Utah: Lifestyle Porn Capital of the World

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Lifestyle Porn Mike Thayer

Exactly how we bake cookies at the Thayer home

Not every gospel doctrine class shows five minute clips from the Matrix, but some do. Well, at least one did. It was 2004 and I was on my LDS mission in Italy.

“Brothers and sisters,” our fine teacher began. “What we have just watched is not real. 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.”

There it is. 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. Porn isn’t real. 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. 

Taking a cursory scan of the Googles returned an article in the LDS Church News Archive entitled “Dual Relationship with Family, Fantasy.” The article starts off by saying “They are men with two relationships. 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.” 

“Ok, Thayer, so what’s your clever twist here?” you might ask. “Why am I reading this blog post?”

Look, I agree with all of these points. 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 wish to speak about the pervasiveness of “lifestyle porn”. 

I begin the parallel with a story. I have hidden the names and my connection to this person for anonymity’s sake and to avoid embarrassment, hurt feelings, and blah blah blah. Rest assured, however, that this is a true story and one that probably repeats itself more often than any of us know. 

There is a woman, let’s call her Sarah, that is quite crafty. Not crafty in the devious or wily sense, but crafty in the “can legitimately pull off crafts on Pintrest” sense. A few years ago she was asked by her ultra fashionable friend, let’s call her Braxlynn, to come over and help her make an ultra fashionable treat. You see, Braxlynn’s home is palatial and, by her own admission, she doesn’t really even know where all of her kitchen stuff is. 

Sarah was kind enough to oblige her culinarily challenged friend and after commandeering Braxlynn’s kitchen for an hour or so, the treats were all but done. 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. A short time after Sarah made Braxlynn’s treats, Braxlynn’s blog post came out. To her half million followers, Braxlynn and kid had apparently spent a lovely afternoon invested in some quality mother-daughter time, making a super easy and stylish treat in a kitchen that looks like it’s the celestial room’s butler’s pantry. No mention of Sarah, no mention of the nanny, no mention of reality. It wasn’t real. None of it.  

But you know what? This post isn’t about railing on the Braxlynns of the world (not exclusively anyway), however much the thought of them exacerbates my irritable bowel syndrome. People already have entire websites dedicated to mocking these women and pointing out the ridiculousness of posting a $1,500 “low end” alternative to their favorite $4,500 Tuesday afternoon outfit or the fact that their “baggy pants and sweater” outfit cost more than my best suit (as an aside, the only way I would ever dream of coming close to spending $4,500 on a single outfit is if I was attempting a run through the Mines of Moria and needed full armor fashioned of pure mithril that had been annealed in a vat of dragon tears). What I want to talk about is the effect that these blogs have on the millions of people who subscribe to them. 

I have to admit that although I had heard Sarah’s story some time ago, I didn’t actually look at Braxlynn’s blog post until just recently. I was hoping to find out that it hadn’t explicitly claimed that mother and daughter had done the activity together or that it somehow was vague enough for plausible deniability. It’s not. It’s not just misleading; it’s a flat out lie. 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. They can’t look away. Even the ones who rail against it can’t look away.

You can see the effect it has on people by the comments on Instagram. They reach out to these bloggers like the woman in the crowd reaching for Jesus’s robe. 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. It isn’t real. Watching all of this is addictive and it sets unrealistic expectations for marriage and life that can lead to feelings of disappointment and inadequacy. It entices women everywhere to connect with things that aren’t rea…wait a second…Where have I heard that before? It sounds so familiar…Oh, that’s right! Porn! What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a sweeping epidemic of Lifestyle Porn. 

“Oh what’s the harm in watching the Real Housewives of Wherever or the Kardashians? 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.” You gonna let your husband use those same arguments with porn? What’s the harm? Who does it hurt? He’s just picking up some good inspiration for the bedroom? Maybe that’s how you roll, I don’t know, but I would think that a lot of people wouldn’t accept those arguments. I certainly wouldn’t, because those arguments are ridiculous, both for lifestyle porn and for porn porn.

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). I’m not sure these people would recognize an actual real life if it came up and kicked them in the throat with a pair of $700 Jimmy Choo heels (although an actual real life wouldn’t be wearing a pair of $700 shoes, so maybe that’s a bad example). 

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.

Their life isn’t naturally unfolding as their blogs and Instagram would suggest anymore than a porn star’s life is naturally unfolding as depicted by their DVDs and subscription site. It is staged, it is amped up, it is targeted all for maximum addictiveness. It is life’s moments seen through a $5,000 DSLR camera lens, or as Braxlynn calls it a “one outfit” lens. 

“Oh, you’re just jealous,” you might say. Well, uh…yeah. I’m currently getting my butt up at 5:00 am every day to work 60+ hrs a week in a refinery in sub zero Montana. I would love to take a picture of my sandwich or a selfie of me shoveling snow and pay the bills for the week, but I can’t, and the expectation that I should be able to is exactly what’s wrong with my generation. 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. The term “bloggernacle” didn’t manifest itself out of nowhere. 

I’ll assert that the effect on Mormon moms and Mormon families is particularly prevalent. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that most of these mommy blogs are by 20-40 year olds and for 20-40 year olds. 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. Wonderful and creative ideas about motherhood and homemaking are exchanged and it’s a wonderful thing. There are numerous mommy blogs that are awesome. But there is another edge to that blogger blade. It is publicizing one’s own perfection. And this idea of reaching and striving for said perfection is distinctly Mormon. 

In this quest for perfection, we would like to think ourselves infinitely better than the extravagantly vain Kardashians or the immoral porn star, but we’re not, not in many ways at least. We work within different boundaries perhaps, but the principles play out just the same. There’s no stigma around consumption of lifestyle porn or those that produce it, but there should be.

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 2,600 years ago to not look at lifestyle porn. “Behold the gold, and the silver, and the silks, and the scarlets, and the fine-twined linen, and the precious clothing, and the harlots (read: lifestyle pornographers), are the desires of this great and abominable church.” If he ain’t talking about lifestyle porn then what the hell else is he talking about? 

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? Let’s choose role models over fashion models. 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. Let’s prop up loftier ideals and leaders. Let’s pay attention to less superficial things. 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. Seek validation there. 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.  I’ve got more coming.

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351 Responses to Utah: Lifestyle Porn Capital of the World

  1. K Welch says:

    I like what you have to say Mike. I love the final thought.

    • Jenny Hatch says:

      That last line…ouch!

      I have been blogging for ten years.

      During the early years I tried to monitize my blog several times, but quickly realized that the few hours a week I devoted to writing would be swallowed up in logistics dealing with advertisers and trying to make them happy.

      Being an independent blogger gives the Mom complete freedom to take a month off now and again to spend time on more important endeavors, like my sons wedding that just happened last week.

      I am not enslaved by my need for traffic, nor
      am I in hock to readers to keep upping the ante by over sharing.

      My hubby is the provider at our house and as the years have clicked by I spend way more time writing about freedom, politics, education, religion, and health care than I do/did about my family.

      That being said I am not going to point the finger of scorn at any family who is making a living blogging.

      We all have to live and learn.

      Blogging has brought a great deal of distress into my life, but I have no regrets about confronting the various entities who have worked for decades to enslave the human family.

      I do not know that I will subscribe to you as I enjoy reading some of the very people you are critiquing.

      There is so much ugliness on the web that I love seeing beautifully crafted posts that are filled with flowers, smiling babies, clean and well groomed doggies, and fit and beautiful people.

      If those families are making bank and sharing the good things in their lives… who am I to question how they choose to spend their time and energy?

      The worst thing is for a dedicated, opinionated mom blogger to go read her GOMI critiques and self censor or stop blogging to curb the hate.

      If blogging has exposed female mormondom as the vapid, worldly, materialistic broads so devastatingly depicted in 2 Nephi 13 and Isaiah 3…well, here we are.

      I believe those chapters claim that the Lord himself is going to cleanse the daughters of Zion of their worldliness.

      How is he going to do it?

      I suppose we will have to wait and see…

      • Sara says:

        Wonderful that you have found blogging as a creative outlet and forum for expressing ideas with like-minded individuals!

        As I read your response, it sounded as if you felt the writer was attacking mommy blogs in general, which I didn’t see at all. In fact, he specifically said there was value in the “mommy blogs” that keep it real. His comments are 100% directed to the fakers out there, that create a fantasy world and call it a “day in the life”. And he is 100% correct that it’s created unrealistic/unattainable expectations. It’s no wonder that mental health issues like depression and anxiety have skyrocketed among LDS church members over the past few years.

        • Jenny Hatch says:

          If the example he shared of fakery is happening day after day on certain blogs, eventually the truth will come out and that Mom will be exposed as a poser.

          Will that mean she loses all advertisers and readers? Probably not. The whole world of television is based on fake people doing fake things and billions tunes in day after day.

          Is the Mom who gets the coveted Kraft Mac n Cheese advertising account to be admired while the gal who writes and nabs the Macys ad is to be shunned as a faker?

          I have had advertisers approach me many times and each time I had to ask, “what is
          the goal?” “What am I trying to accomplish as a writer?” “Will allowing those ads on my blog cause me to self censor?”

          When pharma reps contact me, I always chuckle to myself and wonder if they even bothered to read my content.

          As stated above, we all have to live and let live. I buy my clothes at thrift stores and Walmart, so do not maneuver in the fashion world that some bloggers thrive in.

          If those gals want to “appear” to be homemakers who cook with the kids, who cares?

          At some level we are ALL faking it when we plaster a smile on our faces and scrub the dirt off our toddlers and put on clean clothes to go out shopping or to church.

          I don’t want to be the one judging the facade. Only Father in Heaven gets to do that.

          I do feel comfortable publicly calling out inconsistencies on certain Mommy Blogs when I notice them, but most of the time those comments are not published.

          And I have run a full out assault on the biggest poser of them all, The Skeptical OB: https://jennyhatch.com/?s=Dr+Amy

          Authenticity is to be admired and praised, but we all benefit from the world being made more beautiful by the lifestyle bloggers who write about homes, gardens, and yummy food that gladdens the heart and pleases the eye.

          Here is one of my early video tutorials on cookie baking.

          https://jennyhatch.com/2006/11/30/whole-wheat-sugar-cookies/

          I did not bother to put pants on the four year old cutting out cookies sitting in his pullup on the table before taping.

          It did not occur to me to do so.

          And that is why I will probably never have half a million readers.

          • JRO says:

            The point is that women feel inferior when they see all this “perfection” going on around them. The problem is two fold: fakers who make things look easy and perfect, and the moms who buy into that shit and allow themselves to feel inferior.

          • S Young says:

            Exactly

      • Zac says:

        I think you missed the point of that last line. IF YOU HAVE A NANNY you should put an asterisk next to your “Mommy blog” name.

      • mom2alexnjax says:

        Love this article. Spot on Moronista’s.

      • Amber says:

        I don’t think you totally get the point he is trying to make. Been there. Done that. Glad I’m older.

      • Jen Robison says:

        I am one of the bloggers who posts photos of their “perfect” home. It’s what gained me almost 200k followers on instagram. People go to instagram for inspiration, they like bright photos of beautifully designed homes. We bloggers have to treat our blogs and instagram like the pages of a magazine. I do however keep it real about what is going on in my life behind the scenes, I frequently tell people that more often than not, all of our cushions are on the floor, along with dirty socks and candy wrappers. If anyone ever says “I don’t know how you do it all” I never hesitate to tell them “I don’t, we live in our home, we have the same messes as anyone else”. I did a baking photoshoot with my son last year and was called out by a reader for baking whilst “dressed up” I told her of course I don’t bake like that and yes it was for the shoot. The message behind the shoot remains the same, family traditions. I have had countless emails and comments from people telling me they were inspired to create a space they loved through my posts. It is possible to keep it real if only through the words we speak. The beautiful photos are part of the job. This is just the perspective from one Mormon mom blogger.

        • Jen Robison says:

          Sorry, I left out the part about the fact that I do still agree with some of what you said. But I don’t think all bloggers are the same. I also am open about the fact that the reason we have our beautiful home is because my husband works very hard in construction, and we’ve built and sold many times to get there we are.

        • Jenny Hatch says:

          I don’t know Jen…

          Dressing up for a baking photo shoot?

          “I did a baking photoshoot with my son last year and was called out by a reader for baking whilst “dressed up” I told her of course I don’t bake like that and yes it was for the shoot.”

          Sounds like lifestyle porn to me.

          Guess your family won’t qualify for Celestial glory now because you dared to put some lipstick on before making your Christmas Cookies.

          As I said above, there is nothing wrong with creating lovely and of good report photos and videos for our blogs.

          I wish I had more artistry on my posts, but I invest most of my blogging time reading and commenting on current events and politics.

          Please Mom Lifestyle Bloggers of Mormondom… keep up the great work!

          Jenny Hatch

          • Jay says:

            I still don’t believe you are quite getting what his point is. Yes, he was pretty blunt when talking about ”mommy bloggers”, but the point is the affect it has on the viewers. It promotes toxic comparison of others and feelings of inadequacy. Most people will try to act as if it doesn’t affect them, but those thoughts will still come when people are on holiday for four months of the year and never posting anything “real”. Jen can provide beautiful photos that her readers love and still promote a sense of reality that a lot of her readers can relate to. She isn’t pretending to be a perfectly dressed baker every time she’s in the kitchen, and she made that known. Bloggers aren’t damned for making money creating content that is engaging, no matter how inrelatable it is. The drama needs to be in the blog post to take a step back and really think about how you view these things, what you’re broadcasting on social media, etc. If these things don’t affect you then that’s great! I’m truly happy for you, but for being 25 and going through marriage and building my future in a time where EVERYONE is publicly showing where they’re at in their life can sometimes be challenging. I’ve talked about this post with many people and we’ve really appreciated that someone would be so blunt to say what many think. I’m just ranting now and it probably doesn’t make sense, I just feel pretty passionately about social media/blogs and the negative feelings that sometimes come from viewing them.

          • Jenny Hatch says:

            This reply is to Jay below who said:

            “I still don’t believe you are quite getting what his point is. Yes, he was pretty blunt when talking about ”mommy bloggers”, but the point is the affect it has on the viewers”

            I do get it and believe me, Heavenly Father gets it. He knew earth life would be defined by vast inequalities.

            That is why the ten commandments have such specific directions regarding coveting other peoples houses, wives, servants etc…

            This post by Mike is a good social experiment for the LDS people, and has likely lead to many healthy conversations.

            Do we hate Mom bloggers because of their wealth, beauty, smarts, and/or homes? Or do we hate them because they compell us to realize and reconcile all of our own many deficiencies in those categories?

            Who knows how much good is being done with the wealth being generated by Mormon Mommy Blogging?

            Perhaps Mikes next article could point to the many charities, missionary work and other good things being done by Mom Bloggers.

            I have been incredibly open about my struggles with mental illness and have had countless emails from Moms who told me that reading my story gave them hope.

            https://jennyhatch.com/2015/01/15/book-excerpt-a-mothers-journey-by-jenny-hatch/

            Should I stop blogging now because a Mom overwhlemed with post partum depression looks at my life and doesn’t feel inspired by my success at healing my brain?

            I think this post is more of an indictment on those of us who read blogs and feel inadequate and overwhelmed than it is to those who are actually doing the crafting of the posts.

            Women were overwhelmed by their fellow Mothers way before the internet and blogging.

            It is part of the human condition. And something we all need to be conscious of.

            Jenny Hatch
            http://www.JennyHatch.com

          • Analisa says:

            I agree with Jay here. Pretty sure you still have about a 35% understanding of what he is saying in this article. He’s not talking about YOU directly, and as a 22 year old Mormon who grew up in the social world I can tell you he’s talking about what has created depression in 75% of my friends. He’s talking about unrealistic expectations set by people who only post on Instagram regarding their “perfect” lives. He’s not talking about the type of blogging you do which is very much real and very much unique. He’s not trying to offend you. He’s trying to help those out there who waste hours every day staring at the lives they feel they aren’t good enough to have. Be it because they feel they aren’t RICH enough, or PRETTY enough, or SMART enough, or TALENTED enough. They waste hours and hours on Instagram and Blogs and Tumblr and Pinterest DREAMING of the life they want to have rather than MAKING the life they want to have. So stop thinking this was about YOU because it’s not. This is about how LIFESTYLE PORN is a real thing, and maybe it has to do with the fact that you aren’t seeing the world of Instagram or Blogs or Pinterest or Tumblr the way other mormon 20 year olds in Utah see it, but for them, lifestyle porn, it’s real and the name ‘lifestyle porn’ is the best name I’ve ever heard for it. So please, recognize that you don’t know the situations that everyone is facing, but just cause you don’t know them, doesn’t mean that what he is saying isn’t true. This is one of the best explanations of one of the worst plagues that has infected the growing generation. A large portion of that infection includes things like depression, including lack of motivation or desire to improve, a feeling of worthlessness or inability, and ultimately giving up.

          • S Young says:

            Love it!

        • S Young says:

          Awesome!

      • Sydne says:

        Love your response. ❤️

    • Nita C. Harris says:

      What is so likeable?

      I have a different opinion of my fellow Mormons! On Christmas eve, December 2015, my beloved husband had surgery, then for the next 5 months he was in and out of hospitals and nursing homes until his death on May 25th. Every day various brothers and sisters took me to be with Bill in the mornings and picked me up at night until he passed away. Two months later I discovered I had cancer, had a mastectomy, then 6 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. Same thing, many, many people signing up to give me rides to hospital and appointments. So thankful to all of them, including doctors and nurses and aides. All of this taught me to want to be more charitable towards others. I’d better do so.

      I’m 85 years old, been in many wards in the Church in Utah. Lots of us use Facebook and the only blogs I know which are plentiful are Family History blogs. Never heard of “lifestyle porn”. Why are people now calling other stuff porn? Pornography is bad stuff and stands alone in its infamy.

      Mike, where do you get all your vast knowledge of Mormon women? Let’s all of us try not to judge people on a general basis.

      • Helen Isitt says:

        Mike is married to a Mormon Woman, was born to a Mormon woman, has sisters and sisters-in-law, cousins and friends who are Mormon women. He served a mission and his work has taken him to many places within and outside the US. I’d hazard a guess that is where he’s gained his knowledge of Mormon women, men and children, being a writer with a capacity to observe and understand.

      • Judie says:

        I so agree with you Nita to compare blogging to porn is over simplifying porn. Porn is evil that’s why most hide in unoccupied rooms by themselves or with others of the same mindset.
        Blogging to me has nothing to do with the picture or how someone
        is styled for the picture. Would you rather see a sweaty slob standing
        behind her display? I’ve lived long enough to know behind every person is a problem or someone who struggles with the day to day
        challenges we all receive. There maybe a few sites that are unreal or inappropriate but I doubt you can find few of those on Mormon sites.
        I have more problems with all the sites on social media who claim to be nurtionist or knowledgeable in one area or the other while taking things to extremes. So I read and try to glean good things from those sites and make sure I’m applying things in moderation and develop
        things that work for my family.
        But really applying these things to filth and improper behavior is just pure deceit. Addiction comes in many shapes and sizes but I was uncomfortable with writer comparison.

    • Brenda Morris says:

      I dislike anything described or compared to the word porn. That is one word I hate and conjures up disgusting images. If you have had any in your life or the lives of your children affected by someone who is or had been into porn. It is painful and disturbing. If you want to be cool and use a new word for what goes on in families find another word than porn. Real porn has no comparison values whether it is food or family lifestyles or blogging etc.

      • April says:

        Totally agree!

        • Sugarplum says:

          Yes, yes, yes! So well said. Although I enjoyed some of the content in this blog…..please stop using the word porn! Idolatry has its own name, use it!

      • Brady says:

        Disagree.
        I know 1st hand the destructive nature of porn and what it can do to family life.
        But the parallel drawn here to what is termed “lifestyle porn” is very acute. I’ve seen wives, sisters, mothers spend just as much time and emotion on these fake blogs as any guy spends on porn and the results are very much the same – time and emotional connection removed from family and placed on a fake life.

        Just fee free to dislike the comparison, most porn addicts dislike the term addict as well.

        • Absalian says:

          Let us keep it real here… nowadays porn problems aren’t even remotely the sole domain of the husband. I’m speaking from experience, and the damage done to a man in his role in the marital relationship when he finds his wife has unrealistic expectations due to HER porn watching problem is every bit as terrible as in the reverse scenario.

          Porn is a problem among both men AND women… and that needs to be acknowledged.

        • A.W. says:

          Spot on!

      • Anon says:

        My thoughts exactly. Stop misusing this word.

        • Absalian says:

          The word is not misused in the slightest. It is unfortunately incredibly hyper-focused to mean only ONE thing among some out there.

          The fact that it elicits such a strong response is MEANT to wake people up to just how equally disastrous “lifestyle porn” can be. Sex is one of the least of the areas in which unrealistic expectations can destroy a marriage or family.

          Call it porn, because that is what it IS. People “performing” in order to create an unrealistic depiction that titillates… whether sexual or not. And it would be wise for those who have such a strong response to the word to take notice and spend a moment to recognize WHY the word is being used in the context of “lifestyle porn”.

          Get past the word itself in order to wrap your mind around the POINT, because it IS just as strong an meaningful as any person’s general definition of sexual pornography, and I would have to pause and wonder at any person’s defense of “lifestyle porn” as anything BUT pornography.

          Literally, in the past, pornography wasnt just depictions of lewdness, it included devils, idolatry, etc. So the term, “lifestyle porn” is much more apt than many seem to realize.

