An Open Letter to the IFB Community
By: Jennine Jacob

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Update August 18, 2012. I have written a formal apology, the words below were not written at my best moment. Please read the apology.

When eleven-year-old Claressa Shields told her father she wanted to be a boxer, he responded by telling her boxing was a man’s sport. She didn’t let it stop her; in fact it spurred her on to try harder.   She eventually won the first gold medal for middleweight women’s boxing. Five years ago, women’s boxing wasn’t so well known, but that didn’t mean she could never achieve her dreams.

This story is amazing because it brings up the personal triumphs that have affected our lives. Over the years people have told me what I couldn’t do. I’ve been told I could never be a writer, a business person, and I wouldn’t make it to college. When I started my blog I was told to not “Quit your day job.”I didn’t listen and went on to do it all.  Maybe at the time I couldn’t be a writer because I never practiced; I wouldn’t make it to college with my D average, and I couldn’t be a business person because I was too afraid to stand up for myself, but things change. The beauty of being human, is we have the power to learn and grow. We have the ability to take up challenges and defeat the odds.

Last week Taylor Davies wrote a post about Bloggers & Body Image. The post was directed at the blogging community as a whole rather than directing it at any particular niche. The response from the IFB community was outraged that we pointed out that the majority top-tier bloggers (ones getting in the millions of visitors per month) all tended to conform to the fashion industry’s standards of beauty.  The community pointed out that IFB had a responsibility to change the conversation by highlighting more diverse bloggers.

I believe that IFB, along with the community, does have the power to change the conversation.  That conversation will not begin, and that conversation cannot begin, with what happened in the comments. Some of the comments were abusive, and that made me angry. It made me defensive of the IFB team. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my site, but bullying one another is not the answer. It makes me disinclined to highlight a community on my website that bullies writers they don’t agree with under any circumstances. Ever.

A look at the comments on that post shows the wide range of what people look for in blogs.  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.

If you see something you don’t like, change it by being the best you can. Take on challenges. Don’t settle. If you come across information showing you that there is more work to do, take that as a gift of inspiration to push the boundaries. If you come across a person telling you, “you can’t,” show people wrong by being amazing and gracious. You’d be surprised where that leads you.

Finally, IFB was created to help bloggers monetize their blogs, design their own careers, and make their own dreams come true. Never was our manifesto to become a vehicle to promote specific bloggers. Featuring bloggers on IFB has always been secondary to our primary focus of providing blogging tips for the community. Being featured by another publication is a privilege, not a right.

My hopes are that through our posts, you can learn tactics to encourage more outlets to cover bloggers; that with the information we provide, bloggers can in a professional way pitch a story, or build a relationship to garner coverage in the press. The IFB staff strives to cover topics of importance to the community, including what is going on with bloggers.  We do our best to know what our community members are up to.  However, if we don’t know about you, send us a pitch, tell us something about how your blog can help the blogging community. If we like it, we’ll publish it! We’re always looking for new things to post about, and that’s one way you can help contribute and better the IFB community.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for the lovely open letter. I posted on a comment on the original Body Image post about how I do, in fact, enjoy blogs that do “conform to the fashion industry’s standard of beauty” and received hateful tweets/blog comments on my own site. It was upsetting that some feel the need to be so down right mean just because I have a different point of view on the matter. Thank you again for this letter.

    xoxo
    Cathy, your Poor Little It Girl
    http://poorlittleitgirl.com

  2. Avatar of CynthiaCM
    Cynthia says:

    But what YOU like might very well conform to what you think the general public would like. That’s one of the reasons why I, personally, have issues with the body image community – a very exclusive, cliquey bunch, I might add, one who excludes people like me because as a thinner woman (despite being short), I automatically don’t have a “problem.” I think it’s very important that as a community, we try harder to promote such bloggers (not saying that you don’t – you just need to do it more often. Not everyone spends the time to search for these bloggers, as I’ve noted before. Really, if you look hard enough as I often do, you will find bloggers who are like you and a community with its own “top tier” bloggers as well) to the general public. Just because a small group know about them doesn’t mean that everyone does. And yes, it’s important that they do. I do appreciate your note, though.

    Cynthia
    http://thecloset.delectablychic.com
    http://www.delectablychic.com
    http://www.shorty-stories.com

  3. Avatar of emilyjenny
    emilyjenny says:

    I too commented on the original post taking a more neutral stance on the subject at hand. It definitely affects me because I am a bit more curvy than the norm but I understand why the general public enjoys blogs like The Blonde Salad and Cheyenne Meets Chanel – who doesn’t like to look at model-esq beauties. On the other hand I do support up and coming blogs and those that do not fit the “top tier” demographics I think everything is about balance and my blog roll is a good combination of all types of bloggers curvy, petite, minority, majority, etc.

    I plan to try and change this “favoritism” that I see so often though…it really bugs me.

    xo
    Emily Jenny

    http://www.stilettobeats.com

  4. Jennine, I can’t thank you and Taylor enough for these posts.

    Like you, I’d like to see more diversity in the top tiers of the blogging community, but I certainly don’t begrudge those beautiful bloggers (many of whom could easily be models) getting the success they’ve worked hard for.

    I myself am certainly no model, but I am thrilled that so many readers email me to tell me I’ve inspired them, or that I make them realise that ‘normal women can be stylish too’ (it never occurred to me that they shouldn’t!). I am also proud that despite the fact I could never be confused for a model, several brands have asked me to work with them or to front their campaigns. I was especially thrilled that Jimmy Choo, a bastian of luxury, asked me to be a face of their campaign, and while most customers were thrilled to see someone who ‘looked like them’ in the brand’s images, a minority were quick to point out that I shouldn’t have been there because I wasn’t particularly thin (I’m pleased to say the brand defended me in a flash). All of this encourages me that while it might still be a definite advantage to be a drop dead gorgeous blogger, there is certainly room for all of us in this wonderful community of ours.

    Thank you, again, for highlighting this important issue and inviting a mature and honest debate.

    Briony xx

  5. I understand what you’re trying to say Jeannine, but I think most of us think that Taylor Davies went about her post in the wrong way. A few of her statements implied some unsavory things. For instance, here you say that “the IFB community was outraged that we pointed out that the majority top-tier bloggers (ones getting in the millions of visitors per month) all tended to conform to the fashion industry’s standards of beauty.”

    Taylor, however, seemed to imply that not enough of the “other” bloggers (other meaning not white, blonde, and/or thin) had good quality blogs. I understand that you are upset about the supposed bullying in the comments, but I think readers have a right to be angry about that particular implication.

    In addition, because IFB does in fact feature bloggers on occasion, I think there should be more diversity in those bloggers featured. I’m not saying we have a right to be featured, but that if you are going to do it, more people should be included. I know it’s your site and you can do whatever you want with it, but that’s just my personal opinion.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      Hi there,
      Taylor used the words “thin” but she did not use the words “white” or “blonde” I’m sorry you interpreted those words, but she didn’t say them, and she certainly didn’t imply them. Which is why the bullying was especially unwarranted.

      • I’m sorry, I didn’t clarify. I know that she only said thin. What I mean is that most of us define the word “other” as not white, blonde, or thin. Sorry for the mix-up! :)

        • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

          Hmm, she didn’t use the word “other” at all in the post. Even if she did, which she did not, how does that equate with white or blonde?

          • Once again, I think the point I was trying to make wasn’t quite clear. I know that she did not say other, and I know that she wasn’t even trying to reference non-whites or anyone else. What I mean is that these are the things that, right or wrong, many people took from it. I don’t think that Taylor meant to offend or meant to imply anything about “other” people. My point was that bad wording can lead people to draw their own conclusions about things. My use of the word other was intended so that I could include other bloggers than the plus sized bloggers that appear to be the focus of the commentary.

      • Old reader not current says:

        Taylor used the words this and beautiful. In western society the mainstream standard of beauty and the ideal is usually white, blond ans thin. So it’s easy to see why and how fashion geek interpreted the article.

        Seriously.

    • I think a lot of people would agree that perhaps Taylor phrased things badly, myself included. I don’t chalk that up to malicious intent on her part though, but rather a hot topic, a desire for discussion, and a quick deadline to come up with it.

      What I did appreciate though, was that she tried to fix it. She tried to clarify her point after she realized she mispoke about things and people were reading it in a way she didn’t intend. As someone who has written her fair share of controversial posts on IFB… I appreciated it. As someone who was also hurt by what Taylor wrote, I appreciated it.

      Print media makes mistakes all the time as well, and more often than not tries to address their readers concerns, like I see IFB doing here. God knows I’ve had it happen on my own site over the past 5 years (even as recent as a few weeks ago). If anything, I hope that IFB found what readers want to see more if, and can find a way to include it in their content in a way that the community will support!

      • debi c says:

        there were a lot of people including me who pointed it out why we were offended.highlighting the abusive ones in this article doesn’t seem right.i appreciate that taylor understood that how she wrote the article was not the best way and apologised.i totally understand that she comes from the other side of the body spectrum and she didn’t get why (innumerable) plus sized bloggers would get offended..i agree with ashe.but i think i am done with IFB.

      • Old reader, not current says:

        Thank you Ashe for providing your opinions. I really enjoyed your articles on this site (when you wrote a bunch years ago) and enjoy reading your blog.

