Cath Janes has had it with pass-agg Facebook statuses. If you agree, you’ll leave this article here for at least an hour.
Have you ever read anything that made you want to rip the ears off kittens more than this? No, I didn’t think so. Chances are that if your Facebook timeline is like mine you’ll have read a meme like this twice a day for the last five years. And if you are anything like me, each time you read such a suppuratingly guilt-riddled shitpile of passive aggressiveness about anything from breast cancer and miscarriage through to baldness and overbites, you too will want to commit GBH.
My problem isn’t with raising awareness about these issues. God no. I routinely chat to my customers about my history of depression and PTSD on Kraken Kreations. What I don’t say to my customers, though, is “To prove that you care, buy my bags.” And that’s my problem, because these issues are increasingly pimped through the festering medium of emotional blackmail.
“I know most of you won’t care but…” is the worst sort of harrumphing tantrum-speak. Thanks to Facebook, sentient adults are now insisting that we care about, say, ingrown toenails, not out of genuine feeling but because we’ll feel like heartless fucks if we don’t. Worse, it’s berating us while begging us, the digital equivalent of a bloke wolf-whistling us in the street and then calling us whores for not playing along with it.
Said sentient adults can fuck right off. You want to raise awareness about endometriosis (which I have, even though 76.4 per cent of you won’t care) try writing an update that starts with “I’d like to raise awareness about endometriosis.”
“Are there actually Facebook users who sit on the sofa to research the most guilt-trippingly offensive memes they can find?”
As I enunciate to my burbling eight-year-old when she’s over-excited, “Try. Using. All. Of. Your. Words.” Don’t just stomp your fucking feet until you hear what you want to hear, even though it’s left the recipient of your pass-agg stab feeling like psychological roadkill.
What’s even worse than this twisted wailing is the fact that it is so needless. Chances are that if anyone is open on Facebook about a health or social issue they’ll be rewarded with at least a few friends who will listen, empathise, care and support them. Why there is such a need to punish said friends for daring to watch EastEnders over continually wringing their hands is so far beyond me, I need a telescope to see it.
Weirdly it shows a staggering lack of compassion and empathy from the very people who are demanding both compassion and empathy for themselves.
What I’d love to know is how often these memes are well received. You know how street-harassing men must have a dazzlingly low success rate? Well that must surely be the case with these memes. Does anyone who uses them actually get inundated with back-slaps and supportive shares? As with the men who disguise power-grabs with chat-up lines, these Facebook users deploy memes to disguise their need for attention.
In fact I reckon they are the same people who use one-word updates. They’ll post “devastated” or “gutted” and then sit back to wait for the panicked hive mind to respond with “U OK hun” (punctuation deliberately missed there). It’s the teenage slamming of a bedroom door as the family sits downstairs wondering what the fuck is going on.
Which brings me to where these people actually find these memes. Are there digital banks of the things? Are there actually Facebook users who sit on the sofa to research the most guilt-trippingly offensive memes they can find?
I can picture them scrolling through an endless list of memes about various syndromes, muttering to themselves “Nope, too funny. Nah, too subtle. Aha! That one will make everyone feel like utter cunts for briefly forgetting that they’ve had cancer! I’ll use that one!”
So I’ve developed a scorched earth policy with these memes on my timeline. If I see one, the fingers behind it get duly unfriended. I recently cut short a friendship with an old schoolfriend who, with a history of posting this cockwash, upped the ante with a pic of a toddler, which read, “If you don’t share this image of a black baby you are a racist.”
The fact is that anyone who starts an update with “I know 97 per cent of you won’t care…” will soon find themselves to be deadly accurate because they’ll have lost precisely 97 per cent of their Facebook friends. You want me to support your cause? Then talk to me like I’m an adult. Until then, share this if you’re sick to fuck of the emotional blackmail.
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Cath Janes is the brains and stabbed fingers behind Kraken Kreations, which sells shouty, hand-sewn home decor and accessories for modern women. She also sews feminist and anatomical embroidery, dances in her sewing shed and once had a snapped sewing machine needle embedded in her right tit.