First, I don’t actually HATE the site A Beautiful Mess. That would imply strong feeling and energy when really it inspires more of a bored, lazy dislike.
In case you aren’t familiar, A Beautiful Mess is basically the Manic Pixie Dream Girl persona embodied in website form. It’s cutesy and girly and quirky, with little handwriting-esque fonts and zany arrows. But mostly, it’s pictures of BEAUTIFUL, perfectly lit-and-styled food, crafts, decorations, and outfits. The two sisters look like flawless former sorority girls who traded in their streaked highlights and spray tans for Zooey Deschanel-inspired thick bangs and Warby Parker glasses, posing whimsically with their red velvet cupcakes and perfect vintage frocks.
At first, I was sucked in like everyone else. Squee! Who WOULDN’T immediately devour their site in a pastel jellybean trance? But then it set in. THERE IS NO “MESS” to A Beautiful Mess. Everything is perfect. Even the poor husbands seem like carefully dressed accessories to prove the women’s lives are flawless.
Real life is messy as fuck. I get that escapism and aspirational Pinterest-gazing can be totally fun and therapeutic sometimes. (I’ve been known to get sucked into Pinterest for hours.) But looking at A Beautiful Mess increasingly made me feel bad about myself and compare myself to an impossible, unattainable standard. Why wasn’t *I* making 300 hand-frosted mason jar candle-holders for my amazing outdoor wedding? WAIT, where the fuck was MY indie Ken doll to feed me hand-dipped organic chocolate-covered strawberries while reclining on our vintage quilted coverlet?
Carefully creating, photographing, and editing the shit outta their lives is a FULL-TIME JOB for the sisters (whose names I forget and don’t feel like looking up). The rest of us poor plebes have REAL jobs, sweatpants covered in cat fur, spilled wine, and dust bunnies. If I want to escape into a Magic Soothing Zen Place, I’ll go for a walk or meditate or google image search a sunset or some shit. Because none of that makes me feel bad about myself. I’m not a big fan of Chelsea Handler, but at least she owns (and revels in) life’s dysfunction, the awkward, the uncomfortable. Rather than Instagram-filtering it out and pretending it doesn’t exist. Bottom line for me is, life’s too short to waste it hate-reading some random website.
Postscript: On another note, I just don’t like the A Beautiful Mess aesthetic. It seems to glorify a 1950s feminine ideal of harmless, docile women eternally in the kitchen or behind a sewing machine. Give me punk rock, neon pink skulls, and badass rock-n-roll women! Give me Hillary Clinton and Joan Jett! You do not own glitter, A Beautiful Mess.