    • Heather Fonseca says:

      I completely agree with this. The original article was very clear that if there wasn’t enough diversity at the top tier of fashion blogs it was the fault of the bloggers, not society, not the fashion industry. The conclusion was that the more diverse bloggers needed to work harder to make their blogs better. The article has since been rewritten in places so it’s hard to tell just what was there originally.

      I’m really surprised that the staff at IFB is surprised that many members of the community were offended by the original article.

    • Joanne M says:

      Was going to write something similar but no need. You hit the nail on the head! Well said my friend:)

  6. Kasey says:

    I had no problem with the post, it’s a real issue and people should be able to discuss it like adults. I find anytime you try and address things of real substance you will always get that kind of feed back. Take a topic I brought up yesterday due to one of those high quality pictures I saw from one of my favorite “top tier style bloggers” in which the subject was holding a lit cigarette. My personal opinion on this is since Top Tier style bloggers are coveted by fashion publications, and get substantial media attention that they need to behave as if they are a big fashion publications and be cautions of the messages they are putting out not only about body image, but of health. Seriously when is the last time you saw a smoking ad in a women’s magazine? I got such a negative response when I asked “why would style/fashion bloggers help potentially glorify smoking on their sites?” i.e. ” WTF do you want them to do take’em down” when all I wanted was a honest and thoughtful discussion)

    Kasey

    http://bayareastylefile.blogspot.com

  7. Alanna says:

    Awesome post, Jennine.

  8. Kaitlin says:

    WOW is really the only word I can come up with right now. I had originally read Taylor’s body image article and thought it was right on point. It couldn’t have been more neutral – there were no snide remarks about skinny bloggers being better than plus size bloggers, as was mentioned in a few of the comments. After seeing this open letter I went back and scrolled through the comments and was appalled at how rude some of those “ladies” were in response to Taylor. They should have agreed to disagree. Being a former Style and Beauty Editor, you are always faced with scrutiny. There are negative, selfish, sad, and pathetic women out there who have nothing better to do than bash those who are above them. Unfortunately, as women, it’s something that we will always endure. I recently read an article on Cosmo.com from an extremely young writer. She had 2000+ NEGATIVE, EXTREMELY NEGATIVE and hateful, harsh comments. Those commenters need to sit back and keep their mouth shut. If you don’t like what’s being said, change the conversation. If you ARE a plus size woman, work half as hard as those “skinny and pretty top tiered bloggers” have and maybe you’ll be in their position. Taylor – you did an AMAZING job! It’s not normal for me to enjoy reading articles but yours are always well written and RIGHT on point! Keep up the good work, dear!!

    PS- Way to go handling those comment replies with class!!!!!
    xoxo

    • Simone says:

      You’re a snobby idiot. What do you mean “above them”?? Are you classifying yourself as being “above” other people, specifically other women? Based on what exactly?? Most arguments was that there are blogs by curvy women of high quality, so what do you mean “work half as hard”?! We’re all human, you snide fuck. You’re not above anyone. Now go cry about me being a rude bully you out of touch bitch.

      • Avatar of
        BELLA Q says:

        Hi Simone, I don’t think calling someone an “idiot” or a “bitch” aids to this conversation. I think what can be beneficial here is a change to open discussion about a hot-button issue. That means trying to understand the other side. We might walk away still in disagreement, but there is hope for better understanding.

        You adversely diminish your point when you resort to name calling. That turns things ugly and any chance of communication closes. You have a right to disagree and feel angry, but I think you just did yourself a disservice by dismissing the person above’s statement and resorting to angry name calling. Which is unfortunately, because I’m inclined to agree with your view of things, had you worded it in a way to be heard, and not hurtful.

        Respectfully, Bella Q

    • Erin says:

      “The majority of very visible, successful style bloggers are thin and beautiful – which isn’t their fault, nor should they be chastised for it. They’re “real women” too, just blessed (and perhaps very disciplined).”

      The insinuation that these “thin & beautiful” women are “disciplined” is interesting? What was Taylor trying to say with “disciplined”? That the thin pretty bloggers are “disciplined” in what they eat & how they exercise to stay thin & beautiful or that they are harder workers? Either way, this seems rather offensive to me. I find it disturbing that she would be judging anyone’s commitment level to their own blog. How could she possibly know what that commitment level is for anyone let alone everyone? I’m sure there are some blogs outside of the standard “beautiful thin girl” who post daily and in a “disciplined” fashion, but I’d hate to think she was using “disciplined” to describe their health/beauty regime.

    • Never heard of IFB in my life says:

      “If you ARE a plus size woman, work half as hard as those “skinny and pretty top tiered bloggers” have and maybe you’ll be in their position.”

      Wow what an offensive and presumptuous statement. I have to agree with the poster who called you an idiot.

    • S says:

      How exactly does one woman end up being “above” another, I wonder?

      I’m plus-sized. I have a fitness blog featuring hardcore, and I mean elite-athlete-level hardcore training, with some of the top trainers in the world as I do bootcamp sessions several hours a week with one of the world’s top athletics companies. Can you please point out one of these “non-plus-size” bloggers who works harder than I do to maintain their body size?

      I rarely get upset, but this comment literally has me shaking with anger. Luckily, I have a bootcamp session scheduled right now and I’ll fuel the anger into energy for running my laps with a 200+ woman on my back while “not working quite as hard” as a skinny woman to get and maintain a frail physique.

      As an aside, it’s kind of funny, but I suppose when I’m running with a woman on my back she does end up being above me.

  9. Avatar of ConsiderMeLovely

    Jennine, while I appreciate your effort in this letter and am sorry that some people have received harsh words for supporting the previous post of which this letter is written in response of, I think that taking defense to the comments from the original post is not the best stance. For me personally, the post written by Taylor Davies was just a culmination of what I have observed on IFB in general. For IFB to be a community that represents all fashion bloggers, I often feel unrepresented here, particularly in the content that is created by you and your team. I am African American, over 25, a size 10 and very much curvy, with natural hair (dreadlocks to be exact), living in the South, and if i can be real with you, the list you create for various topics, your Links a la Mode, and articles that talk about what other bloggers are doing to succeed, often lack bloggers that have any or most of my characteristics. So when I saw Taylor’s article, thanks to a post written by someone else, I got the feeling that your writer was in support of these mainstream ideals, which confirmed what I’d begun thinking about IFB ad it’s content. There is nothing wrong with the ladies who have become popular mainstream bloggers, though I often don’t find them to be overwhelmingly as stylish as some of their lesser known counterparts, but let’s not pretend that it’s mostly about their image quality, layout, and consistent content, because there is a great deal of that throughout the blogosphere that I think IFB could do a better job of delving into and sharing with others.

    • Lindsay says:

      Very well said!

      • Avatar of
        BELLA Q says:

        I agree. I am spot-on in agreement with Rocquelle. I haven’t related to IFB posts for a while now, and as hard as I might try to connect, it seems at times that IFB has long ago made any attempts to connect to me. Sometimes coming off as an authority without all the facts produces posts like the one that sparked this controversy. In hindsight, I’m hoping more thought and better analysis (as well as better research!) will produce more thought provoking posts that help more bloggers in the community relate to eachother.

        The tone of the post, which I as well as many others took offense at was the insinuation that the reason there are no thin/beautiful top tier bloggers was because that perhaps the niche like the curvy genre weren’t disciplined enough to produce compelling content to attract the large audience. I disagree 100% with that statement and its implication. It’s wrong. But the great thing about the post was that the firestorm offers us the opportunity to get it out in the open- the elephant in the room:

        Why aren’t we talking more about Girl With Curves? Style Pantry? Style Crone? Helga Von Trollop?

    • Avatar of CynthiaCM
      Cynthia says:

      As a curvier blogger, you’re probably MORE represented by mainstream media than petite Asian girls like me. When they talk about diversity, size-wise, the default is 10+. When they talk about ethnicity, at least in the US, the default is black (the whole ethnicity thing leans more East or South Asian here in Canada, but we also get a lot of media from the US). #justsayin

      Cynthia
      http://thecloset.delectablychic.com
      http://www.delectablychic.com
      http://www.shorty-stories.com

    • I see this too, and appreciate that you were able to articulate it calmly and clearly. Thank you!

    • Avatar of Mouthwash
      Mouthwash says:

      Well written, well said, and I am in complete agreement with you.

    • D says:

      Cosign on this. I think IFB’s decision to take a defensive stance is quite telling. The failure that was the original article provided a wonderful opportunity for them as a whole to grow and learn from the very diverse blogging community to which they intend to cater. Instead, IFB writes an open letter to their community that clarifies how they believe that community to be one of “bullies,” to have been “abusive” for their attempt to provide appropriate and much-needed criticism.

      Occam’s razor, IFB. If the majority of the feedback you receive is negative, it’s likely because the article you’ve published deserves to be criticized.

      • Avatar of Mouthwash
        Mouthwash says:

        Amazing D. I completely agree with you! If IFB has placed themsleves as the hub of this vast fashion bloggersphere, their taking the iniative to open this coversation should be applauded. However it was the manner in which it was done, and for them to believe themselves above the community’s disagreement – and to label their community as “bullies” is very telling indeed.

    • MJ says:

      My thoughts exactly! I couldn’t have said it better myself!

