I don’t blog to try to become famous or rich enough to make it my sole profession. However, I do care about you readers, my reputation, and producing high-quality content within my constraints of being a normal human being. I know that if I had more time (or wanted to commit more time) to my blog it could be more successful. I think that may be what Taylor Davies was trying to say in her post last week on Independent Fashion Bloggers (IFB). But what she ended up saying (before the article was edited) was that the reason that blogs by women who aren’t thin and conventionally beautiful is because they aren’t producing high-quality content. That “these types of women” don’t have, “…high-quality images, consistent posting schedules, spot-on design and unique style.”
Nope, that’s not the reason, the reason is money. Bloggers, even though we’ve been around a long time, are still a new concept to retailers, advertisers, and magazines. Anyone who wants advertisers tries to appeal to them with what they think they want to see… which is more of the same.
Yesterday, Jennine Jacobs, IFB founder and blogger wrote a reply to Davies’ Friday article. I am not a fan of most of what she wrote or how she reacted in the comments, but she made one good point:
"Many readers pointed out that they do want to read aspirational blogs, or that they are interested in supporting those that maintain the fashion ideal. If that disheartens you, remember that the power to change begins with YOU. If you want more diversity in the community, make sure that you’re supporting those bloggers who exemplify the qualities of a great blog."I fully agree, and felt it was worthy of being posted here so non-bloggers could see it. The reason that your favorite curvy, over 30, under 21, petite, tall, disabled, Asian, African-American, Latina, modest, religious, or non thin and young (and usually white) blog is not more famous is because the advertisers don't realize that she is popular or influential. They don’t see that blogs are awesome and popular and successful because while we women do like a bit of fantasy, we are also inspired by seeing women we can relate to who wear fashion well.
There’s nothing wrong with an “aspirational blog,” gosh I love them. Check my blogroll and you will see I link to many a blog that shows a woman who looks completely different from me, has a larger fashion budget than I, lives in a completely different world from me. I’m not asking you to stop reading those blogs or supporting them – they are successful because they have worked hard and provide great content.
What I am asking is to support those lesser-known blogs who you know do great work. Mention them on your own blogs, link to them on Facebook. Leave comments on their posts letting them know what you liked and what you hope they will offer on their blog in the future. Keep in mind that not every blog is fantastic from the get-go – I'll admit my blog is a work in progress and many of my blog’s improvements are thanks to your support and feedback.
Also think for yourself, don’t succumb to the masses. Follow the blogs that appeal to you, not that are popular or liked by your friends. Wear what makes you happy, not necessarily because every blogger you see is wearing it. Believe in yourself – your tastes, your opinions, your body, your mind. and if you see something you like, SHARE IT. Tweet it, put it on Facebook, leave a comment, click on a link. Write about it, comment on it, speak your mind.
You readers have the power to change the face of the blogosphere, the magazines, the fashion industry.
Money is power, and blog readers are the ones who click on the links, buy the purses and bracelets and dresses. Even if you don't have actual money, your voice, where you click, where you visit - it is powerful and your choice makes businesses money.
And for my fellow bloggers, keep doing what you do. There’s some incredibly successful bloggers out there who don’t get conventional recognition because they aren’t conventionally successful. Success is rated differently by different people. For some, it’s a book deal. For others, it’s a sponsorship. Many bloggers think success means that they can quit their 9 to 5, some think it’s when they get their first piece of free merchandise, others believe it is when they are quoted in a major publication. For me, I feel successful when I get an email from a reader saying I changed her life. When I have a retailer contact me and tell me that they receive more hits and sales from my blog than other blogs in a certain promotion. When a publication I respect quotes or links to me. When bloggers I admire tell me that they admire me too.
We don’t all look alike, and we don’t all see success in the same manner. But that doesn’t mean we’re not successful, that we’re not kicking ass and taking names. Stop comparing yourself to other bloggers… but don’t stop speaking your mind. Money may be power, but the written word can also be quite powerful. Choose your words and your platform carefully, but be heard. Even if IFB isn’t interested, the rest of us CAN change the face of fashion. Are you with me?
And for some more commentary on this subject:
- Gorgeous in Grey: White Slim and Pretty - But what about me!
- LoveBrownSugar: Breaking The Silence: A Response To "Bloggers & Body Image"
- Comme Coco: Responding to IFB
- Those Graces: Race, Body Image and the Conversation Bloggers Should Be Having
- dreafashionista: Removing Myself from IFB
- Deejay Speaks: Diversity in the Blogging Industry
- Blog Trends: Bloggers & Body Image Brouhaha
- The Citizen Rosebud:It's not YOU, it's me: an open letter to IFB
- Promiscuous Lola: Sound Off: This Is Not How Apologies Work IFB
- A Sunny Day in L.A.: IFB: When Good Sites Go Bad
- xoJane: White Slim and Pretty - My Response to IFB's Blogging and Body Image (cross-post of Gorgeous in Grey's original)
- Nicolette Mason: Continuing the Conversation: Blogs & Beauty Standards
Let me know if there's other posts out there on this subject, I would be happy to update this post with links!
P.S. A big thank you to my non-blogger friend Tiffany who helped calm me down and tell me how to edit this post so it would make sense to those unfamiliar with IFB and the business of blogging. Love you!