August 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm #2569
Blog To Be AliveMember
Hi! New member and I just saw this topic on Twitter and thought I’d add my 2 cents!
I think this is a very complex issue. I have a fashion blog since 5/6 years now and I feel like for each plus size girl that opens a blog, another one dies.
I don’t think it always has to do with the fact that these women don’t dare to put themselves on the internet anymore or are criticized, but as a fashion blogger you are expected to put a few looks online every day, and it’s not as easy as thinner bloggers to find affordable plus size clothes in larger sizes. So many stores like H&M, F21,… don’t even stock the plus size section on their site.
Personally I read a lot of blogs and what is important to me is style and not the color of skin, weight, etcAugust 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm #2570
Sydney Page LesterMember
Changing the Lens of Fashion- A Late Comer’s Response to the Bloggers & Body Image Brouhaha
A mere five days ago, I was a blissful bog writer and reader, just waiting for a nice sunny day where I could snap some outfit photos or think about a new layout for my blog. Four days ago this all changed when I came across IFB’s Open Letter to the Community a response to an article they posted titled Bloggers and Body Image: Are We Helping or Hurting Ourselves? Reading through the debates, harsh statements and insightful posts, I began formulating thoughts, silently replying to bloggers, agreeing with some, coming up with rebuttals for others. Then came a tweet from @GritandGlamour sharing her post on Blog Trends, Bloggers & Body Image Brouhaha. As I read yet another layer of comments, I realized that the thoughts and comments shared on Blog Trends have been more uplifting and positive than those at IFB; but I also realized that no one has offered a solution amidst all of the comments.
While there are many things I could say about the articles at hand, not much has been left unsaid from either side. We can lament that the fashion industry is unfair as it doesn’t just err on the side of pretty; it also errs on the side of those who can afford fashion, as @onewomanstylee at Blog Trends pointed out. Those are the lenses the fashion industry chooses to look through. I once had a brief conversation with a certain PR Twitter-er who took the stance that you shouldn’t work in an office where red nails weren’t allowed. I replied that one should dress professional for the environment. Her response, or should I say lens, was that a suit wouldn’t cut it in fashion. Ok, I agree. But red nails and a Celine trapeze bag wouldn’t cut it in a job as a zoo keeper. There are lenses for every industry that, for better or worse, shape standards, expectations, pay grades, skin color and body size. So how do we widen the lens?
One commenter pointed out that while she hates there are few “top tier” petite or plus size bloggers, she can recognize that she herself does not support or comment on the blogs she loves that represent these types of bloggers in order to give them support needed to propel them forward. I love this commenter’s ability to see a problem, identify where she can help, and then go do it. I would issue a similar challenge to Blog Trends, IFB or whatever blogging community or group of bloggers wants to take it on. Can I suggest a lens changer?
1. A blogging platform should step up and begin to identify the variety of blogging niches that we, their community, represent: petite, plus size, petite plus size, color, curvy, tall, athletic, whatever. This can be done through a survey.
2. The blogging platform should create a rotating editorial calendar that features bloggers out of a particular niche on a particular day/week/month.
3. The blogging platform can open itself up to self-submissions of bloggers who identify with these niches. For example, September may feature petite bloggers. The platform would announce the upcoming niche and ask for submissions. If you are a petite blogger, you can submit your blog. The blogging community will pick 10-20 blogs (or whatever number makes sense) to feature. As a submission requirement, each blogger who submits their blog must also submit 2-5 other similar bloggers. ALL blogs would be entered on a blog roll. (I realize this number begs the question of what qualifications would a blog need to meet, who would pick, how would this process be fair. Honestly – I’m not sure, but I know there are creative people out there who could help!)
4. The blogging community would then publish that issues feature.
5. The last step for everyone? Read, enjoy, and share the blogs. Comment up a storm. Share ideas. And celebrate each other.
This idea is not perfect, but it is just one small way that I can see a blogging platform such as Blog Trends not just comment on an issue, but make steps toward a solution. And not a solution that only features the “Annual Color Issue”, but one that includes the diversified niches into the everyday conversation. After all, if a lens is clear, don’t we all show up?