    • Cate says:

      Spectacularly said. I fall into almost every category you mentioned (I don’t live in the US though) and I’ve felt excluded from IFB for close to a year. Every time I bring it up in the comments of an article, I’m shot down. For quite a while, it has seemed to me that IFB is not at all interested in sparking discussion, but in seeking validation from its members. To me, the implication of this post is “This is OUR blog, if you don’t like it leave” which is a dangerous proposition for a site supported by its readership. I’ve removed the IFB button from my blog, and I doubt I’ll be around much longer.

  10. Shin says:

    I completely agree with you Jennine, especially on this “Being featured by another publication is a privilege, not a right”. I don’t have a problem with Taylor’s post although I feel that her words could have been more carefully chosen. The truth of the matter is that fashion industry will never fully embrace anything outside what’s considered traditionally beautiful and I don’t necessarily think it’s bad. And people can cry, whine and bitch and moan about it as much as they want but the majority of people love seeing slim, beautiful girls who are proportional and look great in clothes. What I don’t understand is that even if the fashion magazine decides to ban all skinny models from their pages, Would it still help women with their self-esteem? Because honestly, there are still skinny, beautiful girls who look great without photoshop or makeup (Doutzen Kroes comes to mind) in the world. Are we as a society becomes so negative that we can’t stand looking at anyone who’s better-looking than us? I just shake my head in dismay whenever someone complains there aren’t enough diversity or different sizes in fashion. To me, it’s ridiculous!

    • Shin, I disagree with the assumption that the fashion industry will never embrace anyone who is not traditionally beautiful. I don’t know, your comment seems to say that any of us who are not traditionally beautiful should really just give up on trying to break in to the fashion industry. Look at Iman. Look at Chanel Iman. Look at Tyra. Look at all of the models who aren’t model tall. Heck, look at Marilyn Monroe! She’s not model-thin. She’s got plenty of curves and she is the ultimate fashion icon, right?

      By your same logic, Barack Obama and JFK should have just given up before they got started because America would never accept a black or catholic president.

      You say that fashion’s narrow view of beauty isn’t a bad thing. You have a right to your opinion, but I disagree. Music used to be just like fashion. Did you know that at one time MTV almost never showcased black people? Until…guess who? Michael Jackson. I mean, unless they had changed we could be a world without MJ, Beyonce, and Janelle Monae. Likewise, we could be missing out on tons in fashion, just because of that narrow view.

      You say that banning skinny women from magazines wouldn’t help us with our self-esteem….we’re not looking for help with our self-esteem! Most of us have got enough of that. What we’re looking for is representation, ya know?

      Sorry for the long response, I just wanted to offer some hope and encouragement for some of the other bloggers who don’t fit the mold! :)

      • Shin says:

        Hi Crystin! Before I respond to your comment, I just wanted to say I love your style! I look at your blog and I get a really positive and happy vibe which is great!

        When I say traditionally beautiful, I mean to say someone who is aesthetically pleasing to look at with a proportional body. It doesn’t have anything to do with race or skin color. I’m actually a big fan of Iman and Tyra! And also Chanel Iman and Jordan Dunn (they’re some of my favorite models). I think they’re stunning ladies! What I’m trying to say is that that fashion world has a right to dictate who they want and don’t want within their industry. Just like any other industry out there and I’ve repeated this many times. Models are celebrated because you don’t see girls like Miranda Kerr or Lily Donaldson walking around the mall everyday. Fashion rewards people who are beautiful because LOOKS are a big part of it and that shouldn’t come as a surprise at all.

        Music is a very different genre from fashion but even in music, you have to agree that if someone is very beautiful with only an okay voice, he or she still has a chance of being very popular! Why? Because looks really help that person to become successful even if he or she doesn’t deserve it very much.

        You said that you’re looking for representation but my question is why do you need it so much? Just to let you know, I’m a minority and not white but when I watch television or read magazines, I kind of look for substance instead of thinking it “Wait, there’s no asian girl (insert another race) in this magazine or in this tv show” first. That’s the first thing that some people say and it’s kind of confusing to me. It reminds me when I first view the show “Girls” from HBO. I absolutely hated it because I find the story revolting and the girls so unlikable. I didn’t have any thought at all about how white the shows are until some articles pointed out. It’s really, really sad when people plays the race card just for the sake of diversity. The world is diverse enough and what we’re lacking of is real talent.

        In fashion blogging, the audience/readers dictate if the blog is going to be popular or not and that’s something out of your control. You can be the best blogger in the world with the best photography but if people are not reading it, what can you do about it? You certainly can’t force people to like your blog unless you pay them money or gifts. Diversity is important but you can’t control who people are going to like the best in the fashion blogging world.

        • Avatar of FashionGeek
          FashionGeek says:

          Shin, I took a look at your blog too! So pro and clean and pretty. Love that black dress! You’re totally right, substance IS the most important part of anything. And like you said, I don’t think it’s right to look at something and instead of thinking about how awesome it is, considering the fact that there are no [insert minority group here]. There are few people that I know who do that. As for your question as to why representation is important, I think there are many reasons.

          More diversity means more worldview, different perspectives, more chances for us to see the bigger picture, especially in the blog world. I’ve seen some freaking awesome blogs who just aren’t on anyone’s radar for whatever reason, maybe because they’re in a minority group or maybe for some other reason, I don’t know. What I’m trying to say is that representation of more minority groups, not just the ones I am apart of, means that we get to see more awesomeness and from different kinds of people!

          Sidenote: I’ve watched Girls too and didn’t quite like it, but I never noticed that there are never any other races until you just said something haha!

  11. C says:

    Part of me really believes a lot of people are missing the point. No one begrudges anyone for being a success but to pretend that many of those “top tier” women aren’t rewarded by proxy of being thin, white & any other combination of mainstream media traits is silly. To ignore it is foolish.

    There’s a niche for whatever you like. Petite, curvy, fat, ridiculously wealthy, tomboys – you name it, but as a community that purports a focus on fashion we have to recognize the disadvantages of not only aesthetics but class.

    There’s nothing wrong with having something to aspire to but I think we all have to remember that many of these women’s blogs ARE in fact businesses and therefore don’t reflect day to day style or even a style most of us will ever aspire to.

    And last, for those of you reading the original Davies post – you might not see what made many of us bristle initially because that post was edited.

  12. Avatar of Girl Loves Color

    This is a really wonderful, thought-provoking post.

    It reminds me of what I just wrote on my blog about Prada Fall 2012.
    http://girllovescolor.blogspot.com/2012/08/pradas-ugly-chic.html

    It’s about not being deterred by classic forms of beauty, but not specifically shape.
    Another thing not often discussed is the close relationship between fashion and the female image as a sex symbol. It’s closely related to what’s being discussed here.
    I feel like bloggers need to dress for themselves, not for others, even though personal style blogs seem to be a paradox to this statement. We often dress to impress others, which is why body image goes down. If you dress to make yourself feel good, then others’ will feel that confidence, even if it’s just images on a screen.

    Maya

  13. Avatar of Mouthwash
    Mouthwash says:

    Dear Jeanine,

    It seems like there is disappointment to be had all around: Your blogging community lashed out the way it did with your “Bloggers & Body Image” post because they were hurt; it sounds like most were deeply disappointed in not *what* Taylor had to say, but the way she said it.

    The more recent “re-vised” post, had it been the original, most likely would not have created such a heated backlash (but a backlash none the less). I did some more digging around and found the original post – to claim that the thinner, more successful bloggers “can’t help themselves” for being pretty, or perhaps even “more disciplined” comes across as very petty, and reminds me of high school. “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” was what came to mind. IFB if anything, has taught me that it is “content, content, content” that gets bloggers to where they are… “Bloggers & Body Image” said in a nutshell “The pretty, thin and wealthy have their way paved – the unconventional must work for what they want” no?

    A few posts ago you wrote an article on age-ism: again, it was about “content, content, content” for means of survival. I agree. With that I will always agree.

    It wasn’t just your community who took a backlash to that article: the whole bloggersphere was listening. The very fact that IFB went back and re-edited that article says a lot. Why not leave the original? It’s already all over the internet. It would have spoke volumes if Taylor had been the one to write this article, instead of 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.” Yes. We will do our part IFB, but please remember: IFB has worked hard to make itself center of this bloggersphere hub – you too have the same responsibility.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      Every publication has a right to retract and clarify what they publish. We exercised our right to do so when Taylor edited the post to clarify what she meant, not to change her point, as stated in her apology.

      • Avatar of Mouthwash
        Mouthwash says:

        Jennine, I wasn’t questioning your right to change the article. By no means: as a blogger, and as a publications site, of course you have the right to change your content as you see fit. That wasn’t the implication of my question. We all have “rights”, just like Taylor had a right to her opinion, and as did your fellow community. In asking you why IFB did not leave the original article as it was, I was implying the same thing that I did in my opening paragraph: ” …it sounds like most [your community] were deeply disappointed in not *what* Taylor had to say, but the way she said it.” By re-editing what had already been said, I feel that it implies that through hindsight, IFB realized that what had been said had been done in a rather insensitive, or ignorant manner.

        While your reply was rather defensive, please know that you were not being attacked.

        In either way I have the answer to my question: “Why not leave the original?” “Because it’s my site, and I didn’t want to.” Fair enough.

