Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blogging and Body Image Part 1

Disclaimer: I am in no way trying to shame or comment on those successful bloggers or individuals who fit the ideal of thinness, there's nothing wrong with being thin just like there is nothing wrong with not being thin. You're all beauties :)

I have often sat and searched for fashion inspiration on the blogosphere and ended up feeling upset and put off. Coming across blogs with 3,000 + followers where the images are perfectly lite, airbrushed and the blogger is tall, very thin and looks remarkably like those images presented to us in magazines. While I have come to expect this from TV and magazines, personal style blog’s seemed like some sort of escape from this, that is until you really look into what’s going on. I’m a very average individual (okay, average on the short end of average) 5’2 and 130 lbs. To me there is nothing wrong with this, in fact when I was thinner than this I felt very unlike myself and uncomfortable. The problem is in blogging I go looking for inspiration and something that works on a 5’8 woman who is 120 lbs just won’t work for me. I’m often trying to find bodies similar to mine when looking for fashion inspiration. In day to day life I see multiple shapes and sizes, yet in the personal style the diversity is not quite representative.

There are so many of us who have come across these blogs and thought “maybe if I were thinner, I would be successful like ____” this type of thinking can be very self-destructive. The amount of women out there that have issues with parts of their body is staggering. 80-90% of women have reported disliking part of their bodies. Can you imagine what we could do if we focussed this negative energy on something else?

I love diversity and seeing how different people make clothes work for their particular needs. We all have different body needs, tall, short, thin, curvy, boyish etc. I really do enjoy a lot of those popular blogs where the girls are thin or tall and have great style but I am also looking for the opposition to that. Personal style in and of itself is supposed to be an expression of oneself and there is no weight limit to that. Of course there are exceptions to this thin ideal in popular blogs, there are women who don’t look like models (which in no way makes them less beautiful) who are quite successful.

The problem is when we stray even slightly from this ideal we are being left open to criticism. Blogging is such a strange way of putting ourselves “out there” and sometimes the feedback is very negative. A lot of the hate comments received are related directly to weight and body image, I could list off countless examples from fellow bloggers who’ve received these kinds of insults. A comment of “anonymous said ‘you’re fat’” is of course rude and degrading especially in a platform where we’re not asking for feedback regarding our weight! In this way we are being reinforced of this standard thin ideal.
So, what now?
 Stay tuned for tomorrow's post ;)


  1. Word! I like what I'm reading here jenna, it's so true! I'm also not completely happy with my body but also not annoyed of it enough to do something against it haha ;) Everytime I try to compare myself to other bloggers I manage to pull myself together and remember that there has to be variety in the blogging world and in real life and that there's nothing wrong with it :)
    Can't wait for your next post.
    Have a lovely evening!

  2. This is was really wonderful to read - you make the point so well and it's obviously such an important one. Also, and I realize this is totally off topic, but you look a lot taller in your photos than it turns out you are...sorry, I had to throw that in.

    xoxo ~ Courtney

  3. I've really found that the people in the blogging community (at least the ones that I "surround myself" with) are extremely supportive. Only once have I received a negative comment on my weight (and it really wasn't THAT negative). Maybe I've been lucky. Maybe it depends on how you present yourself and your weight, too. I know bloggers who are insecure of their bodies and post about their insecureness, and they've received more than a few comments telling them how fat, ugly, etc., they are. I'm generally pretty confident and if I say anything bad about my body on my blog, it's usually more of a joke than a serious remark. Maybe meanies prey on people who are already insecure because they know they can get to them. Who knows.

    Anyway. I like to think I'm not a super "successful" blogger because I don't have the ability to devote 110% of my time to blogging, not because I'm a pudgy midget. :)

    Excited for tomorrow's post!

  4. Excellent comments!! I was so excited to read some of the feedback to this. I actually find the blogging community super supportive (which I talk about tomorrow ;))
    I've definitely come to love my body through thick and thin especially with the health problems I've run into. I just think it's interesting to look at fashion blogging as a medium that might be perpetuating an ideal body :)

  5. @ Courtney, it's all camera angles I guess! But when my brother takes my picture he has to get down on one knee (he's a giant at 6'1) and if he doesn't do that I look like a wee little midget.

