Lady Chatterley on Bitstrips, bickering and when social media and marriage don’t mix.
Have you heard of Bitstrips? If you’re a Facebook user, you’ll probably be familiar with the personalised cartoon strips that are clogging up newsfeeds at the moment. Not having jumped aboard the Bitstrip bandwagon, my knowledge of the fad is somewhat limited. But, for the uninitiated, basically it’s an app where the Facebook user creates an avatar that physically resembles them, chooses from a bunch of pre-made scenes and then inserts speech bubbles or cute/witty captions to finish it off. Confused? Bored? I know how you feel. But stay with me.
I’m sure most of us have been out with a couple who, the entire time you’re in their company, make subtle digs at one another. You know the teasing (poorly) disguised as a gentle ribbing but with an undercurrent of “I’m actually really pissed off with you.” And you sit there awkwardly as they trade these barbs back and forth, pretending not to notice as they become more and more irritated with one other. Good times.
Which brings me back to the fascinating Facebook fad (try saying that several times quickly) that is the Bitstrip. Yesterday, I noticed a friend of mine had created and posted a cartoon depicting her berating her husband for the mess he had left in the car. The caption was something along the lines of “Samantha* is a bit over George** leaving the car in such a sty. Samantha, or rather Samantha’s avatar, had her hands on her hips and smoke coming out of her ears, presumably to further highlight to all 324 of her Facebook friends that she was less than impressed with George’s untidiness.
It seems that social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, has made these awkward exchanges, previously witnessed by an unlucky few over the dinner table, into quite the spectator sport. Tell me I’m not the only one who has seen the “Is it really that hard to put your dirty socks in the washing basket???” status update, with the poor unsuspecting husband tagged in the post. Or the “Do other people’s husbands selectively respond to text messages???” Interestingly, in my newsfeed at least, the majority of the offending posts tend to be made by women, although men are also guilty of throwing the odd passive aggressive barb.
It made me wonder when it became acceptable to air relationship grievances in such a public forum. I mean sure, perhaps it feels good momentarily as the supportive, commiserating, comments and “likes” flood in, other people taking the opportunity to whinge and moan about their other half. But it’s not particularly classy is it.
Take poor George, who has has just been outed via Facebook as a) being untidy and b) in trouble with his wife. When I saw that post yesterday, I just felt bad for George for being so publicly shamed. Surely Samantha could have waited to voice her annoyance with George the old school way (in person) rather than inviting all 324 of her Facebook friends into their intimate space, allowing them public access to a private issue.
I also doubt very much that once George discovers his starring role in Samantha’s cartoon drama, he’s going to be in the mood for a civil discussion about the mess he’s been accused of making. I know I certainly wouldn’t be thrilled. So I’m not exactly sure what going public with petty domestic complaints achieves, beside unnecessarily embarrassing your spouse. Which can surely only lead to resentment. And that’s not exactly conducive to healthy, open communication in a relationship.
It seems we’re no longer just sharing selfies, baby pictures and our breakfasts on social media. Some of us also think it’s acceptable to broadcast the minor (or sometimes not so minor) disagreements that we all experience as part of sharing our lives with another person. The person we’re supposed to love and respect.
What do you think? Has social media impacted your relationship? Are there some things that should remain private?
*not really Samantha
**not really George
Photo Credit: Flickr/Jason A. Howie