The Age Of Self-Deprecating Snark

NOTE from 2021: When I noticed my blog was getting hacked in February of 2020 I did some quick fixes and somehow all of my draft posts from the previous 16 years ended up assigned to that month. This is one of those posts. It was written sometimes between 2004 and 2020 but I don’t know exactly when. I deleted most of the posts but obviously I thought this one was worth keeping so I wanted to add the note to clarify any publication date confusion for future Me.

Recently an article was making the rounds about the “cool mom clique” and how the author was not in that clique at her kid’s school and at first I kinda was on board because I’ll periodically see a group of Moms talking at school events and I definitely can tell there’s a kindship and comraderie there and even though I’ve known the same Moms for years, I’m not in the group and I wonder about that a little bit.

But then the article got snarky and discussed how this clique of Moms always looked cute and fashionable and cared for their cuticles and blah blah blah and this Mom author just can’t bring themselves to care about those things (“My kids are lucky if I change out of my pajamas!”) and would never fit in with that group and then I jumped off the train and said, “Nevermind…I’m not on board anymore.”

This is a trend I see a lot in Articles Discussing Other People lately…this minimizing of other people because they care about something you don’t care about. But it’s done with what I call, “Self-Deprecating Snark.” Where the author tries to make fun of themself when trying to explain why they’re not like this other group of people.

I’ve seen it when people write about Moms Who Make Bucket Lists For Their Summer – or – Parents Who Dress Their Kids In Fancy Clothes or Dads Who Go To Daddy/Daughter Events etc. People will call out those groups of adults and try to be self-deprecating (My kids are lucky if I have the energy to even go to Redbox much less a formal event!) about it but it always comes off to me like you’re still making fun of the other group of parents.

I get it, I casually do it too. I know parents who don’t let their babies eat processed foods and I’ll kind of snark about how if mine hadn’t eaten processed food, they would have starved. And I don’t always feel great when I do it, but in that moment it’s a way to make myself feel better I guess. Or when I see my cousin’s “Week 1 of Summer!” activity list on instagram and I say something about how the only plan I have this summer is to take the kids swimming at the pool behind our house so every week of summer would look identical if I was planning it out.

My go to used to be cosmetics. I used to say stupid stuff like, “I’m just too lazy to care about makeup and eyebrows.” or “I’ll just never have the energy to care like other women do.” And that is true to a certain extent, but it’s also discreetly insulting people who DO care. We all feel a little insecure about stuff and we worry other people think bad of us that we don’t care about THAT THING and so we insult ourselves and make jokes about it but most of the time it hides a very obvious insult to people who DO care, and I’m trying to work on that.

So now I say, “I wish I knew more about makeup so I’d feel comfortable playing around with it. But I just don’t and feel overwhelmed so I don’t do anything.” Which is also true but less insulting to people who really enjoy makeup.

Or when it comes to parents who make big activity lists over the summers. I see a lot of, “Um. Hey kids, don’t think I’m making summer bucket lists. If you get 3 meals a day you’re lucky,” snarky responses to the trend of summer activity/bucket lists with kids. And don’t get me wrong, I WANT TO SNARK TOO. I’m just learning that the self-deprecating snark we tend to fall back on a lot in the age of social media, always hides insults to people who LIKE to make bucket lists for their kids.

So I’m trying to be better.

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