August 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm #2572
- This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by Sydney Page Lester. Reason: The numbers were left out!
Sydney these are wonderful ideas! Here at Blog Trends here love to highlight our members. While I agree with your ideas to feature bloggers we here at Blog Trends run 100% on volunteers so it is quite a lot of work to write all of these posts. We just put out a call for more volunteers to help us accomplish some of these tasks. The whole point of what we do is to spotlight the bloggers that are less known and to help everyone learn, grow and connect. I will definitely work on finding some ways to integrate some of your ideas!August 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm #2573
Sydney Page LesterMember
Kaitlyn – I know Blog Trends is volunteer based and that is wonderful! This is a huge topic and will be tough to tackel, but hopefully people will think more towards solutions and not just commenting, talking, etc. Conversations are amazing things because they propel us to action, but I hope that if anything, readers will think of ways they can move from talking to action, even if it is small actions!August 16, 2012 at 7:21 pm #2574
Here’s my response to the broohahha.
now off to my day job as pizza slinger.August 17, 2012 at 3:06 am #2575
One of the most interesting things that I think has come out of this debate is how many bloggers have finally been willing to come out and highlight IFB’s rapidly declining standards. I personally have been on the fence about IFB for quite some time, but kept mum, because we do not say mean things in fashion blogging (or anything that is less than congratulatory), an idea largely perpetuated by IFB itself. However, a number of people have since come out and said that they also feel this way: unheard, under-represented, maligned and ignored.
I do not have a personal vendetta against Jenine or IFB. When I first found the site, it was an invaluable resource, and I can honestly say that I learnt a lot from what I found there. But in recent months it has been more about quantity than quality, monetization over EVERYTHING else, and a very obvious blindspot when it comes to race, class, size and privilege. I understand that it is not IFB’s responsibility to fix all the problems of the world, but to be so patently tone-deaf about such a sensitive subject is a grave sin in my book.
In a comment I made on the original article (that got deleted, naturally) I noted that IFB inadvertently contributes to the problem it claims to be concerned about. All there promotional materials feature thin, young, white women. The bloggers they feature 99% of the time also fall into that category. And I am willing to bet anything that there are very few POC or size on their staff.
The other thing that irks me about this situation is how defensive Jenine has been in the comments, and the blatant censorship that has been occurring. Well thought out and expressed dissenting opinions are not bullying, and for her to label them as such make me lose respect for her. It is her blog and her prerogative, but you cannot ask a readership to support you in a venture, and then refuse to listen to their opinions and criticisms. In all the comments, I read exactly one that was abusive, and another commenter stepped in and called her out on her language. It baffles me that J could not see this as an opportunity to sincerely apologize and listen to what her commenteriat was begging for: real and tangible diversity, not the obvious and pandering tokenism IFB is so fond of.
Personally, I just hope that this becomes a situation in which we see some actual change. Many people have said that they’re leaving because of this incident, and I hope that it forces them to have a change in perspective. I personally will be severing ties with IFB and closing my account, but not everyone will. I have not felt supported by that community in a long time, and I think that it has devolved significantly into a space for saccharine comments on insipid posts about nothing. I think that there will be severe repercussion for IFB because of this, but I hope that when the dust has settled, we can get back to having the actual discussion that needs to be had, which is: what can we as a community do to elevate the little-seen niche bloggers who are producing quality content? How can we bring more diverse blogs to the forefront? Why are we some comfortable in the homogeneity that fashion blogging has become?August 17, 2012 at 5:47 am #2577
I stayed up all night writing this post because I was so annoyed. This is my take on the situation.August 17, 2012 at 10:39 am #2587
@PromiscuousLola: I totally love what you said here:
What can we as a community do to elevate the little-seen niche bloggers who are producing quality content? How can we bring more diverse blogs to the forefront? Why are we some comfortable in the homogeneity that fashion blogging has become?
I think these are all very important questions. I think Blog Trends is one way that we can begin to come together as a positive For Us By Us blogging community, not one that is run or controlled by any specific group of people. I think if we start talking about the issues we care about in an honest way, we can begin to change our community.