  14. Amy says:

    I am extremely disappointed with this letter and IFB. To call the legitimate criticism “bullying” is almost as bad as the article Taylor wrote. Clearly IFB thought the criticism was relevant enough to edit the article to remove that blatantly offensive content. You encourage your readers to “Take on challenges. Don’t settle. ” That’s exactly what they did by speaking up against an offensive post. If you’re offending a large group of readers, which you clearly did, you need to rethink your editing and writing, not write a shaming letter to your audience for not understanding your intent.

    Thank you for showing your true colors. IFB isn’t an inclusive community that’s open to diversity and discussion.

    And for the record? This, “It makes me disinclined to highlight a community on my website that bullies writers they don’t agree with under any circumstances” in the context that people are asking you to highlight more minorities implies that you think minorities are bullies.

    • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

      In the final paragraph there is a call to action about how you can change the content on IFB. If you see something that needs to be changed, offer a solution. So far, only one person has emailed, and that was only to tell us that they have a blog. They did not come armed with a story, as any person or brand would pitch to the press for coverage. So I replied asking for a story with an angle that would help the community.

      If you want more stories addressing body issues and how they apply to blogging, then pitch them to us. Leaving a comment, is just leaving a comment, it does not necessarily equate with advocating constructive change.

      • Amy says:

        While in my initial comments on Taylor’s article I did suggest IFB use their platform to do what mainstream media is unwilling to do, my comment on this thread was unrelated to that. My complaint here was how you called criticism bullying and IFB’s undertone when it comes to minority bloggers. Unless you’d like to hire me as an editor, I’m afraid I can’t make the changes to your website that it needs.
        Unless you’re paying me, it’s not my job to fix your problems. Your readers don’t owe it to you to tell you how to run your website better. It was generous of them to offer numerous suggestions on how IFB could have approached the topic better in the “bullying” comments on Taylor’s article. You’re lucky that readers willing to stick around, accept an apology and hope for improvement when you screw up. To tell you readers that their feedback is unwelcome unless they’re willing to wrap it up in a neat little package in the form of an article pitch is incredibly unprofessional and rude. It’s your writing and editing team’s job to avoid offending readers, and it’s that same team’s job to figure out how to be more diverse if that’s what your readers are asking for. If readers who want diversity aren’t your target audience, you should just outright say it.

        • Avatar of Jennine Jacob

          It’s unprofessional and rude to request you approach pitching your blog for coverage like any brand or person would? In the world of publishing, that IS the professional way. Ask any publicist.

          • Amy says:

            It’s not unprofessional and rude to ask bloggers to pitch their blogs if they want to be featured, but that’s not what you did. What you did was tell readers, “In the final paragraph there is a call to action about how you can change the content on IFB. If you see something that needs to be changed, offer a solution… Leaving a comment, is just leaving a comment, it does not necessarily equate with advocating constructive change.” It IS unprofessional and rude to tell your readers that if they want to see changes in the content, they should pitch articles instead of leaving thoughtful, critical comments. They’re not your staff. They’re your audience.

          • D says:

            I don’t know if you realize this, Jennine, but you’re being incredibly defensive in these past few replies you’ve written. You seem to zero in on what you don’t like about a comment and focus your response on that. It’s quite dismissive.

            I think Amy makes some great points here in general, and she’s definitely right that it isn’t her job to curate and produce content for the IFB website. Really, it’s not any of ours. It’s yours.

          • Jessica says:

            I do work professionally for a magazine and reader criticism isn’t met with “pitch a better story, then.” Comments are considered and the staff decides how best to respond. We’re being paid to share pertinent content with our readers – and that responsibility doesn’t lie with the reader.

        • Ashley says:

          Oh my goodness Amy. I cannot believe you have even bothered to keep replying. You have written with more sense and restraint than I ever could have. I whole heartedly agree with you and everything you’ve said.

      • Old reader not current says:

        Isn’t the point of having a comments section to foster discussion and convey information to the people running the website????

        What’s the point of having a comments section if you 1.moderate the comments so someone is reading them 2.don’t use it as a tool to gage how yoir content is received???

  15. I was bulled by an aggressive blogger
    hope the conference works in a way bloggers
    get tips not to go down to that point anymore
    it damages the entire community.

  16. Courtney says:

    Jennine, I just read through every single comment on the original post, and I think you need to take a long hard look at the community and what we are saying. I can only speak for myself in saying that I don’t think anyone was trying to bully Taylor or you or any IFB staff members. People are angry and hurt, and I think you need to take a step back and ask yourself why. Maybe it will take a few days, but I think you should reread the comments once things have cooled down and go from there. A lot of us had really good points that should not be missed.

    • Courtney, I read most of the comments, though not all of them and I thought that maybe I had missed something when Jennine spoke of bullying in the comments. I know that criticism is hurtful, but I feel like the commenting has lead to an overall defensive position on the part of the editors. I could be wrong, but like you, I really don’t think anyone was trying to bully Taylor.

    • Avatar of Mouthwash
      Mouthwash says:

      Courtney,

      I too read several comments. I did not read each and every one, but I did read the first 40. I too did not feel that these comments were “bullying” in any way. I figured that perhaps I hadn’t read far enough. Just because a reader strongly disagrees with a point does not make them a bully. It makes them strongly opinionated.

      Thank you for sharing!

  17. By the way, I thought that this was a very thought provoking response to the original post by Taylor.

    http://www.lovebrownsugar.com/2012/08/response-IFB-bloggers-body-image.html

    • Avatar of Sound of Chic

      Fashionably Geeked,

      Thanks for sharing this balanced and insightful response by LoveBrownSugar.

      I emailed IFB at Jennine’s request, offering to write the follow-up to this hot topic: “Minority Bloggers – Where Do We Fit In?”

      Perhaps as a community, we should pitch more titles like this. What specific features would YOU like to see on IFB?

      Sound of Chic – Classic style set to an indie soundtrack
      http://soundofchic.com

      • Sound of Chic,
        I’ve actually posted in comments of other posts noting that I’d like to see posts about minority bloggers or even just bloggers with under 1,000 readers. I’ve seen IFB post something about the best Asian bloggers (not quite sure what the title was) and bloggers who aren’t exactly top-tier. It was great to see. I’d still love to see a feature on black or latina bloggers or redheads or something, but I figured (hoped) that it was in IFB’s pipeline after I saw the feature on Asian bloggers.

        I’m glad you emailed Jennine and I for one would LOVE to see that post on “where do we fit in?” In fact, I can’t wait! I do love most of IFB’s posts, especially the new thing they’re doing with learning about your camera, but I sometimes feel as though black people are kind of invisible here. I’m not faulting IFB for that. Maybe they’ve done articles in the past and I haven’t been here long enough to read them. Maybe they just don’t know that many of us feel that way. Whatever the situation is, I’m glad you have reached out to try and change that.

  18. Avatar of meligrosa
    meligrosa says:

    well said jennine.
    having followed you since the very beginning and meeting you IRL a few times here in SF, can’t be any more proud of the person+career growth you have done in a fearless fashion. the blossoming of a community such as this and IFB has opened so many communication channels and connection with fellow bloggers.
    Representing many of us regardless of readership, raising issues+questions not presented or exposed in other communities (or at least not yet) and to be part of a space that provides a ton of info — there will always be people that let other people know their insecurities, better known as bullying/putting down. moving on and moving up, we shall continue our own path.
    cover ears, keep your vision forward.

    ;) much love xxom

    • Meligrosa,

      You have a right to your opinion and I don’t begrudge that of you, but I disagree with your implication that the commenters are somehow insecure and that is the reason behind the collective criticism of both this post and the one written by Taylor. I think that what Taylor meant to say is “hey, everyone, why don’t we make an effort to step our blogs up a notch so we can have more diversity!” Sadly, however, she came across as saying “hey, everyone, stop hating on those skinny top-tier bloggers and stop sucking so much!”

      Now, I know that’s not at all what she said and not what she even meant for readers to think, but that’s where the criticism comes from. It doesn’t come from a place of jealousy. Aside from MAYBE three comments on the original post, I didn’t see any bullying, but maybe that’s because I’m not the target of the comments and therefore not sensitive to it.

      • Avatar of meligrosa
        meligrosa says:

        hey fashionably geeked
        thanks for your reply, though I had no idea of the previous post on what this Taylor/comment thread implied. I am just catching up (I had not logged onto IFB since its beginnings, so long I had lost my user info).

        As a side note, I had just had a chat with a friend on how comments online were easily just blurted out and not thought out, often. My comment was nothing but sincere in a tone of ‘keep doing your own thing’ without further or deeper roots to any previous post. As a blogger myself -recently returning to blogging after thinking to never return to writing etc. – was obviously seen and expressed in a different vision, if that makes sense.
        cheers. m

  19. hina naz says:

    really great idea.
    i am loving your site.

    hope you will visit & follow my blog.
    http://beautydrugs.blogspot.com/
    Enter in international giveaway
    http://beautydrugs.blogspot.com/2012/07/international-giveaway-urban-decay.html

  20. Eli says:

    I have a few questions-

    How many of the considered “Top Tier” bloggers are registered IFB “members”?

    Who is this “community” we all speak of? Is it top tier bloggers, everyone else, or all bloggers?

