Photo by Katarzyna Chmielewska via Magdeleine
If you love to read Internet drama, you can easily fall down the /r/JustnoMIL rabbit hole.
I got sucked into lurking on the subreddit, which I will refer to as JNMIL. If you have never paid a visit, gear up to read about mothers-in-law breaking up relationships, not believing in food allergies, wearing white to weddings, and more. And of course, get ready to read about the ways the daughters-in-law take petty revenge, which fall on the spectrum between rearranging kitchen cabinets and presenting mothers-in-law with a bag containing a fake miscarriage.
You?ll also find more uses (and misspellings) of the word ?cue? than you can shake a stick at. (Seriously, why do people there use this phrasing so much?)
It’s easier to dump a mama’s boy than to divorce a mama’s boy, and both of those are easier than trying to change a?
Off the top of my head, I remember a story in which a mother-in-law actually killed the poster?s first child out of neglect. Another story from years ago was about a woman who attacked her son and daughter-in-law?s dogs, was arrested, and then died.
Then, something happened. People started to notice that something was ?off? about some of the stories. The first time I remember people talking about it was in reference to the infamous ?Toaster saga.? Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), I didn?t follow those posts. What I know to be true is that somebody had clearly been making up stories from multiple accounts.
Then, moderators of JustNoMIL shut down another subreddit people used for support known as LetterstoJustNoMIL (or ?Letters?) because posters were discussing the veracity of stories people were posting for fake Internet points and as creative writing exercises.
One instance I personally witnessed on the subreddit was a story in which a poster discussed seeing a woman and her mother-in-law at a checkout counter. She recommended to the woman that she check out the subreddit ? and next thing you know this woman was posting her stories. In a matter of weeks she had her mother-in-law in court, the case was resolved, and she had a helluva story. And the whole facade was ruined when the woman posted again, but this time as the wrong poster. She?d been using three user names the entire time.
The more time you spend on the subreddit, the more often you will mothers-in-law suddenly dying after getting arrested. The MILs are dropping like flies!
Of course, JustNoMIL is not the only area of Reddit where fake stories sow their wicked seeds. One woman posted in a relationship subreddit over the course of a week or so about the affair she discovered her boyfriend having. She had details upon details about her ability to move into a new home right away, and conveniently her boyfriend wanted her back. Suddenly, her story ended with a post in which she described her boyfriend busting into her new home and attacking her dogs, and ?they didn?t make it.? The entire story was written so strangely.
I kinda doubt it.
Seriously, some of these stories will portray a death, funeral, and entire court case that seemingly occurs in the matter of a week. The people who write these stories can?t wait to get instant gratification and comments by helping people achieve their justice boners.
So, what is the problem with fake stories on JustNoMIL? Well, a lot of people in these subreddits are way too gullible at worst and vulnerable at best. They?ve had their own bad experiences, and they see these stories and really identify with them. They can see themselves in the stories, and they want to help.
Some people say that the fake stories minimize real instances of terrible mothers-in-law. Some of the stories promote racism, and some perpetuate the notion that some people are one-dimensionally evil, like Disney villains. And some of the stories are simply based in plain old misogyny and ageism.
Now, a series of subreddits exists to point out discrepancies in stories posted to so-called support subs. Are these subreddits helpful lights in the dark or bullies? The jury is undecided.
r/JustNoTruth: A place to talk about any topics, within reason, regarding the JustNo online community.
Gadfly. Legit closely examines the growing dysfunction in the JustNo community after two (3..4..) bitter internal wars?
In the meantime, I?ve found a lot of interesting reading to get to.