Criticisms of the Fashion Community

I've been an active blogging member of the fashion community for over 4 years now, and in that time I've noticed tons of changes: in the types of content that people post, the way blogs are managed (and the fact they are managed at all), and what motivates people to blog.  I'd probably be a shitty blogger if I weren't actively keeping an eye on what was going on in the community– it's part of the job, right?

 

Because we're actively watching what our peers do, it becomes really easy to criticize them and the whole of the fashion community, and I believe it's necessary that we do.  While criticism may hurt our feelings, make us doubt ourselves, and make us question the actions of our peers, it also shows us how we can grow.  Sometimes it can help guide our moral compass– would I do that as a blogger? It provides us the opportunity to have open discussions with our peers, and ultimately can prove to be a great educational opportunity.

 

Putting our lives on display on the internet opens all of us up to criticism. I've had people comment on how my own blog is run and how I interact with people. Instead of getting defensive or ignoring their comments, I (hopefully) try to be open and accept criticism as a way I can change my site.   I've had people come to me with criticisms of how IFB runs– and I try to openly accept that feedback (and pass it along to the IFB team who CAN make changes).

 

When criticizing–or being criticized– it's useful to keep a few things in mind:

  • Choose to accept and acknowledge criticism of your site and your self. This may require developing a thicker skin– easier said than done.  It means weeding through negative or hateful comments and recognizing the gems within them.
  • Understand the intentions of the person behind the comments. Are they coming to you because they believe it is a way to better your site?  I know that those who come to me about IFB believe the site is great and that these changes could make it better.
  • Be vocal, but kind, in your own criticisms. Most of us have a few friends we can bounce ideas around with.  So if you notice a change that seems weird, talk to them about it!  No one is perfect, and expressing your voice especially with communities is only a way to make it grow and become stronger.
  • Go directly to the source. Have a comment or concern about IFB, your favorite blogger, or another community you're part of? Take it to them.  Go to those managing the site to express your concerns.  Talk to them via email, rather than leaving a nasty comment, directing a Tweet at them, or flaming them in a post.
  • If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, reconsider what you're saying. One thing I love about writing classes is that you're forced to sit in a circle and give criticism directly to the writer.  It's a lot more difficult to give criticism when you're looking them in the eyes.  I'm really guilty of this myself, but if you can't say directly your thoughts to the blogger or community in question, consider where your feelings are coming from.

 

How do you respond to criticism?  Do you have a policy on your blog against critical comments?  Have you found critical content written about you or your site, and how did you react to it?

 

Image by BitchyMode.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

19 Responses

  1. Madeleine Gallay

    Criticism is not usually as it is in a writers group where there best is consistently stating “your narrator”, careful to take it away from the immediately personal.

    One wants to embrace criticism that is constructive but that too is highly subjective.

    The beauty of the ‘net is also its failure: it’s entirely democratic barring really really bad words or racism or hate.

    Value it for what it is unless it’s personal and nasty and then, boom … trash it. Not sure reader’s should ever be exposed to venom.

    It all begins again with the next post.

    Reply
    • Mishka

      “The beauty of the ‘net is also its failure: it’s entirely democratic barring really really bad words or racism or hate.”

      So true. It’s like a surge of opinion from all directions, some informed and some not so much. You can block it all out or you can learn to tell when criticism might be useful to you.

      Reply
  2. MJ

    I’ve known that all too well! I remember writing about this awhile back when I got slammed for a tutorial I did.

    http://fiercebeautyandfashion.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/when-a-good-post-goes-bad-and-how-to-learn-from-it/

    After cooling off for a day or two, I realized my flaws and where I needed to improve and it was really a learning experience. But you’re right. It’s easier said than done when it comes to developing a thick skin. You just have to take it one post at a time!

    Awesome post as always. 🙂

    Reply
  3. lisa

    Some great and very tactful suggestions in this post, Ashe!

    I welcome constructive criticism and intelligent discussion, and I’ve shared constructive criticism with other bloggers in the past.

    Reply
  4. Samar

    Great advice! Your last point “If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, reconsider what you’re saying. ” is the best and the one I think people forget the most or don’t EVER think about because it’s easy to hide behind a computer and criticize. Constructive criticism folks!