    Does every IFB member desire to be a Top Tier blogger?

  21. Rachel says:

    I think this is a fantastic post, and I know first hand how hurtful some readers can be when you raise a debate issue with no intention of causing anyone any offence. However, while, as I can see Briony from A Girl, A Style pointed out earlier in the comments section I have no problem with IFB highlighting the girls who have been lucky enough, and more importantly have worked hard enough to become top tier bloggers, but I do feel like it is the same names over again in IFB articles, and I would like to see, perhaps, some more focus on some of the mid tier bloggers out there doing amazing things (like I loved how you featured A Girl, A Style a few weeks ago), if only because some of them are very talented, writing amazing blogs with unique angles and fantastic photography, and how else are other people in the community going to find them to be able to read them and support them, except by chance? I think it would make IFB more representative of the community as a whole.

  22. Adore says:

    Doth does protest too much.

  23. Marianne says:

    “It makes me disinclined to highlight a community on my website that bullies writers they don’t agree with under any circumstances. Ever.”

    Jennine, there is so much wrong in this sentence alone. I sincerely think you and your staff need to take a step back and reexamine what you do or think you’re doing with this site.

    • exactly, that sounds like tone-policing.

      ““It makes me disinclined to highlight a community on my website that bullies writers they don’t agree with under any circumstances. Ever.””

      it’s something that always happens when folks from privilege can talk down to “others” like in regards to weight or race. “Well if you had said it NICELY that you were oppressed then maybe I would have changed and done something about it but since you were so meeeeean about pointing out the errors of my ways then nah nah nah I’m not changing anything.”

      Because pointing out errors is bullying, don’t you know? if you don’t agree it means that you are a mean old bully

  24. Marianne says:

    “Never was our manifesto to become a vehicle to promote specific bloggers.”

    If by “specific bloggers” you mean anyone that isn’t white, thin or hyped by the media, then you’re doing a great job.

  25. Gigi Natasha says:

    I was terrified when I (quite recently) started a plus size blog – scared of posting pictures and of haters. but the blogging community (and others) have been nothing but supportive. I started it exactly because of a lack of diversity – I could not find a single blog that met my needs; there are some great plus size blogs out there, don’t get me wrong, and I follow plenty of them. but my particular need wasn’t met by any of them – either they had a significantly bigger budget, or they were models, some had a completely different body shape, bought clothes only available in Australia/America (I’m based in England) or they were a smaller plus size so that I couldn’t buy the same clothes. But I would never think or comment ‘you are not a plus size because you can wear under a size 18′ or whatever. But its ridiculous that I couldn’t find anyone blogging that I could entirely relate to – I’m not that unusual, I’m just a normal woman! But just because I’m plus-sized and that’s what my blog is more about, doesn’t mean I don’t love visiting all kinds of blogs, especially high-fashion ones. and we ruin this great, supportive opportunity to share our style when we hate on other women’s bodies and say ‘she’s a size two so she’s not a “real” woman’, or ‘she can fit into designer so I can’t learn anything from her’. that’s the beauty of blogging!

  26. Sewandsmile says:

    Really? Jeannine?!
    I understand that the professional way is to pitch… And your saying that if we want to change your site we have to pitch ? Question when you feature all these top tier bloggers and top Asian bloggers or any blOg that you featured did they pitch you to? Which we all know the answer to the question.. So your telling me you haven’t liked one black or plus size or latino fashion blogger or any other blogger(the minority). Just giving a example.. That can fit into the ifb community. Something is wrong..
    Oh and the open letter you wrote it almost felt like we were the only ones to change the content on your blog but did these top tier.. Bloggers and Asians send you the content to write too?
    I love you guys and all but I’m just trying to understand here because it just doesn’t add up.

  27. Alison says:

    Oh dear, this is not the type of response I was hoping for. While I do have a TON to say, I see this is not the forum for it because it is seen as mean and bullying. Taylor emailed me this weekend regarding comments I left on the original post, and though you say there was only one email received, this is the one I sent to Taylor Saturday:

    Hi Taylor:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to contact me, and thank you for the apology. I don’t think you realize how much power IFB really has in changing the tide of blogging. I was mentioned by a stranger in the comments of one of your posts, this most have been a couple months ago, yet I still get a good dozen hits from it every week. When all your images are of rail-thin women and for every 1 non-thin/blonde/young blogger you feature there’s 50 who are, when you reach out to bloggers via Pinterest, or Instagram and they are all very similar in build and personal style even though there are more successful and popular bloggers who do not fit the norm, it is frustrating. I have been a part of IFB I think since the beginning and I have seen a change in the past year from it supporting those of us bloggers who don’t fit the mold and celebrating us and telling us how to be successful, to teaching us all how to become that cookie cutter mold. Why not use your power to show advertisers and retailers that there is more than carbon copies of Atlantic Pacific, Fashion Toast, and What I Wore? Yes, you have featured some plus size, Asian, and petite bloggers but it’s usually of that same group of folks who all do the same promotions, wear the same brands, and appeal to the same audience. You have the power to show the world the amazing blogs that are out there who for some reason or another aren’t top-tier. Even show some top-tier blogs who haven’t already saturated the market – they are out there if you do a little bit of Googling. Success doesn’t only come with a Rebecca Minkoff M.A.C. or being part of StyleCoalition.

    Thank you for updating the article, and thank you for writing about topics that get people thinking. But know there is more to the blogosphere than what is in New York or on the panel at Lucky FABB and some of those inspiring bloggers are surprisingly more successful than you would think. I think your readers deserve a bit of variety, and a return to the Independent Fashion Blogger.

    Regards,
    Alison

    And I would like to say that my comments aren’t to get MYSELF recognized, that’s not my goal or intention. The point is that there are so many amazing bloggers out there with quality content, beautiful photos, and dedication to the craft who are not getting the recognition they deserve. The only way we can make a change is by speaking up, and that is what I and the other “bullies” were doing. IFB, you too can make a change, I just don’t think you want to.

    • Allison, thanks for posting that, because it’s great that she reached out to you. and you’re right this isn’t what i expected. I didn’t expect to hear complaints about people disagreeing. I also didn’t expect to be told, we aren’t concerned with featuring. Which is complete BS.

      My comments is that I as well with other bloggers thought her wording wasn’t the wisest choice of words . I think we can all respect Taylor’s thoughts, but IFB should realize that it might rub people the wrong way, everybody that supports this site isn’t going to follow along with the content like a cult and always agree which is beautiful because we all have feelings, we all fit different molds, and truth me told i don’t think IFB realizes how big of a platform they are for bloggers. I think you have accept it as badly written article, and move on. So you were told that others don’t agree, who cares? This happens everyday, and people aren’t going to treat you all like delicate flowers because you said something that got people upset.

      Truth is I keep seeing the comments that ” other” bloggers should get their sites together, there are plenty out there, and I think that’s what a lot of people wanted to stress when they wrote comments, that for one it’s kinda annoying to automatically be placed in the ‘other’ category by such a big platform, and another to state “that there aren’t others out there” doing it like top tier bloggers when in fact they are. To hear that it’s a privileged to be featured by other publications like yourself? is like “a big smack in the face” You all should be as humble that we all support your site as well. Is it not a right to have someone reward your “good writing” you aren’t going to privileged to only see us agreeing with you because you all are IFB. You sound like a stepmother who tells her children, you should be lucky i let you stay here. I think you all should realize you’re not dealing with a bunch of Niave 16 year old beginnners? We are composed of women who work, have children, haw law degrees, run businesses, I mean every walk of life who can put two and two together when reading an article like that. I think it’s complete BS, when you all put these bloggers on a high pedestal as well. And great job on editing that body image article soooo much that it makes anybody who took offense to it seem like a batcrazy blogger from hell for challenging taylors thoughts, that article looks NOTHING like what she first stated.

      IFB if you don’t what the responsibility of making the change which you are fully of contributing to of then don’t get upset when people call you out on it, you are part of the blogging media, maybe you aren’t ready to except that? I don’t know but i think it’s truly clear that the people here did not see the original post you all had up, and perhaps they did, but they just fit the mold of these girls, are too “blogstruck” to see the deeper issue here. That you can’t call out anybody when you are part of that group who interacts, and probably blinding promotes these top tier bloggers as much as the brands do. We get that you are here to help bloggers break in and but i think you have a typical case of the readers here “telling you a thing or two about yourselves” and you just don’t like what you are hearing, people aren’t twisting words. You said it before, and people know how to read. Plain and simple you all didn’t do your homework to find these amazing blogs that don’t fit the typical mold of what you all think is “disciplined blogging”. I saw maybe a few comments that would be “classified” as mean but certain not bully, lets not use the word loosly, because in the end people where just disagreeing with Taylor, not bullying you, not calling you all sorts of B*tches or tell you to drop dead, or that you don’t deserve to live.

      Stop worrying about what you consider bullying, you have no idea what bullying really is, someone should have came to her and said, hey there are plenty of blogs out there, but you all didn’t and that’s your mistake which is fine, you all should be fine with being corrected and given this information, you stirred a lot of issues because you all were 100% fine with putting this out there, insulting the hundreds of bloggers that do support you site and you probably have NOT one clue they exist, and yes I know there are a lot of blogs to keep up with, but use your resources and attempt to find some bloggers. You have plenty of resources like Bloggers Meet up groups, I know you do because I’ve seen you all interact with capfabb and out of say 500 woman who have blogs you only see to support two to five of them, or at least interact with them. Pull yourselves together and understand that the article wasn’t well written and while some of us can actually understand where Taylor was coming from and what she probably could have meant, she came out in a different direction and that’s just a process of learning how to write, how to put your thoughts out there, and also learning that we all make mistakes.

