Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's not YOU, it's me: an open letter to IFB

Dear IFB,

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.

Yours Sincerely,
Bella Q
the Citizen Rosebud


Susan B said...

[standing ovation] I'm mentally throwing you red roses dear Bella for this. Brava, Brava!

Unknown said...

Great post! I have also noticed this weird shift, and have started to ignore the IFB machine. It's really too bad. But you're right when you said that it started to feel clique-ish. I don't know... Just very weird. It's not longer that helpful.

Anne M Bray said...

Brava, Bella. Brava.


Your thoughts on this are wonderfully expressed Bella.

thorne garnet said...

Well said , my dear, well said.

Patti said...

Like Une Femme, I am throwing flowers at your feet. My badge came down yesterday. I wish them well, but we have not much in common any more.

styling fabulous said...

wow! this was so beautifully written...and from the heart...your words were well thought out...relevant and true...i also give you a standing a 40+ blogger (who you lovingly added to your wonderful 40+ blog roll) i salute you...and all the wonderful bloggers out every shape, color & size!

Meghan Edge said...

I love this post. :-)


I have goosebumps. That was so well-written, so honest, so brave, Bella. So well-done. Only you. You are such a creative, loving, deep force.


Melanie said...

Bella, YOU are the voice. I had no idea what was up until I read your post and the other blogs and all the responses.... WOW. I've never visited IFB. I just like posting pictures of me wearing stuff I love and then inviting my friends over and going over to their places and saying, "Hey, yeah, you look awesome!!!" But your galvanizing force has been an ever-present strength in the community I have taken for granted. Well done!

Casee Marie said...

This has all the Rosebud trademarks - originality, honesty, style. (And, echoing Vahni's comment, such bravery.) Tremendously and admirably well done, Bella. x

Thrifted Shift said...

Well written, excellent post! I'm taking my badge down, too!

Unknown said...

Bella, I don't think I've ever loved you more! I too, took down my IFB badge a few months ago. I just couldn't relate anymore. When I joined, I thought I was joining a community....not a monetizing movement.
Interestingly enough, all this brouhaha has made me want to strike up the ol' blog again after an over 2 month hiatus. I'm feeling reinspired. I'm no longer so much interested in WORKING with brands, but rather BEING my own brand! And Bella, lemme tell you something... you. are. bella! In every sense of the word! I'm looking forward to working with you! Hugs my friend! ~Serene

citizen rosebud said...

I love you Megs! Xo

citizen rosebud said...

Thankyou, V. It means a lot.

Lindsay Lee said...

Thank you for being so honest. All of these comments are things I've been hearing for months. However, I can't always say them publicly because of my affiliation with Blogtrends. I want to maintain a mature, professional blogger after all. I really hope that this is read and truly understood. This is a wake up call. It's not just you. It's not just a few bloggers. This is a large community, no longer their community, that is royally pissed off. I hope that this truly shakes up the blog world and puts its priorities back in order.

citizen rosebud said...

So glad you're reins pored because I've missed you beautiful friend in the blogger sphere!

Lissy said...

Bella, very well written and truly inspiring. I too was more than disappointed at IFB's post and like you, I found it not because I keep up with what they say, but rather because I saw other rants out there about it. What I have loved the most about the blogging community is the representation of women out there like me who are not a size 2 and who are not 20ish years old. It's sad to hear that IFB doesn't see the value in that. Thanks for the post. I agree with what you've said wholeheartedly.


citizen rosebud said...

Lindsay thank you so much for your feedback! I truly believe crisis equals opportunity and we all can take this, and learn from it. That post was just the straw that broke the proverbial camels back. I am glad for my time spent with IFB and hope some good comes of this!

citizen rosebud said...

Thank you all for your comments! I need to hold off on replies because I'm at work and can't seem to avoid typos.

Elle @ (Eat.Style.Play) said...

