By thaydawg January 2, - 4: Well, at least one did. It may appear that these people are actually doing these things. It may be exciting and stimulating and entertaining, but it is not real. It is not a realistic portrayal of combat and heroism. In this way, it is like…pornography. Any male in the LDS Church can tell you that this point about pornography Matrix analogy excluded has been made countless times in both youth and adult lessons for the past who knows how many years.
It is a distilled, concentrated, hyper-sexualized fantasy created for the sole purpose of ensnaring those that behold it. It can become addictive and set unrealistic expectations for intimacy in marriage, which can lead to feelings of disappointment, inadequacy and betrayal.
One with family, the other with fantasy…Pornography draws a husband away from his family and entices him to connect with things that are not real.
No pro-porn argument here. What I want to do is draw a parallel to a different phenomenon that is as equally prevalent in the Church and Utah culture as porn is, but I feel goes largely uncriticized. It is an epidemic that hangs over the Wasatch Front like a totally super cute inversion. I begin the parallel with a story. Rest assured, however, that this is a true story and one that probably repeats itself more often than any of us know.
One last thing to do. Braxlynn called down her nanny to momentarily deposit her young daughter in the kitchen. Braxlynn briefly overcame her fear of using her hands to do anything but work the zipper on a Louis Vuitton bag and took a moment to stand next to her daughter and pose for a treat-making photo in media res.
You see, Braxlynn is a very successful blogger, regularly posting pictures of herself in designer clothes doing designer things, like standing in the middle of public streets with one knee slightly bent and one hand lightly touching her hair or the brim of her chic hat.
No mention of Sarah, no mention of the nanny, no mention of reality. But you know what? What I want to talk about is the effect that these blogs have on the millions of people who subscribe to them. It is a vain illusion pedaled to millions of women around the world for attention, praise, validation and wealth. These women see the palatial houses, fit millionaire hipster husbands with square rimmed glasses, immaculate crafts with kids, unspoiled kitchens with artisan foods, whimsical birthday parties, endless designer clothes, and think that this is all possible.
You can see the effect it has on people by the comments on Instagram. If they can but touch the hem of the garment of perfection then they can be cured of their life of mediocrity, budgets and Pay Less shoes. They are addicted to the prospect that this is a picture of life lived to perfection. It is the ultimate Mormon ideal.
Screw waiting until the afterlife for your mansions on high, there are people living it now, baby! In fact, as soon as they finish building one mansion, they start building a different one, because…well…they can.
Any variant of perfection you can fantasize is currently being lived and blogged about by some Utah version of the Kardashians. But I would say this. Watching all of this is addictive and it sets unrealistic expectations for marriage and life that can lead to feelings of disappointment and inadequacy. What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a sweeping epidemic of Lifestyle Porn. What does it hurt to look at these Utah socialites and their designer clothes and designer lives.
In the very least I get good fashion inspiration. Who does it hurt? I can promise you that however insecure a wife may be about her body or how she stacks up in the intimacy department against the distorted expectation that porn breeds, any self-respecting husband is equally insecure about his paycheck and how he stacks up in the provider department against the distorted expectation that lifestyle porn breeds.
Not every husband can pull off male skinny jeans, ok?! Are these women actually living this life? Yes they are, but not in the way we imagine it. They live a staged life, one self-imposed photoshoot after another. There have even been disillusioned fashionista bloggers that have attested to this fact link.
Every moment we see blogged is lighted and posed and portrayed for maximum allure and effectiveness. We see the perfect snapshots in time and our fantasizing does the rest. We construct the narrative that fills in the gaps between these idyllic moments with an equally idyllic life.
We see these pictures and convince ourselves that we are some fly on the wall, observing their opulent life as it is naturally unfolding. It is staged, it is amped up, it is targeted all for maximum addictiveness. But I digress, and that rant is for another blog post.
So why do I relate all of this specifically to Mormondom? There are surely scores of fashionista bloggers and socialites that are doing the same thing all over the world.
There are, but it is no secret that Mormons dominate the blogging world. For Mormons, this period of life is usually characterized by having 3 kids in diapers, a go-getter returned missionary husband in college, grad school, med school, law school, or selling Vivint security systems.
A disproportionate number of smart, driven, talented women are invested in being stay at home moms and not climbing some corporate ladder. Between breast feeds and diaper changes, many find release and relief in either creating or consuming social media and blogs. There are numerous mommy blogs that are awesome. But there is another edge to that blogger blade.
And this idea of reaching and striving for said perfection is distinctly Mormon. We work within different boundaries perhaps, but the principles play out just the same.
Celebrating, fantasizing and idolizing about the stupidly wealthy and fashionable is about as un-Mormon of an ideal as I can think of, regardless if the fashion has appropriately lengthed sleeves, and yet here we are leading the charge. Mormon culture, stemming from an attempt to follow Mormon doctrine, ends up being completely at odds with other Mormon doctrine. An angel basically told Nephi 2, years ago to not look at lifestyle porn. We need to raise our game. I have a hard enough time keeping up with the Joneses who I actually see on a weekly basis, why do we need the fabricated ones online?
Lifestyle porn stars feed off of and are sustained by our attention like the river of slime in Ghostbusters II feeds off of negative emotion. Put your phone down, turn to your spouse and look them in the unfiltered eyes. Deepen a connection with someone who might look a little rough around the edges, but actually cares about you. Your lifestyle porn stars can do without your attention for the evening.
And one final thought. If you do a mommy blog and you have a nanny, then there should at least be an asterisk next to your blog name. If you like what you read, please subscribe.