Different Bodies in Blogging

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I am a skinny white girl. I’m not 5’11” with killer cheekbones, I don’t have flawless skin, but nonetheless I fit the archetypal media ideal body type, and I think that it is very important for me to acknowledge this as someone with someone with a certain level of influence in fashion blogging.

Blogging is different from, and better than, traditional fashion media in that it allows everyone a shot. ‘Normal’ girls from a wide range of backgrounds, each with a very different body, become as influential and aspirational as any model or fashion celebrity. This is really fantastic and in many ways revolutionary, yet the blogging world is still dominated by slim white bodies. That isn’t to say we should discredit these beautiful, inspirational, entrepreneurial creators who build successful careers from nothing, but we should question why most of them are skinny white girls, in a field which (theoretically) could and should be modifying and expanding societal beauty standards rather than reinforcing them. We should acknowledge and celebrate the growth and success of the plus size blogging industry, but question why it must still be its own industry. We should think about why in-between sized bodies are even more scarcely represented.

Having a skinny white body does not leave me free from all scrutiny. I have experienced ‘skinny shaming’ as a result of my body being shared with thousands and thousands of people. Comments on photos of me posted by popular brands on Facebook have ranged from the ‘get her a burger lol’ to the dreaded ‘you should use real women not sticks’, and people have (incorrectly) assumed that I suffer with an eating disorder and have made nasty remarks to that effect (needless to say, eating disorders are a separate and complex issue, but accusations like that are helpful for absolutely no-one). None of this is nice to read, and thankfully it is not something I experience very frequently. More importantly, however, these comments don’t affect me on any sort of long-term basis, and this is partly due to the fact that the media unremittingly reinforces my body as a good body.

What I am trying to say: body shaming of any kind is awful, but being attacked for being skinny is not the same as being attacked for being fat. For every girl who was bullied in school for being too skinny, there are probably a hundred girls who were bullied for being fat. Even in very extreme cases, for example Cheryl Fernandez-Versini’s media onslaught following very visible weight loss, the tone of the articles and tweets about her was overwhelmingly one of concern and pity. When Gemma Collins appeared in the I’m A Celeb jungle, people took gleefully to social media to make fun of her for being fat. Neither of these things is okay, but they aren’t the same. Whatever my personal body insecurities might be, they are not reinforced by society as a whole. Whilst the odd individual or weird gossip magazine campaign (#strongnotskinny?) will try to tear me (and Chezza) down, the society around me is structured to reassure me and build me back up.

This is not always the case for bloggers who don’t have skinny white bodies. I asked the beautiful and successful Gracie of graciefrancesca.com about her experience as a ‘different body’ in blogging –

I don’t have the ideal body type, never have done and probably never will, and whilst there are tons of beautiful ‘skinny white girl’ bloggers killing the game with huge brand campaigns, there is a lack of that for girls who don’t fit into that ‘ideal’ form of beauty. Unfortunately I think it stems further than just body type, I think race and looking different in general also play a massive part.

Growth and opportunities appear to just be harder if you don’t look like what most of the world would like you to look like. You go on the Bloglovin’ homepage and see the same type of girl, you scroll through a popular brand’s Instagram feed and the same type of girl appears there too! Where is the diversity? It’s disheartening, sad and damn right shameful. Are plus size women off brand? And do black girls not fit into your feed? If we’re not skinny and white, are we not good enough?

Of course, I love what I do and I’ve broken down barriers and achieved things I once thought were unachievable but I’m not blind to the challenges so many of us face. There is a very obvious (to me anyway) divide within the community when it comes to size. You’re either a blogger, or a plus size blogger. It doesn’t really matter who created the labelling because its just a label, but I am 100% sure that being a plus size blogger OR having a plus size body type hinders your opportunities.

I receive comments about my body all the time, I’m too fat for some and I’ve been too slim for others. Everyone has an opinion on what women should look like and it can be hurtful and damaging – as a blogger or someone of social influence I think it’s important to challenge body shaming no matter what size you are.

So there’s a little food for thought for next time you’re thinking about commenting on someone’s body on a brand repost, something to notice when you’re scrolling through the fashion brands you follow on Instagram, or something to consider when you’re searching for new bloggers to follow and support. If you have any thoughts on blogging and body image, I’d love to hear them!

Words by:
Hannah Farrington @hannahlouisef
and Grace Victory @gracefvictory

Image via Pinterest

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18 COMMENTS
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18 Comments

  1. Ashley 3 years AGO REPLY

    This is wonderful. I’ve never been skinny shamed before, but as I’m quite small person, I get mocked about it a lot in school. And that sucked. Some people called me a midget, and at that time I didn’t know what that meant. But now that I do, it hurt to think that someone thought about me that way. But nonetheless, life goes on and I don’t give a frig what they say about me. Because it’s my life. And your life is yours. So people should just mind their own damn business!

    http://www.ashrealasitgets.blogspot.com

  2. Kb 3 years AGO REPLY

    I’m so glad that there are voices like you within the blogosphere that just get it!

  3. Rachel 3 years AGO REPLY

    Everyone NEEDS to read this. Such wise words. I really commend you for putting this out there. Bloggers of a certain look need to acknowledge their privilege sometime and as a community it is important to question why we favour this look and what we can do to break down barriers.