Hm, I have to say I love this 110% i kept thinking of their last statement "to be featured by a publication is a privilege not a right" and that their priority wasn't apotlighting bloggers, which I find to be complete BS. If they took a little time to do some research before putting that mess out there, I think they would be able to put out a decent article that made sense.

Kudo's for writing this! I hope that bloggers out there can make whatever dreams they have come true without IFB at this point.

Unknown said...

This post is incredible, Bella. I'm sad to see a resource I used myself for just over a year make such a massive change..I noticed the shift as well in LALM (that's where I noticed it starting, anyway). I give you props, my love, for writing this, and for remaining true to yourself, your readers, and us others in the blogosphere. xoxo

Unknown said...

Oh. Em. Gee. Bella, this letter is a perfect example of why I LOVE you!! It's like you know what I've been thinking for the last few months (I just read your reply to my comment on Jennine's "letter" too). Only you could write something so real, yet so beautiful!!

Trystan L. Bass said...

Wordy McWordyston! I really haven't gotten much out of IFB (only signed up less than a year ago) -- it seems very mainstream fashion, which I can get from any number of magazines at the supermarket. The whole reason I love fashion blogging is that blogs don't *have* to be like those magazines -- bloggers aren't usually beholden to corporate interests & bec. anyone can blog, we can see the whole rainbow of women, every size, every color, every age, every style. I FREAKIN' LOVE THAT. Fashion blogs are an alternative, which is why I don't get IFB's stance.

Rock on with your bad self, Citizen!

glam.spoon said...

Girl! You are so articulate and so brave to put your true feelings out there into cyberspace. I agree with a lot of what you've said here, and I'm thankful that you brought it to my attention. *Have to admit that I don't read IFB as religiously as I did when I started blogging... interesting, no?

Heather Fonseca said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! And more wows. You said it so well. The links a la mode with instagram shots of someone's nails and two lines of copy, the "over 30" blog roll that included some women in their 20's but almost no one over the age of 40, and the endless focus on "anyone can be a top level professional blogger". You got it alllllllllll down. I haven't deleted my account there yet, but I'm really thinking about taking the plunge and removing the IFB snobs from my blogging life.

Anonymous said...

What's IFB?
Guess I didn't miss anything?!

jesse.anne.o said...

Well said. I had stopped looking @ Links a la Mode because they were often just useless fluff and any of the content I used to like had all but disappeared.

And as you and others have said, when they refined their focus as pro-blogger I was much less interested - and a little surprised by some of the editors they picked and content they put out since it seemed the opposite of pro (Taylor bring one of them).

Shybiker said...

Kudos, buddy. I had the EXACT SAME evolution of experience with this group, so much so that the description of your history sounds like what I would have written. And I agree with you 100% about the recent post.

As an "unusual" blogger, I've given up hope of ever being paid any attention by conventional organizations. I'll have to just live in the margins and hope like-minded people can find me by accident.

pao said...

The perfect Dear John letter and so richly deserved. I joined IFB less than a year ago and I immediately removed access to my email so I wouldn't get any of those spam follow me notes. Next I removed myself from their email notices of blog postings. Etc., etc. until now, where I don't even go to the site for anything because I can't relate to it. What am I doing being a member anyway?! I certainly haven't connected to anyone through them. Thanks for bringing me back to the light, Bella!

Jennifer said...

I'm extremely new to this blogosphere, but wow!
I just started following you yesterday.
I am not up to date with what IFB is, but you sure read them the riot act, in style!!
What an eloquent and strong woman you are! Fantastic.
I'm so glad I found you. I have a feeling I'll learn a lot here.
Go forth and kick ass!

Franca said...

Well done bella! Ive not been around too much recently, so I also didn't hear about the controversy until it was well and truly blown up. I must say I became disenchanted with ifb some time ago anyway, the quality of their posts has gone down so much (they used to have Ashe mischief and now it's all pointless lists) and their behind the scenes work was shoddy. I was in lalm twice and couldn't even find the code and when I asked, no response (just swathes of spam comments). So I was drifting off for a while, but this post was the straw that broke the camels back. I never saw the original post but the whole fat (or rather, not skinny) = lazy thing really has my back up. I found jennines response re weight watchers almost as offensive as the post itself. Again, well said bella!