  28. Avatar of Mela Delfin
    Mela Delfin says:

    Hi! This is my first time to comment on an article here because this sincerely touched me.

    I’m a medical student on Mondays-Fridays and a personal style blogger on weekends. It’s such a challenge to joggle both when I barely have time to rest and sleep with all my exams. The blogosphere here in the Philippines is also flocked with extremely competitive bloggers. It seems that everyone has a blog already — disregarding quality and content. I get frustrated sometimes because I know that Im missing a lot of opportunities because Im in medschool. But still that doesnt stop me from doing what I love no matter how infrequent the chances are.

    Being part of the IFB community makes me feel that I belong, that I am not the only person going thru these dilemmas and insecurities. IFB reaches out to everyone –not just to top-tier bloggers who get invited to exclusive events and parties and get free clothes from sponsors — IFB reaches out to small town bloggers in third world countries like me. And I couldn’t be more thankful. :D

    Mela
    http://wearismela.blogspot.com

  29. Sara says:

    So, you’re upset that your writer got bullied, and now you’re bullying members of your community so that they shut up. Nice.

  30. Serene says:

    Is it possible that ALL of us have become too sensitive? Taylor’s article absolutely struck me that the point was that it’s the thin bloggers who are top tier because of the quality of their blogs and other bloggers who are feeling left out could be top tier bloggers too if they had better quality. (a paraphrase and taken from the memory of my understanding of her post)

    Granted, that ruffled a few feathers. People got passionate. It just means it was a good discussion! Disagreement, even vehement disagreement, is not necessarily bullying. It’s debate. It’s passion. And honestly, it’s fun and a learning experience. The term “bullying” is being given a far wider scope than I’m comfortable with. Most of it isn’t bullying, it’s passionate discussion. Some may be rude. Some my hurt feelings. But bullying?

    In my opinion, the fashion blogging community has taken a turn toward fronting a stage smile all the time. We don’t like to get negative comments on our blog (I’m not talking “You’re a fat cow” but rather “You know, I’m just not feeling that sweater” or “I’m kind of turned off that most of what you’re wearing is c/o”). We can be sickeningly, sycophantically sweet and adoring. But isn’t the appeal of blogging the fact that it’s personal. It’s one person communicating to another? And personal communication isn’t always adoration; it’s an exchange of ideas.

    I believe the community of fashion bloggers has every right to say whatever is on their minds. Taylor had a right to communicate what she did. If that’s your stance, that’s fine too. And if it stirred up strong emotions in people, I just don’t see anything wrong with that. Comments are pointless and boring if they’re only supposed to go in one direction…..praise.

  31. Jennifer says:

    When I first saw this tweet about the letter, I instantly clicked on the link and was pretty excited to read it thinking that maybe all of us non “top tier” bloggers who took a stand and banded together finally were able to make a change and show you Jenninne how to improve your site. Alas, that was NOT the case. I believe that every site has its own rights to publish who they want and to promote who they want but dont take the stance that you are for all bloggers. I have been a member since almost the beginning and I have sent in my links for promotion and I could be wrong but dont think any of them have been posted. But again, maybe they werent the caliber that you wanted and expected and that is just fine. My issues with IFB are that only a certain type of blogger is represented and well it gets very boring. VERY. What you fail to realize is that there are other platforms starting for bloggers that showcase more diversity and that are more open and eventually you will have nothing because of it. There are FAR more people who dont fit the fashion worlds traditional take on beauty and we will all start helping the other platforms. I do come to IFB for the resources on photography because I am very interested in it but when you promote other bloggers I already know what they are going to look like, which Celine or Rebecca Minkoff bag they will be carrying, which Max and Chloe necklace is adorning their neck, which Zara shoes are on their feet etc…. The only reason I am writing today is because it seems as if you just DONT get it. You are defensive in EVERYTHING that you say and do and well that shows your guilt. Just admit you are wrong and not put blame on us “bullies” who just finally had enough and told you, you were wrong. If you are looking for praise on everything you post, then get off in the internet and form a cult that will give you that but the minute you post on an internet site not everyone will agree with you like you dont agree with us “bullies”. Take a step back and look at your content and look at your letter and just admit that certain things could have been said a little differently. I attended an IFB conference and LEFT. You, Jennine were so incredibly rude when I came to talk you, it was RIDICULOUS. I wanted to add that to my review of the conference but because it was irrelevant to the actualy review and it would have attacked you personally, I left it out. You obviously want a certain type of reader to be part of the IFB community and you will get that. Your popularity is quickly declining and most importantly you HURT alot of people with these posts. I have nothing against Taylor, she apologized and tried to make it right. You just angered and hurt us more with this open letter of defense and misuse of terms like “bullies”. Thank you again for all you did in the past for bloggers and I wish you success in your narrow minded world. I am a “bully” as you stated and well I am upset and will not stop until everyone sees that a CHANGE needs to come in the world of blogging!!!!!! If you want to see a change, look at YOURSELF…. promote EVERYONE and not just who YOU like and want to be “friends” with. In mainstream fashion, yes thin, blonde etc is prefferred but in blogging, give me a break. Its certainly heading in that direction and its up to us to change its course as we hoped IFB would aid us in doing. Thanks again…..

  32. Avatar of Donna
    Donna says:

    Wow, I obviously missed a lot by missing the original post. Now I want to find it. It is interesting that thin, white, relatively young women are the most successful in their blogs. You can’t say that it’s content because some don’t write a word. They post pics of outfits that aren’t spectacular, just nice.
    For most of my life I was thin (and blonde and tall, but never rich). Then I injured myself, which limited what kind of exercise I can do, and my Dr. prescribed me a pill to help me sleep that caused very rapid weight gain. In a year I gained 40 pounds. I’ve quit taking the pill but the weight remains. This doesn’t mean that I’m not dedicated and don’t work hard. It doesn’t mean I no longer choose nice, stylish clothes (although it’s hard to find them). It does mean that I can see both sides of the body size issue. I don’t like being an “other”. I can’t say how I feel about the post without reading it, but I do get bored looking at photos of bloggers who look very similiar. Variety is always a good thing, even when it comes to viewpoints.
    Now I’m off to read the original post.

  33. Jennine,

    After reading this article, the previous one and the complete spectrum of comments for both I feel it’s necessary to voice something:

    I have been a supporter of IFB and do believe that it does great things for the blogging community. That said a number of things concerned me regarding the original article and its follow-up piece.

    I think the original article was meant to act as a call-to-arms, so to speak, for greater quality of content–which is an admirable goal for any blogger. That said, I think people are responding to a deeply seeded issue that permeates the social sphere within the United States–whether or not it is consciously acknowledged.

    The argument, as it was (is) structured particularly here:

    “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, as well as a more committed approach to fostering their growth from brands and larger publications.”

    In which the visibility of minority (both racial and ethnic, although I recognize the original post was also acknowledging size) bloggers is juxtaposed against the call for higher quality content hearkens back to social theory–prevalent within the U.S.–which, very unfortunately sought to oppress ethnic and racial minorities by questioning their capabilities in a given field. I think many people are aware of this history and as such, when it is presented (admittedly, not overtly and perhaps not intentionally) in a forum which a diverse set of bloggers calls home it can be damaging and/or hurtful.

    As for this follow-up post: Admittedly, people become passionate about subjects in which race/gender/size/ethnicity are brought up. While maybe the tone of the comments on the original article was impassioned I think some of the criticism was valid and almost none of the comments were abusive. This would have been a wonderful space to address the issues with the original post, acknowledge mistakes and engage in a wider discussion on the subject. (For instance you could have addressed how the beauty standard has evolved in the U.S., the institutional factors involved and why many top-tier bloggers seem to represent a specific set of beauty ideals. This would have been informative and a wonderful space for people to begin to propose ideas on how to break down barriers within the blogging and fashion communities based on this understanding). Instead, this post–and follow up comments–have created a defensive space which makes productive conversation more difficult.

    I do think the idea of pitching guest posts on this subject is great–especially if it helps to diversify content and help educate. That said, I do also think it is the responsibility of the writer–and any writer for that matter–to educate themselves as fully as possible on a subject before engaging with it in a very public and very visible forum. Many of the criticisms from other bloggers in this commenting section–in regards to the pitching idea–I think are coming from this space. The responsibility falls on a blogger to understand the weight of their words.

    I do want to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. If someone points out that mistake, criticizes or questions that is fine as well. In fact the space in which this criticism takes place is a great opportunity to further your own and a community’s understanding of a subject. I frequently engage with issues of race and ethnicity in my professional, academic and blogging life and I know that inevitably I will at some point make a mistake—these issues are incredibly multi-faceted and complex—I will never know if what I am saying/writing is wrong if no one ever questions my reasoning and the literature I engage with doesn’t prove me to the contrary.

