Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Blogmas Day 23: The Zoella / Blogger Debate: What Will 2015 Hold?

You may remember back in October I wrote this rant in reaction to a particular journalist's onslaught of Vlogger / Blogger Zoella. 

Since then my rants have consistently focused on how journalists and the media have negatively and harmfully responded to certain topics, from Gemma Collins and I'm a Celebrity, to Kim K and Keira Knightley baring all. 

For my last rant of 2014, I thought I'd go back to where it all started, and look at how the negative attitudes of journalists and the media have developed over the last two months, not only towards Zoella, but bloggers in general, and what it means for us in 2015. 

I feel it's fair to assume that since you guys are either bloggers yourselves or avid readers of blogs, you too will be disgruntled (to say the least) at how much the media either don't get blogging / vlogging, or refuse to understand it. 

Since writing my Zoella post, it all kicked off for her: A book release, a Youtube advert, featuring on the Band Aid 30 single etc etc. However it seemed like she couldn't blow her nose without a newspaper criticizing the influence she was having on her 'impressionable' audience.  

The root cause of the media's sudden scrutiny towards Zoella? She ghostwrote her book! Are these journalists, who are meant to do research for a living, that naive when it comes to the publishing industry? Actually scrap that, the creative industry! Do you really think Beyonce writes every single one of her songs? Rihanna? Justin Timberlake? Because they don't! 

I won't go into the ghost-writing debate any further, because I'm sure you all understand that it's stupid to get angry at someone who isn't professionally a writer for getting help when writing a book. 

My anger lies with the bitter attitude towards fashion and beauty blogging / vlogging that has emerged from the media's anti-Zoella campaign. 

Back when I wrote the first Zoella post, there were already a bunch of bra-burning journalists on their high horse wielding their 'my idea of feminism is better than yours' flag, suggesting that Zoella was a bad female role-model because she talked about make-up and clothes. 

This point has been grabbed onto by the media to slash Zoella's career and therefore diminish the entire fashion and beauty blogging world. 

For me, there's a HUGE double standard going on here. The industry spouting all this hate towards what Zoella and so many of us fashion and beauty bloggers do is the same industry that produces newspapers and magazines featuring the exact same content: Cosmopolitan, Company, Glamour , Grazia, The Independent Fashion & Style... need I go on. In fact the only difference is something I think is worth celebrating: personality. 

The majority of young girls will always, ALWAYS be interested in fashion and make-up. The fact that the media wants to tarnish every single one of those girls with the same brush and suggest that an interest in fashion and beauty comes from a place of materialism, insecurity and a need to impress the opposite sex actually makes them more harmful to the female cause than any camera-ready, blusher-wielding blogger. 

The positives of adding a personality and familiar face to beauty advice and style tips outweigh the negatives. I don't think a single person can fully associate with a features writer hidden behind a glossy page of beauty products, or a celebrity marketing something they probably never use, let alone trust the advice being given. Authenticity is something that's quite easy to find among the blogging community, and with that authenticity comes attainability. Learning how to highlight or create a smokey eye from a girl the same age, sitting in her bedroom, using make-up she's paid for with her part-time job makes fashion and beauty a more attainable industry. The more attainable young girls find these industries, the more encouraged they'll be to explore, create and express themselves through these mediums, and there's nothing wrong with that. 

Of course there are lots of bloggers out there whose blogging hobbies have turned into full-time careers, and that should be encouraged. Youth employment is a major issue, and for anyone to achieve what bloggers like Zoella have achieved just by creating their own corner of the internet, is admirable. 

The media's childish hounding of successful internet creatives reeks of jealousy and sabotage. It's the internet and social media we're talking about here. It was only a matter of time before bloggers became just as influential as magazines, and I feel 2015 will be the year that it goes full steam ahead, and is embraced fully. 

Some people can't accept change. I get that. But instead of trying to trip up those making something of themselves when an opportunity is handed to them, why not embrace the change? There's no reason why print journalism and blogging can't live side-by-side in harmony. But magazines are becoming a bit predictable, and click-bait tactics are wearing thin, so if things carry on and push comes to shove, blogging will win. 


Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Kim K Put It Away - You Too, Keira

Surely I can't be the only one whose Facebook newsfeed has been covered in boobs and butts as of late. 

Now I'm no prude. In actual fact I'm all for embracing the naked form. 

However, I get a little bit uncomfortable with nakedness in the public eye when it's forced down our throats with a negative message about body image, or when it's used to make a point that would have remained unheard if the clothes were on. 

I'm talking about Kim Kardashian and Keira Knightly. I know right, who would have thought those two could ever be lumped together in one blog post. But I'm getting old school here and going back to the GCSE English comprehension days of 'compare and contrast.' 

Two women, getting their kit off. However, their reasons for doing so couldn't be more far apart. The result? Well I'll get to that.

