and there was no Pinterest,” she exclaims adding, “Too many references, too many expectations!”
Once upon a time, showing up with a cake was all it took to throw a party. Balloons and flowers were thoughtful. The party poppers and the snow spray were luxurious additions. Today, social media obsession and all the posing has made it extremely important to plan every detail. You have to add colour, pizzazz and finesse so that every picture looks perfect, better than the ones someone else has put up. Pinterest is full of searchable databases for themed parties, DIY ideas, creative ways to make a bang and it is also full of pictures of super moms and ‘real’ best friends who have managed to pull off these elaborate events on their own.
Abida, who just spent an arm and a leg for her daughter’s Elsa-themed birthday says,
“The problem is not with social media. It’s when you put up your pictures you want everyone to like them and leave ‘aww’ comments on them. You are opening it for the world to comment and some will say bad things. For example, my party was perfect but I got criticised for spending too much.”
She admits to doing a lot of research on Pinterest before putting the event together.
“We are constantly stretching ourselves to create content for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and so on. And the internet is never happy, like my mother-in-law!” says another housewife, requesting not to be named.
Is social media really creating pressure on individuals to generate content at their expense or is the problem actually with us?
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.