Two Tales That Show the Importance of Being Honest on Your Blog

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You already know the importance of being accurate and honest on your blog. You learned to tell the truth in kindergarten, and one name misspelling in a post can make you an obsessive proofreader (and you'll still miss mistakes).

But it can be easy to fudge things that seem like not a big deal, only to have them spiral into very big deals. This week, Australian blogger Belle Gibson of Whole Pantry admitted that her years-long series of posts chronicling her struggle with terminal cancer were completely untrue.

Her fake story paid off, for a while. She sold an app which was supposed to featured on the Apple Watch and secured a book deal with Penguin.

But like most lies of this magnitude, Gibson's was exposed (even to her partner who apparently wasn't in on her deception) in a media firestorm. The app has been removed from the Apple Store and the book will not be published.

Last week, Cassey Ho, a Pilates instructor and the blogger behind Blogilates, taught us a lesson with her outright honesty. She posted a video in which she performed a life-size Photoshop job on her own (already extremely fit) body. She doesn't say a word, but her happiness at manipulating an impressive thigh gap, a mini waist and bigger breasts, follow my the sadness and shame on her face as she prepared to blast the image to her social networks spoke volumes.

I have written in the past that we can't share 100% of our lives as bloggers, and a little bit of artifice is a given when it comes to fashion blogging. And I fess up: I have smoothed wrinkles on my face and slimmed a thigh here and there. So this is a great reminder that lines can be crossed, and it might be difficult to live in the world on the other side of that line.

[Photo via the Australian Women's Weekly]

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13 Responses

  1. Faith Bowman

    That video made me laugh so hard! It was way too melodramatic. If you put yourself out there on social media, people will not like everything that you do or the way you look. I have had some killer insults leveled at me. But then what? I don’t photoshop my pics because I can toss the ones I don’t like. I also don’t photoshop people that I photograph, because why should I?

    I do have one area that I started out telling the truth on but no one believed me so now I just leave it a mystery. The more I told the truth the more people said I was lying… still trying to figure out how to address it. One day!

    I’m not touching that cancer one, that’s straight up intenional fraud.

    xoxo, Faith
    http://sassyethnicbohemian.wordpress.com

    Reply
  2. Zuma

    Thank you, Kristen, for this post! This is a powerful video. Every girl in the world should see it! As to Belle Gibson’s lies… how could she (and people around her) let it go so far? No one can get away with lies like this, and the pain of facing the consequence must be excruciating. Not worth the money. Zuma
    http://www.splashofteal.com

    Reply
  3. Brooke

    I’m too honest and couldn’t Photoshop out body imperfections or lie about my health conditions. The personal things I reveal on my blog are more along the lines of personal thoughts, ideas, and opinions. Some things are better left private for me and not everyone else to know, and you have to figure that out before you blog about it. As for Photoshop, I only use it to enhance colors or crop out something odd on the edges, I don’t want to change who I am or convince people something about me that isn’t true.

    http://www.passportcouture.com/fashion-revolution-day-2015

    Reply
  4. Aria

    Thanks for the great post.
    Many girls should be made aware of this video. Can’t believe people let this lie get so out of hand.

    Reply
  5. Akaleistar

    That video breaks my heart. I think we are all brushing up against the expectation of having a perfect body, and technology has made it very easy to give the illusion of having that perfect body. I find the video very well done and thought provoking, but, it’s, also, sad that we even need to have this conversation about truth and our bodies.

    Reply
  6. Raquel

    Very great post! I have been a Blogilates fan for a while and saw this video a few days ago. It was so true and powering. Being a teen (and a blogger and model!) I see it every single day, not being able to accept yourself. Your personal blog should tell your own story and needs to be 100% truthful!
    Omnivogues

    Reply
  7. Shann

    Can I just point out that despite talking about being obsessive with proofreading that there are two mistakes (that I discovered) in this post?
    where is says “supposed to featured” & “follow my the sadness”.

    Grammatical errors aside, I did watch the video & it sadly voices a very real problem in society today.