  6. I love this post! You know the other day I actually found myself thinking, "Maybe if my hair were longer I would have a more popular blog..." I stopped myself as soon as I realized what I was doing. It is such a shame that the more model-like girls do so much better as bloggers but I try to stick away from that since their clothes aren't affordable and they often don't have very creative outfits!

  7. oh this was great!!! whenever i start comparing myself to other bloggers i always have to turn the computer off before i get to depressed. It is hard not to think that if i was prettier, thinner, had better pictures or anything along those lines that my blog would be more popular but i try not to :). I always look for bloggers of all different shapes and sizes because i can relate to them more. I have had problems with food in the past so i thought this post was awesome. I am excited to see the second part!!

  8. I really really loved this post. You are such an amazing individual Jenna and bringing awareness to this was actually really intriguing. I never once interpreted the blogging world as you have portrayed it in this post and it got me to thinking that you aren't so far from the mark. So in more ways than one, thank you for opening my eyes. I think that no matter what sphere you "enter" you will eventually come across some negative feedback!

  9. Great post! Just stumbled upon your blog and I liked reading this.

    Sadly enough, we are our own worst critics and comparing ourselves to others comes naturally. I find that I envy girls' straight hair, non-freckled faces, etc. We all have things about our bodies that we wish we could change. One thing I love about blogging is that I can find what I like best on my body, and play around with the clothes I have. I can become more thankful for what I have and get inspiration from these other lovely ladies rather than compare myself to them.

    Beyond just the airbrushed photos on some blogs, I also think the content can come across with an "I'm perfect" mentality that I don't care for. I tend to stay away from those blogs because I think they are destructive. We are all flawed, nobody's perfect, and I like laughing at my imperfections and reading about others' REAL lives.

  10. This is so great, Jenna. It's so good to hear someone addressing these issues.
    I think the biggest problem for me is when bloggers talk about wanting to lose weight. There is one blogger especially, who I won't name, who used to be my biggest inspiration, but now I dread her posts sometimes because she often mentions weight she's gained and how she needs to lose it and that she's back on a diet. And I just think, oh, well if you think you need to be on a diet, maybe I do too. And it just makes me feel bad about myself and I hate it.
    I definitely agree with Ashley though. I don't talk about my body image too much on my blog, mainly because my Dad reads it, but I have battled with insecurity issues my whole life and they have never gone away. I have always worried about whether or not I look fat and constantly feel that I do. But early last year I had to block anon comments because I was getting so many nasty ones telling me I was fat. One girl in particular made a fake LJ account just to call me fat and proclaim how she couldn't believe I had a boyfriend because I was so fat. Now, logically, I know I'm not fat. I'm a size 4-6 and by BMI is 20.6. But I let those comments really get to me. And people pray on that.
    I gained a lot of weight on my year abroad and I did talk on my blog about how I was trying to lose it, which I did, and maybe now that wasn't the right thing to do? Who knows. But it wasn't like "I need to lose weight because I want to be thinner", it was "eek, I've kinda let myself go a bit. I should probably get rid of this weight I've gained."
    I think being a blogger is hard in this way. We take photos of ourselves every day and it's hard not to be self critical and think, oh I'm not putting that picture up or oh this outfit makes me look huge.
    Anyway, that was long. Looking forward to tomorrow's post :]]

    Charlotte x

  11. @Megan, I definitely agree, when other's lives seen super perfect it's off putting. Flaws make people more interesting!! I think especially in style blogging it becomes very difficult because we are always looking and being critical of ourselves, but we can also build ourselves up in a good way.
    @Charlotte, that makes me SO sad that someone would start a fake account just to call you fat, you're so far from fat. I don't understand how someone could be so rude. I've stopped reading blogs where the person is talking about loosing weight but it's framed in a negative way like "I need to start going to the gym 7 days a week and skip meals" such a destructive attitude!


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