Even though for many there is no longer a need to conform to conservative or Christian values, the felt needs to conform towards normalcy are no less intense. Just look to the popular MTV show Catfish. This docudrama details the all-too-common scenario of fake personalities online engaging in emotionally invested relationships that also happen online. The hook of Catfish is that the hosts bring both parties in the online relationship together, in person, for the first time. To no one’s surprise other than one of the online partners, the other partner is not who they say they are.
I am one of the over two million people that regularly watch Catfish each week. And during the big reveal each episode, the lying online partner—from teenagers to older adults with children—justifies their fake pictures, personalities, texts, phone calls, stories, on the fact that they were never able to fit in, got bullied, were made fun of, no one liked them in real life, or wanted to date them. All of these reasons point towards the singular realization that because I’m not normal I have to hide who I really am and pretend to be someone else so someone will eventually like me for who they think I am. These are not just made-for-TV incidents. Whether it is tattoos, clothes, makeup, cars, electronics, friends, sports, or physical characteristics—no matter the reason there is always a yearning to belong, to be normal, and fit in. — Andrew Marin, Our Last Option, Chapter One