Cloutlighting: a toxic trend that can put your relationship at risk

Cloutlighting: a toxic trend that can put your relationship at risk

Unboxing, tidying up, cleaning, cooking, or even fitness sessions: we can no longer count the practices that generate clicks, likes and views on social networks. But certain techniques intended to increase one’s popularity on these platforms can prove extremely toxic. This is the case of ‘cloutlighting’ which consists of amusing the gallery at the expense of one’s partner, to the point of putting one’s relationship in danger.

Announcing their separation, lamenting having been cheated on, exposing their marital problems, or even mentioning even more intimate difficulties… the couple sells in the age of social networks. The phenomenon is such that certain influencers and content creators have been suspected of having staged fake divorces or breakups to gain more subscribers. As a result, there are many social users who now play it in tandem to distract ordinary mortals. A practice that is popular but which has its limits, especially if one of the partners does not agree to perpetually display themselves from all angles. We then talk about ‘cloutlighting’, a popular trend which involves filming one’s partner in unsavory situations to gain likes and gain popularity.

Doing likes at the expense of your partner?

A contraction of the terms ‘clout’, i.e. online influence, and ‘gaslighting’, a form of manipulation intended to make a person doubt their words, their memory, or even their mental health, the word ‘cloutlighting’ was born from the pen of British journalist Jessica Lindsay for Metro. In her story, the latter mentions an uncomfortable video in which a woman collapses in tears because her partner stole her meal in her absence. All filmed by the partner in question.

A staging which amused a large part of the audience, and which was retweeted numerous times, but which also inconvenienced many users – or rather users. Although the concept emerged in 2018, it seems to have never disappeared and has even spread at high speed on social media.

Felt like a humiliation

Because this trend which essentially aims to gain popularity on social networks inevitably comes at the expense of one’s – or her – partner. While these can range from harmless scenes, such as a slightly animated awakening or a harmless prank, we also discover a myriad of much more toxic videos on social networks.

From the cream pie received in the face to the ‘cheating prank’, which consists of making one’s partner believe that she is being cheated on and filming her reaction, including posting arguments or intimate confidences online, fake deaths, or even insults, these videos that are ‘funny’ for others are not funny for the person who is ridiculed or even humiliated daily (and publicly). And this can obviously harm the romantic relationship.

Toxic videos that should question the relationship

Not to mention breaking up, there are several reasons why these videos are toxic. Not only has the trapped person not given their consent to be exposed on social networks, but they also suffer the mockery of their partner and users who do not hesitate to drive the point home with comments. Something that can lead to a loss of confidence, in oneself and one’s partner, but also questions about the nature of one’s relationship. Is this abusive behavior? Or even manipulation? The accumulation of this type of hoax can actually reveal a certain toxicity within the couple.

Interviewed by Metro, relationship counselor and sexologist Ammanda Major explains: “Pulling pranks on partners who aren’t into it and then sharing their reaction online is both cruel and abusive and probably says a lot about the level of trust and care in a relationship. (…) Online pranks of this type often occur when the couple has different ideas about what is hurtful in a relationship. So it’s best to try to figure out up front where you both stand and what’s acceptable. Ask yourself if this is just an unfortunate incident or if it’s part of a common theme in your relationship“. In which case, it seems appropriate to make the necessary decisions.