Update: 8/14/12 Taylor Davies has issued an apology.
*This post has been edited and updated as of Saturday, August 11th, to clarify the intentions of both IFB and the author.
I can almost guarantee that just by reading the above headline, some of you are bristling. Give it a minute to marinate, though. Discussing women's issues, especially body image isn't something we often take on over here at IFB – but as an office full of women (and a hugely female community of bloggers) it's something that comes up in discussion almost daily.
We touched on the “thinspiration” problem back in April, but it seems to be an issue that persists more in social image sharing hubs like Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram than it does on traditional fashion and personal style blogs. (We're talking about images and content that promote unhealthy diet habits, eating disorders and self-harm.)
From where we sit, the blogosphere appears to be just about as vast and diverse as the communities the blogs come from. Members of IFB come in all shapes and sizes, from all walks of life and represent a myriad of cultures, ethnicities, languages and backgrounds.
On the flip side though, it feels like not enough of these blogs take center stage in “popular blog” culture (if that's a thing). The majority of very visible, successful style bloggers are thin and beautiful – which isn't their fault of course, nor should they be chastised for it. They're “real women” too.
It is frustrating that while blogging first emerged as this great, democratic platform for all people to explore fashion and style – it's gone the way of the greater fashion industry in it's lifting-up of traditional beauty ideals. Why is that?
The larger fashion media community has embraced style bloggers for their ability to relate to their audiences as well as translate that appreciation into monetization. From blogger networks to editorial features, magazines and brands are scrambling to capitalize on bloggers' success – but within their standards.
To break away from these traditional molds of beauty, it's not an argument of sheer numbers. The numbers, we got. The double-hitter is these “top tier” bloggers' blogs are also really good. They have high-quality images, consistent posting schedules, spot-on design and unique style. There are many brilliant and well-done blogs whose authors and content provide a fresh and unique voice that's also inclusive of more well-rounded audience.
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. At the moment, there aren't enough blogs run by these types of women that get the notoriety they deserve.
This is an extremely loaded issue, and one that is too important to too many of us to conclude in such a short post. This is only the beginning of a larger conversation and a more in-depth analysis of our blogging culture. With the help of your thoughtful feedback (and deeper research on our end), we will begin to tackle this topic further.Do you think personal style blogging has helped or hindered women's self esteem when it comes to body image? Is there enough representation of the many ideas of beauty, health and style that make up our everyday lives? What needs to happen to shine more light on these bloggers?