Kaffesoester said...

Very well written! Being of a very "undisciplined" weight and age I'm just another small potato, so grateful that you speak up for me!

Unknown said...

I could not have said this any better myself. I have to say between the insensitivity of the original post of the ridiculous response on IFB's part I'm reminded of the dust up V faced some months ago with Story Siren.

I honestly have to say that I feel so much better knowing that I'm not the only one who has been slowly growing disenchanted with IFB. I have not felt included there for a long time. I had the same issue with LALM and even commented and said so, but I think it was deleted. It was disheartening to pour myself into a post that I crafted from scratch, and lose a place on the list to a 2 line post with some badly focused pictures. It seemed petty so I never complained, but it hurt. I felt as though I was doing what they asked of me (entertaining, original content) and still getting nowhere.

I'm so glad that you wrote this and you've really put the situation into words well. I've also removed my badge. I hope that this situation will spark some real change within IFB's ranks.

Pearl Westwood said...

Well said Bella!!
I started to noticed about the LALM and when they started putting up sponsored posts from ASOS it seemed to me to totally contradict the whole point of IFB!
I read the second rehash of the article and it was still very condescending. The reason the 'top' bloggers are so is because they have contacts in magazines and advertising, have PR's and a wad of cash to throw around. Sure they probably do work very hard at their blog too but no harder than the rest of us!!

Pearl Westwood said...

I just reread the edit and its it still condescending:
"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."

There are soooo many of us 'holistic' bloggers writing top quality blogs and if the IFB cant see that then they need to pull the plug. I would say my own blog design is well up there with the 'tier' I blog regular and have great contacts with my brands, but oh wait Im still not in Vogue - because I dont have a million bucks to throw at an agent, PR, magazine contacts etc which we all know are really what it takes!

Unknown said...

Wow, what a post! I can tell Bella that you are really passionate about this as it was such a well written piece.

Personally, I don't think I was as offended by the article as many. However, it has brought to light the many issues IFB has that for a while now I've been quietly noticing. I'm happy that it wasn't just me that thought these things and others shared my sentiments.

I've always found the back end of IFB to be pretty useless, I can't recall how long I've been a member but I have never really utilised the groups (other than LALM, more on that in moment) it seems that there are way too many duplicated groups causing confusion and many that, as you pointed out, are just 'follow me' 'follow you' fests. So there is a lot they could do there...

Links a la mode drives me mad, I don't submit every post I only submit posts that I know are a little bit different, my best work so to speak or something that I know is quite unique in terms of where I'm coming from with my views. So it drives me wild when I don't get selected, I'd be happy if I was outclassed in the quality of posts that made the cut but quite often I've seen posts that are just a quick look at trends or something that's been knocked up in 5 minutes.

What's even worse though was recently I was selected for LALM, whooohoo! I thought because I was quite proud of the post I had submitted. Yet... there was no code, in fact there was NO POST! They had 'forgotten' to display it on their site. So all those hundreds of people had submitted their posts for nothing..

When I tweeted them there was no response... and that comes on to my last point.

I think they were poor in reacting to the whole thing they should have listened to the comments and held up their hands they had made a mistake that would have gone down a lot better, they should also start to use social media properly and not just use it spam their posts and conferences and actually help their users when they have an issue.

WTF is a 'top tier' blogger anyway most the top tier 'blogs' I just view as corporate websites. To me a blog has a realness to it that is lost when it becomes pretty much an extension of a glossy fashion publication.

MELI. said...

I don't remember how long ago I added you to my Rss but at the same time I also find the Sacramento (in Spain).

