As an early member of IFB, I have long promoted you- I considered you a valuable resource, read and learned from your blog posts, and looked up to you as a network of community to meet like-minded fashion bloggers and talk shop. I didn't mind that you never seemed to look my way to feature me in the Blogger Spotlight- I loved many of your choices- in fact, I was an avid contributor in nominating bloggers who I felt offered quality and original content, like The Clothes Horse, Another Day to Dress Up, Second Skin, and many others. I'll admit, once the focus switched to featuring the "PROFESSIONAL" bloggers, my interest waned a bit. While I discovered many interesting (and apparently financially successful) "bloggers," most of them, I couldn't relate to, perhaps they are too mainstream for my, uh, independent fashion taste. Some of them, didn't even make money, but hey, it's who you know right? I say, congrats to them for showing up on your radar.
I'll admit, I felt more and more frustrated with the network part of things, when the network became basically a vehicle for young wannabee bloggers to spam my IFB inbox with FOLLOW ME, CHECK OUT MY BLOG, AND ENTER MY GIVEAWAYS, ad nauseum. I tried not to resent YOU, dear IFB, for being unable or unwilling to stop it. You had bigger fish to fry- organizing your conferences, (which I attended one, by the way, and LOVED!) making sort of lame videos, I mean vlogs featuring your pet interns, and um, stuff. Like lining up more sponsors and sending out dedicated emails to your members, shilling those sponsors. But I get it, and I didn't blame you.
I LOVED you.
I trusted you. The bloggersphere was growing, and you were growing with it. You were going places. I didn't want to get in your way. I tried week after week, to offer you content, that I found relevent and interesting and add to our community. I mean YOUR community. For a while, I was happy. I read every week's Links Ala Mode, eagarly, nodding my head to the fine choices, and discovering many new blogs and bloggers that I could admire, and sometimes, relate to. I got to cheer when I saw my bloggy buddies get acknowledged and recognition, and I felt it a great honor whenever I made the LALM list. Then something happened. Something shifted.
All of a sudden, instead of seeing quality picks, I saw lists of, how can I put this? Um, how do I say this nicely- insipid, average and dull? Ok, not so nicely, I found the majority of LALM picks to be insipid, average and dull. But I get it. I'm an old fart, and perhaps missing all the cues of the youth obsessed fashion machine. And the new breed IFB content providers were after something I couldn't grasp. And you can't have too many glitter D.I.Y's, am I right?
In spite of being an early member, and fairly vocal at IFB, somehow, I didn't make the list on the post about +30 bloggers, and yeah, being that I've spent the past couple of years trying to garner attention for the older set, which was a genre not yet defined when I began doing it. I'll admit, I felt slighted. Invisible. Taken for granted. Crestfallen. Hurt.
So perhaps I stopped listening to you IFB. The cliquish tweets, corporate focused and/or controversy-baiting posts, and pandemic spammy network members- I just started to ignore the feed. I have to come clean, dear IFB, I was beginning to like you less and less. Our romance, once warm and flirtatious, now reduced to absentee dating. So my apologies for not immediately responding to this.
THIS, of course being the match that lit up the fire-storm in our community this past week. I mean YOUR community. The post that before being re-written, basically boiled down the lack of diversity in "top tiered" blogs was due to there not being enough quality of said diverse/curvy bloggers out there to "get the notoriety" they deserve. Since the post has been heavily re-written, it is difficult to point out the original problem with the content, but it seems to mainly boil down to thoughtless wording of an alarming (but not unusual) perspective was that the "thin/beautiful" (re: our culture's choice of idealized beauty) bloggers deserved their success because they were more "discilplined." You know, thin = disciplined right? And fame, and corporate attention ALWAYS means deserving attention. Yeah, well, I didn't either. I found a rather poorly researched, and even more poorly worded post, that had lit up my little corner of the fashion bloggersphere.
And sad to say, I didn't notice.
Because I had sort of, kind of, stopped reading you.
But I had been reading that "guilty pleasure" of a site, GOMI, and its spanking newish spin-off site, Shamepuff, and it was there that I read about the snafu. Of YOU, calling curvy, um I mean not-thin/beautiful (and I'll add diverse such as women of color, plus-size, older, etc) lazy. So I read the facts from the "mean girls," and I swam over to read the post.