      • Bunny B Legg says:

        AGREE 100%

      • Doug says:

        Like many words in our language, the word “porn” is not limited to one definition. My dictionary lists two possibilities:

        1. Sometimes, por·no . pornography; sexually explicit videos, photographs, writings, or the like, produced to elicit sexual arousal (often used attributively): arrested for selling porn; a porn star; porn films.
        2. television shows, articles, photographs, etc., thought to cater to an excessive, irresistible desire for or interest in something: a magazine filled with enticing food porn; an addiction to real-estate porn.

        There are many words one may find objectionable in one context, but are perfectly acceptable in another. This is just one of them.

    • Moana Gasū says:

      Thank goodness I don’t have a flint of interest in “worldly” women, real or not. I like living the life of a “peasant,” It’s rewarding and there’s no competition in it. You’re welcome!

    • Ariel Hatch says:

      I gotta say: I’m a nearly-28-year-old mom of three, two of whom are in diapers, with a husband in his first year of law school. Check, check, check! That part made me laugh. (I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been invited to Jamberry Nail, Usborne Book and Mikarose ‘parties,’ but that’s a pet peeve for another day.)

      I discovered pinterest right after my first child was born. I felt excited at the possibilities that I saw before me! This has grown over the years though to feeling like my own home is completely inadequate, since I really have no knack for such things as house decorating or even always keeping things tidy. I usually feel self-conscious when people come over, thinking they must have seen as many beautiful homes and rooms as I have (online), and judging me for it. The women in the links I’ve clicked on pinterest certainly do. It’s subtle, but it’s in the title, using words like ‘un-sightly’, ‘ugly,’ ‘outdated,’ ‘gross’ etc. to describe ‘befores’ in before and after tutorials…when I’m definitely sporting the before, myself.

      And that’s just pinterest! I don’t have an active instagram account because the only time I clicked on something, it was exactly the scenario you described. An Incredibly beautiful woman, dressed phenomenally, with seemingly everything beautiful in her life. Children, home, food, clothing. Always smiling. Laughing, laughing, laughing. Bad days? Non-existent! This is paradise, remember?!

      I know I’m not everyone, and perhaps some people (more secure people?) really do feel inspired when they see these fictional, beautiful lives. But I don’t think I’m alone in feeling instead…lesser. I didn’t want inspiration, to admire and revere someone else’s life. I wanted connection.

      Blogging, it seems, has taken something that I thought would be worthwhile (journaling, essentially), and turned it into a competition. If people don’t aspire to be like you, as can be evidenced by the number of followers, you are failing at life. Not all blogs…but the ones you describe. The ones dominating pinterest, instagram, and many, many mommy blogs.

      I’m a much bigger fan of mom’s sharing REAL lives. Messes made and children in the thick of it, looking guilty, dirty and happy. Moms locked in pantries to sneak cookies (boxed ones, not artfully crafted homemade ones) because they want a break. Children having chosen their own clothing, which ends up being nothing but a Halloween shirt in May, cowboy boots and a diaper. Or complete failures at homemaking: dinner burnt to a crisp because they selected ‘high’ on a crockpot instead of ‘low.’

      These ones make me feel validated, feel connected with people who are willing to share these glimpses into their relatable, completely worthwhile lives. They make me laugh at situations no one would want to find themselves in, but are so fun to hear about as an outside person. They lift me up. They don’t tear me down with an “in case you forgot…I’m winning in this competition you didn’t mean to sign up for…and you’re losing.”

      I have enough appropriate guilt, in trying to become more Christ-like. Guilt that motivates me to change ACTUAL negative behavior. I don’t need to have man-made, totally ridiculous guilt, for not measuring up to these fictions.

      Yes. Yes to this article, to this point. 100%.

  2. EmilyC says:

    This is great. Well written. Shellac coating on fake nails—must be perfection. Shared.

  3. Adam Osgood says:

    Best post so far. Thanks for exposing lifestyle pornographers for what they really are :).

  4. KM says:

    Wonderfully written. Subscribed!

  5. acw says:

    great points, and reality check, thanks! You (or the women reading this) might get a kick out of the spoof parenting site that mocks these sorts of staged photos: http://itsliketheyknowus.com/

  6. peetie14 says:

    You’re not alone in noticing this. There are instagrams all about this type of issue – like http://www.instagram.com/the.real.moms.of.insta who only shows the screw-ups in life, as a direct reaction to all the “perfection” that is seen on instagram and other social media sites.

    • thaydawg says:

      I’m glad to know that I am not alone fighting the good fight. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    • Jenny Spencer says:

      This Instagram is awesome! Thanks for sharing! I needed a real-life mom to follow. Like he said, this reality porn was getting me down. Way to go the.real.moms.of.insta!

  7. Pomeroy Jordan says:

    I really like your reasoning. Vapid, pointless time spent in idle envy. And that’s what porn is. And that’s all it is. Well, perhaps worse for the poor people in the industry, and perhaps a little more addictive.

    Is either the scourge of humanity? The bane of civilization? Nah, just stupid vices to avoid.

  8. Catherine Kelsey says:

    You have made some valid points in that unrealistic pictures of others lives do add to feelings of dissatisfaction with ones own life etc. I take exception however at you pointing a finger at Utah or Mormon culture as being the most represented in this trap. I’d be interested to know what studies you have read that prove that this dilemma is mostly connected to Utah or Mormons. This is actually becoming a plague that is hitting every area & every one. It is something that has existed for centuries thus reminding us that the Lord has warned us about envy. But modern technology has made the source of lust and envy more rapidly available to everyone in the world. Don’t kid yourself – this is NOT a problem conducive mostly to to members of the church. I’m in the counselling field and see this problem among all people who are coming in unhappy about their lives or marriages.

    • thaydawg says:

      Catherine, thanks for taking the time to read my post and taking the extra time to comment. No doubt lifestyle porn as a phenomenon is no respecter of cultures, but I do still think that Utah and Mormon cultures are overly represented here for the reasons I list in the post. Haven’t read any studies, just going off of what I observe. Thanks again.

      • Human “study” is enough. We’ve all seen it – if our eyes are open – but then some eyes are turned the other way. Great post – first of yours I’ve read. There’s truth in these thoughts. I’m just glad I’m too old ( 50s) to buy into any of these fake blogs.

      • Brianna says:

        I agree with Catherine. I actually really liked many parts of your article, but the overall feeling left in one’s proverbial mouth is that of a vague snideness or distaste towards Utah LDS women. What would have been a great, well written article had it been left directed at lifestyle pornography in general (love the term, btw), ended up seeming more like just another jab at mormons, which is sad because I really loved several of your points. Catherine is spot on and fakeness in the blogosphere and social media in general is prevalent everywhere, and probably much more equal than you think. Your inability to cite any actual research sources to support your ‘observations’ of a Utah dominance, as well as the few passive aggressive digs smattered through your otherwise eloquent writing, adds to the underlying tainted feeling of Mormon distaste in your words. This would have been an excellent article otherwise, and I would have been a quick subscriber.

        • Charlotte says:

          Being a Mormon woman who is less than active in the church within the 20-40 year age limit I personally feel like he was very accurate not just on blogging but with with the attitude surrounding women in this age group in the church in Utah. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all women but a large number of women seem to fit. Because of what I have experienced in my life I have to agree with that there is a feeling of aarogance and holier than thou towards the women who do not fit within their circle. It is hard to be a woman in Utah who does not fit into a certain mold so reading the “mommy blogs” and the lifestyle porn it’s almost natural to feel down on yoursel! I’m not a baker, I’m not one who grows a big garden and bottles it for the winter time, my boys don’t go to Boy Scouts, I’m not at church every Sunday. Even though I am a great person, I’m loving, I’m very giving and helpful, it’s many times not enough. I have had to stop reading so many blogs, the lifestyle porn because enough was enough. I have to agree that so much of what they show is fake but the personalities and the attitudes are for real.

    • Scott Fullmer says:

      It doesn’t matter if it “the most” or not. That’s really not the point. That fact that it exists in Mormondom at is an indictment on us. Moroni very specifically warns the latter-day church in Moroni 8:35-37: “35 Behold, I speak unto you as if ye were present, and yet ye are not. But behold, Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.

      36 And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities; and your churches, yea, even EVERY ONE have become polluted because of the pride of your hearts.

      37 For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel, and the adorning of your churches, more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.”

      So, you see, Cahtherine Kelsey, it doesn’t matter what else anyone else in the world is doing, whether there doing more that us (“Oh, good! They’re worse than we are.”), nor better, (Well, I’m sure they’ll catch up to us a little if we slow down enough to let them overtake us…Then we can hit the gas again!” Moroni’s point is that we are sufficiently polluted all by ourselves, because we are that full of what Moroni and President Benson called the trap of Pride. And further, what Isaiah saw in his vision of the latter-day flower that was last seen blossoming as a rose:
      Woe to the crown of pride, to the drunkards of Ephraim, whose glorious beauty is a fading flower, which are on the head of the fat valleys of them that are overcome with wine!

      2Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong one, which as a tempest of hail and a destroying storm, as a flood of mighty waters overflowing, shall cast down to the earth with the hand.

      3The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet:

      4And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up.

      5In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people,

      6And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate.

      7But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment.

      8For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.

      9Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

      10For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:

      11For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.

      12To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

      13But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

      A Cornerstone in Zion
      (1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 1 Peter 2:4-12)

      14Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem.

      15Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

      16Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

      17Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

      18And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

      19From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report.

      20For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it.

      21For the LORD shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act.

      22Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord GOD of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth.

      Listen and Hear God’s Voice
      23Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech.

      24Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground?

      25When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?

      26For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.

      27For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.

      28Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen.

      29This also cometh forth from the LORD of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

    • Rachel says:

      But let’s be honest here, as a Mormon myself, this “lifestyle porn” is even more prevalent than ever. It may exist all over, but inside the Mormon culture it’s become an epidemic.

    • Absalian says:

      http://www.deseretnews.com/top/677/0/Utahs-women-bloggers-are-top-in-the-nation.html

      https://www.good.is/articles/sister-bloggers

      I can link several others, but just googling “mormon lifestyle bloggers percentage” will blow you mind. It isn’t just Mormons who are gulping up the fakery (yes, not always… but all to often) that Mormon housewife are presenting.

      Kudos to those bloggers out there keeping it real. You have all the more reason to hope that the fakers and poseurs out there get exposed. Those keeping it real deserve the attention. Show life as it is. That is what people really need to see in order to retain proper perspective.

      • S Young says:

        Actually people don’t need to read blogs at all to help them gain proper perspective. Live your own lives the best you know how and quit pointing your fingers at people you know nothing about. That’s when the real perspective will happen. Get your noses out of ridiculous blog articles like this and into your communities so you can actually make a difference.

  9. Rebekah says:

    I recently gave an RS workshop on “making home a heaven” and was overwhelmed by the sentiments of inadequacy expressed by women in my stake. On the one hand I’m so grateful to be part of a community that celebrates motherhood, where I don’t have to feel ashamed about my choice to stay home with my kids. On the other hand it is so tiresome to be bombarded with superficial images and overinflated expectations of what good motherhood looks like. This is why talks directed to the Priesthood are always along the lines of “straighten up and fly right” and those directed to women are always “you’re doing ok!” We just can’t quit belittling our personal accomplishments and comparing ourselves to the unrealistic. Very frustrating. I really appreciate your perspective.

    • A. R. says:

      Your comments really hit home Rebekah. Thank you. It really got me thinking. And I am trying to figure out how I feeI about all this. I think I see a disturbing trend, or pendulum swing in the other direction: toward women now rationalizing that sins are “okay” because we keep being told “you are doing ok.” As if we are being told that it is okay to rationalize sin. This worries me because I don’t tend to compare to the degree in the article. I avoid pop culture becauae it is so far from reality as I see it…. But really, we are now getting a pat on the back. In essence we get the participation trophy- so to speak. It is “okay to let the ball drop.” You are only human. Etc…. This too is damaging just like the comparison trap where women literally die (inside, ruin health, relationships, etc) trying to meet an unrealistic ideal that is believed to be equivelant to righteousness. There needs to be a direct focus on moderation. Maybe some healthy individual “guilt” aka motivation in the RIGHT areas is called for. Basically, comparison to worldly standards and not God’s true and good standards is the thief of true, lasting joy and success. The coddling tactics of well meaning people might be backfiring. Accepting mediocrity instead of mastery and excellence and real goodness. Speaking of fire, we need to hold our feet to the fire with things that matter. Because we are headed for social collapse (actually already there in many respects), that starts first with individual and family collapse. Back to basics. Back to 40 years in the wilderness to learn it out of us? Forced humility will get the job done if and when people won’t choose it, which naturally leads to situations of collapse… and forced humility. The pride cycle…. Sorry for my rambling thoughts. That really is just what they are. And again, thank you for yours.

      • Bonnie says:

        Wonderful comments, A.R.! I have had some of those same thoughts recently. Moderation and “healthy guilt”!

      • Nathan Capener says:

        This post intrigues me. If you would like you can contemplate this thought. What is said at the pulpit from the Lord’s chosen should be sustained by the congregation. Yet, not blindly! There is so much information to process that Satan has an easy time flattering us into holding on to that which is more or less than the gospel. Hold fast to those concepts that are taught over the pulpit of revelation studying it out in your mind of first how it applies to you, than how it applies to everyone else. All the while lifting and uplifting those around you which in turn does change and enhance yourself to accomplish works of righteousness.

  10. Excellent post. Escapism and fantasy can be very healthy and helpful to many people. But when you start to think that you can and should be living the perfectionistic fantasies of blog-land, emotional and mental distress will inevitably abound. So I suggest, instead of consuming lifestyle blogs to escape stress, one should consider reading something by Octavia Butler instead :)

    • thaydawg says:

      Thanks for your comment. I agree about escapism and fantasy. I’m trying to get published as a fantasy author for Pete’s sake. But I think there’s a distinct difference here. No one that I’m aware of resents their spouse because they haven’t provided them with their rightfully due magical powers or personal dragon (except the people who had withdrawal symptoms after watching Avatar. Those people might). My book(s) will hopefully be an escape through which we explore aspects of the human condition in an environment that is impossible in real life. Lifestyle porn is the celebration of extravagance consumed by those who aspire to and build expectations around one day attaining some same measure of said extravagance. Long live sci-fi and fantasy!!

  11. Yvonne says:

    Brigham Young once said “The worst fear that I have about [members of this Church] is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches” (quoted in Preston Nibley, Brigham Young: The Man and His Work [1936], 128). Liahona April 2004 (https://www.lds.org/liahona/2002/04/questions-and-answers?lang=eng)

    I’m guessing Lifestyle Porn is what BY foresaw future generations of LDS people struggling with.

    • Ray says:

      I dunno; personally, I’d love to be tried with riches.

      • Yvonne says:

        My opinion is that the being “tried with riches” is not the literal “be super rich” but the ease of access to which we have to credit to buy things we fact afford, or to be tried because we are coveting other people’s wealth.

        When I was a newlywed my husband installed security systems for Vivint, which was then called Apex Alarm. During the iff-season he would do some installs in Utah county as he was a student at BYU. One time we went to a big, beautiful, gorgeous house for an install that had very little furniture in any of the rooms. I worked at RC Willey soon after and learned from the salespeople that there were a lot of people who built big, beautiful houses and then didn’t have money to fill the houses with furniture so they bought it all on credit.

        My bachelor’s degree is in interior design, so I get it, I really do – but this wake-up call to the reality of Utah McMansions was after my mission in Chicago where I was exposed to this novel idea in one of the member’s homes of remodeling a regular house with really nice expensive finishes so you aren’t paying for more square footage + expensive finishes. 2,000 sq ft of hardwood costs a lot less money than 4,000 sq feet.

        Also, my other beef/judgement of these super large houses I’ve toured (my brother used to build houses in Utah county and the smallest ones he did before the housing bust cost 1/2 million dollars) have been, “What do you do with all this space? Do these families all have 8 kids and have them share bedrooms? Nope, these kids’ bedrooms are all for only one child, even though had they put 2 kids to a room each child would still have more square feet of living space than I did in the bedroom I shared with my sister in our 1960s era, ranch style, 2,000 square feet, childhood home.

        I am forever grateful for the first family ward we lived in Provo post BYU graduation, not surprisingly it was the same ward we had already lived in as a married student couple, we just moved our records over to the family ward. There was SO much low-income and insecurity in that ward that among the “permanent” ward members (ie, those who owned their homes) the wasn’t a “keeping-up-with-the-Jones” that I was aware of. People made improvements to their homes as they had saved up the money to do. No one went into debt to fill their small homes with furniture or remodel them. I didn’t experience the “Utah ward” syndrome in thar ward at all.

  12. GmaTerri says:

    I love your opinion! I live in CA and whenever I hear something like “stay away from plastic surgery” from SLC, I think, “I wonder what has been going on in UT?” I don’t know anyone who is trying to live up to the lifestyle porn, but maybe that’s because I live in the mission field with regular folk. Would I love to have a perfect home with a perfect income with a perfectly behaved child? Sure would. But I’m happy enough in my middle class rental in my small ward, loving all of my Primary kids and their noisiness on Sundays. I may not be perfect, but God blesses me anyway.

    • thaydawg says:

      Thanks for your comment. I’m born and raised in Provo, but have spent the last nine years outside the state with three of those being outside the country. Gave me a bit different perspective I guess. Don’t get me wrong, I love Utah and Utah culture has many many benefits. But there are two edges to that culture blade and I think it’s worthwhile formalizing my thoughts on what/who can get cut.

      • kc says:

        Born and raised in Salt Lake but have lived many states away for over 20 years. Still visit family in Salt Lake very often. I don’t recognize your description of Utah from my experience but have Provo/Orem friends who describe similar experiences to yours. Maybe there’s more to Utah then you see in Provo. Still see this kind of thing in my current city. People are just people. We all need love.

  13. Lisa says:

    Absolutely agree with the article and I would love to read more of your musings on this! The life style porn is exactly as detrimental as you explain; however i dont feel it is yet as comparable to porn porn, which is a disease and the excessively damaging depths it entails.

  14. Jill says:

    Sorry but I’ve lived in 3 different states, including Utah, been to church in even more, and have lived outside the country. Utahns definitely don’t have a monopoly on any of the vices people like to pin on them. I’m siding with the previous commenter who said these problems are everywhere. As for someone from Ca. talking about plastic surgery being a Utah problem, do you even know how many of the girls my cousin graduated with in Los Angeles got plastic surgery for their high school graduation gift? Yes, the very ones who sit in YW on Sundays. No, Utah definitely isn’t special.

    • thaydawg says:

      Jill, thanks for reading and commenting. Let me just say that I’m not coming at this as someone who has lived in Utah my entire life. I left in 2008, went to Texas for 5 years, Australia for 3 and am now in Montana. No doubt, Utah culture doesn’t have a monopoly on life style porn, but there are unique aspects in the Beehive state that make it particularly susceptible. One man’s opinion. Thanks again for leaving your thoughts.

      • Amy says:

        I agree with you, Mike, on the Utah aspects of the problem. I was born in SLC, raised in Utah County, and have lived elsewhere in Utah. It was only after moving out of state that I noticed the increasing secularism and seeking for worldly perfection among my former Utah acquaintences, especially regarding appearance in body and home. A naturally beautiful friend started getting plastic surgery and the trend soon spread among our friends. I noticed in driving to Utah that the radio ads just prior (in WY) to crossing the boarder were about the price of livestock, then BAM, suddenly they were about electing to have plastic surgery (billboards everywhere in Utah, too). “I deserve it,” or “I’m doing it for me.” What?! Then the conspicuous consumption, and the obsession with body image. I don’t know if I just hadn’t noticed it before, but the contrast became very apparent after moving away, as I have been for about a decade. It saddens me, but I’ve noticed Utahns get defensive if you bring it up or point it out.

  15. Ann says:

    This sums up every single reason we left Alpine, Utah. And the state. Living in a homogenous society is challenging for any culture.

  16. Mark says:

    Read this with my wife just now. And we’re not sports fans at all, but I imagine we felt just like sports fans watching their favorite football team score a basket. (I know, I’m kidding.) Great post.

  17. Jacy says:

    Very well written. I’m going to have to print this out and hang it on my wall. It’s so easy to get sucked into this pornography. Thanks for the reality check.

  18. Kim says:

    This post is amazing. It really made me think. I recently entered the blogging/Instagramming world (in Utah) and it’s crazy. Still figuring out how to balance it with real life. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  19. Nan says:

    “Would I love to have a perfect home with a perfect income with a perfectly behaved child?”

    Looks like you are letting outside forces decide what perfect is, to heck with that, perfect is the roiling, changing, organized mess that we the family in our home decide is perfect. “Lifestyle Porn” is what you get when you go looking to church, fellow congregants, neighbors, and TV/media/social media to tell you what is perfect or good or stylish, for what you should do, wear, bake, garden, craft in order to make the cut and when you do you lose. Lifestyle porn and the slavish devotion to recreate it in ones own home is a product the the Mormon culture, what else do women have?

  20. Nan says:

    BTW I bake cookies, and have since my kids were very little, years of sad looking cookies, but you know I don’t let my kids sit on the counter during baking, or ever for that matter. Who lets their kids sit on the counter while they’re working??? So the kids are to small to roll out cookies on the actual kitchen counter, that’s what the Little Tikes table is for, brought it to the kitchen so the kids could roll cookies.

    • moonepower says:

      No-one. No-one lets their kids sit on the counter … not even the Thayers, I’ll wager. I may be wrong, but I think the picture is to prove the point of the article! LOL!

