Sunday, January 28, 2018

THE PROBLEM I HAVE WITH BLOGGING




Much like with my post on how I got started as a blogger, this is a post I've been wanting to write for a long time. This is one that has been sitting in my drafts for months, waiting to go live. But the main reason why I've hesitated on pushing that little 'publish' button? Fear. Fear of alienating others in the blogging world, fear that I won't say the right things, fear that maybe it's not my place to even say anything to begin with. But to be honest? There are some major problems I have with the blogging community.


"Girl Boss" Attitude
This is one of the first things I wanted to talk about when airing my grievances with the blogging community - the attitude that if you want to "make it" you have to be a "girl boss / hustler / entrepreneur". I've heard every variation of this, and aside from my issues with the expression "girl boss" (can we all just agree that this phrase needs to go away?), I hate the idea that everything is boiled down to hustling and working 24/7 to scrap your way to the top.

First of all, being a blogger is insanely cool. Who could have imagined this as a career option even 10 years ago? What we get to do on a daily basis is so amazing, and we are all SO lucky to be able to even call this a job. Is it hard work? You bet it is. Are you your own boss and your own assistant and everything in between? Yep. There's nothing wrong with being a hard worker and putting your all into something you want to pursue. But the problem for me is when every conversation and caption becomes this cyclical stream of how you hustled to get this life, how many emails you've answered, or how you're a tough badass who doesn't listen to the haters.

There's just something about that attitude that feels so disingenuous to me. Most people (and yes, even those outside of the blogging world) work hard on the daily. Whether it's in an office, school, being a stay-at-home parent - bloggers aren't the only ones who work hard. And while I've definitely vented about stressful days, I don't like the attitude of "look at my incredible life, you could have it too if you worked harder / dressed this way / fought with your 'haters'".

I wish I had a better way to wrap this up as a complaint, but I think the big thing with this post is it's a bit of a stream of consciousness. These are just thoughts that have been rolling around in my head for a while, mostly after scrolling through Instagram. I wonder if it's something you've noticed too? I don't want it to seem like this is the norm - for the most part, it's not. Most of the bloggers I've surrounded myself with are hard workers, don't have a problem talking about it, but also recognize how fortunate we are to do what we do. They encourage their followers, have open conversations about what their life is like, but don't make it all about the 'hustle'. There is nothing wrong with being proud about how far you've come, or what your life is. Shout it from the mountaintop! But when every conversation feels like a not-so-humble brag, I take issue.

Fake Followings
This is another taboo conversation that can be a bit hard to broach. It's been the elephant in the room for a long time, but for some reason tends to go hand-in-hand with the blogger who feels the need to talk about their hustle on the regular - bloggers with fake followers. And just like the above, this is fortunately pretty rare in my opinion.

We've all had great months where we have a large natural growth - I had one in the fall and gained a lot of new faces while posting some of my favorite photos I've ever shot. The lovely Steffy has grown a ton in the last month due to her consistent posting, amazing styling, and working really hard to engage with her audience (I'm definitely planning on taking a leaf out of her book cause she is killing it!) - and Emily Vartanian is someone I look to for consistent content creation (say that 3 times fast) who has grown so much in the last year due to lots of hard work.

But unfortunately there are some accounts out there who have decided to 'cheat the system' and purchase not only followers, but comments, likes, and inflated engagement. It can be hard to spot at first, but sites like Social Blade make it a little more transparent and a little easier to spot the spikes in growth. It's frustrating for those of us who work hard and have gone through periods of weak growth (hi, me! I'm struggling a bit at the moment, but still plowing on, cause hey, it happens) but not given in.

I understand the temptation to purchase a few thousand followers and give yourself a push. I get it. Brands and even prospective followers eye how many are already following you before deciding to work with you or even follow you themselves. It's frustrating to know that some people are boiling down your worth to how high the number is on your page when we all know there are so many other factors. Smaller accounts can produce incredible content and are just as valuable as larger ones with a less engaged audience.

But the fact of the matter is, buying followers, and pretending that you have such and such a number of comments hurts everyone. It's false, and it really makes it seem like the real and genuinely engaged followers you do have don't matter to you.

Representation
This is a hard subject for me to write about, mainly because I know I am a BIG part of the problem. As a young white female blogger, I have been handed SO MANY opportunities. And blogger aside? As a young white woman, I am incredibly privileged. I recognize it, but sometimes don't know what to do to help tip the scales back the other way.

The fact of the matter is, plenty of brands have catered their styling and events to girls who look just like me, and skip out on the idea of creating content that is not only diverse, but inclusive. Just in the last few months, there has been a larger push to change this, started by many incredible voices - like the page @YouBelongNow created by Valerie Eguavoen. It's a movement to unite content creators "who are consistently overlooked because of skin color, ethnicity, class, religion, gender, size, age". So to not only promote the idea that not every campaign should be filled with young white women, but with people of color, different sized models, trans women, and just more representation of what the world actually looks like.

I'm cautious about how I write about this because I don't want to say the wrong thing or use the wrong words to express how I feel (and please please send me a message if I did). But to not say anything would also be a big mistake. So while I will continue to blog, I want to be more aware of this, with the brands I work with, and with the other women (and men) that I follow and engage with. There are so many bloggers out there that have been denied a campaign or an invitation because of a narrow perspective of what an influencer "looks like". So when it comes to things like 'Follow Friday' and bloggers that I recommend to you, expect to see some more diversity. There are so many more voices out there.