Someone commented on my blog that IFB turned then off from Fashion Blogging, but I don’t think this has to be the case for all people. There are SO MANY blogs out there, not just the ones featured on IFB.August 17, 2012 at 10:45 am #2588
great post Lola!August 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm #2592
Just wanted to share the 3rd installment from IFB on this matter. I feel like they have a right to be heard as well in this conversation although I also feel like all her post did was open the door for people to share what has REALLY been bothering them about the IFB community aside from just that post. – http://heartifb.com/2012/08/17/an-apology-from-taylor-davies/ – thoughts?August 17, 2012 at 12:46 pm #2593
@thosegraces not only are there sooooo many blogs out there, there are soooo many communities for them as well! We are just one of many! We have a couple of great partners that do so much for their community of bloggers and we hope we can continue to provide a place to connect, grow and learn.
I see how easy it is to get caught up like IFB did, we also want to be able to put on conferences and hire employees to provide more regular content & more opportunities which takes money. While we work towards these goals it is so important that we remain focused on what really matters, the community!August 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm #2594
Thanks for posting it, Kaitlyn! I applaud Taylor for stepping up to the plate and taking ownership of her role in the snafu. I hope this marks a shift in the IFB community for the better.
We are all human after all, and are all prone to mis-steps and mistakes. The important part of life is choosing to learn from them.
and AMEN on the community is what matters, K. I agree wholeheartedly.August 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm #2596
@citizenrosebud Thank you as well for your fantastic post on your own blog. It was well written and reflected a lot of my own personal experiences with IFB. I have always promoted them to our community because they have some great content and can do a lot for their members but I never felt the community there at all. Blog Trends was created because of the fact I had been a member for a while and was still discovering my own niche but never got the time of day from any of the members. I started Blog Trends so I could connect with bloggers on twitter and chat about the topics I felt we all wanted to learn more about. I started Blog Trends to have that sense of community for everyone, not just the thin & pretty….August 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm #2598
It may have started out as community but it ended with corporate sponsorship. Such is the nature of things I suppose. Yeah, I tried to mingle there, but the culture is clique not community and there you have it. I just read a bit of JJ’s twitter feed, and I get the feeling she just did not “get” it. Why people were upset. She just sees it as bullying and they will never be featured on her site EVER. Tricky thing the WE in ME. You’re not really a community when someone owns the content like that. Good for her for finding success- which often comes by providing a need. But it is healthy to move on- I’m so done with IFB.
But they did set a great tone for fashion bloggers- and here you are spun off and dedicated in creating community. Thank you (and Lindsay, right?) for doing that. Wishing you loads of success and $$ too! Just learn from IFB downfall and don’t shop us out to your corporate sponsors. I really feel like that was the achilles heel.
And shit, girl, I don’t ever want to “be featured” on a site that can’t take a few knocks and throw back some well aimed punches. Ugh. I think when we surround ourselves by Yes-men all the time we forget that the world has more more sounds to it.August 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm #2599
Lola, thank you for coming out to pinpoint the issues at IFB. Because I am a co-founder of BlogTrends, I have been limited in what I should say in order to maintain a professional demeanor. Since it’s all out, I want to be honest. When I started blogging last June, I wanted so bad to fit in with the IFB types. I felt that they set the standards in the blogging industry and I wanted to be successful, in terms of great content and an engaged readership. I soon realized that I couldn’t fit into that mold. I didn’t have a brand. I didn’t do outfit shots. I didn’t wear head to toe designer. I sure as hell wasn’t getting any partnerships with Gap. It was like a square peg in a round hole. It felt as if I was in high school again and I wasn’t in the popular crowd. It was heartbreaking. Luckily, through #IFBcon, I was put in touch with Kaitlyn. Her ideas of starting a blogging community thrilled me and for the past 10 months have truly made me feel like I have an authentic place in the blogging world. That’s the main reason we started BlogTrends, to have a place to belong and that was open to everyone. We hope that our members feel this way and continue to have an outlet for blogging resources.
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