      • Miranda says:

        I let my kids sit on the counters. Some of us live in too small of a dwelling to have extra little tables around. I’d rather have my child involved up on the counter, but I can very much guarantee you the child and counter get so much more covered in flour/sugar with that position. My kitchen is rarely spotless.

  21. Lisa says:

    Spot On!!!!!

  22. Misty says:

    Love this. I have been married for 25 years to a hardworking man. I feel like we are successful and making it until we visit Utah. Even viewing from the outside I often go home discouraged because I don’t have the house that you see exploited all across the Wasatch Front. My husband has been an attorney for our entire married life and I always feel inadequate after visiting Utah and the Lifestyle Porn I am exposed to while there. It’s pervasive even when not reading blogs. Thank you from Idaho.

  23. Katie says:

    Thank you for bringing this up! I have felt this way for years , even before social media was so big. The “illusion” of perfection we perfection seekers are watching and feeling like failures. I’ve actually had to unfollow these types of people because their perfect wife/life/husband/kids/dogs/house/clothing/job made me feel worse about myself and my contribution to my family. Basically pure guilt and failure. Failure because another mothers kids all matched perfectly in their peaceful sunset, family portraits that all looked so perfect and our photo shoot consisted of my kids screaming, fighting, pouting and crying inbetween each photo. As if being a parent and a spouse aren’t hard enough I now have to feel guilty on a daily basis because of someone’s photoshopped life popping up on my screen.
    It’s a huge problem!

    • Nancy says:

      I totally agree with you Katie. I’d even go so far to suggest that in addition to this more blatant lifestyle there is another subtle one which is the lifestyle you are referring to their families feel like they have to conform to a certain image. I remember as a young mom with a troubled marriage and overwhelmed with household and children responsibilities reading in the church magazine about someone who left her husband with her five children, went to school comma work full time to support her family, and was Relief Society president. I felt so guilty that I couldn’t measure up to her. I also remember while visiting Utah a comment from a mother disparaging that a divorced mother and her children were moving next door to her, ostensibly spoiling her perfect neighborhood.

      Thankfully Church magazines and publications now discuss real life and real situations. It is so refreshing to know that someone else is struggling with the same issues in family challenges that I am.

  24. Katie says:

    Spot on!!

  25. Allyson says:

    LOVE this!!! It is absolutely true on every point. A definite problem I see all around me online. Also, you’re funny, a definite plus in my book!

  26. Sydne Austin says:

    Portraying happiness does not mean life is perfect, portraying happiness is merely an invitation- “Come join me as I share with you the best parts of my life that I love.” ❤ I think the real problem lies within our own personal insecurities. I find joy in reading the perfect parts of people’s lives, it makes me happy. I’m fully aware that somewhere in every perfect home there is a mess, but I don’t care about that, its not my mess and it’s a reality for all human life. I’m not trying to measure up to anyone. What I care about is someone that can share the best parts of their lives with me as they step over the dirty laundry that no one sees. Life is too short, find your happiness.

    • Mom who does her own thing says:

      I bet you run one of these blogs?
      Be your brother’s keeper. Don’t perpetuate the problem. You’re obviously in the minority.

    • Sydne says:

      Just happy with life. It cracks me up what people rant about. Just live your life people. Do what works for you and be content…..And I’m not from Utah.

    • Mom who does her own thing says:

      “Do what works for you” and don’t publish it for the whole world to see.
      The only reason people are passionate about this is because they have been hurt by this situation.
      I could never see Christ running a lifestyle blog. Live you life quietly, hubmbly, share your talents when needed to serve. Don’t broadcast every little thing you are able to do.

  27. Chuck says:

    Mike, I live in Northern Utah County and can attest that what is seen on blogs and Instagram is often not real. We have a very popular, professional blogger in our ward that couldn’t serve as a secretary because they couldn’t use a computer for Word.docs or spreadsheets.

  28. jandserson says:

    Eh…I agree that fake lifestyle blogs are dumb. Thanks for the warning. But when you make Mormons sound dumb for buying into it, that’s going too far. Do you even know a real human that reads that crap, much less believes it? I don’t. And I spend way too much time online. Where’s those examples? Maybe all their subscribers are outside the church or maybe they just look for the pretty pictures? Every generation of mothers desires the picture perfect family (religious or not) and those fancy family portraits hanging in grandma’s living room bely the problems of real life. But as women mature, we quickly learn for ourselves that life, husbands, kitchens etc. are never perfect. I do know a few starry eyed idealist early-20-something brides. But even they buy into the lies of pop/feminist culture much more than any lies found in Mormon culture. “Celebrating, fantasizing and idolizing about the stupidly wealthy and fashionable is about as un-Mormon of an ideal as I can think of…” Exactly. That’s why 99% of us don’t do it! But some people, even within the church, will use anything to make members look bad. THAT is what’s truly un-Mormon.

    • Mormon mama says:

      Yes! 100% YES.

    • Colleen Pedersen says:

      Kudos to you for calling the author out on unsubstantiated opinion. “It is no secret that Mormons dominate the blogging world”? According to what study? The mere fact that the Kardashians and any ‘Real Housewives’ show are so popular nationwide (with the rest of civilized nations following suit) shows that the problem is beyond Utah ‘ s doorstep. Most of the bloggers I know do not indulge in ‘lifestyle porn.’ I grew up in the Midwest and moved to Utah to get hit with a wave of culture shock, but it was a “Utah Mormon” effect, which deserves it’s own book, but lifestyle porn is far from being Utah ‘s or Mormondom’s current claim to infamy. I also take issue with the phrase, “Screw (whatever)” and using the word “hell” in the context it was used. I am no prude and I have been guilty of utilizing bad language myself, but when used in a written format, these examples reveal a lack of respect, a lack of a command of vocabulary and a hint of petulance or even anger.
      I will not be subscribing because I find the rampant use of unsubstantiated opinion appalling, and it is no better than the ‘lifestyle porn blogs’ that the author despises. This is unchecked ‘opinion porn’ that offers nothing positive to the blog sphere.

    • Nita C. Harris says:

      I agree with you Colleen Pedersen. Thank you for your comment.

    • Nita C. Harris says:

      Thanks, I agree with you. !

    • cara mia says:

      Thank you for pointing this out so succinctly ~ i may be from idaho, but i have never partaken or even known of this lifestyle porn. And i have a blog that write in once or twice a year ~ i spend time on facebook, ( which is where i saw this article) and pinterest from time to time as well~ and yeah, i guess i just haven’t been exposed to it at all. Now, i do see that many of my friends and neighbors and ward members have feelings of inadequacy, but i attribute this to human nature ( members and non members alike), not just to mormon women. Come on, Mike, let’s remember that we are representatives of Christ in ALL that we say and do.

  29. Sky says:

    My best friend and I were just talking how instagram and dating apple like Tinder are ruining good girls and turning them into attention seekers that only want the next big thing. I think this is all connected.

  30. Charles T. Whipple says:

    So good to read comments, even ones of the opposite opinion, that are not filled with words like stupid, imbecile, moron, and a slew of four-letter and other words that should not be repeatable in either written or spoken speech. I lived in Utah long enough only to graduate from BYU, and that was long before the word blog had even been invented. Tell me if I’m wrong, but did not church leaders say we should blog our lifestyles as we are supposed to be lights on a hill to the rest of the world? (I’ve not written in my own blog for nearly a year, but I have resolved to change that situation. Know what it’s like to be an author in search of a publisher. Fortunately, I have found some. Hang in there. The whole world is not a fantasy.

  31. Susie V says:

    This is the best article I’ve read in a long long time. Gives us something to think about and evaluate ourselves. Reminds us not to believe everything you see and helps us return our focus to what really matters. Thank you!

  32. Chris Kelly says:

    Thanks for your take on this issue. I have watched friends and family fall deeper and deeper into this trap. It’s easy to watch everyone else appear to coast while you’re pedaling your guts out and wonder what’s wrong. It’s easy to envy or be sucked into feeling less than the “supposed mainstream”. Problem-free living is a fantasy, a fallacy, and against our opportunity to progress in the Plan of Salvation. I think lifestyle pornography (such a resonant term – love it!) mostly causes two results. Either people emulate the fake lifestyle, still measuring their failure to become something unattainable, or they huddle and feel ashamed in much the same way that those who have partaken of the fruit in Lehi’s dream and look still to the great and spacious building cower. The difference being that they are now both the shamed and the shamer. They (we?) persecute themselves. Crafty work from dark places, if v you ask me.

  33. Blogger says:

    As an insider to the blogging world, (I am an interior designer who uses social media to grow my business), I rub shoulders with a lot of these women creating this lifestyle porn you speak of at events and such. Some of them are really great, others of them are the most empty, vacant humans I’ve ever encountered. Because I know many of them personally and see what they’re actually lacking in life, I’ve never been really jealous or consumed by the content they put out. I’ve watched many friends succumb to it though and it’s pretty rough… insert highest rate for antidepressants in the country here. The interesting thing is that a lot of these women staging the photos have had full on plastic surgery to look the way they do (I know quite a few personally) and I’d almost go so far as to say that some of these people end up creating more than lifestyle porn and more in the direction of regular porn, because they start to see the likes go up when they post more sexualized images.. just the way celebs do. Husbands are following these women too. Maybe not on blogs, but definitely places like Instagram. I can off the top of my head remember when quite a few of these bloggers/instagramers started going the route of slipping in more revealing outfits and the random boob job shot at the splash pad where they try to make it look like it’s a selfie with the kids, but somehow we got 90% boobs and 10% kids with their faces half cropped off, . But in reality these lifestyle porn creators aren’t to blame, we the people are the ones giving them the fuel (and the likes) to keep going. People have to change their obsession with perfection and I doubt they will. Also, pretty sure I know Braxlynn. Excellent fake name choice, haha. Enjoyed your writing!

    • Jeremy says:

      I liked this comment. The nonchalant side boob shot is classic and yes those tend to yield more likes. I liked this guys article but I almost feel like he’s being too nice. I think he probably did this on purpose but if you could get his real feelings about the whole thing then you could open up a whole nother can of worms like the legalized pill popping, ponzi schemes, teen suicide rates etc, etc. I mean I don’t want to be egocentric and just focus on the bad because there is bad everywhere. Utah is still a great place because crime isn’t that bad and so many other reasons. You can get jobs here. So It all kind of evens out. My biggest dillemma with me personally is I just went to my little boys baptism from an ex relationship who is remarried (vivint salesman) and it was a nice little event. It was good for my kid to get that attention. It’s good for their confidence. The only issue I had with it is that she took my child out of state 3 years ago and I have a huge bond with my child. I felt like the big bad wolf in the back of the room that’s been a pain in everyone’s rear end because I have been fighting my ass off for more time with him. But go ahead with your fancy procession, with your designer clothes and you’re eloquent speeches even though god knows there’s a loving, suffering father sitting in the back of the room that no one cares about. So to me. And i’m going to hit this one hard on some of you folks. The Mormon religion or culture can be a dangerous thing when you throw Christ like principles out the window. When you forget what’s important. You put material things ahead of LOVE people end up suffering greatly. If my ex had to downsize here Cadillac SUV to a humble minivan and allow me to have split custody with our child she would slit her throat, even though, giving me more time with him would be the right thing to do.

  34. Rennie says:

    Great read! You live near Billings?

  35. I am a Lifestyle/Mom Blogger and even I get sucked into the visual luxuries of Mormon women (I am not Mormon). At first I never caught on that the thousands of Bloggers I followed were from Utah or that they were Mormon. Slowly the pieces started to add up and thr similarities started to show. Now,without fail I can spot the Mormon Mommy Blogger in a second.
    Your words were spot on and gave relief to the feelings I have as a women and mother in the blogging world.
    P.s. your final thought made this entire post!!!
    Such a great read.

  36. Nancy Chaffin says:

    Thought provoking-especially after reading 1Thessalonians 4:11-12 this morning

  37. Pat says:

    Great post. Spot on. I am a bit concerned that this makes “sexual porn” look like a smaller deal because “women have their blogs”. Make no mistake, both have the ability to re-wire the brain and by doing so hold us captive.

  38. Betty says:

    Your aside about running through the Mines of Moria is indicative of a similar issue – that of fantasy gaming. There are several in my family who spend more time creating and planning for a character they’ve made up and that character’s activities than they spend on their real life relationships. And, in fact, such activity takes the place of real relationships and distorts the gamer’s perspective of real life and how relationships are built. I propose that ANY unreal/fantasy activity that consumes our time and mental energy is a problem.

  39. Dianna says:

    http://fightthenewdrug.org/why-hashtag-foodporn-needs-to-stop/

    You might want to rethink your analogy. I’m sure this hyper dramatic comparison temper that inserts fantasy and calls it real life can be destructive and maybe even addictive, but to compare it to the life shattering addiction of porn is offensive to those who deal with the evils this addiction brings.

    • Osgood says:

      In my opinion, Mormons in general, put way too much emphasis on the dangers of pornography in ways that trivialize other dangers. For example, in a class I took at BYU we had an ethics discussion about what lines we would draw as an employee of a company that performed questionable services. For example, would we work for Anheuser Busch? Would we work for a company that shipped barley to Anheuser Busch? Would we work for a farm that grew barley that was shipped to Anheuser Busch? Would we work for a lender that provided loans to a company that produced pornography?

      The conversation was very interesting. There was a lot of back and forth. Ideas were raised that helped people think outside of the box, etc. However, the entire conversation came to a screeching halt once the topic of pornography was brought up. A woman in the class rebuked the class for any entertaining any sort of any association with the pornography industry because she had “witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of pornography.” So that was it, there were ways in which it was fathomable to work in the alcohol industry, but no way pornography was going to fly.

      This logic is insane (and from my experience, certainly not limited to this class). Alcohol literally destroys lives across the world, but because it is less prevalent within Mormon culture, it goes largely unnoticed/emphasized. Pornography feels like a huge issue to Mormons, because of its prevalence within the culture (much of which is arguably self-fulfilling prophecy). However, pornography isn’t nearly the epidemic that Mormons make it out to be. Maybe there is an “epidemic” within Mormonism, but there are way bigger, measurable issues in the world at large.

      Lest I be accused of condoning pornography, let me state, I don’t. It is simply much lower on the list of worldwide issues than Mormons would believe. Hence, I don’t see the need to reserve special status for the term porn.

      The author is pointing out the evils associated with lifestyle porn, you’re free to point out the evils associated with “porn porn.” And I’d point out that your calling porn a “life shattering addiction” very well may be offensive to those who actually experience “life shattering” addictions. Or we could agree to try to not be so easily offended.

      • Beks says:

        As a wife to someone who has a porn addiction, I would say that a porn addiction is life shattering. Why do you think conference talks so regularly speak about the evils of pornography? Pornography has the same effects on the brain as being addicted to other “life shattering” things…

        • Osgood says:

          Beks,
          I don’t doubt it and I was clear to not excuse pornography. I’m also sorry that you and your husband are struggling.

          My point is that presumably your husband is still alive. He can dress himself and get to work. He can still be a loving husband and father. I too have friends and family members who are addicts, including substances like alcohol and opiates. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong to presume the same about them.

          My point wasn’t that porn isn’t a legitimate addiction. My point was that comparing “lifestyle porn” to “porn porn” shouldn’t be offensive.

          I wish you and your husband the best.

          • Amanda says:

            Osgood,
            I too have a husband who is addicted to pornography, and let me just say, it isn’t a small thing that only ensnares a few or that it only is a bad thing to Mormons. There are support groups and counselors who specifically address the devastating effects of pornography on an individual and a family. It absolutely effects whether a man can be a loving father or a husband (or woman- a loving mother or wife), it changes the brain. *Look up Landscapes of the Mind on Youtube. Pornography addiction is like any other addiction, it is a way of coping, a way of numbing the pain. BUT when you numb pain, you also numb all of your other emotions until you truly become past feeling. To say that pornography addiction is comparable to lifestyle porn, is insensitive to those whose lives and marriages have been shattered by pornography addiction. There are many books you can read if you don’t believe it’s “that bad”. Here are a few:
            “He Restoreth My Soul” by Donald Hilton
            “What Can I do About Me” by Rhyll Ann Crowshaw
            “Confronting Pornography” by Mark Chamberlain

            Or visit the church’s website and view the information there on addiction recovery: https://www.lds.org/topics/addiction?lang=eng

            While I do agree that envying and coveting and setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves and our spouses is harmful to our relationships and sinful, it does not cause the level of trauma and heartache that an addiction to pornography causes for all involved.

          • Osgood says:

            Amanda,
            I’m not able to respond directly to your comment, so I’m responding here.

            The craziness of the situation is that Mike is your ally. He is basically saying “obviously porn is bad, so starting with that common ground, I’m going to show you something with parallels. If you agree that porn is bad, then hopefully you can see how similar this other phenomenon is and that it is also bad.”

            Rather than rejoice that you have an ally implicitly preaching to the world that porn is bad, you and others are choosing to be offended that you don’t like the analogy.

            You say that it’s insensitive to compare the two because lives have actually been shattered by porn. Using that logic, millions should be even more offended that you’d be talking about porn addiction when there are millions out there suffering and even literally dying from opiate addiction. That’s ridiculous though. Can’t we be upset by both? Can’t we work to solve both problems?

            But rather than do that, you’d rather spend your time lecturing allies on the finer points of getting their analogies straight.

            P.S. Literally no one on this thread has said that porn isn’t bad.

          • Alycia says:

            I don’t think porn is bad. I think being told to suppress natural urges like masturbation and premarital sex is bad and that can be a reason why people turn to porn. It’s interesting to me that instead of looking at the cause (extreme suppression of natural wants and feelings) of the problem (porn), you just focus on the problem. Why?

          • Courtney says:

            Alycia, I can’t respond directly but hope you will see this here. As someone who is married to a spouse who converted to Mormonism 2 years ago and has a pornography addiction for many many years, let me tell you the problem is NOT suppression of urges/sex/masturbation. He was doing plenty of those things prior to joining the church. It is a much, much deeper issue than that. Saying that those are the ’causes’ of the ‘problem’ is completely false in a large majority of cases. As mentioned somewhere else, it is often an escape (like other vices) and creates new pathways in the brain that are harder to dismiss than alcohol or drugs because you can NEVER take the images away like you can take the drugs/alcohol away in a rehab facility. I think the comparison to lifestyle porn is pretty accurate. People use these blogs as an escape and then have these images forever in their minds and start to become even more depressed their life doesn’t measure up, consume more blogs to try and achieve the “ideal” and the cycle continues. Very interesting analogy.

  40. Julesmama says:

    I loved your article. I am a Mormon mommy, but I’ve never lived in Utah. I have seen the multitudes of lifestyle blogs out of Utah, however. I have noticed that whenever we visit family in Utah, there are so many available resources to make yourself, hone and family as picture perfect as we all want to be. Stores for home goods, decor, clothing, home builders galore, etc. it’s very unsettling. I have to go home and distance myself from Facebook for a bit to remind myself that I have a beautiful home and family, no need to emotionally torture myself with things I don’t need and can’t afford.

  41. Christina says:

    Who’s ready for a Comment novel?

    As a mom blogger, this is absolutely spot on. However I would add that many of these bloggers are the main or only bread winner for the family. For me, I simply used to supplement income.

    That’s where it gets tricky. The money issue. If you want lots of followers, you must post staged, perfect-lighting photos with few exceptions. In order to make money, you must have lots of followers. You are compelled to attract sponsors I.e, make money, by showing life in the most positive, perfected light. It’s a vicious circle. Bad photos (of which I have many) = fewer followers = less income.

    Contrarily better photography = more followers = more money. This is especially true for Instagram. Some bloggers are almost entirely instagrammers.

    Imagine you are at a job interview, and you show up in your Thursday ‘s best, stained yoga pants, messy bun, day-old mascara, and a 5k run oversized t-shirt. Oh and you smell funny. You really want the job. Shocking–you won’t get the job.

    Bloggers are pressured to “Dress for the interview” every post, every picture, every contact with the audience.

    You will be judged for looking too good, and you will be judged for looking too sloppy. That’s the truth. I’ve experienced both. I agree there needs to be more realistic stuff on Pinterest, but that stuff doesn’t get repinned. I know. I’ve posted it.

    For me slowing down my blog was a personal, difficult choice which meant less income for my family . Part of it was because of what this article says, the pretending. Mostly, it was because of the time. Try unplugging when you’re income depends on being plugged in–both literally and mentally when you’re doing other things. But I won’t judge a blogger, Mormon or not, for continuing to blog in this type of climate. I don’t know their finances or reasons. Modeling is a legitimate career, blogging is oftentimes modeling. I agree bloggers should be more candid about reality, but I don’t make the rules.

    If I am upset that someone ‘s life looks better than mine, frankly, that says more about me than the blogger.

    Personally, I can’t make life perfect for sponsors anymore, but I’ll never judge anyone for doing it. In the end it is the consumer who validates, perpetuates this “Lifestyle Porn.” If it bothers you, don’t read it. And take a sincere look at how you let external factors affect your sense of value.