    I appreciate all of the work that goes into IFB and the tools it provides bloggers with. My work has been featured on Links a la Mode—something for which I am eternally grateful. However, I do believe that there is always room for improvement in any publication—virtual or not—and listening and responding to user feedback and the continued maintenance of a space in which people feel comfortable to engage with one another is very important for the continued growth of any forum.

    -Rachel

  34. Jennine is defensive, because this is her site, and she felt like her staff were being attacked. When I read the comments myself I was surprised by the aggression and the insinuations that were being made. That is where her bullying comment has come from.

    Not everyone can be a top tier blogger. Fact. Not everyone can be a top model either. Magazines choose who they want and who fits in with their ideals. One magazine does not fit all. Vogue goes for a certain look, and only the elite make it – regardless of their colour, race, and background. But just because Vogue chooses one type of model, doesn’t mean Marie Claire would pick the same one, or Grazia, of Cosmopolitan would. And I have seen plenty of ‘niche’ bloggers featured on other magazines, like Asiana for the south Asian community, and Slink for the plus-sized community. Heck, they have Whitney Thompson as a regular, but then she did win America’s Next Top Model and some may argue that has made her a top tier model and given her a leg up.

    We may not all be signed up to an elite modelling agency, or have the looks of some other bloggers, but we all have something to say – or that’s what I hope we are all doing with our blogs.

    No one gets a handout – not in my experience. You have to work for it. I am a member of an ethnic minority and thought that would prevent me from getting the best jobs years ago. But you know what? I worked damn hard, grafted through every holiday I got on placements, worked for free, went on tea rounds, shadowed staff, and now I have a top job on a newspaper as a journalist. Is that because I am ethnic that I had to work hard? NO – because in my game everyone has to work hard. No one gets a good job without trying. Soemtimes it takes years to get even a step on the ladder.

    My point? Have top tier bloggers been given handouts? How do you know? How long have they been working for? What do they do behind the scenes? How long have they worked for free before they got noticed, and what have they endured along the way? No one knows.

    We all work hard, but not everyone gets the best opportunities in life. You either sit back and complain, or you go out to those brands and magazines and pitch your ideas, offer to do an article for them, suggest an angle they haven’t thought of before. Do something proactive, rather than waiting for them to approach you. That is the mentality of a top tier blogger – getting out there and grabbing your opportunities with both hands.

    Ultimately I blog because I like to write, and it is a different outlet to my work. If people read it, great, if they don’t who cares? I like taking pretty pictures, and enjoy to write. Even if my blog is only noticed by my dad and husband that is enough, because it is my space. Being noticed by magazines or brands, it’s nice. But it’s not a factor in my world.

    And with regards to the role of IFB? IFB doesn’t owe us anything. They give advice – and damn good advice too. They feature blogs, but so what? They don’t have to feature everyone, and it’s not an issue to me if they only feature certain bloggers. As long as the ones they do feature have genuinely good advice, and something constructive to learn from, then it is interesting reading and I might take something away from it. If I want something more specific that I haven’t come across yet, there is always my trusty friend Google.

    • C says:

      I think that in your defense of Jeanine, you’re missing a lot of the nuances to what people are attempting to say.

      Jeanine can run the site however she wants, but the site is based on community, is it not? Alienate your community and you’re stuck with what? Right.

      No one is negating any of what you said. I think most women realize that no matter what they do, how much they spend etc. they’ll never be “top tier”, and I think for most of them – that’s okay. For those 2 communities you named that represent Asians & the plus-sized, there are 10 more where the “ideals” are rampant. THAT is important.

      How do you know that “top-tier” bloggers get handouts? Read some blogs. No snark intended. The rewards for popularity are often great. C/O = courtesy of, that translates to – I got this for free. AND THAT IS OKAY.

      So often, the knee-jerk reaction to any kind of criticism online is haterz/jealousy/they earned it. And so often, it’s just not true. I think as women, it’s not to feel supported by other women and feel that what I share is just as valid as what other people share even if my blog gets read by 3 people a day and someone else’s gets 3,000.

      Ultimately, if you say you’re building a community that wants to be diverse, do that. If you don’t – take a stand, say that too.

  35. Avatar of Rachel Pheasant

    Jennine Jacob,

    After reading this article, the previous one and the complete spectrum of comments for both I feel it’s necessary to voice something:

    I have been a supporter of IFB and do believe that it does great things for the blogging community. That said a number of things concerned me regarding the original article and its follow-up piece.

    I think the original article was meant to act as a call-to-arms, so to speak, for greater quality of content–which is an admirable goal for any blogger. That said, I think people are responding to a deeply seeded issue that permeates the social sphere within the United States–whether or not it is consciously acknowledged.

    The argument, as it was (is) structured particularly here:

    “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, as well as a more committed approach to fostering their growth from brands and larger publications.”

    In which the visibility of minority (both racial and ethnic, although I recognize the original post was also acknowledging size) bloggers is juxtaposed against the call for higher quality content hearkens back to social theory–prevalent within the U.S.–which, very unfortunately sought to oppress ethnic and racial minorities by questioning their capabilities in a given field. I think many people are aware of this history and as such, when it is presented (admittedly, not overtly and perhaps not intentionally) in a forum which a diverse set of bloggers calls home it can be damaging and/or hurtful.

    As for this follow-up post: Admittedly, people become passionate about subjects in which race/gender/size/ethnicity are brought up. While maybe the tone of the comments on the original article was impassioned I think some of the criticism was valid and almost none of the comments were abusive. This would have been a wonderful space to address the issues with the original post, acknowledge mistakes and engage in a wider discussion on the subject. (For instance you could have addressed how the beauty standard has evolved in the U.S., the institutional factors involved and why many top-tier bloggers seem to represent a specific set of beauty ideals. This would have been informative and a wonderful space for people to begin to propose ideas on how to break down barriers within the blogging and fashion communities based on this understanding). Instead, this post–and follow up comments–have created a defensive space which makes productive conversation more difficult.

    I do think the idea of pitching guest posts on this subject is great–especially if it helps to diversify content and help educate. That said, I do also think it is the responsibility of the writer–and any writer for that matter–to educate themselves as fully as possible on a subject before engaging with it in a very public and very visible forum. Many of the criticisms from other bloggers in this commenting section–in regards to the pitching idea–I think are coming from this space. The responsibility falls on a blogger to understand the weight of their words.

    I do want to acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes. If someone points out that mistake, criticizes or questions that is fine as well. In fact the space in which this criticism takes place is a great opportunity to further your own and a community’s understanding of a subject. I frequently engage with issues of race and ethnicity in my professional, academic and blogging life and I know that inevitably I will at some point make a mistake—these issues are incredibly multi-faceted and complex—I will never know if what I am saying/writing is wrong if no one ever questions my reasoning and the literature I engage with doesn’t prove me to the contrary.

    I appreciate all of the work that goes into IFB and the tools it provides bloggers with. My work has been featured on Links a la Mode—something for which I am eternally grateful. However, I do believe that there is always room for improvement in any publication—virtual or not—and listening and responding to user feedback and the continued maintenance of a space in which people feel comfortable to engage with one another is very important for the continued growth of any forum.

    -Rachel

  36. Toni Styles says:

    Interesting. I have always been slim, I have actually modelled in real life (I don’t just look like one), the way I walk, or pose in photographs (I admit I need a better camera) is just a result of this training and time period (over 20 years), I’m 27. Does it make life easier? Yes it does. But… only off-line. Why? In the most superficial ways – the media can help you as well as hurt you. No one’s life is perfect – super slim or super curvy. For me let’s see… For one. I’m not very photogenic. Two. I’m black – there I said it; which goes against everything I’ve experienced, I’m so not one to play a race card – but it needs to be said. Online you only see a person in photos (or personal video, which I believe is more accurate), so this is how you judge them for the time being or permanently if you never meet them in person. For some reason the media portrays women of colour (blacks in particular) as uncouth beings who don’t have much in common with whites or fairer skinned people (the majority). For the most part we are automatically over weight, poor, loud, miserable and just entirely unattractive physically and mentally. We are thankless help, noisy neighbours, funny co-workers and mothers of eight. Rarely are we innocent bombshells, quiet homemakers, or fashionable and pleasant executives – nope, those roles go to the Charlize Therons of the world. Simply put we are doomed to be the comedy in the romance, drama or horror movie. But it’s not funny. It’s painful. It’s hard to watch. If it stayed on-screen maybe we could overlook it, as unfair as it is. But it doesn’t. It comes into reality. In our means for survival. Like making money (online) or simply falling in love. It’s not one persons fault, it’s really everyone’s fault – the media is indeed the problem, the money machine behind it all and it needs to stop, the support of these images need to cease. One can argue, everyone likes what they like? This is fair. But is it really true? When it’s been so heavily influenced from the time we’re born, it becomes a part of us that we did not decide upon, or realise innate feelings for – but were “brain washed” into believing.

    A real intentional inclusion of minority images (Black in particular, because we already see a lot of Asian and some Latin already) needs to take place. I say all of this to bring to the attention that weight is not the only thing that is under attack in the blogging community. But the colour of skin too. I guess it’s often easier to focus on weight because it’s a situation one can change whether for personal health or aesthetic reasons; but what about skin colour that cannot be changed? How unfair. It’s just the biggest lie around, and it’s sad – tragic really.

