June 16, 2011

"Body Pressure in the Blogosphere" nikki dee say whattt

ugh I'm sorry I can't find the source. does anyone know it?

Why hellooo there. Chances are, if you are into the fashion blogging world at all, you've noticed Gala Darling's two recent posts circulating about body image among fashion bloggers. I suggest you read them. There seems to be an astounding amount of people who agree that here on the internet, there is a mainstream pressure to look, act, and BE a certain way if you are a fashion blogger.  Fashion is an intimidating business, and yes, it is a business. However, fashion blogging evolved from people who wanted to share their opinions and styles without having to submit conform to the pressures and image of the mainstream fashion world. Now that fashion blogging is influencing the mainstream, these ideals are seeping into this online world as well. 

One of my favorite things that I've read about this issue is actually from someone that Gala quoted in her post this morning:
"However, it’s important to note that the fashion bloggers who (usually) attract the most media attention and offers to work with larger brands and companies overwhelmingly skew slender, young, white and fairly wealthy....these images also have the power to make us feel badly about our bodies and our lives; giving us an “Audrey Hepburn complex” of sorts. They still project unrealistic perfection- just a different, tea-party-having/frilly-dresses-wearing/running-around-in-a-field-with-abandon version of perfection. These images not only are pushed in advertising, but they also circulate heavily on all our blogs. And while the images are beautiful, they mainly feature a very narrow standard of beauty. The subjects are still thin, young, and white. (A great website that calls this out is carefreewhitegirl.tumblr.com). A girl might be wearing a unique vintage-looking outfit, but the hair, make-up and dress is immaculate; she’s usually not actively engaging with her surroundings, but looks posed and fragile."
I would like to push this a bit further and say that there are rarely women of color who become mainstream famous because of blogging. This reflects, I think, a problem in the mainstream fashion industry of the same nature that we are experiencing here in the world fashion blogging success.

We must also remember that this is not a new problem.  There are main ways to be beautiful in society:  if thin and whitewashed then you must be of the blonde Hollywood variety or of the "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" persuasion. If you're not thin and/or white, then you're "curvy" (read: perfect hourglass) and over-sexualized. However, no matter what your size, you will never be good enough! It's a joke between me and my roommate that on the "style" site Lookbook.nu, it is quite obvious that if you are 
1. internet famous and 
2. classically pretty 
then you are a shoe-in to be sent straight to the top of the "hot" list. Posing in a field and looking down also helps. You can be wearing a t-shirt, ripped denim shorts and a scarf (and they usually are) and get thousands of comments saying, "your style is amazing, you are an inspiration!" It's like anyone who is not wearing vintage Chanel or might be a model should not even bother posting their pictures up.

Since this is internet blogging where we share our feelings lol, I just want to say this: I have been running this blog for...three years now and there are times where I'll think, "Maybe people don't read my blog because I'm not pretty enough, because I don't wear designer labels...if they met me in real life they'd realize I'm short and ugly and would stop reading my blog." Real talk, you guys! Everyone feels this way at one time or another. I've seen girls who are insecure post things online like, "I am so le gorgeous ya'll love me kiss my feet." I've also seen girls who are completely awesome and fabulous posting like "ughh I am so fat and gross I cannot afford beautiful clothes." This crazy, shallow, ego nonsense is rampant on the internet.
Fuck this you guys, this needs to stop once and for all. Because us internet people are the gosh dang future, and we are continuing these ideas by posting things like "so and so needs to lose a few pounds to wear that dress" or "you must not have any problems in life because you look like a skeleton". Come on.

I thought that Tami Winfrey Harris, from What Tami Said (I read it on Racialicious) had an excellent point:
"The cult of domesticity defined idealized womanhood centuries ago–and that definition included both perpetual childhood and whiteness. The wide-eyed, girlish, take-care-of-me characters that [Zooey] Deschanel inhabits on film are not open to many women of color, particularly black women. We can be strong women, aggressive women, promiscuous women…we can do Bonet bohemian and Earth Mother (as Andrea pointed out), but never carefree and childish. Even black girls are too often viewed as worldly women and not innocents.
Also, the affectations of the manic pixie are read differently on black women. A streak of pink in the hair goes from quirky and youthful to “ghetto” on a black body. Thrift store clothing leads to a host of class assumptions.
Am I wrong about this? Is there a black Zooey? A manic pixie Latina? Is this a persona that women of color can inhabit?"

Race and body shape shouldn't matter in life, but especially not on the internet! Anonymity on the web has basically gone out the window. I read somewhere that Tumblr users who don't have an image of themselves as their icon picture are less likely to gain followers. It's really getting very silly. At some point blogging became a popularity contest instead of a safe place to share your opinion with strangers as it started out. Though girls and women who are excited about their lives, opinions, and style should be able to share their views and not feel intimidated.

I always think of that line in Mean Girls where Tina Fey is saying something like, "You need to stop calling each other skanks and whores, it just makes it okay for guys to do it".  
I learned in fashion class that the purpose of these fashion houses is to create an image and a fantasy that women strive to be. Well, there is a big difference between that and this image today that leads to envy and ever-changing cycles of loathing. Fashion is supposed to make us feel happy, but first we have to be happy with ourselves....and each other! It is up to us to promote an image of strong women with real, active lives and looking all different ways. That's what style is all about, anyway. It is personal because everyone's is different. Being proud of your style starts with being proud of who you are, and includes accepting others as being fabulous as well.

This article on beauty ideals around the world is also super-interesting and puts some things in perspective.

What do you think about all of this?



  1. LOVE THIS POST, NIKKI. It's like 1am and I'm just perusing the internet half asleep (obviously, I have a life), but I love what you're writing. I totally agree. I think that fashion blogging HAS been a step towards more "real" girls. But, I do agree that there seems to be a predetermined formula for many (not all, of course) of the "famous" bloggers out there. I think Lookbook is a perfect example of that! I was obsessed with it about a year ago, but I'm really over it now. The "hot" page has nothing to do with style or individuality (which is what fashion SHOULD be about) - it's simply girls and boys with fancy cameras, photoshop skills, pretty faces, and easy go-lucky clothes. aka BORING. Individuality > Conformity. Even though fashion boasts the power of individuality, the irony is that there's a hell of a lot of conformity. Shape, size, race, style. There's definitely some sort of hierarchy and it's disgusting.

    I don't even know if I'm making sense. I could write a whole wishy washy post on this. (Actually, I kind of have. But more on the fashion industry, as opposed to bloggers. But still - I am so interested/ torn on this subject. http://quirkyexplosion.blogspot.com/2010/07/textual-contribute-you-all-rhymes.html)

    ANYWAYS. Yeah. I could say a lot more, but I feel really tired/ incoherent, so I'll leave it there ;)

    HOPE ALL IS WELL IN THE BIG APPLE! What are your fabulous summer plans? What have you been up to? More posts, gurrrl!


  2. yessss yay! much agreement, for sure. oh man, I'm so sorry I just saw this now but I have been so busy...
    musttttt updateeee bloggg arghh
    Yeah, haha I've been well! SO BUSY RAH what with a new job that i'm working massive amounts of hours at, about to have two internships, art and fashion projects and a big trip coming up!
    how are you!?!


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