    • Chrysta says:

      I think his comments are aimed more at the consumers of the lifestyle porn than at the producers. Producers will always provide what sells. Just as deviant sexual porn and Harlequin “romance” novels exist because there’s a market for them, lifestyle porn – where there is no acknowledgement that we all wake up with morning breath and have to deal with toddler meltdowns during family picture time – exists because there’s a market for it. I think the author is trying to tell young moms (he specifically pointed to the 20-40 age group, which is accurate in my 46 year old opinion) to wake up and realize that comparing their worst/hardest days to the daily dose of faked “perfection” seen on many blogs and IG accounts is foolishness. It can and will cause deep-seated problems in our marriages, homes, and psyches if we fall into the trap of believing, as Satan would love for us to do, that we might as well give up because all our efforts to attain the perfection we consume through lifestyle porn are in vain. I love good design. I love crafting. I enjoy trying new recipes. I’m also so incredibly glad that I am far enough over the hill not to care what my friends think when they come over and see that I still have and love the same oriental rug in deep Craftsman colors that made me happy when I bought it 10 years ago, rather than worrying about whether or not I should change my decor to the trendy grey/aqua/yellow/medallion thing to impress them with how hip I am. I’m happy to know who Jonathan Adler is and enjoy his housewares while still being thrilled to bring my pasta to the potluck in the handmade rustic pottery I picked up as vacation souvenirs. I have literally lived around the world (military wife), and I know far too many younger moms – of all denominations, but Mormons are particularly susceptible, I think, due to lack of other trendy vices – who truly suffer from the perception that even their best isn’t good enough because it doesn’t match what they consume in the media they choose. It makes me incredibly sad, and I am glad to see that it’s beginning to be discussed.

    • NeifyT says:

      I found this blog post from a rehash of it on Deseret News; I commented there; but realized the article writer was simply passing along the word of this blogger Mike Thayer; so I clicked over here; and was reading the comments, because I was trying to figure out where the fantasy came from. The blogs I remember reading were very realistic (sometimes even disgustingly realistic) in the “joys” of parenting.

      Your post answers my question.

      But, back when mommy blogging first got it’s start (and I used to read it a lot); it was what blogs (web logs) were really all about, they were all about what might be termed a “digital journal” for all the world to see. Mommy bloggers kept it real and shared the good and the bad of parenting. They posted on their day to day activities and life; much like a journal, the realism was what I found compelling; but blogs lost their appeal to me over the years…

      And your post shows me where it all went south. “The money issue. If you want lots of followers, you must post staged, perfect-lighting photos with few exceptions. In order to make money, you must have lots of followers. You are compelled to attract sponsors I.e, make money, by showing life in the most positive, perfected light.”

      When blogs changed from web logs to money making schemes that is when the fakery; fantasy; over-the-top perfectionism in every regard crept in.

      I have seen the same in the online world of business not just those who make money “blogging” but in the fact that Google and other search engines won’t even show your website unless one keeps up with the “blogging” even if the website isn’t a blog at all; like if every business must “blog” to stay relevant in the online world. And all of the same.

      It all boils down to money. And Mike; I love your article; but you are going to quickly find out; that if you can’t beat them you will join them, if you want people to “subscribe.”

      P.S. I don’t blog for money when I do blog; though my own website is not a blog site (currently not even up and running). When I blog (and when I comment on blogs) it pure 100% real me and my expression of opinion and interest.

  42. Kels says:

    I always find it interesting when people refer to outside Utah has the “mission field”. Maybe we should see that Utah does in fact consist of more than just Mormons. Yes, it’s the majority of the population but if missionaries are still being called to Utah on proselyting missions, then I would still consider it a mission field. Just an observation on the venacular we use to separate “outside Utah” Mormons from “inside Utah” Mormons.

    Great post. I think this exists everywhere but in the Mormon culture it’s high in Utah. I also find it interesting that so many are interested in the Kardashian/Bachelor/”Keeping up with the Joneses” shows when they explicitly push and promote lifestyle choices we profess to disagree with.

    • Micki says:

      I’m with you on the “mission field” comment. Went to church in Utah with my college roommate one Fast Sunday – she prepped me… and I almost didn’t believe her! Almost couldn’t stifle my laugh when more than one person referred to when they had lived “out in the mission field” – not on their mission, mind you. Pretty funny, and as much as Utahns want to shed the stereotypes – it just feeds the stereotype

      • Yvonne says:

        Eck! Me too. I grew up in Idaho Falls, which is part of the Mormon corridor and went to school at Ricks/BYU-Idaho. It really irked me when so many students in my ward or classes would puff themselves up for having been raised “in the mission field” because they were “so much stronger” than people raised “in Utah/SE Idaho”. Excuse me, how many times did your “active” Mormon friends make fun of you in high school for keeping Church standards, especially when you talk about how your friends accepted your standards and didn’t try to get you to go against them because they respected your standards. How is that harder than what I went through? Why are you so much more valiant/virtuous than those of us who grew up in the corridor?

  43. Jennifer says:

    You lost me at the paragraph beginning with, “Oh what’s the harm in watching the Real Housewives of Wherever or the Kardashians?” Up until that point in the blog post, you were thoughtfully careful about who you were speaking to, but right about, “You gonna let your husband use those same arguments with porn,” you went off the rails, and right at, “I promise you that however insecure a wife may be about her body…” that is when I knew I would not subscribe to your blog. I wanted to – I really wanted to!! I’ll tell you what though, you have inspired me to put my phone down and go bake some cookies. Peace and love.

  44. Aleesha says:

    I agree completely that putting people up on a pedestal of any kind is wrong. And I agree that faking pictures or lying to your readers is wrong. But I want to be clear that true lifestyle blogging isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I have a blog…there I said it…I’m one of them, then…right?
    I don’t think so. I don’t fake perfection. In fact it’s clear from my posts and pictures that I’m FAR FROM IT. I blog for the same reason many other bloggers do. I love to share! I am SARAH from your story. I love to cook, and I even love to get my kids involved in the process…and when I have friends ask for a recipe it’s nice to be able say “it’s on the blog”. I also love to build and to share how I did it so that I can help others on a tight budget do the same thing.
    The bottom line is, I don’t want people to come to my blog and go- WOW- she’s soooo amazing! I want them to come to my blog and say “oh- hey! I can do that!!!” That’s my goal – and the goal of a lot of other bloggers who fall under the “lifestyle” category. So please don’t lump all bloggers, all Mormon bloggers especially into lifestyle porn. Some of us are actually trying to show reality and show that it’s possible to be creative and happy with the life you have. It’s more about the approach you personally take when looking at blogs…or really anything in life. Women need to own their own feelings and recognize when they are feeling bad about themselves, or idolizing someone – and avoid blogs that cause those feelings. Stick with ones that inspire you to set goals you can actually attain and help you develop the skills necessary!

    • Amy says:

      I don’t think he is judging the majority of bloggers out there. I also feel like this was a “consume with caution” warning. I am a blogger and also as the sister-in-law of the author, and am not in the least offended. Most bloggers like you and me are just trying to share things we value. I blog, but I’m real about my blog posts. I couldn’t pull off the type of blog post Mike is talking about even if I tried. My house isn’t perfect, my photography skills aren’t perfect. But my family is pretty darn awesome even if my kids are completely crazy sometimes. It is all there in my blog. Just a mom getting through motherhood and sharing that with other parents.

  45. Dan Hiland says:

    Great comments. But one note for future reference- bicycles are pedaled, while illusions are peddled. This is the Grammar Nazi, signing off.

  46. Kristy says:

    I think it is a shame that you would water down and delude the real danger and evil of porn. It’s not the same. Food porn, word porn, I’m a little tired of the over use of that word. Lifestyle lie, ok, but let’s not trivialize the real, horrific danger of pornography so you can get more traffic to your blog with a misleading headline.

    • Ray says:

      However, It *is* an effective appropriation of the word, and it gets his point across in a hurry. Ages ago, I was disheartened to find a directory labeled “Pornography” on my son’s computer. Imagine my relief and delight when I opened the folder and saw that it was full of pictures of aircraft and spacecraft – and today the kid’s a professional pilot. He knew what the word meant when he named that directory.

    • S Young says:

      Perfect

  47. Zach says:

    When you use a blanket statement like ( Epidemic) Mormon culture you better be able to produce the science to back it up. Other than that this is straight up bashing a culture of people I admire. Are there issues sure there are but the MAJORITY of woman who happen to live in Utah are good people doing their best to do what they are supposed to do….good grief

  48. TOC says:

    Great blog post, for all the many reasons commenters have already mentioned. And though I am not a fan of the cult of perfection and the obviously classist narratives that these blogs create—I do think there’s a bit more to consider. As a former Provo Mormon wife and mother, I know how easy it is to get caught up in decorating your house, and dressing up your children, and perfecting your body (I mean going to the gym and the hair studio and the latest whatever-is-coolest clothing store.) But why? How about because as a Mormon woman you are part of a culture where women are taught to stay at home, even if they are talented/smart/ambitious and would choose to work outside the home, if they felt it an option (not all would, of course. And that’s good, too). They are members of a church that grants them only lesser positions of authority. They are valued by their culture for their nurturance and selflessness, their home-making skills, and—without a doubt–their beauty. See the words of Brigham Young on this matter: “Let the sisters take care of themselves, and make themselves beautiful…make yourselves like angels in goodness and beauty.” So is it no wonder so many Mormon moms spend whole days at any of the overwhelming number of gyms in Utah County and get plastic surgery and wear fake lashes and obsess about their weight? (Of course Brigham Young also said that women who aspired to should study math and medicine and become bookkeepers, etc.—though those ideals seem to have fallen by the way side, mostly). And further, women who have the talent, education, drive and desire (even if it’s just a secret desire) to be powerful creators/executives/leaders outside the home, are taught to use their talents only in service to their children, their families, and their church communities. There are pretty strict guidelines as to what’s appropriate for women to think, say, feel, and do (sometimes spoken from the pulpit; sometimes just culturally reinforced) in a Mormon culture that purports to value womanhood, but—really—only womanhood of a certain ilk. It’s a kind of defined and ordained “womanhood” over personhood, really. So of course we get mommy blogs. Of course we get beauty, crafts, homemaking skills, home decorating, fashion, money (which is also associated with being deserving and blessed in the Utah County Mormon culture, no matter how hard we work to deny it) done to the nth degree. Because where else can some women get a chance to excel, to achieve on a more-public scale, and get greater appreciation for the material things they’re good at? What else are they gonna do? Write blogs about all the great things they achieved at the jobs they’re not supposed to have? So, yes, I agree that the values the blogs reinforce have become perverted, but they stem from the same source. Women are whole people, too. But they live in a culture that doesn’t fully see them that way. They’re talented. Skilled. And in their very-limited cultural spheres (read: home, family, self), they make the most of they have. Maybe if women were valued for other things, too; maybe if women were granted real positions of authority; maybe if women weren’t limited as to who they could be in this world; maybe we wouldn’t have lifestyle blogs. But, here we are. Blogs as symptoms of a deeper hurt. And more criticism of mommy-bloggers might read as just another thing Mormon women aren’t supposed (allowed) to do.

    • Diana Windley says:

      Great comment! I think working outside of the home helps fight lifestyle porn syndrome. For starters, there isn’t time to get caught up in endless hours of self-perfection and home decorating. Plus, it provides women with a sense of purpose (and an identity) outside of home and church.

  49. Jess says:

    Thank you for putting into words what has been nagging me for so long. Sharing this with my family!

  50. Smiles says:

    I can fully agree with the fact that what we see in a blogger or Instagrammer’s post are merely perfectly staged images with beautifully written posts. I was best friends with one blogger. I would go on trips with said friend and experience first-hand how an event was. But, however uneventful a activity or moment was, she had the gift to write it out as though the Queen of England had dubbed her Duchess and handed her a crown.

    For real.

    I would read her posts, where I had been present, and think to myself, “whaaaaaaaaat? That happened?!”

    This said friend then switched gears and became a instagrammer and not only continued the perfect photos and perfectly said posts, but, she has disconnected from the real world and forgotten who her true friends are. I continue to try my hardest to keep our friendship tight, but, a girl can only try so hard. I think it is important to know that not only do people lose themselves and reality from reading these posts, but, keep in mind that the people creating these posts have lost themselves as well.

    Now, I get your relation with the lifestyle porn and the porn porn. However, the world nor the church would claim that this lifestyle is as destroying to the soul as real life porn can do. So, it can’t be THAT bad.

    Lest us forget that we are to not lust after another, nor thing. Do not covet your neighbor’s house etc.

    Sadly, I have fallen victim of such for a moment. Yes, jealously is a real thing and can disguise itself as something other than what it is.
    I say moment, because I knew and know for myself that being jealous of another does no good for my soul. It is saddening and depressing. I would much rather live the life that is true for myself than dream of another.

    I have more that I could write, but, I’ll save y’all some time. 😉

  51. Lisa says:

    I can see a problem with fake, staged, unrealistic posts. Honesty and allowing less than perfection should be encouraged. I even get the “fantasy” aspect of this.

    However I find it EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE to compare this to actual pornography!!!

    Does posting or reading about treats you may or may not have made yourself change brain chemistry?

    Do designer hand bags cause someone to see those around them as objects rather than thinking humans with feelings?

    Does indulging in these blogs cause an increase in abuse, adultery, sexually transmitted diseases possibly being brought home to a faithful spouse, or an increased demand for sex trafficking???

    NO!!!

    Yet actual pornography does all this and more. The claims that these “mom blogs” set unrealistic views and expectations is valid but comparing it to actual pornography is severely diminishing the actual harms of porn on the brain of the user, his family and society in general.

    Show me one person who decided to go visit a prostitute based off these blogs. Show me someone trying to coerce a spouse into making Pinterest level baked goods and calling them horrible names when they don’t measure up. Show me one blog that has unwittingly participatanfs forced into being in the photos. Show me someone resorting to drugs and alcohol just to cope with perpetuating this fantasy for the consumption of others. Show me a talk with a prophet of God proclaiming the inherent evils of a plague of mommy blogs. Show me any of this and I may change my mind, until then I stand by my assertion you are trivializing a very serious problem and basically giving permission to abuse as just a “fantasy lifestyle”. Until then I say your analogy is incredibly problematic.

    • Joe says:

      Right on Lisa because the comparison between fake photo shoots and very real acts of pornography, which lead to other real acts, is a ridiculous comparison.

      Like a lot of things, understanding this is easier if you understand men and women and the universe of differences. Women like to portray their version of the ideal, to the group. Mike doesn’t seem to understand that.

      That being said Lisa, you make the common mistake of hysterically blaming porn for things that porn just did not cause. You vastly and dangerously oversimplified the issue, because it’s easier to be anti porn than anything. You actually did a serious disservice to your cause of being opposed to pornography. Hysterical distortions are sometimes more damaging than viewing acts that only the participants should be viewing. Hysterical distortions about porn use, have broken more homes than anything actually attributable to porn use.

    • Osgood says:

      Lisa,
      Studies have clearly shown that social media does in fact trigger dopamine highs which leads to changes in brain chemistry. A cursory internet search will provide you with a bounty of sources.

      In addition to that, I’d point you towards my previous comment about the overemphasis that Mormons place on pornography and how you shouldn’t allow the analogy to be so offensive.

  52. Marco Davis says:

    You’ve probably seen this brilliant ad from a Utah company – it speaks exactly to your point: the immense effort required to appear effortlessly competent, calm, and hip. Great production values, excellent product – but ironically the message of the ad feeds into the very lifestyle illusion you’re talking about.

  53. Hannah says:

    I feel like you haven’t gotten enough credit for using ‘annealed’ correctly while making a LOTR reference :) Great blog post! You nailed it. Even the hybrid names…Braxlynn?

    • thaydawg says:

      Yes! Thanks for the shout out on the LOTR reference. I originally had another line in there quoting Gollum saying “wicked, tricksy, false!” but it hit the cutting room floor. That, and I don’t know how folks would handle two LOTR references in a single post. One must exercise self control in these things.

  54. Jenni says:

    Dude. That was awesome. And snarky. And I loved it. My favorite part? Husbands can feel as insecure as wives in the respective porn. Excellent. Just excellent. Women do not understand this enough.

    Oh, and Braxlynn.

    It’s tough, being a SAHM in the 30ish range. You want to feel relevant and important, but the daily grind frequently makes you feel the opposite. It is easy to fall into a trap of looking to the wrong source for validation. I’m kinda glad that the social media craze wasn’t QUITE at its height when I was up to my neck in diapers and Dora the Explorer. It is hard enough now that I’m past 40 with teenagers, and I’ve made peace with my extra 15 (cough, 30, cough) pounds.

    But that brings up another interesting comparison to porn porn and lifestyle porn…fitness porn. What starts as an attempt to lose the SAHM weight gained while eating cookies reading lifestyle blogs, easily becomes a tantalizing new religion. I mean, you can’t wear garments with lululemon. I have had friends that have jogged themselves right out of the church. But I digress…

    Anyway, excellent insight. Loved the humor. Subscribed.

  55. Joe says:

    This article was exhausting and making it half way took all my effort. Women like to display fakeness to the group? WHO is surprised by this? And by the way, watching porn is about watching real acts that are truly stimulating in a real way. There’s nothing fake about the acts going on in graphic porn. So rewrite half of this article.

  56. Iss says:

    So only women use Instagram and watch reality TV this way? And only men watch porn?? Only men have expectations in the bedroom? And only women have expectations on their husbands’ income (when it’s the 21st century and women make money themselves)?? I don’t know how you came to these conclusions, but they are wrong. Male or female (which *gasp* are both humans and not that different in essence no matter how desperately you conservative utahns want to stick to the belief that we are), following these accounts and watching these shows, though I would agree it’s a waste of time if you do it too much, is nowhere close to watching porn. It doesn’t have the same effects, but how would you know since you seem to think that porn only affects men and “lifestyle porn” only affects women? Sounds to me like this article was just written by a man who is grumpy about not making as much money as he would like and not looking fly in skinny jeans.

  57. tawnya says:

    I find many things in this article that are true. I agree with many of your points. But I think it comes off as judgemental and the undertone mean. Don’t get me wrong I like a little sarcasm and truth. I think the real problem is connection. The lack of connection. We are trained in the church and society to put on that smile and strive to be the best . I’m sick of labels. I use to judge utah mormons and think oh they always need to keep up with the jones! Then I went through a faith crisis ( transition is what I like to call it now;) where I was pigeon holed into a category at church. And was mocked and judged when people talked about me but not to me. It was rough. But it tore a lot of my fixed beliefs down. It made me a better person. I see people in a different light now. Whatever mask we wear fashion, athletic, super mom, smiley, mormon scholar. .. it’s okay let’s get to know that person. Find a connection. Cause I bet there’s a deeper truth. Let’s find the common ground and not make a mockery. Thanks for putting yourself out there.

  58. Joy says:

    Now we know why depression and suicide rates are so high.

  59. Jenna says:

    I agree with Pat; my one main concern with this article is the trivial usage of the word “porn,” when in reality, it is anything BUT something to be taken lightly. It’s the same problem I have with the colloquial usage of the word “crack,” for example, in suggesting that a certain food is so delicious it is one’s personal “crack.” Using “porn” or “crack” in other contexts is not a reasonable comparison for people whose lives or relationships have been destroyed or severely damaged by these horrible vices. (I don’t believe the danger of comparing yourself with unrealistic lifestyle blogs can begin to compare with the widespread evils of sexual pornography. That said, I’m sure the author of the article isn’t suggesting that they’re the same in magnitude. I’m just mentioning the difference, that’s all.)

    On the flip side, so as to not take “life” too seriously, I agree with the points you’re making. The same goes not just for blogs, but for social media accounts such as facebook, where no one sees anything but the perfect things in your life we like to display. I love and appreciate real beauty, real struggles, and real people. As long as people paint the perfect pictures online of their otherwise real lives, I will continue to shake my head just a little and try to remember to keep things in perspective. I gave up trying to compare myself with magazine cover people a long time ago (sad to say I wasted many years worrying about that), and do what I can to remind people what’s real and what’s not :). Thanks for your article.

    • Ruth says:

      Completely agree with you point about the use of the word ‘porn’. It is something that worries me. It trivialises an insidious evil
      and makes it as acceptable as looking at pictures of food.

      • Alycia says:

        What about people who are addicted to food and it is ruining their lives? I think the author does a great job of using the word porn to describe something that people take to the extreme.
        I think there is a difference with the word “crack”. Crack actually is a real substance that can physically kill you and shouldn’t be used so lightly. Sexual pornography isn’t.

  60. Juanito says:

    The goal of this post is to gripe about Utahns and Mormons who live there. The topic is just window dressing for the real motive: make the author feel better by putting others down.

    Exodus 20:17 is pretty straightforward. “Thou shalt not covet.”

  61. Kerryt says:

    Us women have been dealing with this kind of thing for years. Think we’re smart enough to recognize true friendships and fake people. Appreciate your effort but….what does a man really know about being a woman, and especially when you’re publishing just on your own observations and not research based. Kind of arrogant, yeah?

  62. Debbie says:

    Wow. Very descriptive. Good for both – those caught up in the thick of thin things and those who are trying their best and never seen to measure up. Thank you for sharing this eye-opening piece. You have a gift. God will bless you in your struggles as you desire to help others.

  63. Todd says:

    It might be valuable to note, also, that the zion community in 4th Nephi that lasted for hundreds of years was fractured and torn apart initially because there began to be people “who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world.”

    IE: they began taking part in lifestyle porn. They started craving it, fantasizing over it, wearing, producing and consuming it, etc. Their hearts had turned to the things of the world, and the result? Read all about it in 4th Nephi.

    It is obvious zion doesn’t exist in our society and church today, But lifestyle porn isn’t the underlying problem. It is merely a symptom and manifestation of a deeper, much larger and perverse problem: the condition of our hearts and minds, being set on the things of the world.

