I am an avid Pinterest user. And by user, I mean in the way a drug addict uses drugs to make herself feel like shit.
Because my apartment, clothing, meals, place settings, legs, and cocktails look nothing like what I see on there. That’s OK, a girl can dream, and occasionally it will give me ideas I can actually use.
But you know what is not OK? Some of these fuckin’ Pinterest quotes. I mean, some are cool. I like Plato quotes about injustice and inspiration from Lincoln. But a lot of this designed-up bullshit passing for wisdom is so shockingly dumb, I have to wonder what kind of people I’m following that this shows up on my feed.
They’re like the equivalent of Photoshop for your hopes and dreams: completely unrealistic, unattainable, and yet we still feel inadequate and lazy looking at them. Or like slut shaming–but for everything, ever. Like, “What were you doing that caused you not to have a perfect life? You must be a really dumb, lazy, pessimistic little slut to not have the career, hubbie and six-pack abs you always dreamed of.”
Take, for instance, this one: This advice is utterly useless at best, and irresponsible at worst. If I could just go do all the things I’ve been wanted to do … I would have fucking done them. Let’s extrapolate. “Hey, you know how you’ve been wanting to travel to Tokyo? You should go.” To which I would reply, “Uh, OK? You wanna pay my airfare and take over my job for a week?” “Hey, you know how you’ve been wanting to try those 150 restaurants you’ve heard about in NYC that are so good? You should try them.” Yeah, and get acid reflux and deep into debt.
Now I feel like a failure because I haven’t done all 3,263 things I’ve been wanting to do. If, on the day I lost my job, you handed me a piece of paper and crayons and told me to “draw rainbows,” I would stick a fuchsia crayon in your eye and tell you to “smile + laugh” about it. (I’ll give you the tea one, though. A hot mug is incredibly comforting.) Clearly designed by a 19-year-old from
Minnesota [I’ve changed this to Wyoming, which has the widest gender pay gap and therefore probably has a culture where women aren’t expected to work and earn money], this quote is one part inbred misogyny, two parts self-imposed helplessness.
If I can open a peanut butter jar, I’m going to damn well do it myself, not hand it to my boyfriend and bat my eyelashes. I also know how to use a power drill, drive stick shift, build a fire, and ask for a raise. I do occasionally ask for help with stuff I can’t do. I am 5′ 2″, after all. But I’m not a moocher.
When I packed a heavy suitcase for our trip to Denver, my boyfriend kept asking to carry it for me. After the third time, I barked, “I packed it, I’m carrying it!” We had to have a talk about that, because the last thing I want to be is one of those entitled princesses traipsing through the airport while her boyfriend pushes a cart full of LV trunks and hatboxes behind her.
My significant other and I are partners in life. He is not my chattel, and I am not his concubine. And from what I understand, men who never let their women exert themselves don’t usually like them having careers and all that silly stuff, either. No, thank you. At first glance, I was like, “Mmhhhmmm, preach.”
Then I thought harder and I realized, this quote is the totally the tool of the oppressor. It takes about five seconds to express your displeasure with air pollution in New York City, or that you are ten pounds overweight, or that your older brother is still living with your parents. But as you can see, it can take anywhere from a few months to years of regular, concerted effort to “do something about it.”
Here’s an example: I hate the amount of junk mail I get. (That took three seconds to type.) In order to stop my junk mail, I spend a half an hour a week calling charities to get myself taken off their mailing list, calling brands to tell them that four different former tenants no longer live here and stop sending magazine and sale notices, and jettisoning catalogues using PaperKarma. And that’s one tiny problem in a whole slew of everyday grievances.
On a good day, you can only choose one or two issues to take up. So please climb down off your accomplished horse and give me a break. Hey, you know how you can tell I’m sad? When I’m holding a cupcake. It usually means I’ve had a shitty day and I’m eating my emotions. Unsuccessfully. When I’m done, my mouth has the sticky-sweet taste of failure in it, and I feel worse. (That dumb “You can’t buy happiness but you can buy cupcakes poster” falls in the exact same category.) What? No. I actually enjoy real food for meals. Only 16-year-olds take this advice seriously. Then you try it once or twice and you realize that there’s a reason why people choose to eat actual food before the sugary part. What happened to life being short, and cupcakes and dessert coming first? Again, un-actionable advice, this time with a fat-shaming twist hidden in clever wordplay. Oh, and guess what, that last bit about never being too late to pick up the pieces? It’s been proven wrong by science. What the fuck does this even mean. I’m having trouble reading this without gagging. Oh Coco. She was an excellent designer, but she was just a designer, not Buddha.
I’m always forgetting to dab perfume on, because I’m busy doing cool shit and it doesn’t seem to make a difference it my day. But I guess that means I am a worthless human being with nothing to look forward to. If I lived every day like my birthday, I would get up expecting to have love notes, wall posts, gifts and phone calls from all my friends. Of course, when that doesn’t happen, I would burst into tears because clearly no one loves me. Then I would eat cupcakes for lunch, a huge dinner with cake for dessert, then go out and get wasted by telling everyone at the bar it’s my birthday and letting them buy me shots. If this sounds like a terrible way to live your life, that’s because it is. Also, you would probably get fat, which quote #7 says is not allowed. Uh, GOD. Please. Stop.You know who could give you some excellent advice about life? Jane Goodall, Mother Theresa, Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Anne Frank, Frida Kahlo and Susan Boyle. You think people care about their eyebrows? Those women were out changing the world, not plucking, grooming and stenciling because some blogger thinks a perfect arch confers moral and intellectual superiority. I’m not letting whoever created this drivel tell me shit about life.
And platitudes always look better if you include the words sunshine and pink somewhere. So next time I’m facing a challenge, I’ll put on a pink flamingo sundress and go sit on a lounge chair in the sunshine. Problem solved. Right?
(Just as a reminder, Elle wore lots of pink, but she also studied her ass off in order to graduate from law school. And she was a fictional character. Fictional, like these quotes.)
Grumpy cat illustration credit: Annick Huber
Any you would add. You disagree with my assessment? Tell me in the comments!