I had stepped away from blogging and every social media for about 1.5rs, and I decided to comment on this -not knowing the back post and what it implied. Another blogger replied, saying she disagreed. Well I sure appreciated her comment, so then I started reading more and mroe into it. Then I found your post.

I can honestly say I was quite caught off guard for not knowing what this implied or how fast (and big) ifb had grown. I personally met Jennine and yes she is very nice, and have had coffee several occasions when she has been in SF between moves or what not. I remeber over coffee she said how she enjoyed reading my blog almost daily, as it was unfiltered and I had no commitment or ties with sponsors etc. Which I couldn't understand at the time, I mean I've always posted wtf i wanted, the blog has been a positive dump and +a praise to my whereabouts and my city, San Francisco. The last I remember reading about ifb, was one of their first conferences, which featured my gir blog crush vintage vandalism. I know a bit behind. Anyways I have enjoyed her company as a fellow SF blogger, and I wish her well.

Well, though I've always admired all this blogging growth, 2yrs ago I had the same impressions about ifb which you expressed here in your post, and I admit I was never active on it, though I guess that first experiences/impression carried onto me til today. I mean, I still not sure I get what top tier lingo is.
I did recently read a 'why you need an SLR' and it did bug me as it sounded rather imperative. my reaction was dry and well, I guess blogging has really become more competitve than just for fun, errr.

I have personally sought out people 30+, that their blogs dont say 'this was sponsored by' in every post, postivie people, posts that make me smile, that their passion -on whatever topic it is- shines through and also I seek out people that seem to have a life, other than being internet rock stars, I mean. And also of colour, there arent many of us out there.
Some of us that curse from time to time and their outfits shouldnt be more expensive than my bike, you know.

Anyways, love your blog. Keep doing wat u do I'm a big fan.
and pls keep me posted if you are ever in SF under the fog.


Miss Simmonds Says said...

I love fashion but I always hold dear a quote from a grumpy UK journalist that "people in fashoin are idiots" - this seems to be the case here. I'm so lucky to have found you all. I know that the majority of fashion bloggers are like those girls at school who think they're so damn pretty and if you're not like them, nothing you have to say is valid. The irony being what you have to say and how you look is infinitely more interesting than they'll ever be - they may be conventionally pretty but my god are they are bunch of boring cunts. They're the bullies. Cliquey, dull, probably thicker than they make out, desperately shallow and incredibly deluded. I'm happier with my crazy gang of experimental, exciting, intelligent and generous women.
I salute you Bella! xxxx

Style Agent 909 said...

Wow! I had no idea any of this had gone on. Thanks so much for bringing it to my attention. I'm a member of IFB but don't have a badge up. That's good. Now I don't have to go through the trouble of removing it?

A BRIT GREEK said...

Crikey Bella, what a post! Hats off to ya & a refreshing perspective shared!

Over time I've seen your blog develop and grow and it's a shame that IFB happened to miss that/miss you off that list!

As for community, I don't think IFB has contributed that much (usually spammers)... all the peeps I still know have been the folks who have stayed true to themselves... Besides I prefer to seek out a new blog via someone who has commented on a blogger buds Blog...

Anyhoos beautiful, this was a cracking post that deserves a large packet of McVitites digestives I say! (along with a cuppa Earl Grey)

Unknown said...



J.Jehanne said...

this is a great post and I appreciate you doing so. I made a video on this when it first came out... check it out on my blog if you would like

The Fashionista Next Door said...

well said, Bella...well, said. Summed up my thoughts precisely. I don't have the energy to write out another looong comment, but I left an essay on CeCe's blog (Love Brown Sugar) that vented all of my feelings of frustration and disappointment with this situation. It's all just really sad.

Hugs, Bella!


Curtise said...

