Debbie Forgets Her Audience

My friend, a crazy cat lady in her own right, showed me this video. Here, Debbie puts forth her eharmony video meant to attract a suitor. Previously in class, we have talked about how people project Mead’s “me” in these types of videos. One’s “me” is influenced by how you believe others will view you, while your “I” is how you uncloudedly view yourself. We expect that in a view meant to attract people, Debbie would think about the way others will view her and act accordingly.

Unfortunately, her dramatic tale of her deep love for cats comes across as insane. This woman has received over 18 million hits on youtube, proving that this is something out of the ordinary. People are intrigued by someone socially ignorant enough to not only post a video like this, but to think that it would help her find a partner. We are so conditioned to act with our audience in mind. Be it by our front stage performances, as Goffman outlines, or through Mead’s concept of “me” we are constantly policing ourselves into acting in a way that is socially acceptable.

At one point, Debbie claims, “I promised myself I wouldn’t cry,” thus showing that she had planned out what she would say in the video. This preparation suggests that she wanted to control the way she acted on camera. However, she gets wildly sidetracked and not only cries, but portrays herself in a way that society dictates as strange. A lot of people on the internet imply that she should spend more time with Cooley’s “looking glass self” by examining the way others will judge her for her actions, potentially shaming her out of posting an embarrassing video. After all, embarrassment is a social construct meant to maintain order in society.

Is it a bad thing that Debbie is only portraying her “I” and not acting with consideration for how she will appear?

How else could this video be interpreted? Could Debbie have anticipated the widespread attention and used this video to become an internet sensation?

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2 thoughts on “Debbie Forgets Her Audience

  1. I have seen this video before, and speculated that Debbie made this video in a sort of breaching experiment. It does not seem likely that someone could be so unaware of the social norms that apply to dating sites and attracting a partner in general. It seems more plausible to assume that she made the video fully knowing that her behavior was out of the ordinary, and did so to see what people’s reactions would be. Although she may not have been able to anticipate the fact that she would become an internet sensation, as your refer to her, I believe Debbie knew that the video would bring her attention (not of the romantic variety).

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