White, Slim & Pretty! But What About Me?

We like to convince ourselves that our world is equal. Sure we’re not slaves anymore, and I am not running around fixin’ to fetch Master some tea, but our worlds are very separate. Especially in the fashion industry.

If you don’t believe me head over to the magazine section at your favorite bookstore. Have a peek inside of any magazine — OR just look at the cover. I’m usually not there. I am your average brown girl, cute — but not fair-skinned and tall with hair-weaved-all-down-my-back. I’ve got curves. The kind of curves that make a man take a double look. The kind that make a casting director say, “You’re a bit larger than what we’re looking for.”

Point blank — I am not whiteslim, and pretty. Although the last adjective might be debatable.

So I wasn’t surprised to read IFB’s latest entry “Bloggers & Body: Are We Helping or Hurting Ourselves?“. I read the post about 5 times just to make sure that I was clear on the author’s intent, which gets a little lost after reading a few paragraphs. One of the points the author makes is that the majority of our popular blog culture is thin and beautiful. And that these top-tier white, slim, and pretty bloggers…

“have high-quality images, consistent posting schedules, spot-on design and unique style. There are many brilliant and well-done blogs whose authors and content provide a fresh and unique voice that’s also inclusive of more well-rounded audience.”

and that…

“In order for a more holistic image of fashionable women to permeate the top tier of blogging as well as traditional fashion media, there needs to be a serious commitment to higher-quality content, as well as a more committed approach to fostering their growth from brands and larger publications. At the moment, there aren’t enough blogs run by these types of women that get the notoriety they deserve.”

That’s laughable and gave a huge le sigh to the above quotes. While I do agree with some of the post I felt compelled (after a push from LoveBrownSugar) to write my own response to this topic rather than leave a comment on the IFB site.

It’s just silly and rather closed-minded to think, or assume, that the reason why blogs run by women of color or size don’t get the notoriety we deserve is because our blog’s content sucks or it’s poorly designed. Simply put, it’s because I am not whiteslim, and pretty.

The blogging industry is no different from corporate America. Women of color or size get passed over for countless opportunities on a daily maybe even hourly basis. And until the powers that be understand and begin to realize the power of my influence, I believe this won’t change.

For this reason the number models of color and size used during fashion week is significantly low. And let’s not even mention how white celebrities dominate the covers of fashion and lifestyle publications. I wrote a post last summer summarizing my thoughts on who’s really represented in the fashion industry–affectionately titled, Is Fashion Racist, Ageist, and Fattist?.

I ask that same question today and I say YES, it is! In order to get the notoriety we deserve we have to create our own networks, and publications. It would be nice if IFB highlighted more bloggers of color and size. And technically they are a part of the problem too. But kudos for having Iman as a keynote. Maybe change is near?

IFB has received a lot of backlash for this article. So much so that the founder decided to pen an open letter. In my opinion the letter does more harm than good.

One sentence stands out, mainly because it’s in bold — Being featured by another publication is a privilege, not a right. I wholeheartedly agree with that statement. And I am elated when I am featured on a site or in magazines because of my blogging efforts.

But as a community of bloggers, as IFB claims to be, it’s OUR responsibility to emulate the diversity that exists in our world. Again these are JUST my opinions. Check out a few other posts around the blogosphere on this topic.