  64. TNT says:

    I dunno… I can see the comparison (in a way). But I don’t know how fair it is, because I happen to know I very fashionable Mormon mommy (she’s a Barbie and an accountant, and her vegetarian husband is now a doctor). They live in a perfect little house, she doesn’t have a nanny but she is awesome at crafts and I love baking with her!! She has the perfect body, the perfect babies, the cutest perfect life… and it’s not even fake. Of course, she doesn’t blog about it… but if she did I would follow hard core. Porn isn’t real, but some people really do have crazy awesome sex lives!! Some people really do “do it” every day, sometimes twice a day and it’s enviable. Lifestyle porn is a real thing, but not everyone is faking it… some people are really worth looking up to. My Barbie friend inspires me:) but I don’t spend my days competing with her, I don’t even keep up with her doings… but when I do hang out with her I want to be better! Haha

  65. Ben says:

    So, can we sue lifestyle pornographers for ruing our lives, too?

  66. Katie says:

    This is a problem. Exceptionslism. It extends beyond pinterest and seeps into the conceptual world of “realizing your best self.” Because your current self, that is overextended as-is, doesn’t measure up since you spend 4 a.m. sleeping instead of writing that novel that will change the world.

    Somewhere along the way, we have stopped valuing the simple life. Or the simple lesson (I’m going to go out on a sexist limb here and say Relief Society struggles more with lesson exceptionalism than the priesthood quorums do.) Or the simple ward activity. Everything must be exceptional.

    The twist is that the exceptionalism doesn’t alienate others — it draws others in. The unrealistic expectation alienates our real self from our conceptual self, and then depression and self-doubt begins to creep in.

    It’s okay to be ordinary!!

  67. Paul Duane says:

    You nailed it.

    I’ve been making the same case for years.

    The sin of porn is not beholding flesh.

    The destruction that comes from porn is that it causes one to covet. Coveting means disregarding the amazing, beautiful things you already do have in a delusion that you should have something else. When those “things” are humans, it gets ugly.

    Dudes suffering through a Ryan Gosling chick flick on date night = wives agreeing to watch some porn with the hubby to “spice up the marriage”, and I’m sure that the capitulating partners feel almost identically in each situation.

    Thank you for bringing clarity to a subject that is quite literally destroying our local culture, no thanks to politicians like Sen Todd Weiler who think that writing laws against “porn” will help make Utah a better place.

    I swear the only reason I am going to stay here in SLC is because the comedy just writes itself.

    Much love,
    Paul Duane, the Crossdressing Mormon Anarchist

    • thaydawg says:

      Glad you liked it. I appreciate your help in spreading the word. I had a feeling this post would strike a chord, although I’m floored that it took off at this velocity and trajectory. Thanks for your comment

  68. Jana says:

    I have married a Utah Mormon boy who bristles whenever we talk about and label “Utah Mormons” –we have come to the conclusion that there are more Mormons who live in Utah so we see more of the bad labels even though there are still so many “good Mormons”
    I loved your points in this post. It has definitely opened my eyes to how easily I can get sucked in. Thank you!

  69. David Larsen says:

    In the early 1990’s, as a bishop I attended a stake seminar presided over by Elder Eyering, who was not yet in the GP. He pointed out then that the family with two active LDS parents and children living at home comprised only 16% of the Church. And yet all lessons, talks, etc seemed to be aimed at the “Ideal family” which disregards the single parent, split families (with only one parent LDS), widows, widowers, students, single members living away from family. (I just got a flash…maybe we are thinking of what the eternal family will hopefully be like in the hereafter.) Thanks for the article. Eye-Opening!

  70. I Disagree says:

    I feel the need to comment on this. I firmly believe that lifestyle blogs are out of hand. That they are setting unrealistic expectations and desires. I also wonder when looking at these blogs or Instagram posts; if people really think you can live like that. I see her thousand dollar shoes and $1500 jeans and I think “no way are you going to pick your kid up wearing that!” Or ” did you go change into sweats after taking this picture ?!”

    That being said, I don’t think it’s a fair comparison to pornography at all! Coming from someone whose life has been completely ripped to shreds by her husband’s pornography addiction, my thoughts are this —

    Is lifestyle porn an addiction of escalation? Could it possibly lead to children being molested and wives being raped by the man that should be taking care of them all?
    Is lifestyle porn going to lead to the woman stepping out of the house and sharing her most intimate moments with another man?
    With lots of other men?
    Does she sit at that computer or on her phone and look at those clothes and masturbate while her husband is in the other room wishing she would spend time with him?
    Does she hide her love of “fashion” from everyone? And secretly go look at it in the middle of the night? And go on business trips to see more of it? And spend the money that is supposed to be keeping her family afloat getting as much of it as she can?
    If her husband found out that she’d spent a lot of time (that she could’ve spent with him), instead viewing the insides of purses, would he be puking his guts out and crying his eyes out for weeks on end after?
    Do you think lifestyle porn is going to lead to her breaking the law to get more? Will she be looking in other peoples windows to see their couches or fancy kitchens? Is she going to break the law and shoplift those fancy shoes?
    Can she not even see how much her family loves her? How much her kids want to spend time with her and her husband wants every second she’ll spare for him, because she’s too busy looking at those sunglasses?

    I think envy and wanting to live a fake life is a huge problem! How was looking at that stuff and wanting more more more considered enduring to the end? It’s not! We should grow where we are planted instead of always wanting wanting wanting.
    But you know what? I dropped out of a full ride scholarship at a great school to work three jobs to put my husband through 12 years of school. And he spent that time cheating on me! Cheating when I thought was studiying and I was working myself to the bone. And his addiction and the things it led to absolutely crushed me.
    And now, now Im using the options I have and running a food blog so that I can stay home with my kids, and still support myself and said kids; while my husband and his need for more and more and more women destroys our family.

    I think your comparison is grossly off! I have spent three years crying myself to sleep every single night since I walked in on that betrayal. To say that that betrayal is the same as some person looking at fancy shoes or a fancy kitchen is demeaning and so very wrong.

    Yes, these lifestyle bloggers are lying! And yes it’s ridiculous! And yes people are stupid to buy into it. But no, this is not the same as pornography!

    • Osgood says:

      Dear I Disagree,

      While I am genuinely sorry for your situation, I will point out that the author never said “lifestyle porn” and “porn porn” were at the same level of severity. To somehow misconstrue that he is somehow demeaning anyone addicted to porn is the pendulum swinging WAY too far. Your word policing is getting in the way of the advancement of a valuable notion way more than it is helping any other.

      a·nal·o·gy
      noun

      – a comparison between two things, typically on the basis of their structure and for the purpose of explanation or clarification.
      – a correspondence or partial similarity.
      – a thing that is comparable to something else in significant respects.

    • A.W. says:

      Dear I Disagree,

      Sincerely sorry. Sending prayers for continued strength and comfort and lots of hugs your way.

      Love,

      A girl who knows that saying “Sorry” is enough

  71. Melanie says:

    I’m sorry,
    But did you also send this article to EVERY magazine that you’ve read in the last month? You know none of those are real too right? Sets, staged lighting, prop food, some of it’s not even real food!! *gasp*
    Bloggers are a part of the media. These women have built business from the ground up and should be commended for their accomplishments not chided because you think they are setting up some kind of unrealistic idea. I would argue that the covers of church magazines have done the same for years. I mean who really has 6 perfectly dressed kids all actively participating in FHE with giant smiles on their faces…
    I wasn’t going to comment but these kind of articles have tremendous power to influence mormon thinking. All we need is some “rogue” stake president or bishop reading this article then announcing from the pulpit that everyone should stop reading blogs.
    I think you’re encouraging others to be judgemental of these women. Each of us has a different way of making a living and presenting ourselves in the world, just because these women do it in a different way than you does not make them bad.
    The last time you had people over at your house did you clean up the house? Did you put on your best outfit when you went to your last job interview? Well then you could also be accused of being inauthentic and fake.

  72. Cynthia says:

    Instagram= lifestyle porn on steroids. Social media marketing of fake lives, contrived experiences, and staged spaces. It’s very sad we are so willing to give up authenticity and meaningful connections for a bunch of pretty pictures.

  73. Just a mom says:

    I have to say that despite your best efforts of disguising the identity of the blogger, anyone with a knowledge of lifestyle bloggers in Utah will be able to readily determine who this article is about, as well as find the blog post in question. I do not follow this particular blogger because I don’t want to feel bad about myself. Her life isn’t real, and it’s obvious. I’m happy to be an imperfect mom living in an imperfect home. Who knows, maybe I’m happier for it.

    • Yvonne says:

      I’ve lived in Utah for 11-1/2 years and only knew of the Alison Show because I worked with Alison in Cub Scouts when she and her husband were Bear den leaders and we’ve been friends on FB. I don’t even follow her blog because I spend most of my online time on FB.
      However, I did go Google Utah lifestyle blogs and am amazed that they exist! And I wonder now, is someone else taking their pictures with the Canon Rebel, or do they use a tripod and remote? Also, they all really do look like models – and on two different sites I looked at it appears they took pictures modeling their clothes at the same exact spot!
      Anyway, thanks for giving me the incentive to actually go look up who this blog is about, and feel grateful that I stopped trying to dress in clothes my kids will get dirty as soon as I pick them up like I did as a new mom 8 years ago.

  74. Elle says:

    I appreciate what you’re trying to say here, and I’m not a blog consumer, BUT a.) let’s be clear that women in the church have porn porn addictions… a lot of them do (so this is not the women’s porn); let’s make sure that we’re not normalizing porn by equating it to mommy blogs, b.) purposely looking at porn even for a second is in itself harmful to both the viewer and the viewer’s spouse or future spouse—make no mistake, there is no value to porn… blogs (even deceptive blogs) do not carry the same distructive weight; you can find helpful recipes, decorating ideas, etc. To focus on blogs is a little silly… they are the modern version of Better Homes and Gardens. I do, however, recognize the keeping up with the Joneses nature that can coincide with the mommy blog culture, but it does not inherently come along with it… it’s what you do with it, how you interpret it, how you integrate it into your life and heart; whereas, porn is intrinsically wrong.

  75. Craig says:

    This is nothing new within Mormondom. There used to be a term used when I was a teenager in the 1970s, an “Ensign Wife”. It related to all these seeming perfect Mormon wives/mothers that would appear in Ensign articles and seemed to be able to do it all.

    • Yvonne says:

      Fall of 2001 I was taking a social problems class at Ricks College. My professor brought up the high rate of anti-depressants prescribed in Utah to women and alluded to the idea that our Mormon culture created this anxiety of having to do it all and be all “perfect” Mormon woman. I hadn’t yet served a mission, but had apparently picked up enough on my older siblings and cousins and fellow RM students discussing how easy it is to fall into a similar rut as full-time Mormon missionaries. So I raised my hand and brought up the “ideal, perfect Mormon missionary” scenario and I saw the light go on in my professor’s eyes (an RM himself) as he got it that this wasn’t regelated to just Mormon women, but that Mormon missionaries also experienced this phenomenon.

      We really don’t focus as much on the Grace of God that we could. I honestly think so much of this would be negated if we spoke and testified more of the grace of God in testimonies, talks, and lessons.

  76. I am a mother and a (somewhat) successful young adult author. A lot of people think I am living the dream because I am (somewhat) successful. But I am a stay-at-home mother of five. I have no nanny, no maid, I do all the laundry and cooking and cleaning, and I take sole care of my kids because my husband works a lot. I post the real pictures on my instagram account . . . like the mountains of laundry, messy hair and no makeup in pajamas with kids crawling on me at 9:00 on Saturday morning, wrinkles and flat chest, Christmas tree with no star because it was shattered, you know–the normal stuff. People think I live the dream, but what living the dream really means for me is giving up sleep, TV, leisure time, travel, to take care of my kids AND write books (I only get two hours a day to write, and a lot of times that happens late at night). I clean up poop, wipe noses, don’t shower as much as i would like, drive kids everywhere, spend a LOT of time cooking and folding laundry (not at the same time–I’m not that good at momming) and in my spare time, when everyone else’s needs are met, I write. I think for me, that is the dream. It is not pretty or easy or glamorous, but it is worthwhile. Nice post.

  77. Shelby Arrington says:

    I feel it a bit important to add my two cents. I am not a mommy blogger. I do not read mommy blogs. I don’t even use Instagram. I’m a stay at home mother of 6 and my house is a wreck pretty much 24/7. I’m a real mom, okay. Really real. My kids are not perfect. I am not perfect. My house is not even close to perfect. My life is not perfect. Sometimes it’s even hellish. But for the most part, I think I’m blessed. And I think I have a good life. I grew up in pretty humble circumstances. Let’s just say I remember drinking dry milk on a number of occasions as opposed to real milk when things got tight. I married a man from probably even humbler circumstances. One year he got snow pants for Christmas…and that’s it. But he’s brilliant and hard-working. We struggled as a young married couple and eventually as young parents. I remember borrowing $2 from my husband’s sister just so we could rent a video to watch one weekend. Yeah, we were poor. But before we knew it, we’d purchased our first home and found ourselves doing pretty comfortably financially. We lived in a modest home in an even more modest neighborhood. We would have been considered the “well-off” ones in the neighborhood. Which wasn’t hard to attain whereas our neighborhood was very very humble. Compared to some of the shacks in our neighborhood, and I’m not joking, there were some homes that looked more like shacks, we we’re doing pretty well. We absolutely loved where we were at. We loved our neighbors. We loved our home. And we loved our Ward. We were there for 10 years with no plans of leaving when we unexpectedly started feeling promptings to move. We had no reason to move. Like I said, we loved where we were. I won’t go into details, but our undeniable promptings led us a few miles to the north to a neighborhood that Realty websites describe as “one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Utah Valley.” “Say what, Lord!? You want us to live…where? And how!!?? We can’t afford that neighborhood!” To us it was a financial impossibility. And yet, based on many other experiences in our life leading up to this point, we trusted in the Lord, his timing, and his ability to make the impossible possible. In a little over a year from the time we started considering the move we were purchasing a home in that very neighborhood. We barely squeaked in by the skin of our teeth. And the only thing that made it possible, was that we bought a home that was in dire need of some TLC. It was stuck in the 80s/90s and pretty much needed a total overhaul. It was huge, with lots of room to grow and lots of amazing potential. And the neighborhood isn’t one of the most coveted in the area for no reason. It’s as charming as they come. I wouldn’t even have to stage it. I can snap pictures in pretty much any direction and it looks like the cover of a Home and Gardens magazine. So here we are, living in what we term “the Big Dumb House”, or “The Money Pit” or “the Abode of the Curse of the Water Damage.” Take your pick. We couldn’t afford, like many of our neighbors have done, to purchase the house, and pay someone to remodel it. So we purchased the home, moved in, and began LIVING in the remodel. Not fun, people. SO not fun. We are doing the remodel largely ourselves. Because frankly that’s all we can afford to do. And we have stretched our budget to the max. (Something we would never do, had we not been prompted to do so). And now I come to my point. We’re not in this home because we want to pretend to be rich even though we’re not. Or because we want to look perfect even though we’re not. Or because we want to snap idyllic photos baking cookies on our kitchen Island the size of Hawaii. We’re here because the Lord led us here. I don’t know why the heck were here!!! I wish I did. It’s been the hardest year of my life. We’ve dealt with stress, depression, anxiety, health and financial strains like never before. I am assuming we will be able to look back one day and see why we needed to be here. What I do know is that we followed the prompting given to us by the Lord. Which in the long run, is something that has always worked out for us. I didn’t think I would feel inadequate here, because I’m a bit of a spitfire and don’t usually get intimidated easily by anyone. But I do, or did, especially at first. When your neighbors are asking you what you’re doing for summer break and you tell them you’re working on the house…again, while they whisk their entire family off to Paris or Denmark or South Africa for a mini safari. Or when you’re driving your old beat-up Honda Civic to church, which by the way is full of garbage, odd socks, and crushed Cheerios, (because your kids are slobs), and you have to park in between the Tesla and the Mercedes. It can be a bit disheartening. But you know what? It’s ME! It’s not them. WE are the ones who place unrealistic expectations on ourselves. WE are the ones who try to live up to a false narrative. WE are the ones who feel inferior when faced with somebody else’s imagined perfection. My new neighbors are amazing people. Believe it or not, they are very real people. They are humble, and giving, and kind, and their lives are not staged they just happen to have a lot of means. Maybe they have nannies to keep their houses clean. Maybe they have landscapers to ensure that their flowers are the most beautiful of the season. Maybe whisking their families off to foreign countries for family vacations doesn’t make a dent in their wallet. And so what? I would venture to say that almost anyone of us, if we had the funds, would likely do the same. I too have scoffed at the mommy blogs who offer a picture of false perfection. But I’ve also come to understand that I’M the only one the can make myself feel inferior, or feel that I have to live up to that false narrative. We’ve been posting pictures on Facebook along the way of our remodeling adventures. We’ve posted pictures of the good the bad and the ugly. But I know there are some who look at my pictures or come to my home and only see the good and then allow themselves to believe that our life is perfect. And allow themselves to get down about their own life. It’s complex. I think we need to be cautious about being false on social media. We need to be real. It gives others the permission to take joy in their real lives. In the mess and the chaos, in the troubles and the trials, as well as the joys and the perfections. But we also need to recognize when the beam is in our own eye and be careful not to judge others because WE feel jealous or insecure in our own selves. We often view judging as a top-down thing. But judging happens from the bottom up as well. How unfair it would be if I reduced my well-off neighbors to shallow stereotypes with Louis Vuitton handbags and perfect lives. I would hope others would give me the same courtesy. We’re about to do a kitchen remodel. When I post a picture of my newly remodeled kitchen, I would hate to think someone would automatically assume, “Oh look, she has a lovely kitchen, she must have a perfect life.” Think about how stupid that is. We are all complex beings and we KNOW that. It is US that are feeling insecure or inferior. That is when we need to dig deep and find our worth. And of course we are not going to find it in things or in pretend perfections. But in our own divine nature, and in our connections and love one to another. I just don’t think it matters to the Lord whether or not we are rich or whether or not we are poor, but whether or not we are HIS.

    • Yvonne says:

      AMEN!!!

    • Deanna Jones says:

      very good words – I agree. While part of changing this tendency to judge has to come from within – I also think that we can encourage or discourage it by our choices. We are affected by our entertainment choices – regardless of what they are and I think (and I am NOT perfect at this) that we could probably all take a step back and look at how those choices change the way we view ourselves, the way we view others and the way we view the world.

    • cara mia says:

      Shelby ~ very well said!

    • S Young says:

      This speaks right to my own heart. This is what people need to be sharing!

  78. Legit says:

    This article spoke to me

    I agree it’s not just mormons/ I think it’s s fame thing. People wanting attention and recognition.

    I know one of these moms quite well and she is anything but real, it is really hard to watch her pretend to be something that she is not. She takes ideas from others and doesn’t give credit. It has become an obsession with money- over family, her own and extended. Over friends. Over values. She is wildly competitive with others- only friends if people don’t threaten her. She only is friends with or helps others who help her get ahead. She gossips about anyone and everyone. She is bouyed up by others failures and the world following her. She pretends to be the perfect mom but looks for any opportunity to not be with her kids. But they have great nannies. The nannies are never mentioned. The plastic surgery is never mentioned. The kids are not what they seem and certainly not nice to others other than on the surface. It is all a facade. It is all to make money. It’s the last thing we should compare ourselves to.

    And it is really hard to know her true identity and watch others compare themselves to her. Tweens start thinking it’s normal to live the life her kids do/ getting everything they want and all the latest fashion.

    It is so unhealthy. I stopped reading years ago when I saw a flat out lie posted. I couldn’t do it.

    I completely agree it’s an addiction for those posting and those viewing. I wish we could stop it but until then I can choose not to indulge and I can teach my kids what is real- what matters and how I want them to be. And you know what? I wouldn’t change my ordinary beautiful life for her facade and crazy any day.

    Thank you for this article.

  79. I hate the commercial use of the word porn these days. “Food Porn” – “Lifestyle Porn” While you obviously meant it as a comparison to an addiction, I think you took it too far by comparing something as damaging and sensitive as porn to issues people face with addiction to social media and materialism. While both are addictions, that is where the similarities end; these two are not in the same realm at all and I feel like you could have found a better way to get the message across. I can’t help but feel you used this comparison to cause a reaction and gain traction for his post.

    While I agree with a lot of your points, none of this is new. Issues with materialism, and worshiping the vain things of the world have been around since the beginning of time and has been perpetuated by whatever outlets are available; television, books, music, magazines, and yes, now social media is an outlet where people can get distracted, compare, and get caught up in the ways of the world. I have had many conversations with friends and co-workers over the damaging side effects that can come from social media and the Mormon culture.

    Yes, there are people out there who are caught up in it all and spend way too much time falsely curating their lives for that shot of dopamine from others – HOWEVER Having been a part of this blogging world for a long time, I think it is safe to say that MOST bloggers/social media influencers etc. are genuinely sharing the happy AND sad moments of their lives. They are connecting with others, sharing thoughts, talents, etc.

    I won’t get into it all now, I have already wasted too much of my time responding haha But I don’t think the issue is the content that is out there; but ultimately lies with those posting and or consuming the content.

  80. Lynn Merrill says:

    You definitely have too much time on your hands. The book of Isaiah was shorter. You make a case out of something evil that isn’t there. Rich people always spend more on things. Richies have always tried to distance themselves from others, it isn’t unique to Mormonism. I suggest you get out more. Perhaps you are describing what is wrong with you,

  81. I love this. I 100% see what you’re talking about. It’s uncomfortable to make that analogy, but it really makes you think! I’ve had a lot of friends, my self included, who in the last few years have unfollowed people who portray a “perfect” life. It’s just not entertaining, inspiring, or in any way positive. We were just so sick of people trying to convince us that this level of perfection was achievable when we all knew it was staged! And I can definitely say it makes you a lot happier to be inspired and influenced by authentic individuals! Your post also makes me appreciate those “mommy bloggers” who don’t portray their lives as perfect, and seem to share a more authentic side of them. Those are the ones who inspire me!