Brands are becoming aware of this, of being more inclusive, and while it's moving slowly, we as fellow bloggers have to help move it along more. I don't have a ton of ideas, and have failed really hard in the past. But I just want to start the conversation. I want to be a friend, an ally, and better at this. And if this part of this blog post feels messy, it's because it is! I'm having a really hard time wording how I feel about this, so my apologies for my less-than-eloquent take on this. As a summary, I want to include a few bloggers that I feel like are paving the way for more diversity in our IG feeds and who you need to check out :

@Iambeauticurve // I went on a trip to Provence with her this Summer and not only is she beautiful and kind and with a beautiful and kind family - her style is so on point. Every outfit is so styled and shot SO well.
@missenocha // I found her page when Emily Vartanian went on a trip with her last year. Her edits are insanely good, she does travel blogging like no one else, and her feed gives me major envy for how perfect it looks
@shroots // I found her page via #YouBelongNow and immediately developed a crush on not only her but her food and travel photography. She captures lifestyle photos so well, plus her smile makes my heart melt.
@kittehinfurs // Another blogger I found thanks to #YouBelongNow. Her outfits, her use of light, her edits, and her makeup have me smitten. Plus she has a love for mustard colored things too.

Finding the Positive
I really don't want to end this post and leave you thinking that my view is a negative one. Quite the contrary. The blogging world has been so kind to me, given me so many friends that I otherwise wouldn't have. I've met some of the loveliest women through blogging and it's really been a tool for me to break out of my shell and leave my anxiety behind. Sure, there are problems (big ones!) but there is also so much communication, beauty, and voices that I've had the privilege of being introduced to. I just wanted to share a little something with you guys that's not another outfit post.



16 comments:

  1. Bloody love this post, by far my fave from you! Talking about inclusivity isn’t always v brand friendly but it’s gotta be done, so ppl who don’t look like every other Instagal have a chance of being taken seriously on the platform.

    Always good to hear that people with privilege want to learn how to use it to benefit those without a platform, it’s mega important.

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  2. I'm so moved with this post. Thank you so much for speaking out, for reaching out. This warms my heart, and encourages me to carry on. I'm a 46 years old woman of colour and a tiny blog. I love blogging, but st times it's difficult to carry on with no positive feedback. Once again THANK YOU XX

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  4. oved reading such honesty! I think it’s great you recognize what an amazing platform you have and use it to the max. Addressing the elephant in the room is the best ever, it seems like it’s getting harder and harder to fine genuine bloggers to connect with. But your keeping keeping it real! Keep it up!

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  6. I love this post!! Thank you for speaking out. Several of the issues you mentioned also frustrate me and were reasons why I held off on blogging for so long. It's so important to talk about it!

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  7. I love this post! I am a casual blogger and it's not something I've considered making my income source but I can see these patterns happening- people I follow and admire have spoken out about these issues and how it affects in industry. Thanks for dropping recommendations- I love when bloggers and brands aren't afraid to address this issue.

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  8. Wow. Such an amazing post! Im so glad you decided to post it. I love that you mentioned about the lack of diversity in appearance of bloggers. I hope brands notice this and reevaluate.

    Www.thewhimsicalwildling.com

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  9. Dear Courtney,

    I've found this post (and your blog!) through Alice's Insta story and I am oh-so glad I did! Just followed you on Instagram too as I absolutely love the vibes going on on your grid, a truly beautiful account!

    Anyway, what I wanted to say is, with this post, you're literally speaking my mind! Especially all that '#girlboss' thing genuinely makes me sick. Ironically, it's mainly used by people who sit at home desperately trying to make it, rather than those who could, to some extend, justify calling themselves that? Isn't it just silly?!

    Btw, have you seen this amazing video on the matter? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9ctb9RLCm4 I think you'll really like it as it beautifully co-relates with this post.

    Anyway, thank you for sharing your thoughts, stay beautiful inside and out!

    Mal x

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  10. I absolutely LOVE this post! I struggle with being a "blogger" because I don't feel like I have the same view and approach as others, but at the same time I kind of like that. Also, I completely agree that the phrase "girl boss" is just awful!

    Taylor | www.livingtaylored.com

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  11. this is one of the many reasons why I love you! thank you for speaking your mind!

    www.prettyinleather.net

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  12. Thanks for talking about this. Inclusivity, and the lack of it, starts with white bloggers like us (myself included), and we all need to be a part of the solution. This means not working with brands and conferences and partners that won't include a wide range of voices (different races, ages, economic backgrounds, sexualities, etc.). I'm really happy to hear more people talking about this and all the ways we can work together to celebrate all of the different ways we exist in the world.

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  14. I started a blog in October...it's been a struggle to say the least. I am a Licensed Therapist and I wanted to incorporate my therapy into my lifestyle and bring a different blog to the mix because in the end we have to believe in what we're doing. Reading this blog inspired me to keep going...it can really be hard, everything you said hit so many points. Hey you might not think it but you are a HUGE influence...all these points you've made in this post pertain to things I've sat and thought about so thank you for writing it out in such an eloquent and beautiful way. I just love people to keep inspiring and supporting each other and with people like you out there it seems like there's a chance! :-) thank you! GREAT POST!

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  15. This post touched me so much. Thank you for sharing your sentiments
    and expressing humility, empathy and authenticity. Frankly, all of the subjects you raised have been things that have irked me too and at times, discouraged me from blogging. I already admired your content. Now, I'm all the more smitten! Keep sharing your light sis:*

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