Well, I didn't know anything about all this, but it sounds a terrible shame that a community which purports to be about independence can be so mainstream and narrow in its views.
Well done for speaking out, Bella, it's a really well-written, passionate piece.
The bloggers I love are the ones with personality and intelligence and wit and independent thinking, with whom I can build a relationship. Age, size, money, designer labels, professional-quality photos/layout, none of that is as important to me as the content of a blogger's heart and personality.
You have a big heart and a fabulous personality and bags of style, Bella! xxxxx

M.J said...

THIS is why you ROCK!!! You explained the same feelings I have/had for IFB so clearly it's scary! This is awesome and I too have come to realize I need to expand my horizons beyond IFB.

Anonymous said...

Awesome Post!!! There are so many diverse blogs out there with REAL style!! If I wanted to see young skinny blonde girl style I'd buy a Glamour magazine!!

I'm definitely gutter-tier and could care less!!


PS--found you through the top tier Miss Helga the magnificent!!

Lisa said...

Oh how I love your perfectly articulated Dear John letter!

Forest City Fashionista said...

Amen Sister!! I've been debating removing my IFB badge for a while now, as I found them to have less and less relevance to what I was doing, and was getting fed up by all the attention paid to bland 20-something bloggers.

Marissa said...

Unbelievably amazing, Bella! Well done! I've been staying away from the public debate on my blog because I didn't feel ready to write something as eloquent as this, so thank you for doing it. You've inspired me to also remove the IFB badge from my blog (frankly, I'd forgotten all about it) - not because I hold a grudge but because I haven't felt any connection to that site or community in a long, long time.

Marissa said...

Oh, and by the way, you will never be chum to me!

Frannie Pantz said...

Wooooooooooooooooooooow. So, I found your post off of Natasha's Cute and Cheap Me post (I love that girl) and I came over to read this because I am not familiar with the IFB scandal.

I joined IFB when I first started blogging about a year and a half ago because I thought you kind of "had to" to be a blogger. I never check it or read it or anything for the very reasons you mention here--I knew that a 30 year old thrifting mother with a rookie Canon camera and a wildfire for a mouth was never going to featured here. Now, this? You know what? This is the very reason that we have issues of insecurity of women these days.

I hate when I read a style blog and I hear "this might sound narcissistic but I love this outfit!" Not because I think it IS narcissistic, but because if you feel good about yourself in what you wear, you should be able to say so! It is OK to feel good about yourself. It is debatable that it is even more important to feel good about yourself if you are not white, thin and get designer clothes handed to you on a monthly basis.

The reason that I fell in love with style blogging was BECAUSE of its diversity. I love that there are women of all sizes, races, styles (grunge, professional, girly, etc.), hair types, budgets and the like. I LOVE that about it. If all style bloggers were the same, I would definitely quit and never read another one--how boring!

In short (hahaha, I mean in long), this is a great post and I commend you for being brave and bold. Keep it up!

Beryl said...

Great writing, Bella!

The Style Crone said...

Always the leader! Thank you for this beautifully written piece that speaks to me and so many of us that fall outside narrow perceptions of beauty in this culture. My badge is coming down!

lasophia said...

Bella, you need to start your own blogging network. OFB- original fashion bloggers. And dont let any of the creeps in the club. I have lost a lot of my passion for the blogging community, but nor for clothes. I just care about my true blogger friends and no one else really. I'm like Lady Gaga on her 2nd album that she made "not to get new fans, but for my old ones." The album that sucked by the way but her fans loved it. It worked for her.

P.S. enter my give-away. Ugh how annoying right?

mtg said...

Thanks for speaking out Bella! In fact, inspired by you I'm taking my IFB badge down.
It's so funny to hear words like "top tier blogger" and so on. What is it a rat race?! I'm blogging because it's therapeutic for me. Why would I worry myself about others' judgements.

Susan said...

OMG Bella. I am so glad I saw a tweet re: this post come across my iphone because Lawd (!) knows I wouldn't have wanted to miss this incredibly honest and well written post.
Kudos to you.
And hugs too!

Penny-Rose said...