    Also laughing at the small tangent about people of our generation whose livelihood is based on hanging around taking pictures of themselves looking cool. Looking forward to what else is coming from you!

  82. Count Kolob says:

    Sometimes I think as Mormons, we have forgotten that church should be a hospital for the sick rather than a museum for the righteous. This creates a pressure to appear “perfect” because if we appear imperfect then there’s an implied (non scriptural I should add) unrighteousness which is causing our imperfection or trial.

    It’s not unique to Mormons by any means, but Mormons tend to be overachievers so that makes us more efficient at this sort of thing.

  83. Kerry says:

    Hmmmm. You’re obviously a blogger. Do you live by your own expectations?

    PS: My blog is real. No false pretenses. :)

  84. Jennifer says:

    Amen!! I keep wondering why on earth people buy into these lies. How women can participate in “mom dance parties” is beyond me. And how they can’t see that the majority of the attenders and the hostess are just there for self promotion is sad. I unfollow these ladies as soon as I see any indication of this or if they are associated with known bloggers.

  85. Deanna Jones says:

    Interesting food for thought. I read your part about not spending $4,500 on an out fit unless… and here I thought I would NEVER spend that much on an outfit for any reason – not even my wedding dress, and then I kept reading and heard your reason when you would and thought – oh yeah, well ok that would be a valid reason… :)

  86. Raelyn Jenson says:

    I agree with much of what you said, but I do have to wonder about the fact that you’re highlighting Utah as the lifestyle porn capital of the world when you don’t even live in Utah. The mommy blogosphere is not restricted to Utah or the Wasatch Front, or to Mormons for that matter.

  87. Mrs. Mom says:

    Absolutely true! Let’s be real! The truth will set us free!

  88. Alissa Mitchell says:

    Brilliant. Thank you.

  89. Adam B says:

    Very well delineated and illustrated, and it is a valid point. Honestly, I think overly sensationalized bloggers is only part of the problem regarding lifestyle porn. It would be considered a fetish within the larger problem. For the sake of brevity, it makes sense to only reference other areas, or fetishes, within the larger issue of lifestyle porn. Perhaps you could explore some of these other problematic behaviors that generate distrust and damage relationships in future posts?

  90. I says:

    What a bunch of haters.

    My wife has a ton of IG followers, she makes money every week from it, Fortune 500 companies pay her to share pics using their stuff, we get so much free crap it’s incredible. Last month alone we got 2 new couches, a trip to Disneyland, and a ton of kids clothes for FREE. Saves me a boatload of money. Wife’s work is saving up enough money to put all our kids through college. This dude’s just sore he has to work 60 hours/week in South Canada. Don’t hate women for being smart, creative, and capitalizing on a market. And of course the pics are staged, whoTF wants to see photos of messed up kitchens. And all you women commenting on here saying you agree and act like you’re so much better than them…please. You’re the same women who stick your nose in the air and make my wife cry at church functions.

  91. Ashley M says:

    Hit the nail right in the head, seriously love this!!! You brave man! Keep them coming!!!

  92. Lynne Henderson says:

    I found this posted on FB and danced with joy! There are many of us here in New Zealand who are uncertain about our Utah Sisters and Brothers. There are some facts you seem to have forgotten.
    * The majority of Saints live outside of America let alone Utah.
    * The majority of Saints are NOT Caucasian.
    * The majority of Saints are NOT wealthy – in fact, many live in poverty.
    I spent a short time in Utah some years ago. I became intensely aware that, although I was a Recommend holder and, therefore, worthy as anyone I met, I WAS lacking in some intangible way. Yet I’ve never felt that among Saints in DC, LA, Tonga or Australia.
    I know there are many, many awesome, righteous, loving, humble, Christlike, wholesome people in Utah, unfortunately, the rest are giving them a bad name.

    • Jenni says:

      That is so wildly unfair. Talk about rampant stereotyping. I don’t know any members here that sit and cast judgement on members in New Zealand based on the short time they visited there. Good grief.

      I’ve lived all over. And gone to church among saints all over. You pretty much get what you look for.

    • thaydawg says:

      Not going to weigh in here other than to say that while we were living in Australia we visited New Zealand twice. One of my absolute favorite places on planet earth. It’s where I go mentally when I need to retreat to my happy place. Nature as God intended it. Kia Ora!

  93. Sam says:

    I think this extends to more than just mommy blogging. It’s a huge part of our whole culture. I remember on my mission having a really hard time with church-produced depictions of missionaries parading down the streets carrying the Book of Mormon or running up stairs and knocking doors, all dressed perfectly and smiling, all attractive men and women. It was exciting to see what I wanted to have, but I looked at my own experience and felt really disappointed and inadequate. If I had spent less time trying to achieve a fictional idea and more time focused on what was really important, I would have been happier.

  94. Anita says:

    I think you should be using the term fashion bloggers. Lifestyle bloggers typically aren’t the rich fashionistas you are talking about. I’m a lifestyle blogger and write about being frugal and thrifty doing more for less and share recipes, etc. I’m far from perfect and try not to represent myself as such. Fashion bloggers or super rich lifestyle bloggers perhaps are more along these lines. Just saying the main group of Mormon lifestyle bloggers aren’t mega wealthy and don’t wear expensive clothing. I stopped following a few of the bloggers you mentioned because it made me depressed. I never felt good enough and always was sickened by the price tags on their clothing & decorations etc. but I believe lots of Mormon lifestyle bloggers are champions of Motherhood and are sharing helpful tips as homemaking and Motherhood aren’t often brought up enough or shared enough in society as a whole anymore.

  95. This is exactly why I stopped watching the Home and Garden Channel.

  96. Lucia says:

    This is excellent! Thanks for putting in words what I have been thinking for a while now!!!

  97. Amy says:

    Non-Mormon Idaho Native, UofU grad, current ex-pat in Finland here:

    Love this article. It speaks to my heart, my experiences in Utah and as a member of the blogging community (expat/travel). I can attest to the feeling of inadequacy, of being sucked in, of comparison to all the other bloggers.
    The parallels to porn are spot on- it is simply not real. But, man, is it addictive. I want to unfollow so many- but what if they put up an outfit I MUST have?! Despite the fact that each photo arouses feelings of hatred and envy that I despise feeling. Narcissism is an epidemic.
    As I was trying to get my blog off the ground, I researched a ton of “great” blogs. They were disproportionally run by LDS members. (Look for the “We Believe” tab or any perfectly starched and ironed Sunday outfits and really really big braids). Fashion blogs, mommy blogs, lifestyle blogs. Each perfect to a T and each very reflective of my 5 years in Utah and many acquaintances I left there (some have similar blogs, some do not-but their Instagram is “on fleek” -did I use that right??) .
    Even the travel blog community is exhausting- I mean, who actually takes drones on vacation? Apparently you need casual aerial shots on iconic beaches to be a real traveler. And then you see “how to pack for your trip!” followed later by a side comment or insta along the lines of “Oops! Luggage 10 lbs overweight. #yolo #doitforthegram”. Or the 40 minutes spend getting every cute angle of your adorable outfit with your selfie stick at every. single. sight. Did you have time to look at this incredible feat of nature/engineering/artistry or just your perfectly contoured face in front of it?
    I know that my travels became far less enjoyable when I was so focused on getting that one iconic shot. And when your insta likes don’t ping up, inadequacy fills in again.
    As I am trying to negotiate my re-entry to the blog-o-sphere after total burn out and blogger-overstimulation, I will be keeping this post in mind. Re entering with honesty and openness, with no need for an asterisk.

    Thanks for your thoughts! Press on!

  98. Apron Appeal says:

    Ugh. There is more than one way to “mommy”. If one mom moms how you’ve described then she can still claim her blog a mommy blog.

    You’re final thought attacks women who don’t conform to some presupposed definition of what women should be and effectively undoes, your careful and often valid assessment of the value of entertainment.

  99. NDREA says:

    I think the people who fawn over and worship this lifestyle fictitious character are more to blame. If people didn’t follow, there wouldn’t be sponsors. People go online to seek out their fantasyland. I don’t think they portend to believe that it’s all 100% authentic.

  100. Jim says:

    I think it’s dangerous to judge someone period.

    On the porn front the judging by the religious right saying, “How dare you express your sexuality in a way I don’t agree with!”

    On the lifestyle front saying, “How dare you buy something I can’t afford!”

    Maybe we should start accepting people as they are? Just a thought.

  101. GTO says:

    Wow, this excellent and thought provoking article sparked a lot of (very civil, thank you everyone) comments. Not just a Utah problem, I’ve heard it said that Pinterest is the worst thing ever to happen to future brides, who now want every over-the-top idea to be part of their special day, but Utah has a particular problem.

    I met a young Mormon woman from Orem who was my ideal in many ways. A young mom and struggling with her responsibilities, she was nonetheless very spiritual and well-educated in a gospel sense and a returned missionary who had many suitors when she returned. A convert, I was the opposite when I was young and single and really struggled to get a grasp on what it meant to live a Mormon lifestyle. I really admired her.

    She HATED Utah Mormons and had a good supply of offensive jokes about them to tell you so. The root of that hatred was that she had really no domestic skills — couldn’t cook, bake, sew, do crafts, decorate, etc. She felt like a failure, not because of her spiritual expectations (in which she excelled) but because of the cultural expectations that surrounded her (in which she couldn’t keep up). We need to be able to separate, in our own minds and hearts, culture and religion.

    Now, I was a very young mom in the 70’s when women’s lib was raging, and you were defined by your career. I had made the choice to stay home with my kids and found I could only hold things together at home if I was away doing my own thing less than 10 hours a week. My struggle was feeling like I was worth something because I was educated but had no career. Often, child care was boring, too, especially when the kids were really young.

    Here’s the rub. You can’t serve God and Mammon and have true joy in your life. The standards we are encouraged to live by the Gospel can bring us joy, if we aren’t also trying so hard to live up to the standards of the world — vocational, financial, taste-wise, etc.

    Those who try to set a standard where you can be righteous, charitable, a great mom, crafty, shapely, gorgeous, rich, etc., are doing every believer in Christ a disservice.

  102. SMH…..dude…..you are sooooooooo SPOT ON with this it’s not even funny. Don’t listen to the delicate snowflakes and their empty “you shouldn’t judge” statements. You SHOULD judge. And you’re right. I’ve never seen your blog before (got here by way of a friend from Facebook but who said you nailed it so I had to come make sure) but it’s nice to see a fellow member of the church NOT be afraid to have an opinion and share it.

    I absolutely LOVED your last line–the ZINGER about the asterick….BRAVO brother! BRAAAAAAAAVO!!!!

  103. Brian says:

    Great points, but let’s stop overusing the porn metaphor and let’s use words that already exist. Yes, the metaphor has been popularized with food addiction (#foodporn), but actual pornography is “material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings”. The problem with overusing this metaphor is that when everything is porn, nothing is porn. I believe the apostle Paul clearly described what is happening in society, and the sad nature of your post, without resorting to metaphor:

    1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

    2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

    3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

    4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

    5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

  104. Katrina says:

    I could not agree with you more!!!! So funny, and sadly true at the same time. When I moved to my home 13 years ago, I was so happy to put down a big chunk of money on my simple yet more than adequate new home so I could pay it off early. I’m not into the latest styles. My home fits my needs and wants. But my young SAHM neighbors whose husbands were pulling in $45,000 per year as a programmer would come over and tell me everything that was wrong with my home. Carpet? Should be hard wood floors. Linoleum? Should be travertine tiles in the kitchen. Laminate countertops? Should be granite. I clean my own home? I mean, seriously, hire a housekeeper. You have your TV in the living room. Well, that means the focal point of your life is the TV. It should be in the basement family room. My 7-year-old Forester that was fully paid for within one year of purchase should have been an Acura. I should also have a heated driveway, and blah blah blah. My clothes, jewelry, and hair style was simply not the latest style. Absolutely everything about me didn’t measure up to the Pinterest, Joanna Gaines, Food Network lifestyle they tried to live. One neighbor hadn’t ever cooked even the simplest meal for her family. They ate out, even for breakfast. She displayed a $500 Kitchen Aid mixer on her counter top that she called “artwork” because of the wild color. Baby showers take months and $$$$$ to pull off. All of this is to impress others. But really, underlying it all is the question, “Why are they driven with this need to impress others with their supposed perfection?” I’m amazed by the stress and subsequent depression it induces because they know the persona they show to the world is not really them at all. I cherish simplicity and a low maintenance lifestyle.

  105. Lance ONeil says:

    What’s really interesting is when you don’t live in Utah anymore and then come back for a visit. I am in the military and have lived in Eastern Texas, Northern California, Alabama, and now West Texas in the past 12 years. My wife and I have seen the lifestyles in Utah change and have had many conversations about it. It really begins with the single 20ish-year-olds and the quest for perfection in the attempt to lure a mate. Fake hair, fake eyelashes, contacts, surgery, etc. It’s not a surprise, then, to see many of these young women gravitate to a falsehood presented in these blogs. And, no, it isn’t just in Utah, but it is much worse there than in the other locations I have been. It even seeps into church callings. “Did you see what Ward X did for Young Womens? Wow! I wish we could do things like that!” But they don’t realize that you don’t have to live up to another standard. Do your calling the best you can and live your life the best you can. That’s how you excel in this life.

    • observer says:

      This is not just in Utah – I know plenty of Mormon and other religion lifestyle bloggers out of Utah. There’s some who give up where they live and being near family/friends/loved ones just for lower taxes in another state. Money, money, money. But they are still the same breed of people pretending to be something they aren’t and making women/teens think that it’s reality to have such false expectations.

  106. S Young says:

    One of my New Years resolutions is to show more love for people who I don’t understand or even agree with. Although there’s some truth to this article, I thinks it’s a horrible article. Here’s why: I don’t think a persons entire lifestyle should be compared to porn. Porn is porn! It’s an ugly terrible thing and we don’t need to start comparing entire lifestyles to it now. Get real! The last thing women need is another man telling us how we should be living and behaving. Isn’t that what “actual porn” is based on? People, for the most part, are just doing their best. Don’t we all have parts of our lives that are hard and ugly? I don’t see everyone sharing all those types of things. We don’t know this lady that appears to have it all together and seems fake. We know nothing about her. Nothing! Yet we think we have the right to sit here and shame her and judge her. And not just her in particular, but all people like her. Really?! This women could be doing her best and since none of us are perfect let’s stop sharing and liking articles like this. Judgemental people who seem to think they know everything about a person based on what things look like from the outside, are exactly what’s wrong with world, and dare I say “Mormonism”(gasp! How dare I!). We need the opposite! We need more love and less criticism. Let’s say it’s true that this woman and others like her are total frauds and live completely fake lives(which I doubt is entirely true like the author implicates)… what gives us the right to point our fingers at them? This article is laced with so much hatred, judgment and assumption. Let’s GET REAL and stop pointing our fingers at each other! Look inward and fix yourselves instead of wasting time pointing out the weaknesses of others. Just as it’s wrong to point at people’s flaws, isn’t it just as wrong to judge others for appearing “too perfect” or for how they choose to live their lives? Next time we feel inclined to decide somebody is too perfect so they must be frauds and then to take it a step further and blog about it to the world, let’s realize that NOBODY is perfect, and EVERYBODY has struggles and reasons for their choices. It’s not our job to go around pointing out the flaws of others. Maybe this author should write an article pointing out all his own flaws, but I doubt we’ll see that.

    • Samwise says:

      Maybe you should write a post and confess all your flaws too. I doubt we will ever see that….

      • S Young says:

        Exactly!! Thank you for proving my point Samnotsowise! We don’t go around writing critical articles about ourselves so don’t do it about other people. Thanks!

  107. Just Scott says:

    I read a lot of critical responses here but they all seemed to miss your point. Thank you for writing this. We all had a good read and some great discussion over here.
    A thought: You might notice how self-conscious a lot of these responses are. Its almost like you are attacking them personally (or their favorite *kid).
    For those offended you might want to remember that its uncomfortable to have your vices attacked directly. We get real touchy when the issues we like having are attacked.
    Each gender and all people have vices that we tend to be more vulnerable towards. Suck… It… Up…
    Men have had to listen to the dangers of pornography for decades whether or not they were offenders. Seriously.

  108. Sting says:

    All critics of this post will need to work hard to picture the “type” that is being spoken of here. I see them every day, since my home is situated close to a mountain peak…but not “that close.” However, up the hill dwell those who post such photos, Facebook posts, Pinterest items, et. al as described herein.

    No, these people do not represent “all” LDS people, and they don’t represent all Utah people. But there are enough of them and yes, the rest of us generally shun them. I tend to swim in the deeper end of the pool and do not like to dwell in shallow waters.

    Hate all you want, and if this post and my comments burn a bit, then step back and ask, “why does this sting?”

    • S Young says:

      And in turn, those in agreeance with such judgemental mentalities as this post portrays need to step back and ask themselves “why do I have a need to point my finger at others even though I myself am not perfect either.”

      • S Young says:

        Just because your weaknesses and vices(you do have them) aren’t the same as “these types” of “shallow” people doesn’t make you any better than them. So why do you feel so “stung” by “them”? A thought: Hate all you want, call people different than you “shallow” while stating how wonderful you are because you like to swim in “deeper waters”, but it doesn’t make you a better person. In fact, it makes you look like a shallow snob with nose in the air going around deciding who’s shallow and who’s not. That’s pretty high and mighty of you “Just” Scott. Be honest and change your name to “Scott the high and mighty.” You obviously have appointed yourself the “shallow people labeler” police lol! You don’t seem any different than “them” to me. Maybe you’re more like “those people” who “live on the hill” than you think.
        In all seriousness though as I said in my comment above, the world needs less judgement and more love.

  109. Heather says:

    Spot on. Behind every perfectly staged, effortlessly casual Instagram pic of the fam is a professional photographer and an undisclosed sponsor giving them the expensive clothes they are wearing, car they are driving, hot tub they are in, or hotel they are at in said photo. How can it be a ‘lifestyle’ blog if it does not even remotely reflect real life? Funny enough it takes about 50 photos and dozens of poses of that oh so authentic moment find just the one that will be perfect enough to fool people the most. These mommy bloggers are so dishonest and fake it makes me sick to look at them these days, but you are right, they are train wrecks and like the real housewives, I can’t look away. Thank you for so eloquently bringing light to this issue. If porn is so bad because it goes against church doctrine, why is rampant materialism, consumerism, and stupid amounts of personal wealth fair game?

    • S Young says:

      If it makes you so sick then why do you keep looking? Maybe the problem is within your own self. You CAN choose to be affected or not. If it’s so sickening to you then STOP looking! You are just as dishonest to keep looking at stuff you don’t agree with and that makes you sick. Stop pointing your judgement all finger at others and work on your own self.

      • Heather says:

        I look for the same reason I read the news, politics, history, etc. To LEARN and to stay informed about whatever issue I’m fascinated with at the time. And all the while I absolutely am working on myself, finding things I agree with, disagree with, can find common ground on, can grow on, can learn to accept, can learn about other cultures. I read a few mommy blogs still because I was fully invested 5 years ago and fell in love with them. Over the years the narratives have changed, they did not seem like the same people or family I fell in love with and was inspired by, the sponsors and advertisements flooded in so conspicuously, the constant shilling became clear, the tones changed, the intention changed. The intent was no longer to inspire and share their genuine selves, but to make money and have ‘things’ and be superficially beautiful. None of these bloggers I know make things, build, create, or do real work – they just buy, spend, and accept gifts and show the world that is what you need to be happy – a notion I so vehemently disagree with as I suffered from deepest depressions trying to achieve things things, and watch people around me suffer the same thing every day – no ‘things’ are ever enough, despite what the bloggers display in their perfect curated stories. It is my own personal problem that I still look at these blogs that I used to love with all my heart, I agree with you. I am fascinated by our culture’s obsession with materialism, consumerism, and need for ‘things’, and how particularly hypocritical it is in certain cultures that at their core reject wealth, and why and how it became such a problem for this country at large overall. I do not like how mommy bloggers exacerbate this epidemic, but I understand that money is seductive, and that they are people too, weak and only human. I am fascinated to watch this. So, I’m not going to stop looking or commenting on it, sorry. But in my liberal education I learned that it is a good thing to observe, communicate, debate, disagree, and speak out for what you believe are your own personal truths. Can I try to be kinder in my comments? Absolutely, and I will. But I’m not going to ever simply stop looking at something because it makes me sick. That is the first step to insulation and ignorance. Apologies if I offended you, especially if you personally are a mommy blogger. Not all mommy bloggers are the same, and I apologize for generalizing. The materialistic, uber wealthy shillers who changed over the years because of money and material goods are the ones I am talking about.

        • S Young says:

          Very good points that I wholeheartedly agree with. Best wishes to you in your quest for all the good things you desire. Thank you for your comments.

        • S Young says:

          I’m not a blogger. I compose piano music and teach children music. I’m a Mother of 3 and I don’t read Mommy blogs.

  110. Tim says:

    I think many of us forget the wheat and tares are almost identical. It is not the world but the Church itself that will be sifted.

    Great article. Timely too. This is becoming more relevant than ever before.

  111. Molly says:

    I really like this because it brings to light something so terrible. I actually blog for my photographer friend who pays me. I blog as if I’m her. It’s a business really. She doesn’t have time to do it all so she contracts things out. I try to keep it truthful though. I get as much info as I can from her, then I start to write.
    I feel it’s a little strong to compare lifestyle blogs/social media to porn however, because it doesn’t end in sexual transgression. But thank you for you write up, it was interesting.

