I am a fashion blogger. More specifically, I am a personal style blogger. The reason I have a following is, more or less, because people like to see what I wear, and how I go about documenting that.
Needless to say, pretty clothes are not the only thing I care about. Clothes have given me a platform, and that platform gives me the opportunity to reach, literally, tens of thousands of people, on any issue I want. That is not to say that there is no value in talking about clothes, in liking make-up, or being interested in fashion, but when the rest of the world is (and I racked my brain for a more polite synonym) an utter shitshow, I want to talk about it, and I want to use the platform I have to discuss, to inform, and to give opinion.
In light of recent events, ‘the pressure of the platform’ is something I have been giving more thought than usual to. ‘Our country’ has just made the monumentally life-changing (and arguably life-ruining) decision to leave the European Union, following a campaign based on hate and intolerance in a referendum that should never have happened; the economy is consequently going to the dogs; non-Brits (and in particular people of colour) are victim to abuse along the lines of ‘we voted out, go back to your own country’ being yelled at them in the street; and it is impossible to feel happy about David Cameron’s resignation for fear of who might replace him. I, along with many fashion and beauty bloggers, held nothing back when it came to publishing the fact that I was passionately pro-EU via Twitter and Instagram. Many other bloggers kept completely quiet, many expressed the importance of voting but remained impartial, some even openly admitted to the fact that they would not be voting and wrote about their distain for normally pretty and aspirational Instagram being ‘ruined’ by ‘overnight politicians’ (although that is another blood boiling issue altogether).
It is very difficult to know who has the right attitude. Do people listen when I talk about politics? Have people unfollowed me for it? Have more people become new followers because of it? Should the extent of my writing on ‘issues’ at least loosely relate to fashion, like these essays? Should I stay in my lane and just write about shoes? Moreover, are people with large followings who don’t post about politics or social issues somehow at fault? Am I at fault for not talking about things enough, or in enough depth?
I imagine, or at least I hope, that I am preaching to the converted with most things that I say; I imagine that the majority of my followers are relatively ~woke~ of their own accord, many probably more so than I am (and I am not trying to declare myself as any kind of expert). I also think, because this is absolutely something that affects me as a reader and follower of bloggers and other forms of (sorry) influencer, that my talking about ‘issues’ encourages people who follow me to take a keener interest in whatever I am talking about. As far as I am concerned, the more important discourse I can encourage and participate in, the better.
There is a pressure to use your platform. That is not to say that everybody with a platform should be required to pass comment on absolutely everything that happens in the world, however I do think that there is now, more than ever, an expectation of anybody with a level of influence to use that positively. Whether that is through self-help style motivational blog posts, political campaigning, or a feminist message, when you have the opportunity to make a positive difference it is almost irresponsible to not inform yourself and use that in some way.
if you would like to follow me on Twitter, you can do so @hannahlouisef