Does anyone else follow a handful or more of beauty or fashion bloggers or internet personalities like I do? It’s something I’ve consciously been doing for a few years now and honestly, most of the time I really love it. This past week though, I’ve noticed a trend where a lot of the ones I consider to be “bigger” (meaning hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers) are trying to connect with their core audience and asking things like “I’m wondering what you guys want to see more of? I’ve had so many critiques lately and just want to know how I can fix it?” or “people are saying social media makes them depressed, I hope I’ve never been one of those bloggers or influencers to make you guys feel that way! That’s never my goal!” So let’s buckle in for my lovingly bitchy response to this sudden realization for these bloggers.
Let me break the ice here by saying despite any critiques I may have of them, I look up to these successful women and the work they do tremendously. It takes a lot of hard work to achieve the levels of success they have achieved and I do not have any ill will or negativity to push their way. My take on what I have to say is that it’s just the truth of what many of us experience on the other side of the screen when we consume the content these bigger internet personalities put out there.
So let’s start off with the hard truth – if you are a blogger/Instagrammer/YouTuber/whatever with a substantial following, you have more than likely been a contributing factor for someone else to feel terrible about themselves. It’s a hard truth to consider because although I don’t know these women personally, I know they have good hearts and aren’t intentionally doing this to anyone in their audience.
Here’s the thing – intention doesn’t equate consequence.
Using myself as an example, I have a younger sister who has always looked up to me and wanted to be just like me. This used to be the bane of my existence: someone who wanted to walk, talk, dress, eat, act, and breathe just like me. Regardless of what I wanted in the situation, my sister looked up to me. So when she got to the point in life where she realized our differences, whether it be in our clothing or height or handwriting, whatever it was that made us different from each other she took note. Because she looked up to me and saw me as a magical older sister, she perceived my traits and qualities to be the ones she wanted. She decided her qualities were the not so magical ones.
The parallels between my own life experience and the current conundrum of influencers are clear. It never occurred to me that my sister saw herself as less than, until years later when she finally talked to me about it. Of course, as someone in the “influencer” position, it feels like there’s nothing you can do when you hear someone valued you so much it affected their view of themselves. The fun part is, that you actually can. And even better? You can continue to live your authentic life and be yourself just as you had before.
I think it’s time that some of these bigger bloggers and influencers remember that not only are they setting the bar for what many of us smaller bloggers aspire to be one day, but they are, in a way, all of our big sisters. And as a real-life big sister, I have some advice: don’t forget about your little sisters! Little sisters want to see your flaws, no matter how embarrassing it is for you. Little sisters want to know where you have messed up in life so they can take a page out of your book and try to do things a little differently, or be inspired by your faults. Little sisters want to grow up so badly and to be just like you that it’s hard for them to admit that even in all your flaws, they’ll still see you for the magical person you are.
It’s time for these internet big sisters to fulfill more of the big sister job descriptions and allow us little sisters to see their shortcomings. Air a little bit of your own dirty laundry!! When you have a super crappy day or your house is a mess or heaven forbid you look bad in a picture you post – trust me, that’s what we all want to be reminded of. That you, the women we look up to and aspire to be like, are in fact human. You lead these wonderful lives full of beautiful pictures and outfits and makeup, we still want to see all of it but I think we all agree that it wouldn’t kill you to show us some of the tough times too. Because believe it or not, it’s 2018 and we don’t only want our female characters in movies or TV shows to be 3-dimensional characters, we want the people who speak to us, who advertise to us, and who inspire us to also be 3-dimensional characters.
This little rant is in no way intended to be some sort of hit piece because like I already mentioned, I look up to these bloggers tremendously and can only hope to one day enjoy the amount of success they currently do. I guess I’m just suggesting that not only are there so many ways for them to continue to have their success, but also remember there are millions of us out here trying to follow in their footsteps. If they want any further advice, I’m available for hire as a consultant. I swear, I’ve been a big sister my whole life and I’m really good at setting an example for people. 😉