  112. S Young says:

    I think we also forget that judging others is wrong. Judging others and seeking praise for it by writing an article and pitching it to the world is even more wrong. Since we ALL have weaknesses and vices, we are required to focus inward and not on the weaknesses and vices of others. Its more important to show Christlike love to others than it is to judge them. Articles like this are nothing but judgement, accusation and jealousy of others camouflaged with the idea that the world needs to know how wrong “these people” are so we can all avoid being evil like them. Lol! Will an article like this change the problem? Nope! It makes it worse. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a follow up article to this that focused on the good things “these types of people” have actually done? Maybe we’d be surprised to find that they aren’t as fake as they are being accused of. Maybe the problem really lies in our own hearts? Imagine an article that focused less on being critical and more on showing love, DESPITE weaknesses! Now that would be “timely”! After all, not one of us is free from imperfection and sin, including the author. The difference is that some are more concerned with pointing their fingers than working on their own sins. For as many people that are becoming more “worldly” by posting perfect pics and hiring nannies, etc.(as this article states), there’s just as many becoming more judgmental and accusatory as this author also proves, which(news flash!) is also a “worldly” trait. If articles like this are “relevant” than we need a lot more articles about focusing on our own weaknesses instead of pointing our fingers at others. “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Christ called those who do this “hypocrites”. Can you say anything good about the life of this woman you are accusing Mike Thayer? I challenge you to let us all know who she really is. You’ve stated who she’s not. You’ve touched on her weaknesses. Let’s hear who she actually is. Do you even know? What trials has she endured? Why are you in a position to judge her? Did you think about the fact that these are human beings with feelings just like you? Would you be willing to write an article about your sins and weaknesses without stating any good you have done? If you can’t answer these questions than the problem lies with you, not her or people like her.

    • James says:

      There is a difference between judging someone’s actions (for example, “Judging by the way that person drives, I will never get in a car with them at the wheel”) and passing final judgement on someone (for example, “That person is evil and will go to hell”). The former is fine, the latter is not. If you’re LDS, Elder Oaks describes this as “intermediate judgements” verse “final judgements”. I’m fine with the author pointing out that in his judgement certain types of blogging are dangerous much like he may shout, “Watch out, that guy is driving recklessly.” I also think, however, he could have toned down certain parts of the article to make it clear he was not passing final judgement on any individual. Buy hey, I’m not going to judge his motives. I’ll leave that final judgement to someone else ….

      • S Young says:

        Well said. However, I don’t feel the motive of the author is in question. He made it really clear. I just happen to disagree to the point that I believe the author’s judgements about the women themselves who are writing and posting pictures of lifestyles is THE real problem. There isn’t one thing he said that will change anything. I feel the real problem is with people who think it’s ok to point their fingers at others. If Mom bloggers are able to provide a living for their families and stay home, more power to them and all the ways they are making that happen! Enough people are inspired by them that they are thriving. Leave them alone. The last thing women need is more critics like Mike Thayer. He and others quick to judge are the reason women don’t feel good enough so they continue to reach for higher precedents. Constant harsh critiquing of women has got to stop. Accept people for who they are. Find the good instead of the bad. It would have been so refreshing had the author found something kind to say, but the entire article was judgmental and critical.

        • Heather says:

          Do you think genuine frauds should not be called out for what they are, because it’s just ‘mean-spirited finger pointing’? I’m trying to figure out your logic. If someone is lying, or being disingenuous, selling a false narrative, do you accept them for what they are and what they represent? I have to question, if these families were making money by stealing, or actually prostituting themselves, would you point the finger? What is the difference between lying and stealing – aren’t they equally bad in the eyes of god? What do you do in the face of this – not judge and accept them for who they are and the thousands upon thousands of people they influence? At what point is it allowed to try to rationally, critically analyze the situation and bring to light deep, dark issues that are not being talked about, for the sake of the community at large? Is it because these bloggers are beautiful and rich and wholesome that they get a free pass? I am genuinely confused by this “how dare you judge others” notion when something so clearly wrong is going on. Why is it not okay to talk about it?

          • S Young says:

            Good question. There’s a BIG difference between people who force their will on others, ex. stealing, drunk driving, etc than what Mom bloggers are doing. You have to go to their blog and choose to read it then choose to let it effect you! You’re comparing evil people who force their will on others by doing things they can go to jail for to “Mommy bloggers”. Really?! Come on! I feel people need to take responsibility for themselves. The only way you can be SO affected by them/their “lifestyles” is because you chose it. You all don’t have to go read Mommy blogs everyday and continue to feel inadequate over it. That’s no way to live. Move on and do things that make a difference in your communities. Stop wasting your time reading “Mommy blogs”, especially if you allow what you yourself chose to read to effect you so negatively. Again, be the captain of your own ship. Quit blaming others!

          • S Young says:

            It all comes back to choices of the individual. You don’t have to go read “Mommy blogs” everyday and continue to feel inadequate. If you have made the choice to read them over and over causing yourself depression and feelings of inadequacy and you’re so addicted you can’t stop looking at kitchens that are “too perfect” then make the choice to go get help! If we’re so far off in our society now that “Mommy blogs” are causing us depression because we just can’t stop looking then something is wrong with the people looking who then blame the “Mommies” writing them. Just like those who get addicted to porn need help, but can only really receive it by making the choice to seek help and stop looking, the same is true for those choosing to look at and read material that is harmful to them(even if that becomes something as silly as an oversensualized and too perfect plate of cookies). Get help, stop blaming others, stop doing the addictive behavior and find some happiness. We live in an era where people want to blame their conditions on others and shout “it’s not fair” instead of taking responsibility for their own choices. Guess what?! Mommy blogs wouldn’t be where they’re at right now if everybody stopped reading them. As far as judging others, if you’re guilty of your own weaknesses and sins, why are you on a high horse pointing your finger at others? What makes you so special that you have decided all these women writing blogs are worse sinners than you? This has got to stop if people want real happiness in their lives free from addiction.

          • Heather says:

            It won’t let me comment below for some reason, so I’ll comment below my own post..

            As I mentioned in an above comment I had a problem years ago with depression and anxiety over living an obsessive materialistic consumer crazed life, thinking if I just had one more article of clothing, one more hair dye job, I’d be perfect and happy. I have my life in check now after years of soul searching, but like I said before, I still see it allll around me everywhere in countless women in and outside of my inner circle, beating themselves up to be perfect just like their favorite instagrammers and celebrities, buying and spending because each item they have offers a fleeting kind of happiness..

            You can sit here all you want and just say it’s about the individual, THEY need to decide to stop reading the blogs, THEY need to wake up, THEY need to take full responsibility. And you are right to a point – people need to work on themselves and learn where true happiness comes from, learn self awareness, and emotional intelligence.. However, many women reading these blogs trying to live to these fake standards ARE just the ones who are already depressed because they just do not realize or see what me or you or the author of this article sees. They have NO idea that, just like when looking at skinny beautiful celebrities on the covers of magazines, what they are looking at is not real for the most part. They have already fell for the facade and are chasing unattainable goals.

            The more articles like this that come out, the more this is brought to light, then the more eyes can hopefully be opened, and people can be woken up, and ideally the more women will be more in tune with recognizing what is healthy inspiration and what is unrealistic, and won’t fall into the trap like I and many others have – JUST like with celebrity worship.

            Your logic again confuses me. You are assuming that everyone already knows instagram is unrealistic, and can just look at it for fun, and simply won’t allow themselves to fall into the keeping up with the Jones’s trap. This is not true. People speak up on countless issues for a reason – awareness!

            Furthermore, as much as you are trying to peg this all on the individual, the famous mommy bloggers who are influencing thousands of people daily, just like celebrities, have a responsibility as well, to be more honest about what they are curating and revealing to their subscribers. It’s not simply as easy as just not looking at it if you have no idea what you are looking at is bad. I know it’s bad, and I still look at it for the reasons I pointed out above, I am aware of what I am seeing. Thousands upon thousands of women are not aware at all – you can see it in the comments “I need that, tell me where you got that!!!, oh your family is just perfect how do you do it?? I wish I had that!”. Mommy bloggers do nothing about this.

            And when I was bringing up stealing and stuff, the point I was trying to make is that bad behavior is still bad behavior. All I want to see is a bit more honesty, disclosure of sponsorships, less fixation on material items and spending and consuming, and more REALITY in these blogs that influence SO MANY PEOPLE..

          • S Young says:

            Once again I agree with many of your points. However, there’s a difference between awareness and placing ALL the blame on the source. This article has no balance of “here’s the problem, but here’s how to correct it”. Articles like this aren’t going to make Mommy bloggers stop the bad behavior. It’s just complaining. In the end we cant change others and definitely not by writing articles like this that make us feel entitled to attitudes like “it’s not my fault” and “it’s not fair”. We CAN change ourselves! There’s hope in that. I’m sorry for your struggles.

          • Heather says:

            Thank you for your civility and positivity – I appreciate it and I apologize if I went off the rails. I agree with your points too.

          • S Young says:

            Absolutely. I’m not offended at all. I think people need to voice their opinions. I feel a lot of frustration. My strongest conviction is centered around the concept of forgiveness. We need to forgive others and forgive ourselves of shortcomings. Less judgement and more love. I truly hope you can find that sweet spot. Thanks Heather:)

          • Ed says:

            S Young,
            Do you think you’re at a place where you could forgive Mike yet? I think a public act like that would go a long way towards healing some hearts.

          • S Young says:

            Forgive him for what? He just has a different opinion than I do. I don’t think that needs forgiveness! Aren’t we all just sharing opinions?

          • S Young says:

            Your sarcasm gave me a good laugh though Ed.

          • Trish says:

            S. young, you seem to have so much hate in your heart. I know none of us are perfect. please find it in your heart to forgive those in the past that have made you so angry and resentful. We love you, sister, and will keep you in our prayers.

          • S Young says:

            I’m sorry you feel that way Trish. I don’t have anger in my heart at all. I have issues with imperfect people being so critical of others and I’m not afraid to defend that. Why would I forgive people who haven’t offended me? Thanks for the prayers though!

      • TJ says:

        Personally, I believe that when necessary, Jesus was the kind of guy who was willing to kick a little ass and take some names. For example, flipping over bank teller’s tables left and right, squaring up to kick pigeon vendors in the chest, cursing fig trees . . . Don’t get me started on the fact that before he ever even came to earth he added the following bullets to his resume:
        -Flooding and killing almost the entire earth’s human and animal population
        -Ordering the Israelites to kill men, women, and children
        -Stoning homosexuals

        With that background, you’re going to have a tough time convincing me that Jesus wouldn’t condone a zealous blogger calling attention to an ANONYMOUS blog and pointing out deception and hypocrisy.

        • S Young says:

          It’s a good thing Im not trying to convince anybody of that. We all have vices we need to work on so why are people constantly talking about the vices of others and bashing people for it? You forgot to mention one important thing about Christ that sets him apart from us, He’s perfect. We are not. He didn’t go around getting addicted to harmful things and then blame the source for it. It’s not our job to bash people. That’s my issue. Great analogy though.

          • TJ says:

            @S Young,
            Thanks. That actually means something to me. I feel like so many people are talking AT each other instead of TO each other. I’m glad we can not see 100% eye to eye, but still have some good dialogue.

            I understand that we’re not perfect. However, we have been commanded to be perfect, and I think this includes doing our very best to follow Christ’s example of righteous judgement. I’m way too timid to walk into a room and witness people sinning and then actually follow up by kicking tables over. But I think being shy is one of MY weaknesses that I need to work on. I’d feel so ashamed if I had stood by and never voiced my opinion if I witnessed what the Nazi’s were doing. So at what point do you finally say something if in your heart of hearts you feel it’s wrong? If Mike honestly feels in his bones that some (maybe even very few) mommy/fashion bloggers are taking things to the ultimate excess, at what point should he listen to his conscience?

            If you’d say someone is obligated to speak out against a situation like the Nazi’s, then you have to concede that at SOME point, one is morally obligated to “warn his neighbor.” Maybe you draw the line at the murder of innocent lives, maybe Mike draws it at the proliferation of a vast and vapid generation.

            So it seems like you’re judging Mike fairly strongly about just where exactly he should be drawing his line in the sand . . .

            Thanks for the thoughts.

          • S Young says:

            TJ,
            These are also all great points. Personally, my lines change depending on whether someone is forcing something evil on me or my loved ones(there’s no holding back), or something like these oversensualized blogs that I have a choice to read or not read. So say I choose to read it and it causes me depression and feelings of inadequacy? But for whatever reason I can’t stop reading the damaging material. I feel it’s my own fault at this point. What good would it do me to decide to write an article shaming all Mormon Mommy bloggers? Will this make them stop? I highly doubt it. I feel my growth can only come from refraining from reading things that make me sick. I do think there is a problem in the blogging world. The difference for me is that I prefer to turn inward because this is the kind of thing I can choose to do or not. It’s like choosing to smoke, becoming addicted, then blaming tobacco companies because I ended up with cancer. I feel there’s an entire generation that has the need to do more blaming and shaming than fixing their own problems. Does that make sense? I’m sure Mike is a great guy. How cool would it be if the article had stated the issue and then said something, anything, helpful or positive. It feels very judgemental and has an overall tone of “whining” about something we already have control over. Stop reading blogs that make you sick.
            Seriously, thank you for your thoughts and kindness.

          • TJ says:

            Dear S,

            I’m glad that you have thought this through. I feel like I’ve seen way too many knee jerk reactions recently.

            You bring up some great points and I’d like to elaborate on one a little. I 100% agree that at the end of the day it’s the consumer of the content who is responsible for his/her own actions. HOWEVER, one of the key reasons that the smoking rate is a fraction of what it was 30-40 years ago is because of strong campaigns against the tobacco industry. It took a lot of education and effort in order to root out a voluntary habit.

            So yes, the responsibility lies with the consumer/user. However, history has shown us that advocates willing to speak out and fight against negative forces have brought about great change. Big tobacco never imposed their will on anyone. However, they certainly weren’t forthright regarding what their products could do to their customers. Once their customers and maybe more importantly, POTENTIAL customers had been properly educated as to the full picture, tobacco use went down and lives were improved and saved.

            Mike Thayer seems to be some kind of voice in the wilderness, maybe even a Ralph Nader to the mommy blogging generation.

            Were those who fought Big Tobacco “judgemental” of those other’s who weren’t imposing their will on others? I don’t know, but whatever you call it, consider me a jock strap because I’m a huge supporter.

          • S Young says:

            You know what TJ? Number one I love that last line where you called yourself a jock strap hahaha! Super funny. And you are exactly right about everything else. Good points. However, in the end, tobacco companies haven’t gone out of business, lots of people still smoke and lots of people still get lung cancer. We still need to be the masters of our own lives. There’s lots of crap to consume. Here’s the difference though, and maybe Im completely wrong, but… whenever I see somebody who appears to have the perfect life I just know for a fact they don’t. Nobody has a perfect life. We’re all trying our best. I thought everyone knew that. I was wrong. I sincerely don’t believe these Mom bloggers are evil or are trying to hurt people and cause people depression. They have some vices like all of the rest of us. There were hidden dangers in tobacco when it first came out and the companies had to put consumer warning labels on their products. Maybe Mikes article is the consumer label warning of Mom blogs, albeit self appointed. I just don’t feel Mommy blogs need warning labels. It seems ridiculous. Caution: viewing perfect shaped cookies in a gorgeous kitchen made by a darling woman in heels may cause viewers depression and feelings of inadequacy. It seems even this is something we can either let happen or not happen even after looking at the perfect whatever. What is it inside of us that says “that’s not fair, I don’t have a kitchen like that, my cookies are lumpy and how dare that woman look like that”? Instead of, “there’s a person doing what she wants. More power to her! And I think I’ll skip her blog because it looks fake.” Tobacco on the other hand is going to slowly kill you if you smoke it. Period. Once you consume it you don’t have control over what it will do to you. You have given up control over your health to a cigarette. Reading a blog is very different. But Im only one tiny opinion and Im obviously out numbered and I’ve even been told I’m hateful and that I’ll be kept in someone’s prayers lol!!!
            I still feel we need more love and kindness and less bashing and shaming. Aren’t you sick of me by now?!

  113. Rachel says:

    loved this article. As a professional nanny of more than 20 years, I agreed, laughed, and was saddened at the reality depicted in your article.

    • S Young says:

      It sounds like you were provided with a steady job by exactly the kind of woman this article is criticizing. Interesting.

  114. Rebecca C says:

    City Creek Mall
    “Let’s go shopping!”
    — Thomas S. Monson

  115. Sarah says:

    Interesting comparison! I’ve always said that romance novels (especially Twilight type) /chick flicks (Hallmark-esque) were the female equivalent to porn (emotional instead of visual) because it is often a female created fantasy of what they wish was the reality of what a relationship with a man is like. The harm I see in it is the same–that you have unrealistic expectations of what marriage is going to be and are unhappy as a result. I never thought of mommy bloggers to be in this category as well (probably because I don’t read them) but I do think embracing authenticity is a much needed value in our culture and is key to healthy relationships.

    • thaydawg says:

      Spot on. Now the one thing I’ve never understood is why females would wish their men to be cold, sparkly vampires and/or hairy, ravenous wolves.

  116. Jennifer says:

    How very fitting that the timing of this article coming out and Housewife2hostess announcing she is getting a breast lift, and tagged her doctor and his office on Instagram, are just days apart. Am I making a crazy assumption that part of the cost is being absorbed for the advertising? I don’t care about the surgery itself but it’s the pimping herself out for free stuff that is sad.

    • S Young says:

      “God just loves us exactly as we are right now, but our whole purpose here is to grow to become more like Him”.
      These are the types of statements Housewife2hostess is making on her Instagram posts.
      Jennifer maybe you should try following the example of this woman you are criticizing by her actual Instagram name. You could have had the decency to say something nice about her if you were going to say something mean and judgmental. Or if you’re going to say it then have the guts to say it TO her. Its cowardly to get on here and talk bad about a person who can’t defend themselves. But then again this whole article is also cowardly so naturally you feel you have a voice on this particular blog post. You are exactly what’s wrong with the world. If you are so bothered by her why do you look at her posts? Why are you in a position to judge her so harshly? Is it fun for you to follow her on Instagram and then immediately complain about her behind her back? Isn’t that the behavior of childish caddy teens? It seems like something’s wrong with you, not her. You admitted to making a crazy assumption, then immediately turned it into a “pimping herself out” statement making it sound like a fact. Are you aware of what “pimping out” means? If so then you just accused her of being a prostitute, of being taken advantage of, of being exploited, and of being used to hire out or provide to others like a whore. Like it or not this Mommy blogger you are attacking has inspired thousands of women for the better. How many people have you inspired? Or do you just spend your time in a dark room peeking at her posts so you can find mean things to say? Those are pretty hefty accusations that may get you in more trouble than you want. Find better ways to spend your time! Then again articles like this bring out finger pointers like you from the shadows. And the cycle continues… Ugh. Thanks Mike Thayer for giving inaccurate and idiotic statements like this a voice!

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  119. S Young says:

    Several commenters on here have accused these Mormon Mommy bloggers of setting a precedent that is too high and that it makes them sick. Well you poor things! My question to them is “why do you continue to read and watch things that make you so sick and upset? Why are you allowing a precedent to be set for yourself by these “too perfect” bloggers? Quit reading them! Move on! Mommy bloggers thrive because you keep reading their articles. Read things that DO inspire you. Set your own precedent based on what you believe to be right for you. Nobody is forcing anyone to try and live these lifestyles. The real problem comes from within. Work on your own problems and don’t allow yourselves to be controlled by and upset and angered by Mormon Mommy bloggers from Utah! And definitely don’t write articles about how unfair they are making life for the rest of us. Two year olds and entitled teens whine about how life is unfair. Be adults. Don’t fuel this kind of debilitating fire by commenting about how wonderful the article is and then whining about how you’ll never measure up. Get over yourselves! Mom bloggers can only do what you’re accusing them of if you allow it and if that happens then it’s your own fault. Be the captain of your own ship!

    • Quinn says:

      Please tout your “Quit reading them! Move on!” to addicts of anything and tell me how it goes. I am very interested in the results you have

      • S Young says:

        It all comes back to choices of the individual. You don’t have to go read “Mommy blogs” everyday and continue to feel inadequate. If you have made the choice to read them over and over causing yourself depression and feelings of inadequacy and you’re so addicted you can’t stop looking at kitchens that are “too perfect” then make the choice to go get help! If we’re so far off in our society now that “Mommy blogs” are causing us depression because we just can’t stop looking then something is wrong with the people looking who then blame the “Mommies” writing them. Just like those who get addicted to porn need help, but can only really receive it by making the choice to seek help and stop looking, the same is true for those choosing to look at and read material that is harmful to them(even if that becomes something as silly as an oversensualized and too perfect plate of cookies). Get help, stop blaming others, stop doing the addictive behavior and find some happiness. We live in an era where people want to blame their conditions on others and shout “it’s not fair” instead of taking responsibility for their own choices. Guess what?! Mommy blogs wouldn’t be where they’re at right now if everybody stopped reading them. I don’t believe in “touting” btw. I’m not trying to sell you anything. Talking like adults will work better. Thanks for the question!

