If you read IFB’s (Independent Fashion Bloggers) article “Bloggers & Body Image: Are We Helping Or Hurting Ourselves?” by Taylor Davies last week, you may have come away feeling hurt and confused. That’s how I felt. Davies writes:
The majority of very visible, successful style bloggers are thin and beautiful – which isn’t their fault of course, nor should they be chastised for it . . . The double-hitter is these “top tier” bloggers’ blogs are also really good. They have high-quality images, consistent posting schedules, spot-on design and unique style . . .
In order for a more holistic image of fashionable women to permeate the top tier of blogging as well as traditional fashion media, there needs to be a serious commitment to higher-quality content . . . At the moment, there aren’t enough blogs run by these types of women that get the notoriety they deserve.
The unspoken lynchpin was the word white. Though Davies didn’t write, “Thin, beautiful and white,” readers read it that way. What is essentially being said is this: Not only are certain bloggers popular because they are white and thin, but bloggers of color and plus size bloggers aren’t working hard enough. And because they are not working hard enough, their blogs aren’t as good as their thin, white counterp
Though Davies and IFB didn’t intend to hurt and alienate the non-thin and non-white community, the damage was done.
What was missed was the opportunity to talk openly and honestly not only about about race and body image, but the differences between us as a fashion blogging community. There was a juncture where IFB could have initiated this conversation but the moment passed. I can only speculate as to why they didn’t go there, but my best guess it this: It’s a hard conversation to have, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it.
Why is it that the majority of bloggers getting all the attention are white? Why are are we so quick to write each other off when we bring up difficult topics like race and body image? How can we raise each other up and praise what makes us different?
I sincerely believe our community is strong enough to talk about the things that make us the same as well as the things that make us different. I believe we all have the power to change the conversation.
From Around the Community
Today I read two poignant pieces responding to the original IFB article. If you know of any others, please link them in the comments. Here’s just two excerpts, and I encourage you to read the whole post.
Christina of LoveBrownSugar
From the time I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the fashion industry, I’ve been faced with some hard, grim and painful realities. In my attempt to make my personal dreams come true, I’ve been slapped in the face with the truth about what it takes to make it to the height of true success . . . I’ve seen bloggers with all the potential in the world, the most amazing style, and personalities to boot consistently overlooked by the very brands they promote on a daily basis . . .I’ve seen stylists with immense talent and drive and creativity, relegated to working on projects that never see the light of day. It’s been a real cup of reali-tea for me. (Read More)
. . .Head over to the magazine section at your favorite bookstore. Have a peek inside of any magazine – and just look at the cover. I’m usually not there. I am your average brown girl, cute – but not your typically fair skin, tall, weaved model type. I’ve got curves. The kind of curves that make a man take a double look. The kind that make a casting director say, “You’re a bit larger than what we’re looking for.” Point blank – I am not white, slim, and pretty. Although the last adjective might be debatable. (Read More)
And if that doesn’t open your eyes, I don’t know what will.
More posts from around the community:
Talk it Out: Body Image by Blonde and Black
Continuing the Conversation: Blogs and Beauty by Nicolette Mason
Sound Off: This Is Not How Apologies Work IFB by Promiscuous Lola
IFB: When Good Sites Go Bad by A Sunny Day in L.A.
It’s Not You, It’s Me: An Open Letter to IFB by The Citizen Rosebud
Cute and Cheap Merona Dress For Work by One Woman’s Style and Evolution
White, Slim and Pretty–But What About Me? on XOJane (Cross posted by Gorgeous in Grey)
Bloggers & Body Image Brouhaha discussion at Blog Trends
Requesting Your Assistance by Wardrobe Oxygen
Body Image & Diversity in Fashion Blogging – Is it an American Problem? by Girl Does Geek
IFB Founder Jennine Jacob Thinks You Didn’t Read The Post Correctly, Bullies at Shamepuff
Responding to IFB by Comme Coco
Diversity In The Blogging Industry by Deejay Speaks
Removing Myself from IFB by Dreafashionista
IFB Says Not Enough Women Who Aren’t Thin, Beautiful Have High Quality Blogs at Shamepuff
Some people were angered by the post originally made by IFB, which was later changed. I hunted down the original post, which was scrapped by an aggregator. You can read it via my screenshot here (source)
If you know of any others now mentioned here, please link below!