    About Gibson, I can’t believe someone would create such a huge lie to push her business & status forward. Even though she admitted to it, it’s a horrible thing to trick people into thinking you have a terminal illness. She seems like she has no respect.

    TFM BLOG

    Reply
  8. Alex

    I don’t photoshop my pics in that way. No changes are made to my body with erasers & clone tools or what not. The only thing I do, and come on, a little vanity should be permitted, is that I choose very critically which pictures I use for my blog posts. And depending on how the pics turn out, I fiddle around with the exposure/lightning.

    The other story is just fraud. I feel bad for those that really believed in her and maybe got hope from this.

    Alex – Funky Jungle

    Reply
  9. Sabina “OceanblueStyle” B

    Like Alex was saying its fraud. But where does it start? By editing pics because we are presenting something that does not exist. Difficult. But to be honest I usually do not have the time to change my pics other than play with exposure. And I have shared so many pics with no make up and pale legs my readers can certainly tell the difference. Authenticity is the feel of my fashion blog over 40 which is part of the message.
    Sabina | Oceanblue Style

    Reply
  10. Maria Blogger too

    I also have a blog. My blog is about jewelry and accessories I have or like. I always stay honest and independent of the opinion of the majority. I find my own opinion and I think that reliably blogging only works with honesty and reliability. Readers will find out if you try to sell products or if you run adverting for things you can’t stand behind.

    Reply
  11. Tales of Two

    I think the Gibson case just went too far and doesn’t even come close to photoshopping yourself. I personally don’t do any photoshopping on my pics (don’t even know how to) apart from changing brightness, contrast which is part of photography anyway. However, if a blogger does it, that is upto them and what sort of image they want to project because ultimately I check their blog for the way they style their clothes and not how pretty they are. In saying that, bloggers that have different characteristics such as their body type can definitely benefit from keeping it real and having a level of authenticity as seeing amazing styling on them is really inspiring. One such blogger that comes to mind is harper and harley.

    http://www.talesoftwoblog.blogspot.com

    Reply
  12. glowhunters

    With respect to photoshop corrections, those serious ones at least, very conclusive was recent case when un-photoshoped pics of her showed up. Although later was said that this was not in fact true and she does not look like this interesting was to follow how the public reacted. Almost everybody who saw pics on faceboook, among my friends, was saying like-bah, she looks ugly (even if she is 50!!!!) and somebody pls photoshop her.
    The same is with blogging. Although people will hate you if they see that you make some huge changes still some photoshop beauty is always needed – soothing your skin or removing circles around eyes. This especially holds for fashion photography where you are selling the story of careless, fresh and happy model wearing her favourite outfit.
    I avoid to re-size parts of myself but I do remove pimples or other imperfections…I think that this is the part our readers know and accept. This is not changing who you are.

    Reply
  13. Gymwear Guru

    I agree with the other bloggers. I don’t photoshop my body in photos either. It’s hard because I review fitness apparel. There are days where I’m like “Geeze, I don’t want to review a freakin’ sports bra” because I feel a little on the bloated size….then I have remind myself that none of my readers are perfect, therefore, I shouldn’t be so critical of myself.

    I’m active. I write about fitness apparel because I want to encourage women to live an active lifestyle. It shouldn’t matter if I’m a 2 or a 6 that day. I have to remind myself that they are coming to my blog for advice on functional and attractive fitness gear….not to see me always having (or lately not having) six pack abs.

    I had a girl on my Instagram account tag her friend with the hashtag #widehips and the laughing and crying emoji. I was pretty upset at first, but then I thought, “who is she to judge?” I looked her up, and sure enough she didn’t have a single photo of herself on her Instagram. It made me take a deep breath and let it go….it takes intestinal fortitude to be able to publically post photos of yourself on a regular basis. Not courage in the way of a battered wife leaving her husband but strength to do something most people lack the courage to do so. It doesn’t matter what size you are….there will always be shaming…….I think it’s important keep your photos real and honest than try to compete with perceived “ideal” person. I always tell myself everyone is ugly to someone and beautiful to someone else. “Ideal” people aren’t real….they are just the perceptions of another.

    Reply