        • S Young says:

          There’s also lots of success stories of people with addictions who made the choice to fix themselves by getting help. They live addiction free lives because they took responsibility for themselves and stopped placing blame. I know some people personally who have been through the process. Need more proof? If you really genuinely want to know if what I’m saying is true, go talk to counselors if various addiction recovery centers and ask them to tell you some success stories. There’s plenty and they all lead back to the choices of the individual. Nobody is forcing you to read “Mommy blogs”. So stop it. Get help if you need it, but stop the damaging behavior.

  120. Marjohna says:

    I read this because it was shared on my fb by a friend. What’s a blog? Ok, I sort of know, but I have lived my whole life and completely ignored the phenomenon. I guess I just have too much else to do. It’s ok if I come upon one now and then, but follow religiously? No. I have been crafting words long enough in my life to know that the things your write on line don’t take the place of real conversation either. That said, I appreciate some of the insights here. Everything gets messed up when people prefer image – graven image.

  121. Anne says:

    I agree with this to a certain extent. I have nonmember friends that say “All Mormons are rich” and looking at our church parking lots and seeing us dressed up for Sunday, I understand that thought. We put too much thought and value into our appearances, a pride the book of Mormon clearly warns against.

    The feminist part of me can’t help but notice the damned if you do, damned if you don’t sentiments here. If these women posted sloppy, real life pictures, they’d be hearing it too for slacking and glorifying complacency.

    We all need to grow up and work hard, recognize reality vs fairy tales and realize what’s actually important to us. It’s more important to me that my kids bake with me than that it’s spotless. It’s more important that I have time to bake with my kids at all than document (although I used to have a very successful food blog).

    Seasons change and we all have different gifts and desires. We’ll all be happier if we’re realistic about our values and live and let live.

    • S Young says:

      I love this because you understand the concept that the problem may really lie within each one of us. When the finger stops pointing at others and blaming others for our own feelings of inadequacy then maybe some change for the better can happen.

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  123. Quinn says:

    Holy shit! Mike Thayer, you are the bomb! I couldn’t read more than a few paragraphs without throwing my fists in the air in triumph. YOU LAY IT OUT!!! BRO!!! FUCKING AWESOME!!!! I FUCKING LOVE YOU!!!! You now have a die hard fan here!

  124. Becca Ogden says:

    I like much of what you said here. It’s so important to keep our expectations realistic, and our lifestyles modest. I think Mormons have lost sight of the true definition of modesty, and we should return to that (especially in Utah, where I currently hail from).

    But I worry about your last comment, about mommy bloggers who have nannies. Obviously being able to afford a nanny is a privilege, but we shouldn’t deride women who do it. Many women can afford nannies ONLY because they work (like women who monetize their blogs). I think extreme cases, where there is obvious wealth and lifestyle editing (like the anecdote you mentioned) are embarrassing, and do a disservice to the many women who don’t have that kind of luxury. I can barely afford the childcare that I get, but it’s important to me to be able to work outside of raising my children.

    But having a nanny isn’t evidence of lazy parenting, it’s an important lifestyle option that has freed up millions of women to contribute to the workforce in the ways in which they feel called. We need to end the stigma of paid childcare. A woman isn’t less of a mom if she hires out, just like a man isn’t less of a dad if he isn’t a stay-at-home dad.

    So while I agree with much of what you said, I think we need to be careful about how we talk about paid childcare, especially as Mormons, when our stigmas surrounding working moms/daycares/nannies are already so toxic.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Mike! Best of luck with your writing.

    • Jen says:

      THANK YOU! I can’t believe how many people were so hurt buy the use of the word porn, but nobody seemed to think that his completely ignorant slight of PARENTS (not just Mom’s, Dad’s need help, and hire help too) who hire help was acceptable. This is evidence of what I see as a huge cultural problem; the notion that parenting and caregiving can be left to ONE (usually the Mom) parent. We do not all live in Utah County, or wherever there are a zillion stay at home parents wiling to take on a load of someone else’s children. I live in the Bay Area, where my neighbors are insanely busy, have live in help, and live their life the way they deem fit. GOOD FOR THEM. We live where cost of living is insanely high, and most parents need 2 incomes to live DECENTLY (notice, I didn’t hint at lavishly). We have never lived by family. I have 4 kids at 2 different schools, and those schools are 30 min in opposite directions. Can you share with me how I ought to get all those kids home and to activities without an extra human? I literally have to have a sitter sometimes to help my with my driving needs. Is that excessive? Not if you live here. Is it worth it? To me, yep. It’s as necessary as paying my water bill. Can you even understand that? Nope. Can I understand where you live, and what your family needs to make the machine run? Nope. I can’t stand the Mormon perception that parenting a gaggle of kids can, and should be left to A (singular) stay at home parent. How many times do you hear “it takes a village” blurted out in talks, from podiums, or parents at the park. IT REALLY DOES. We don’t have villages anymore, at least not here. We have busy, disconnected lives where parents are usually trying hard to do their best, and only wish they had a village. I don’t care how you get your village. Sometimes, I have to pay for mine. I feel lucky that I can. It doesn’t mean I am getting a boob job and taking selfies while someone else teaches my children about life, morality and God. It means I needed help and I could pay someone to help. You’re post would appeal to a broader audience if you didn’t end it in such a naive and snarky way.

  125. Carlee says:

    I have worked for a lady similar to this. I was hired to help her run an eBay business but ended up being a personal assistant who did practically everything. She always took credit for my hard work. I even helpd remodel her home, to which she didn’t mention who helped remodel it, decorated her wedding luncheon to her 3rd husband, and threw an awesome birthday party for her son. Never once did she mention she had help pulling it all off. That is where I relate to this post. The funny part about all of it is that she wasn’t very happy with her life, she was on all sorts of drugs to help her put on a gpod face for everyone. After I finished the remodel, she told me that she didn’t have any more work for me as a way to just find someone else to take advantage of.

  126. Brady says:

    Mike sounds like a porn addict who is trying to feel better about his addiction by comparing something like blogging, which has no similarity in the slightest to pornography.
    Mike I suggest getting some help for your addiction and leave out these mothers who are taking part in something they love and are passionate about. I wish you the best in your recovery!

  127. LB says:

    Dear author: The fact that Vulgar Quinn (see above) loves you means that you missed the mark by a very wide margin.

  128. No one. says:

    This post has given me IBS

  129. Talisha W. says:

    Wow! This is amazing! I’m so sick of women trying to be more “special” than us normal women. Seriously ladies, just do your job and be a mom. Clean the dishes, feed the kids, make sure your man comes home to a clean house and a hot meal, and you are doing your duty. I’m just a normal woman, and a normal mom, and I’m perfectly happy with it. Leave all the ambition to your husbands and stop being fake! Behind every successful man, is an even better woman who takes care of him behind the scenes!

  130. Heather says:

    I don’t care for mommy blogs. I don’t care much for kids. I am not a millennial. I am not a mom. I am a successful blogger. YOU, however, are an idiot. Get a life. Get a hobby. Get a clue. Disparaging your colleagues – yes colleagues – just makes you look like you’re trying to overcompensate for areas in which you are lacking. Perhaps readership…

  131. Edwin says:

    I don’t care for jealous, lonely old people, but you, heather, are a Jealous blogger who wishes she had a blog post hit 200,000 views like this one has. So get some fake lashes, a spray tan, maybe a treadmill, and stop disparaging mike. You just make it look like you are jealous, perhaps even coveting Mike’s success.

  132. WS says:

    Mike, thank you for this post, especially considering all the backlash you’re receiving. But I’m sure you expected that. :) What a relief to finally read that something may, in fact, be seriously wrong with certain aspects of Mormon social media culture; I thought something was wrong with me for wanting to chuck my phone at the wall by the time I finish scrolling through my Insta feed. Your validating post motivates me to try even harder to escape this black hole of dissatisfaction.

    • thaydawg says:

      Thanks for reaching out. I almost enjoy the negative comments as much as the positive ones. The whole week has been a blast. I doubt anything else I write will strike such a chord with folks, so I’m enjoying it while it lasts. Just glad I could kick up the conversation and glad I could save your phone.

  133. Mill says:

    On point! I agree 100% and could not have said it better. Thank you for stating what is actually going on. There are a lot of people saying that they don’t like that you used the word porn. I however disagree, I feel that it is a perfect comparison. Thank you!

    • thaydawg says:

      The use of the word porn has been the biggest complaint/criticism for sure. If it makes my dissenters feel any better, the use of that word in my blog post title has disqualified me from earning any money from ads. See, everyone can be happy now and all is as it should be :) Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      • S Young says:

        I’m sorry if I offended you Mike with my comments. If your article really does help people struggling with Mormon Mommy blog addiction than more power to ya. I still feel there’s a deeper issue going on. Good luck to you!

        • thaydawg says:

          Haven’t offended me in the least. I’m just happy you’ve taken the time to voice your opinion. Feel free to continue to do so.

  134. Moroni says:

    TRUE STORY:

    I was taught that Pornography was pure death (plague reference goes here).

    The mormon culture doesn’t teach its members how to bridal this horse (passion) of sexual tension, instead they shoot the horse in the head and continue to shoot it every time they talk about it. It’s no wonder the church struggles with massive “pornography” problems. Even worse, the second a couple gets married the church takes all the bullets out of the horse and raises it from the dead. The new problem is now you have a lot of brides who have to think “black is white and white is black” and again we see a lot of sexually unhealthy marital relationships. (guys don’t usually have the same problem when “black is now white”). The church culture has a hard time accepting that they can be “normal” because of a crushing complex to be “better than normal”- even at the emotional and mental expense of their members. If pornography is compared to a “plague” and anyone who looks is an “addict” then your culture is doomed to have all the problems that it currently has as a result of treating people like they’re not people. (here’s where someone says, “we’re to put off the natural man” & I say, “then don’t eat anything for a month to show your holiness” & another says, “we’re not normal- we’re a peculiar people” & I say “Being peculiar for peculiarities sake and coming up with ways to be “peculiar” doesn’t equate to being holy” & still another says, “Your examples don’t apply to ME so they aren’t true” & I say “they’re not true for you that’s awesome”.

    I tried my best to avoid the natural tendencies to be attracted to the things that released chemicals in my brain that were undeniably pleasurable. I developed all the psychological problems associated with extreme deprivation of a biological need. (as probably almost every man and many women in the church have also developed). If people are taught how to bridle a passion then that passion is no more or less harmful than any other passion (say the passion to breath air). Obviously any passion in extremity would have negative effects but that’s just my point- the mormon church is teaching about pornography in it’s extremity.

    If the church let people learn about, and accept natural biological needs (air, food, water, release of sexual tension) then the members can learn how to be responsible & totally respectful as they take care of those needs. This common sense approach (minus the inevitable outliers) will keep many more marriages and families together than the current modus operandi.

    Many mormon readers will be appalled at this concept but these words aren’t written for them; rather, I’m speaking to members who are normal but find themselves constantly trying to be “not normal” because they THINK that’s what God wants . . . when in reality that’s just what a church with a superiority complex wants from you while God just wants you to be who he made you to be :)

    God loves you for who you are, the church loves you if you are who they tell you to be. (*many people within the church are awesome but the church and the people are two different things).

  135. New subscriber gained at “as an aside, the only way I would ever dream of coming close to spending $4,500 on a single outfit is if I was attempting a run through the Mines of Moria and needed full armor fashioned of pure mithril that had been annealed in a vat of dragon tears.”

    Because ain’t nobody got time for that Balrog, unless you’re Gandalf.

    In other news, well-thought out post, and you make some great points. Got me to think about my own reactions to some other types of ‘lifestyle porn’ I encounter, because I don’t believe this is isolated to either Mormons or mommy bloggers.

    • thaydawg says:

      And unfortunately, I am no Gandalf. I will give props to anyone that appreciates my references to LOTR or other general nerdery (of which there will be many). Thanks for reading the post and taking time to comment.

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  137. Shaun says:

    WOW, I had no idea this was even a thing. I thought Pinterest was mommy porn enough, I had no idea that it got more fake from there.

    I moved from UT 10 years ago and immediately felt the difference in expectations drop. Now I’ve got a group of friends and we all do certain things better than anyone in the group and so we call on that person to help out when we need it. We’re not shy about sharing the recipe for the fabulous soup we brought being the large container from Costco or finding the most amazing dress at the fancy Goodwill. We all live in middle class homes valued at the same price as McMansions in UT, but we all know the secrets of outdated electrical and plumbing and original hardwood because our homes are just that old.
    I would never dream of pretending my life is better than it is or comparing myself to something so fake. It sounds just as lousy a life as you’ve described “Lifestyle porn.” Who would want that?

  138. Heather Enke says:

    Love, Love, Love! Totally agree- there’s a large part of the Mormon population who deal with depression and PART of that is because of the pressure and competition women feel to be “perfect”. Very important at least to talk about this and to put it in it’s place. Thank you.

  139. Hanna says:

    Whew! That’s a lot of comments. I’d say I stopped reading them about 1/4 way down. Did want to add a couple (although they may have already been mentioned). As a St. George (Utah) stay-at-home mom myself, with lots of other mom friends in similar situations, I totally get where you are coming from with your post (though I agree with many that it ended up coming off poorly aimed…but I know how writing can come off differently than intended). I have to be careful even looking through a Better Homes and Gardens magazine or I start comparing and envying and obsessing over how “if I could just change this or update this…” I end up having to remind myself of what my goals are (pay off my house and stay out of debt) and remember how blessed I am (if you have two of anything you have more than you need).

    I wanted to also point out that envy and lust (what you’re really getting at with the “porn” label) can rear their ugly heads anywhere we compare our selves or what we have to someone else. It could come in the form of body envy, house envy, clothes envy, vacation envy, spouse-with-certain-characteristics envy, child-achievement envy, talent envy…the list could go on and on.

    “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.” -Socrates

    PS-Here’s an idea for another blog post: body obsession in Utah. Not just in the plastic surgery department, but in how much time is spent at the gym (scantily clad, of course), training for and running marathons, spending money on fad diet products, etc. and the effect it has on families (once mom starts getting fit and getting more attention, once she starts wearing immodest clothes to the gym and to the store afterwards and, and, and). Just something my friends and I have discussed and I’d be interested in hearing other people’s thoughts.

  140. J Carpenter says:

    I’ve lived in Utah, Arizona and Connecticut amongst other religions and cultures. Your article point out how “mormons” are at the height of this lifestyle porn. The funny thing is- no matter where you reside, what your beliefs are, this is all perspective. You don’t walk in these bloggers shoes, but you sure have a lot to say. Judge much?

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  143. E Fish says:

    As a Mormon woman in your designated demographic, I have to say that all of this is completely new to me. I don’t read blogs. In fact, this blog post is the first one I’ve read in a while. I’ve never known that Mormons do the most blogging or that there was yet another fake word “bloggernacle” or whatever.

    Honestly, blogging, to me, is weird. I have some relatives who use blogs to share waaaaaay too much information about whatever health problems they have. I don’t understand sharing personal information with the whole world. Why? Why would a person WANT to do that and why would everyone WANT to read it?

    Having now read this, the shocking news seems to be that bloggers are just as fake as reality TV. Is this a big surprise? And are Mormons really the worst offenders? You can make the argument that they shouldn’t be involved in this kind of thing at all, sure, but you seem to be focusing on “Utah Mormons” which I have seen many people do, as if Utah Mormons are this horrible group of fake religious people. I don’t get that, either, and it makes me a little sad.

    Anyway, now that I’ve read this blog post about how blogs are fake, I think I’ll go back to ignoring blogs.

    Life is much better that way.

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  145. Jon says:

    I find telling the number of people, mostly women, who have such a vitriol reaction to your choice of the word “porn.”

    Merriam-Webster includes as a definition for the word “The depiction of acts in a sensational manner so as to arouse a quick intense emotional reaction.”

    This seems to me to be a very accurate description of what’s going on in the blogging world.

    But there seem to be a while lot of people afraid to admit that because then, with their addiction to lifestyle porn, it makes it harder for them to justify their need to condemn someone addicted to sexual porn.

    How date you compare their addiction to another person’s. Theirs is, after all, less harmful.

    Never mind that it is not the porn, of any variety, that is the problem, but rather the person whose addiction to it interferes with their ability to fulfill their obligations, to the Lord, to their family, to themselves.

    Methinks some folks doth protest too much.

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  147. Dana says:

    This really puts things in perspective. It’s all so true. Thank you.

  148. 98Sven says:

    I must say you have hi quality posts here. Your website should go viral.
    You need initial traffic only. How to get it? Search for; Etorofer’s strategies

  149. Rachel Rowell says:

    Great article, Thayer. I used to be much more involved with social media, etc. several years ago but could feel it leaving me with a negative vibe so I dramatically reduced my use. So yeah, I get what you are saying.

    Also, I loved the nerdy references.

  150. NeifyT says:

    ” the only way I would ever dream of coming close to spending $4,500 on a single outfit is if I was attempting a run through the Mines of Moria and needed full armor fashioned of pure mithril that had been annealed in a vat of dragon tears”

    You and me both… actually, you might want to get back to LOTRO, because Mines of Moria was so many years ago; we are already at the gates of Mordor, and LOTRO was just acquired (reacquired) by a new (old) development team.

    Neify, Stock, et. al; Landrovol, Crickhollow, and Evernight.

    See ya in game… if ye play it again (no list of current gaming on your website here)

  151. JamesStevenson says:

    I detest your depiction of Australians us uncouth!

    On a side can you be pro porn porn and anti lifestyle porn?

  152. Chris says:

    An interesting response to these perfection blogs are other blogs that glory in their imperfection. I’ve seen many posts/videos of moms “keeping it real,” that it seems to me to be two sides of the same coin—attention seeking behavior. What are your thoughts?

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  154. Carla says:

    Hey Mike saw your name/blog referenced in a KSL/DN article. I thought it might be you just based of the tone and title of the blog post. Anyway, I’m glad you wrote it. I agree with you. (Especially as I sit here at 1:50 pm, still in my pajamas, house a wreck.) I struggle to keep up with even the basic demands of motherhood and find myself wishing for a Pinterest- (or even Instagram-) worthy something…room, outfit, haircut.
    Anyway, I appreciate your thoughts.

  155. cee bee says:

    in the real world, if a woman has silicone “enhancements”, she’s a stripper. in utah, she’s you’re RS president.

  156. Brooke says:

    This is brilliant. I have been thinking about this idea of mommy blogs as “lifestyle porn” for a long time now. It is addicting and can be extremely harmful for young moms. For me it triggers my anxiety/depression. It’s time for me to unplug. Thank you for articulating this so well.

  157. Jenny Spencer says:

    This is exactly WHY I LOVE the.real.moms.of.insta on Instagram. She keeps sh*t real, and is funny! I had to stop following the reality pornagraphers (that makes me laugh to call them that).

  158. Pingback: Are Mormon Mommy Bloggers Actually Selling LDS Faith? – Jamie Halper | TWC 403

  159. Kristen says:

    I’ve thought about this post many times in the last few months. But I saw it in action last week. I have a friend that works with me at our nearest temple. Recently her son was married civilly and they posted pictures on facebook of the wedding party in front of the temple. When I saw the bride in a strapless gown, I cringed. Then I realized the pictures were taken when the temple was in closure. They had sneaked onto the grounds and taken photos while no one was there. Whether they did this to fool the internet or not, it was in poor taste.

  160. CJKeels says:

    This article really was enlightening for me.

    I have followed a Mormon blogger called Pink Peonies. I have to admit to being a mixture of fascinated, perplexed, and annoyed by it.
    They have a huge number of followers, on the blog as well as social media. The general public put huge squabs of money in the hands of these bloggers. Why do people so dumbly follow these blogs? It would make a great study..

  161. Mary says:

    I really love this, it puts into words the way I have felt my entire life regarding wealth and mormon culture. I grew up in Utah to parents who didn’t make as much money as the rest of the ward and it was really hard. We weren’t poor but we lived pay check to pay check and we were definitely looked down on.

    I now live in another country and I was shocked to see the same attitudes here towards showing off your wealth and money. At our last stake conference I was blown away by the number of really expensive, flashy vehicles in the parking lot. It is a mormon thing! It just goes against everything we preach, when will someone have the guts to address this issue at general conference?

  162. L’habit ne fait pas le moine says:

    This article was so accurate it hurts.

    While I do agree that people should either scale back their viewing of these mommy bloggers or stop viewing them entirely – especially if they know that it contributes to feelings of depression and inadequacy – I also feel these bloggers have an obligation to their readers to be honest about what they put out there.

    I made the decision a few years ago to scale back my social media/blogging activity and viewing because of the negativity it was causing me. Life is much better without it. However, I do feel bloggers need to be real about what they post and make clear that what they post online isn’t always reality. This is why we have disclaimers.

    I also find it interesting that S. Young spent so much of her time making passive-aggressive comments to yourself and everyone who disagreed with her and who agreed with her message… (almost) as though she was throwing a temper tantrum over opinions that didn’t align with hers and as though she was trying to convert people to see her view and only her view of things. There is clearly something very wrong with S. Young and it’s obvious she has a lot of hate in her heart.

    Couldn’t she have spent her time doing something more productive with her life than arguing with strangers on the Internet?

    Anyway, this was a great post and I hope to see more from you! And reading it has affirmed for me why I don’t want to raise my future family in the Morridor (Mormon Corridor – Utah, Idaho, Arizona, Wyoming). There is so much lifestyle porn there and ridiculously high expectations to be a certain way. I also find it interesting that the Morridor (particularly Utah) has the highest rate of bankruptcy, depression, antidepressant usage, and that all of the Morridor states are apart of the Suicide Belt. I do think lifestyle porn – and the pressure to be perfect stemming (in)directly from Mormon culture – contribute heavily to it.

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