    Reply
    • Ashe

      It really is! Hiding behind the computer screens seems to make it harder for us to confront real life problems, too…

      Reply
  5. LilyoftheEast

    With the internet as in life, we have to take the good with the bad.
    It’s so easy to spew such nasty language since we don’t have to physically bump into our so-called targets the next day.
    That’s why it’s always admirable to me when bloggers in the face of harsh and sometimes unfair criticism can find in their heart to be cordial, respectful and fair.
    Kudos to the cool ones! 🙂

    Reply
  6. Heather Fonseca

    So far I haven’t had any negativity directed at me except for the occasional really honest comment from a friend and a post where someone I met talked about me in one of her posts in a not very nice way, but without mentioning me by name (thank goodness.) I find it hard to take, of course, and my first instinct is to lash out, but instead I force myself to sleep on it. A day, or two, before responding can really help one’s response to be calm and respectable I find.

    Reply
    • Ashe

      That’s a good rule for life in general–take a day or two to respond to anything that is upsetting! A calm mind & some distance can do wonders for perspective.

      Reply
  7. River Sun

    It’s so important from time to time, to Have a Constructive criticism,coz it helps the person to know the points that he or she might missed, and keep on growing and becoming better.

    Reply
  8. Shophopper

    I really dislike the way a lot of bloggers cast criticism or negativity off as jealousy. Personally, I’d rather get negative comments and criticism (provided it’s somehow constructive, of course) than a bunch of ‘hey great post xoxo’-comments. Evaluation is an essential part of self-improvement and I’ll take criticism over fake positive comments anytime!

    Reply
  9. Meesh Muffet

    Honestly, the best training for taking criticisms is spending time over in the trollier parts of the internet. Once you’re a fine connoisseur of snark, even the most vitriolic rants seem more funny than insulting.

    (Creative writing classes only taught me that you have to give at least three compliments for every criticism, or people start to get offended and/or insist that anyway, they’re only writing for themselves, not you. …Bloggers should probably try not to be like this.)

    Reply
    • Ashe

      Oy! I’m so glad that my creative writing classes weren’t like that. We did try and share what we liked, but I found some old criticisms the other day and they were tough. Bloggers DEF shouldn’t be like that… though, if you leave 3 comments for someone that are nice and then leave one that goes, “I’m not sure about this… what about this?” maybe people WOULD respond better?!

      That being said, spending time on the trollier parts of the internet CAN definitely help! It makes me grateful I’m not on the receiving end of those comments AND feel like I can better handle the ones I do receive!

      Reply
  10. melina bee

    mademoiselle robot has an excellent you tube video on this subject. one point she makes is that constructive criticism, vs. mean, offers a solution. for ex, “your blog proves you are a poseur” is mean whereas “I wish you had more original content, this is a bit derivative” is constructive.

    I really only ever got one negative comment but maybe b/c don’t allow anonymous comments and use Disqus? or don’t have a big enough web presence? i am very used to real life criticism, however, and so I always view it as an opportunity to 1. practice finding my center 2. an opportunity to improve. at the end of the day, you have to do what makes you happy and negative feedback from others shouldn’t affect that. haters gonna hate!

    Reply
  11. Kat Skull

    I don’t take criticism well in person. Even my creative writing workshops made me tear up! The only thing I have to look forward to with my blog is that I’m not getting negative feedback because I’m so new at this (I hardly get comments at all!).

    I guess if my blog gets popular, I’ll have to keep my head up!

    Reply
  12. Corinne Phipps

    Well put! You are spot on and I would like to add to have compassion while being truthful. There is some nasty nasty out there (I have been known to bash people who have their “colors done”. Really people its 2011 wear what makes you happy) and to remain a Peaceful Warrior in the fashion blogging world can be challenging.

    Reply
  13. My Style Canvas

    These are all interesting comments, but it’s important to remember that everyone has different reasons for blogging. Some people do it to promote a business, some do it to hone their writing skills, others do it just an escape from work/school/personal problems. So you can’t offer criticism–polite as it may be–to some people, because well, a lot of bloggers are kids. And also–in general many people find it rude when strangers offer unsolicited advice, well intentioned as it may be.

    That said I also agree with Shophopper. After a while, positive comments can sound fake, especially if they’re followed by “Come follow my blog, darling! Kisses!”

    Perhaps the best way for bloggers to offer each other honest and helpful feedback is to start an online version of a creative writing class. Or more specifically, to participate in a group created for that purpose with the understanding that any feedback given or taken will be polite but honest, in some cases offering suggestions.

    Reply