why I hate A Beautiful Mess

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.

a-beautiful-mess

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.

It’s nauseating.

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.

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6 thoughts on “why I hate A Beautiful Mess

  1. Kelly Hinkle

    I never saw it either until a few mins ago. “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.” Ha. The makeovers on the site make me uncomfortable too. Like, “come here you mousy librarian without enough funk, we’ll give you our patented quirky look!”

  2. Ramona

    I got suckered into reading ABM when it was in its infancy. Then something happened and it seemed like all the DIYs were faked for pretty photos. Try them at home and instant pinterest fail. What really bugged me was this smug holier than thou art attitude the girls adopted after becoming successful. They really seemed to buy into this idea that mindfulness and a PollyAnna attitude are all it takes to become internet millionaires like they are. Yes. ABM is a million dollar business. I spent a lot of time wondering why I didn’t take photography and webdesign classes in college. Why didn’t my life turn out like theirs? It helps if you are thin, pretty and have tons of money to invest in starting your lifestyle blog. Anyone who tells you they started similar and successful business with just a laptop at starbucks is full of crap. Thanks for this blog post. I was starting to think I was the only one put off by this and similar sites. Anyone else remember when Design Sponge tutorials didn’t require the ownership of a band saw?

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