FRIDAY THOUGHTS: DECONSTRUCTING THE BLOGGER’S NEGATIVE STEREOTYPE





Do you ever worry about whether people who know you in real life change their opinion of you when they discover your blog?

It might sound silly, but I do. 

The blogging world is quite misunderstood by those who aren't part of it. Indeed, the fashion world is perhaps perceived as one of the most superficial, self-indulgent, and unintelligent ones to be interested in. 

And to a certain extent, we encourage it by playing up to it. We'll all hail Carrie Bradshaw an icon for getting Vogue instead of dinner, or buying manolos instead of paying rent. We'll all joke about how we wouldn't be seen dead in crocs, or about the hours and hours we spend online shopping. But if you're in the know, you also know that a lot of this is simply playing to a stereotype. Fashion and beauty is a passion of mine, but it's not my life. I have other interests and hobbies, and it certainly doesn't define me. So I struggle with the fact that so often, we get judged by the derogatory cliche fashion stereotype: a dumb girl with no brains and no character, just a simple superficial, shopaholic drone who only cares about her appearance.


I was having a discussion with a friend the other day, about how some people I know in real life 'don't like me because of my blog'. At first, I was kind of shocked! These were people who followed my social media accounts but who I'd spent time with in the real world, so I had assumed that they would have seen more of me. But then, my friend mentioned how for those who don't really understand it, my Instagram and blog are simply the evidence of a deeply narcissistic individual, and given that I'm rather shy and quiet in real life, I guess I had little chance to refute this.

Let's face it, she has a point. We all acknowledge that our social media feeds - Instagram most obviously - is a simple highlight reel. But it's not just that, it's an ego reel. After this conversation I had a scroll through my feed and really digested just how much it looks like such. It's hundreds and hundreds of pictures of me - of my face, of me posing. If you see my camera reel, it's pretty much the same. Nature pictures, photos of friends and family or events are fairly sparse. On the whole, it's hundreds, if not thousands of photos of me. Often a cluster of 200 extremely similar photos of one outfit, that I would have gone through each and every one to find that one shot that makes it to the feed. 

I won't lie, that conversation really got to me. Coming across as narcissistic or self indulgent has always been a huge complex of mine. Because it's a trait I personally hate. Because of that, it's one I'd hate for people to think of me. The trouble is, how do you prevent such in a world like ours? Fashion blogging necessarily involves taking photos of me, editing photos of me, talking about myself and so on, but that's in no way proof of a deeply egotistical person.

indeed, we know that often, the case is quite the opposite. More often than not, we bloggers disproportionately suffer with self-esteem issues or crisis' of confidence. This isn't least because spending hours and hours editing photos of yourself isn't some great ego trip, but instead often leads you to pick out even more imperfections, ones that you would never ever have even contemplated if it wasn't for the fact that you were inspecting photos of your face in blown up HD quality practically every day. I remember how this affected my self esteem, especially at the very beginning of blogging - for months it did more harm than good, as I simply couldn't cope with the amount of time I was having to spend staring at my own face, particularly at a time when I had absolutely no confidence or self-love.  Indeed, initially It took me 2 years to pluck up the courage to start my blog, because I hated the idea of taking photos of myself that much and lacked that much confidence in my appearance. But over time I got used to it. My better state of mind; the product of anti-depressants and hours of counselling have meant that my whole mindset has changed, and of course, this has spilled into my blogging too. Now, I try not to even edit photos with the idea that they are pictures of me in mind, but as outfits or looks, which helps take the heat off. Now it's second nature - but that doesn't mean that I suddenly love the way I look, or am super confident. I've just learnt to grow up, and get on with it, because my love of creating content had to surpass my fears of criticism and self exposure.

I guess what I'm trying to say is this image these people have of me as 'superficial' or 'narcissistic', or 'self obsessed' couldn't be more wrong. For so long it was the exact opposite. My self esteem was non existent, and the fact that their opinions of me have hindered their process of getting to know me properly all because of my online space upsets me. 

I've always been hyper-aware of people I know finding my online space. When I first started in the beginning, I was so conscious of it that as soon as someone I knew followed my account, I would block them. But time wore on and I began to let the odd person slip through, and I now realise that a substantial number of people I know follow my online channels. And to tell you the truth, it bothers me. There was something incredibly freeing when i first started about knowing that everything I wrote was completely free, un-judged and in a way, anonymous. I felt more creative control, I felt less restricted, and ultimately, I felt less afraid. Less afraid of what people would think about me, because what does it matter what a bunch of people I don't know deduce about me from what I put on my blog? 

I'd hate for people to see my blog and build a particular image of me. Of this self indulgent, overly superficial person, because I don't think that's me. And more than that, it's a stereotype I loathe and have tried to actively reject - it's one that I think is unfairly cast on us fashionistas and beauty lovers, not least because more often than not, the posts I read from other bloggers are intelligent, insightful, witty, and creative.

For me, fashion has always been fun. It's about more than looking good (though why there is anything wrong with wanting to look good, I don't know). When you look good, you feel good - I know that when I like my outfit, I feel more confident. But it's more than that still. For me, as cliche as it sounds, fashion is art. It's about creating. I've always had an artistic flare. Growing up I would spend hours drawing, then when I was at school I got into Art and pursued it to GCSE and A Level, it all fascinated me - from the drawing and painting, to art history and gallery visiting. I enjoyed making things in Textiles - from cushions to costumes, and would spend hours and hours sketching my designs and making clothes and researching my favourite designers and trends. 

Fashion is fun for us! We buy into trends that we know don't look 'good' to those who aren't 'in the know'. (Think the Gucci princetown fur loafers, or the ugly sneaker trend), but we buy them because it's about being part of a community, a culture - it's frivolous and fickle and allows you to inject a bit of fun and excitement into an otherwise rather dull part of life. 

After pondering over that conversation with my friend, I came to the conclusion that I should feel proud of my content. And I am proud of it. But I must accept that I can't control how people engage with it, how people understand or perceive it. 

I don't want worrying about people's perceptions of me to affect my productivity, or make me censor what I write on my blog. But it can be hard. Hearing that my blogging was changing people's opinions of me really worried me because it emphasises only one part of my personality. I absolutely adore fashion and beauty, but it's not all of me. It isn't my whole life and I know it's not everything. There are so many other facets to me that I would hate to be neglected because people have one perception of me. I'm aware that I've built an online 'persona' or image. It's very curated and controlled, and only concentrates on one facet of me. But it's also intended for a particular audience. One that understands the context and therefore won't judge me purely on what they see. The problem is when the worlds collide... a certain image as the only one. I struggle with what to do about it. Do I start blocking people I know from my blog accounts again? Do I try to start making my social media far less edited and controlled so it's not so superficial or materialistic? Or do I just say fuck it, I'll do what I want to do.... it's a tricky one, but I think I've started to realise something. 

I've now realised that it's their problem and not mine. That they should've taken the time to get to know me properly, instead of just making assumptions. But we all know that that's a behaviour that we're all guilty of. We try not to judge a book by its cover - but there's no denying that first impressions matter. In this digital millennial age, a glance at a social media account or a look up of a person after a first meeting is just the same as judging a book by its cover or its blurb. It's useful to an extent, but our social media image is rarely representative of the person as a whole and all their various layers - indeed, it only scratches the surface. 

Do you guys worry about how your online persona is perceived by those who know you in real life? Do you find that this is often negative? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below! 

Until next time, 
Bisous <3

Eva 
xxx

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Top: c/o Missy Empire*
Trousers: Topshop
Shoes: c/o New Look*
Bag: Dior
Sunglasses: Ebay



What's your opinion?

@whatevawears