In the past few years, I have attended a kindergarten graduation, a gender reveal party, and a first moon party. I’ve heard of engagement parties, divorce parties, and bachelor parties that entail a weekend or even a week. People also make a big production out of proposals and asking someone to the prom. And don’t get me started on destination weddings. Why have so many personal milestones become public celebrations? The answer is: social media.
These parties wouldn’t be so popular if it weren’t for the exposure they get on platforms like Facebook and Instagram, where others see them and, perhaps, then feel inclined to throw their own. Social media can amplify forces such as ego, peer pressure, and FOMO. Perhaps America’s young adults are celebrating so much because they’re accustomed to packaging the events of their life into narratives for their virtual networks. “Social media has unleashed an era of disclosure and access transforming the intimate phases of pregnancy into public knowledge; the gender-reveal marks one of the more pivotal points in this public process,” Gieseler wrote in her 2017 study.
Another reason is that few people throw successful parties for no reason at all. A personal milestone, even one that no one cared about last century, can get people together in the real world when “just a party” might not get them out of the house. Read more about the trend toward celebrating everything publicly at the Atlantic.
(Image credit: John Lawlor)