You are so not pretty right now, IFB. Dare I say it? Not top-tier in any sort of way. You didn't just update and add to your post- you re-wrote it, perhaps unintentionally clouding the issue. Not terribly profesh, in my opinion, but what do I know? I'm one of the undisciplined masses that will never make the the cut to vanilla-cream-rises-to-the-top-tier status. Hell, I'm about 6 rungs away from chum level, pretty small, local yokel status, without a whisper of hope to see my olive-skinned, chubby knees and 40 plus face doing the dance with the big timey sponsors that feed the lovelies of Atlantic Pacific, Cupcakes and Cashmere, the Man Repeller, Fashion Toast and such. I'm strictly small potatoes.
But I do resent the implication that there are NO women of color, older women, or plus-size women who are top-tier because they aren't disciplined, or that there aren't any quality blogs out there representing this. Because it's untrue. Possibly a little bit of research would have shown this.
Turns out LOADS of people resented that implication, and said so. Some did it vehemently, some did it with calm, logic and reason. But it was said, and by the bucketful. Hundreds of comments- don't know the exact number because there seems to be rumors that many have been deleted. All of which you took to be bullying. Did I read that right, dear IFB? A vocal and heated disagreement with the post author was bullying?
I do not want to play in your schoolyard, IFB, if that's the way you took it.
The responses to the IFB posts were swift, and immensely thoughtful.
Some of my favorites are here (in no particular order:)
While I still respect IFB founder Jennine Jacob, (in person she seems shy and sweet as pie, and altogether a lovely woman) I found her over-defensiveness and attitude toward the bevy of commenters dismissive and off-putting. I feel that perhaps she, along with the original post's author, Taylor Davis, have an opportunity to learn something, see the error of the words and the way of thought behind those clumsy words, and change their opinion; in effect grow from the mistake.
I would have really, really, REALLY, like that IFB. It would have been inspiring to see a network, one that holds some fashion cache and influence take a chance on seeing the errors of their ways, and fix it. Not by an edit (or censoring comments, ahem) but by refining the thought that produced the mistake, and then setting forth to create a positive change in the culture landscape at large.
Ya know, like do a post (this time hopefully, researched and thoughtfully worded) on the quality fashion blogs out there that represent diversity, I dunno: Style Pantry, Girl With Curves, Song of Style, Frantic Dreams, Manalo Big, Helga Von Trollop, to name a very small sampling. That DO deserve top-tier status. Perhaps, when its all said and done, you'll grow from this. I truly hope so. Into what your morning tweet described you: a "brave" and "positive" community. Eye roll, IFB, at this moment in time, you are not a ink drop of brave, and I am questioning the positive. Positive is more than dancing with unicorns. Positive
is being open to growth, focusing of improving, and truly supporting your community.
I want to focus on the positive, IFB.
So I will thank you for the wonderful network you first created, and the time I spent learning from you, most importantly that community is important, and I've made that a mission in my blogger life- to help build community and create a place to connect with others in a positive way. I started the Sacramento fashion bloggers group because I was inspired by IFB, and I still seek out connecting in real life with bloggers because I was influenced by the power of your network.
But I think I need a little break, my love. Perhaps some space to clear my thoughts. It probably would have happened eventually, let's face it, we've been both attracted to other types for quite some time now, so perhaps this is a good time, to just call it quits and move on.
I wish you well, IFB.
But, as of today, I'm taking my IFB badge down, after being proudly displayed on my sidebar for almost 3 1/2 years. Let's not part in tears, IFB, let's just shake hands, wish the other well, and remember the good times.
You see, I know of too many quality blogs to love, that are diverse and unlike you, I want to talk about THEM, there are so many deserving of attention because of their top notch quality and content, never mind the fact they are not (yet) top tier. I'm a very patient woman, so I'm going to use what little shred of discipline I have (after all I'm neither thin, nor conventionally beautiful) and further my commitment to foster community while I take a crack at the glass ceiling. I look forward in being part of the cultural shift that puts the women with curves, the women with color, and women of all ages, economic backgrounds and style aesthetics into my own "top tier" bracket, because I'm willing to use this social medium to help improve my culture, to discover and share true, original and QUALITY people of style with or without a juicy, big-time, and top tiered, corporate sponsor.
the Citizen Rosebud