    Rachel | http://www.currentlyrachel.com

  4. Sarah 3 years AGO REPLY

    I’ve always been hesitant about posting images of myself on my blog as I definitely do not fit the stereotype, however I am slowly coming to terms with myself. I have always admired Grace for being such an advocate for being ‘different’ and both yours and her words are very inspiring. Thank you for using your influence to spread goodness and positivity, and I hope many in your position will do so too xx

    Sarah
    http://absolutelysarahx.blogspot.com

  5. Zoe 3 years AGO REPLY

    This is such a great post Hannah! So nice to know that there are some inspiring fashion bloggers out there!

    Zoe x | http://www.zoelinda.co.uk

  6. justauniform 3 years AGO REPLY

    Such a fantastic post!! Here’s to celebrating diversity in our wonderful world. http://www.justauniform.com

  7. Ruby 3 years AGO REPLY

    This post is all kinds of brilliant! Yes, go Hannah. I remember being teased for having a few extra lbs when I was a kid, and as crazy as it may sound it has stuck with me and pops up in my mind every so often. I also have friends who’ve been labelled as “the one with the eating disorder” because she’s skinny. Both of which are ridiculous and show how crazy the world can be. Fitting into a label can be the making or the breaking of some people and I hate that that can be the case. That’s not to tear down the bloggers that fit into the so-called “skinny, white girl” image. They’re achieving all kinds of amazing stuff and it’s horrible when they’re criticised for the things they were given, such as their skin colour or body frame- things somewhat out of their control. Neither should people that don’t fit that mould be torn down, or told their image will limit them in life. We’re all our own person, and I think posts like this one prove that in blogging, and general life, it should be (and often is, thankfully) our thoughts and words that show our character and our merit.
    That was a massive ramble but I hope that some of it made sense… Again, a great post! I loved Gracie’s thoughts too. x
    http://www.totalmodisch.blogspot.co.uk

  8. Charlotte 3 years AGO REPLY

    Thankyou for this post. I have toyed with the idea of being a fashion blogger and it is something I really want to do, but in a size 14/16 body without the curves that are expected from plus size (I have no boobs!) I feel like I dont really fit in at either end.

  9. Frankie 3 years AGO REPLY

    This is lovely!! I 100% agree wiht everything you said! Any sort of attempt to try and break someones self-confidence and self-worth is horrible and completely unnecessary

    -F xo

    http://streetsilk.blogspot.co.uk/

  10. Adeline 3 years AGO REPLY

    Wow, I’m speechless, it’s such a great topic to cover and I’m glad you did and the way you did it. No one should be the victim of body shamers, not even celebrities, it can really crush people and it’s not helpful.

    http://i-think-its-today.blogspot.com

  11. Nicole 3 years AGO REPLY

    This post is just wonderful and I am so pleased that there are people like you out there who stand up and say something about this, because it is just so important. I’m skinny, always have been, it’s just my natural body type, but so often I am faced with comments from other people about how I’m too thin, how I need to eat more, how it’s my own fault I’m cold because I don’t eat enough, and it’s just horrible. You’re right, it’s not the same as being subjected to comments about being over-weight, but it’s also no better and it’s lead to me feeling pretty insecure in myself. Nobody has the right to judge another person or to pass comment on their weight, luckily I don’t suffer from an eating disorder, but what if I did and such a comment pushed me over the edge? Thank you so much for posting this and shedding a little light on this subject.
    Nicole xx
    http://www.gingerkitchen.co.uk

  12. Anna 3 years AGO REPLY

    This is such a inspiring read and the fact theres other bloggers out there who recognise this problem is so relieving. As a blogger who loves fashion I really want to start regularly doing personal style blog posts however when look at the pictures I take, I am overcome by the idea that “I don’t look like those beautiful bloggers”, in the same way so many bloggers in the Fashion/Beauty Niche are stereotypically beautiful with “perfect skin” and a “perfect body” its huge pressure and really down heartening to see all these popular beautiful girls do well whilst the majority of us normal/odd looking girls are left behind. Just hope there soon will be some in the middle girls who arent either just “skinny” or “fat”, something the media doesn’t understand is that there is more than 2 body types, and I just wish I personally had the confidence to show off my style without feeling I dont look good enough to be a fashion blogger.

  13. Chloe 3 years AGO REPLY

    It is so so lovely to see a ‘straight size’ blogger bring up this issue. It can be very frustrating being a plus blogger at times, so to see if from your angle is really refreshing! Great blog post!

    Chloe xx
    http://www.ChloEllio.co.uk

  14. Zoë 2 years AGO REPLY

    Such an interesting post – As a blogger, although I’m definitely no model, I do fit this image promoted by society and I never really noticed/considered the lack of other “types” in blogging/ on popular instagrams. Even when I’m not happy with my body, I never have to deal with not being accepted by the system/ society as a whole. This post really highlights the lack of diversity, and exclusion of certain types in the modern blogging and social media age, which is obviously something which needs to be noticed! It’s a very interesting & important discussion. x
    http://Www.zoecoco.com

  15. Kate 1 year AGO REPLY

    A truly inspiring piece of writing, it was good to read the opinions yourself and Grace have on this subject, it is very important topic that needs to be addressed more. It is very thought provoking and everyone needs to read this! 🙂

    VioletDaffodilsxx

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