    That image the media has going around is NOT me, never was. Where am I? Love this community; can we have a TACTFUL discussion on this sometime?! :)

    http://rhythmandruffle.com <3

  37. Avatar of CynthiaCM
    Cynthia says:

    The whole issue of having or not having a voice had me thinking. Back in January, I created this post that included two videos (one filmed at that time and another dating back to 2007) challenging the mainstream media to focus more on size diversity – beyond featuring a handful of size 14 models (because using a few larger women doesn’t make things diverse just like a few black models doesn’t make a spread or issue ethnically diverse). I never really received many comments about that, nor did anyone go forth with the challenge (or if they did, they went the traditional/easy route of featuring plus sizes). And yeah, I find that sad.

    http://www.delectablychic.com/2012/01/body-image-challenge-for-media-part-ii/

    Thoughts?

    Cynthia

  38. i can’t add much to what has already been said, specifically “D”, “Mouthwash” and “Courtney”, all had wonderful, thoughtful responses.

    that being said, i’ll give my two cents here. i did comment a few times on the last post, and neither of those comments were bullying – a handful of them may have been what i would consider blunt, direct and on the aggressive side, but to single those out in an open letter is very counterproductive as it just creates more of a divide in the community you’ve created on “your” site. your response was extremely defensive, and not once was the actual article itself, or the offense taken within the community, addressed. that was very disappointing.

    of course we all have the power to effect change, and those who we have heard from on their own personal situations are changing it – by running blogs that are unique, and self-celebratory… and engaging in dialogue such as what is happening here. unfortunately, they don’t have the platform IFB does to reach an audience as large, so with great power comes great responsibility – and based on this response, you may not be aware of that.

    no, you cannot highlight every group, every minority, etc., nor should you feel pressure to do so, however diversity should be visible, and quite often on IFB, it is not. i wasn’t personally offended by the post, however, it was an opening to a can of worms that begged a deeper article than what taylor wrote and a missed opportunity to really connect with the community at large. how did this error in judgement sneak past the editors is what i want to know?

    i for one am so proud that so many women are proactive enough to take issue, and articulate everything so well. it’s a breath of fresh air from the normal “i agree” “i love that” responses that fill the blogesphere.

    you may be offended, embarrassed and defensive, but please do not miss the message so many of these women are trying to convey.

    thank you for all of the resources you’ve provided us over the years, and i hope this snafu helps everyone at IBF learn and grow. x

  39. Donnachloe says:

    I find this unbelievable. I don’t know what people are so upset about. I am 61 years old and have loved fashion since I can remember. I used to be very, very pretty – now I’m not so much, but I can still look good. I personally like to look at fashion shots I can aspire to, that I can try to emulate. So I like to look at people who are better looking and thinner than I am.
    But ideas come from everywhere and I read and look at a number of diverse blogs. If you are under 30, you may not really understand how phenomenal it is that anyone can have a fashion/beauty blog and post pictures of herself and her clothing style for all the world to see. It is wonderful that I can find fashion blogs written by people who are older than I am, who have almost no money to spend on clothes, people who weigh 30+ more pounds than I do. And if their blogs are well-written, I love them. If they give good advice and have good ideas and good photos even better!

  40. Nesha says:

    Jennine- from business owner to business owner, I respect you for all you’ve accomplished in life. You seem like an amazing and strong woman. But I think that now you’ve written this and cleared things up, you need to put it behind you and move forward. Stop reading the comments, don’t argue with the commenters who you disagree with. Trying to alter the opinion of everyone is like trying to empty the ocean with a spoon. This post may have been a mistake on IFB’s part but you now all need to move on. IFB is better than this. Prove that to us.

    • Avatar of Rachel Pheasant

      Nesha- I think all Jennine has done is great–that said IFB ostensibly, isn’t just a business: it is also an educating space and a community space. As such, I do believe that thought out and respectful replies to participants within this community is called for–how else can a dialogue be created in which feasible change occurs?

      I do agree though, at some point it is good to let discussion let lie, but if people are taking the time to respond to her letter I think that garners a certain amount of mutual respect–and the courtesy to reply to their concerns.

      -Rachel
      P.S. I love the ocean and spoon metaphor I haven’t heard it in so long!

  41. Avatar of Libertad
    Libertad says:

    If you want to change the world, then first you must change your way of thinking if it isn’t the one who fits what you want. I think that’s the most important fact about it, and it’s in our hands to change things.
    Not all the fashion bloggers are slim, and yet there are lots of them who looks more curvy and gorgeous, as Elsa Billgren, for example.
    I’m bored of seeing always the same in every blog (for example, now everybody has pink hair or a pink wig… here we come again…); where is innovation? Where is original people? I’m sure everybody has got little pieces of this inside them… so let’s look inside us, search for that and thn change the world.

  42. sarah says:

    I think you are missing the point of the comments. I read ALL of the comments on this post and on the original post and most of them were critical, not bullying. You are doing the usual internet flounce where you get upset over legitimate constructive criticism.

    I would like to add that I am really tired of the defensive “Go contribute and do it yourself!” response, which I hear a lot coming from white people to minorities and thin people to fat people. It is so, so common to put the burden of change on the minority group. Why can’t YOU change your point of view or try harder to be diverse on your end? Why is change everyone else’s responsibility?

    Most top tier bloggers probably do deserve their success and work really hard. The point was that there are lots of blogs which don’t get as much attention because the author doesn’t look like a model. There are more blogs by plus size bloggers, black, and hispanic bloggers than most people realize, because these are the bloggers that don’t get featured, don’t get page views, and don’t get opportunities. This is not hard to figure out or understand. Think of the photos and outfits on Nicolette Mason’s site. They are as good as anything on the best blogs, but I didn’t even know about her site until Luxirare wrote a little about her.

  43. Jen says:

    While I appreciate the response to the original post, I think that this defensive stance is entirely missing the point of why so many readers were upset with the article. The author failed to fully critique why “thin bloggers” are considered “top tier. Conversely, she failed to question why diverse women (whatever that may mean in terms if size and ethnicity) are absent in this conversation. There are plenty of successful bloggers that don’t fit the conventional norm, but Taylor failed to mention these bloggers in her article.

    As someone who is a woman of color and not a conventional size two, I found the wording to be a prime example of white privilege and her lack of cultural understanding. Perhaps you should find writers who are more diverse.

  44. girlwithnodragontattoo says:

    Jennine, you have handled this whole situation like a snotty, snobbish child. It’s shameful and I hope that you and any bloggers that associate with you understand that you have done considerable damage and there isn’t much you can do to remedy this situation now. You have shown your true colors. I am ashamed to have ever followed IFB.

  45. Shophopper says:

    I think anyone would agree that Taylor’s response was thoughtful and classy. This post however, not so much. I understand the defensive reaction, but it is hardly a constructive way to deal with the racket. I’m afraid it will alienate quite a few people, myself included. I think the emphasis in the letter above on ‘my site’ and ‘my website’ is a contradictio in terminis with the usual focus on IFB as a community. I don’t agree with some of the name calling above, but I do share the disappointment, unfortunately. The overwhelming majority of the comments has been polite, thoughtful and constructive. The above letter implicates that there is no place for real dialogue at IFB, since criticism gets taken very personally. Which is quite natural, but I think there are more professional ways then a defensive reaction to deal with the impact, as Taylor so gracefully showcased.

  46. Avatar of Daniel Dunt
    Daniel Dunt says:

    I personally think that the whole situation was blown a little out of proportion. I appreciate that many could have been offended by the article, but this is a perfect example of the errors in judgement every blogger can make at some point during their blogging career. Many individuals in the community hope to become professional writers, and it is with this that you have to appreciate that making mistakes is a learning curve and not something you should be criticised for. We all have different opinions and I’m almost positive that there are many bloggers in this community who have views that hundreds or maybe even thousands of others would disagree with.

    I think it was great of you to write a formal apology, Jennine. Many would have tried to ignore this outrage, yet I think you have done a fantastic job in handling the situation.

  47. Anna says:

    I’m just mad I missed all this drama…

  48. Avatar of JayMarie
    JayMarie says:

    I think there is just a message that the blogging community is trying to give to you all regarding content, even if they agree or disagree in a calm or rude tone. I honestly used to love IFB, but now I don’t visit as much because the atmosphere has changed.

    And as public figures to the blogging community wording is everything. Although intentions may not be cruel, be careful.

    Jay

  49. Carol says:

    Did I miss something? Where’s the formal apology? The link just ends up at this page.

  50. Raivyn dK says:

    I don’t understand why so many bloggers are taking offense to the truths presented in these articles, in all honesty. I’ve seen enough to know well that the vast majority are simply making excuses for not reaching a certain level of ‘success’. The too fat, too dark, too ugly thing is a crappy excuse, putting it nicely. Granted, yes, fashion does put a LOT of emphasis on the young, thin, white and pretty bunch, but as a skinny white girl who has CHOSEN TO BE A MINORITY (ie heavily tattooed, pierced, strange hair, etc), you have to really own it. You have to not just accept who you are, but also be confident and work your ass off. I guess, to put it simply, YOU CAN EITHER MAKE EXCUSES ALL DAY FOR NOT BEING SUCCESSFUL, OR YOU CAN SHUT UP AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT ALREADY. Are you a leader or are you just going to sit around and bitch like everyone else?

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