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.