Last Friday at around 8PM when I saw this post on IFB about "Bloggers & Body Image" pop up on my Facebook timeline (c/o of Kelly from Masque Mag), I winced and clicked, hoping for the best but dreading the worst. Based on just the Facebook comments, I knew it was going to be a controversial article before even opening it. As an overview, the premise of the article is to examine and provide commentary on the plight of non-traditional or niche fashion bloggers. The opinions expressed hinted at the idea that the most successful fashion bloggers are not just successful because they fit within the fashion industry's ideals (non-minority/young/skinny/modelesque/all of the above) but that they're also successful because their blogs just have better quality overall. They have discipline, they post higher quality images and they post more consistently.
|Gabi Gregg & Myself|
As someone who has been very vocal about my issue with body image and the role it plays in social promotion within the fashion industry - both online and offline (if you haven't yet, please read my Why Don't You Love Me: An Ode To Outfit Posts article), it would only seem natural for me to have an immediate and honest response to this issue. I saw fellow bloggers like Marie Denee of The Curvy Fashionista, jump in with poignant critique in the comments section. I saw offshoot posts in defense of quality bloggers with curves over at Shamepuff. Up until today, I've even seen video responses from bloggers like Comme Coco voicing their opinions and frustrations. Still I refused to respond. I've kept quiet for the past few days, not because I was scared or "over it", or because I have any allegiances to IFB (though I am an occasional contributor for them and I do really enjoy it), but because I didn't think voicing my opinion would even make a difference. Sad, right? Sad that I'm at the awkward intersection of frustration and nonchalance with this industry, so much that I don't think my commentary or even writing this post your reading right now, matters in the grand scheme.
This past weekend, I was interviewed by a publication about my opinions on the plight of minority fashion hopefuls and our lack of representation in the industry. I was open and honest in my dialogue about it. Over and over, I keep seeing and hearing these themes about the lack of diversity in fashion and the inherent void it leaves in the hearts of talented people who never really get a chance because they're not enough. Never enough.
|Estee Lauder spokesbeauties: Joan Smalls, Constance Jablonski, Liu Wen|
"Obviously People Judge Your Picture Online..." citing an infographic from HSN Beauty about the correlation between beauty, images and social promotion. The results weren't surprising. The resounding theme includes the idea that people who are pretty or have more compelling images are more likely to get jobs, brand opportunities, endorsements, and be "liked" or "searched for" overall. Seeing this put quite a few ideas in perspective for me.
Coming from a background of nurturing and encouragement, and growing up in a household where I was told I could do anything I put my mind to, this environment came as a shocker. Nobody told me that I couldn't open doors for myself. That someone else had to open them for me. And that perfect proportions or straight hair would open the doors much wider, so that I could actually fit into their narrow openings. And the older and wiser I get, the more I begin to question if my opinion really matters when things are so slow to change. Like a tree falling in an empty forest, if nobody hears these cries, do they really exist? You decide.
I want your opinion. Is there an eternal cap on success for non-traiditonal beauties attempting to work in this industry? If my hair isn't stick straight and neither is my body, am I eternally doomed to being ignored by major labels and being offered opportunities? Furthermore, is it even worth taking about?