Nobody on the internet knows you are a dog. This is the subline of a well-known cartoon from the 1990s, and despite all the demands made by technically inexperienced political hardliners since then, everyone can still be who they want on the Internet. The self-images and assumed identities are fluid and more common than expected.
The established man becomes a sensitive manual worker who deals with glass engraving and proudly presents his delicate works, the caring yoga mother becomes a “lateral thinker” ideologist who railways against the elites and wants the system to go to hell. Someone who enjoys lounging on the couch and rarely wears pants can reflect a glamorous existence on Instagram. When you log out again, you have a good feeling and can endure so-called real life a little easier again.
The somewhat stranger expansions of this change of identities can be found, as so often, in the countless communities of Reddit, which offer a safe place to go for almost every whimsy, every uncertainty and every way of life, where you can meet like-minded people. One of the most special of these forums is called Momfora Minute. So this is where people are looking for a short-term mother. For someone to listen to them. Here they can get rid of their frustration, can talk about things that they would never tell their own mother in life. Almost all entries begin with the words, “Hi Mom.” The punch line is that mums on Reddit don’t have to be mothers or even women. Just about anyone can try their hand at uplifting words, whether it’s a 20-year-old student or a craftsman in his 50s. The user community decides with clicks whether you were convincing in the parenting role or not.
In normal times, the members try out their coming out here or talk about their anxiety disorder
The mother as the archetype of longing is far from over. There are also other forums in which the users satisfy their longing for their cool big brother, the jerky and amiable grandma or the somewhat boring, but also reliable grandfather. One may find it incredibly sad that such forums even exist in our society. It is just as easy to dismiss the relatives role-play as a collective neurosis. But at least they seem to serve a need.
Some of the users lost their mother at an early age, with others she was never part of life anyway. Psychologists believe that such an exchange, despite the virtuality and the mock nature of the interaction, can have a cathartic effect. Momfora Minute is a self-help group and a role-play forum in equal parts. It is also hugely successful, with almost 140,000 people already registered.
The three most popular entries of the last week: a young woman with her university degree, a newborn, an embroidery. It doesn’t really matter what it is about. In the end, users are looking for recognition and confirmation, for the feeling of being heard, or perhaps just for the promise that someone is sitting on the other side whose opinion about them is not yet ready-made.
In normal times, the members try their coming-out here or talk about their anxiety disorder, they use the forum as an anonymous confessional or suggestion box. During the Corona crisis, even more people registered than already. After a painful year full of loss for everyone, confronted with the prospect of spending Christmas separated from the family, the desire to be told at least once again that everything will be fine is understandable.