“I stood there for, like, six hours waiting. Just waiting,” recalls Becky Delaney with tears in her eyes. “I mean, we all know how the song goes, ‘Blah, blah here’s my handle, here’s my spout, when I get all steamed up hear me shout, tip me over and pour me out.’ Did anyone tip me? No. No one did.”
Despite the clear directions delineated in the children’s tune, Delaney and her three friends, also all named Becky, haven’t been poured out for nearly a decade.
Social Psychologist Myron Goffman first noticed the pattern when Instagram went public back in 2010. Facebookers had only just begun to replace their stock-yearbook profile photos for one of the million selfies from their MacBook photo booths. Slowly, full-length body shots were on the rise and, by 2011, the teapots were trending.
Despite the data and Goffman’s foresight, no one predicted the severity of the problem, nor the millions and millions of women posing as unpoured teapots for years to come.
This past June, Goffman sat alongside a team of representatives at the World Summit on the Information Society, a gathering of international leaders who essentially govern the internet, its content and its influence.
“I guess you could say the supposed ‘need’ for photos of people was a precursor,” Goffman said at the summit. “But what’s most concerning is the lack of communication between pic-takers, the people in the pics, and viewers.”
The discrepancies between these entities, his research concludes, is life-altering. Side effects include several accidental swipes right on Tinder and further directional misinterpretation of nursery rhymes, songs and riddles.
“That’s the thing with social media. People are removed from the source and see things out of context,” Goffman continued. “A girl in Alabama sees a California-girl in a photo with her hand on her hip, and is all, ‘Oh, that’s how I’m supposed to stand in pics.’ What she doesn’t understand was that the Cali-girl was following a rhyme, merely attempting to be a teapot whose only wish was to be poured out. I just wish we could turn back time — to warn the Beckys, and all the other young women similarly named.”
At the summit, Goffman was rebuffed by representatives from Turkey and Russia, where social media is more strictly censored than in the US. The reps and their followers have been dubbed “selfie-deniers”, and claim evidence isn’t strong enough to warrant any regulations or increase in government spending.
“It’s preposterous,” Russian representative Misha Vasiliev told reporters. “Our one scientist we hired with private money said Goffman’s a hack. These ‘Rebeccas’ or whoever should just be detained. Save money and protect freedom. Besides, there should be no teapots anyway. Or Tea. Just Vodka. You know what a vodka bottle looks like? Mimic that. Problem solved.”
To this day the Beckys go un-poured, and no clear resolution was made at the summit, though Goffman and his cohorts remain steadfast in their fight.*
*To read more about Goffman’s fight and his new research regarding the dangers of the hokey pokey, visit www.WeMustTurnOurselvesAround.com