 Let's start with Kim Kardashian. I have done myself the favour of trying to steer clear of anything she's remotely involved in, despite the fact she's done a pretty good job imprinting her naked arse onto my retinas  like a well-oiled Jack-in-a-Box. I may already be a bit biased in this analysis since I don't really respect or have time for anyone who climbs the fame ladder on the back of something like an OJ Simpson murder trial or a sex tape. I don't despise her, it's just that the more famous she got, the more irrelevant she became to me, and oh how I wish that could have remained the case. 

Now Kim K's arse has been mysteriously growing since day one, and stealing the limelight of its owner. So why is it now that I'm getting irate about it? Well Kim Kardashian titled the blatant publicity stunt as 'breaking the internet'. Well actually love, all the internet's done from what I can see is plaster photoshopped horse behinds and peaches over the god damn thing. 

What it's ignited in some areas of society is a lot more damaging I feel. 

I was at home with Loose Women in the background whilst the ladies read out some responses that the audience at home had text in regarding Kim's pictures, with one saying the images help to 'promote a healthy body image' to which I responded with my 'I hate ignorance' deflated groan. 

Ok that was one person's comment, but do a bit of research and you'll see that's the opinion of so many women out there right now, mothers included, and it literally makes me want to weep. 

It's still not certain what Kim K's had done to her arse, but there's no way that's just protein and killer squats. With rumours that she's had fat from her stomach sucked out and blown back into her behind, as well as the likes of Nicki Minaj apparently resorting to bum implants, there's an unhealthy haze surrounding these now covetable bodies. 

Young girls have died travelling to Thailand to get buttock augmentation operations for god sake, and I even hear girls saying how they want to look like these women. It's gone from one extreme to the other.If a young girl starving herself to look like a celebrity on a magazine being hailed for her size 0 dress size is WRONG, then so is young girls putting themselves through surgery for a body shape that just isn't attainable. What happened to us being individuals? Why do we have to look like someone else, or have a body feature someone else has got and if we don't have it well goddamit bring the knife and scissors. When you strip it back, the notion is barbaric. 


We have Keira Knightly in a topless photoshoot to make a point about body image and retouching. She says, and I quote " OK, I'm fine doing the topless shot so long as you don't make them any bigger or retouch.' Because it does feel important to say it really doesn't matter what shape you are."

I applaud Keira and what she's trying to do here, I really do. In fact with Kim's waist being dramatically retouched to look impossibly slim in her picture, I like that someone is using their position to bring the topic to light. But not in the best way, I feel. It doesn't sit right with me, and feels uncomfortably ironic that for her to make a point about body image, the fact that her body is fine the way it is and that us as viewers should accept that, she had to get naked. It's like she's trying to combat misogyny and objectification with the one thing that spurs it on. 

Retouching, airbrushing and photoshop in regards to body image has been an issue for longer than I can remember now. Ok, it's a topic now back in the limelight, but I can't help but feel if Keira had tried to make this point with her clothes on, it wouldn't have even made it on to a single news website, let alone only half being listened to by people oggling at what her untouched breasts actually look like. Either way I don't really feel her message has been heard, but in getting her tits out, she's spurred on something I don't think she intended. 

If I was sitting next to you saying all this completely topless, I'm sure all you'd here me saying is 'boobs boobs boobs boobs boobs.' 

So the moral that both Kim and Keira are giving us here is that whether you want to be successful, or be heard, the best way to go about it is to don your birthday suit  and maybe, just maybe, people will hear what your trying to say, or see balancing a champagne glass on your arse as a credible talent. 

So what do I feel the results of all this will be?

Well we live in a world where celebrities and their bodies seem to be owned by, well, us. The celebrity phone hackings that took place for the soul purpose of retrieving their private, naked images proves that. We (the public) hack them, distribute them all over social media, view them, talk about them etc etc, Obviously when I say 'we' i'm not tarnishing us all with the same brush. Not all of us hacked the celebs, but I'm sure a larger percentage of us viewed those images, creating a supply and demand situation regarding pictures that should remain private (if you didn't view them, well done you).  When Emma Watson stood up and spoke out as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, the desire for people to see her naked was not only used as a threat, but to completely downplay and overshadow everything she had said. 

 In the wake of all that, with celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence fighting back with a strong and dignified statement, it doesn't sit right with me that certain celebrities are so happy to get naked for so little. I appreciate that there is a key difference between the two circumstances I'm looking at, and it involves the word CHOICE. I get that it's Kim and Keira's choice to release naked pictures of themselves into the public domain, whilst the celebrities whose phones were hacked had no control over the situation. HOWEVER, I can't help but feel the effect of the former will be the latter. 

The people who hacked the phones of these celebs did so because they obviously felt that privacy doesn't apply to people whose private lives are so easily accessible to us. We see them naked in films, we can find out the ins and outs of their relationships at the click of a button, and photographers can follow them everywhere they go and at worst receive a slapped wrist. 

It seems that the arse wipes who hacked these phones had a sense of entitlement about them. They felt they had a right to view what was before un-viewable, and acted as if they were doing the rest of us a public service. I mean, Kim Kardashian's already revealed her goods, so if we think the way these hackers think, how is there any harm in hacking phones to retrieve something we've already seen. If you imagine an attitude of entitlement, sprinkled with a pinch of wanting what you can't have, and topped with a layer of disregard for other people, then you've got one of these hackers. They don't distinguish between celebrities and circumstance. At the end of the day, we've all seen Kim K and Keira naked, and that will set the ball rolling. The more that nakedness amongst celebrities becomes commonplace, the more encouragement and right to view these people will feel they have.  They'll want more. When that desire gets strong enough, I'm pretty sure they'll go and get it. 


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

How to Poo-Poo on the Plus-Size Movement, by JD Williams.

Since my last rant about The Independant's Chloe Hamilton and her view on Zoella / female role models went down so well with you lot (you obviously love a good vent as much as I do), I thought I'd do another one. 

This isn't something I expected to make a regular thing, but since last time I just keep noticing occurrences in regards to fashion and us ladies that puts an angry bee in my bonnet. 

This week's groan is in relation to that debate-instigating term 'plus-size' and how certain brands are managing to unravel any ounce of positivity that surrounded the term and it's movement. 

Body image and the plus-size figure will always be a topic for discussion, but this particular post comes in the wake of JD William's recent response to Victoria Secret's 'Perfect Body' campaign. 

For those who haven't been following the story, Victoria Secrets recently released their 'Perfect Body' campaign, with this image (see below) 

Now I'm sure I don't have to explain why this campaign and it's title is hugely insulting to so many of us girls out there with 'imperfect bodies.' 

I find it side-splittingly ironic that Victoria Secrets is calling a wide section of their own demographic imperfect since their sizes go up to a UK size 18, yet none of the women featured here seem to be above a size 6, because heaven forbid we should see what real women look like. Good lord no. 

Anyhoo, obviously this sparked outrage and a Twitter backlash was established with the hashtag #iamperfect, and multiple girls trolling Victoria Secrets stores wielding boldly hashtagged signs. 

Since then, Victoria Secrets have scornfully gone back to the drawing board and renamed the campaign 'A Body for Everybody.' So they've gone from a boldly insulting title to an empty, referring-to-no-one-and-nothing-at-all-doesn't-even-make-sense title.

I feel Victoria Secrets have been forced to learn their lesson in this instance. My beef lies with JD Williams and their ridiculous attempt at a retaliation, which is this (see below). 

To add insult to injury, JD William's retaliatory campaign is called 'Perfectly Imperfect'. When I found this out, I did one of those winces we all make when watching the Apprentice as someone makes a very bad, cringe-worthy decision. 

Now JD Williams call themselves 'specialists in the area of larger size womenswear' on their website, and don't get me wrong, this advert by itself as an advertisement for lingerie by any brand is uplifting. It's refreshing to see a fuller-sized figure in a lingerie campaign, and all these women look stunning, 


the fact that neither of these brands understand that the words 'perfect' and 'imperfect' should NOT be thrown around by lingerie or clothing brands AT ALL baffles me. 

Just a heads up to JD William's marketing team, the word 'imperfect' means, and I quote: 'not perfect; faulty or incomplete.' 

Well cheers then JD Williams, because as happy as I am to see buxom beauties heading an underwear campaign, your title is a thorn in my side. I don't look like any of the models in the Victoria Secrets campaign, who are deemed as 'perfect', and I don't look like any of the models in the JD Williams campaign, who according to the brand are perfectly 'faulty and incomplete', whatever that means. 

So what does that make me? Some sort of abnormal, misshapen mutant?

What JD Williams haven't realised is that in an attempt to shame Victoria Secrets, they've shamed themselves by making the same mistake. 

JD William's size range goes from 12 - 30, yet in their campaign the only sizes I see are sitting at the slimmer end of that scale. 

Here's what I would have done. 

A few months ago, Kiss Me Deadly (a vintage inspired, retro lingerie brand) held a fashion show for their latest lingerie collection. Guess who the models were. Their fans. That's right, fans and buyers of the label applied to be models for the show, and those that got through were of a range of shapes and sizes. The show not only proved that the underwear could be worn by anyone, but that us real women who don't look anything like any woman on a lingerie advert can still wear the items and be beautiful, seductive and damn right proud. 

Now I myself still struggle with my own body image and I would not be the best person to lead a campaign of self-love and healthy self-esteem. However JD fricking Williams, on my journey to get to that place I have embraced the subtle yet powerful plus-size movement that has been growing as of late, and I really don't need you categorizing me into the box of  Victor Frankenstein's scraps. 

Rant Over!