Wonderful post Bella, very heartfelt and well written. Reading it made me feel very sad though, because I have a 10 yo daughter who is already feeling the fashion pressure and I want to encourage her to develop her own sense of style. Yet there is clearly a big money driven monster out there in the world which makes women (not just young girls) feel like they are not good enough to be considered stylish or fashionable or beautiful because they are not a certain size and colour. Your blog and the ones I follow, ( and loads of others I have not yet discovered !!!!) are the ones which really count, the ones which show women that we can be stylish and beautiful and be part of a community which supports and encourages no matter what shape and colour we are. Thank you Bella!!

Kitty said...

The few times I clicked on IFB stuff I've been seriously underimpressed-I thought it was just me.

Applauding your honesty and bravery here Bella.xx.

The Foolish Aesthete said...

Bravo Bella! I had actually stopped reading IFB for months when it seemed to have only one target audience. (And I had been voluntarily extricating myself from that circle already.) What I love in the blog world (fashion/lifestyle/photography blogs) is whenever I come across something or someone so different from what the general media offers. This post confirms what I am hearing from other disillusioned blogger friends. I think we all have to be honest and firm about what we really want out of our blogs and the blogging community.

Thank you for this heartfelt post! -- J xxx

Amber of Butane Anvil said...

Well-stated! I was only peripherally aware of IFB, but am a fan of yours and the 40+ Blog Roll. Thank you for being such a powerful and relevant voice!

sylvia @ 40PlusStyle said...

You have outdone yourself again Bella. What an amazing heartfelt open letter. So well written and so brave and so true. Standing ovation from me too!

Lynn Hasty said...

I learned a tremendous amount from this post! I joined IFB late, I guess, but never really could get the hang of it. I felt like I did not fit in. I fell off the radar, or I guess I let it fall off mine. Thanks for helping me see more of the history of IFB.

Lynn Dylan

Angeline said...

Beautifully stated, my friend. I've long felt ifb had jumped the shark and this just confirmed it for me at least they change clean with their main mission: it's all about money.

I think taking down IFB badges is a great statement.

Tamera Beardsley said...

Oh Bella what can I say....I just LOVE YOU... you beautiful, inspiring soulful woman...with a whole lot of verve! I applaud you my dear and your eloquent use of language! You have risen to hero status! Thank you for using your voice!

Anonymous said...

Well said!
Thanks for your voice. I, along with many others, appreciate what you've written here.

Stacey said...

This is such a beautifully written post, and it expresses everything that I've been feeling about IFB in the last few months.

Jean at said...

I knew I loved you, simple as that. IFB ? I was vaguely aware of their existence. Never checked them out. Because I know you, however, and immediately loved your intelligence and style, I'm spared the bullshit.

Your writing rings true and resonates so very deeply. Thank you for raising your voice. I get cynical and sad when I hear of things like this, but I love the fact that you get mad and say so. Well done!!!!!

Veshoevius said...

Bravo Bella! It could not have been said any better than this - YOU are rad my dear. Ole tu!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Being fairly new to blogging in this type of subject, and being in the well over 40 crowd, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about IFB. Even with just getting into it several months ago, I can already see the truth behind many of your thoughts.

Thanks for speaking your mind...I love women who do so.

Tammy of Walking in Pretty Shoes

Unknown said...

Bravah! I decided to remove my IFB button as well. I had the pleasure of meeting you at an IFB conference so it's a bit heart breaking how they've been treating their "community" lately. I prefer to read your blog than Cupcakes & Cashmere but I can't relate to her :/

Unknown said...

Well, as usual, I am WAY late to this party... but I made it!

WELL SAID BELLA! I have never been a part of any of these groups as I have always found them elitist and cliquey... and I just love my darling group of awesome chicks... and I know I will never make a cent from my blog - but it was never part of the plan.

GOOD FOR YOU for speaking up, taking a stand, having a point and sticking to your guns... and so eloquently. You, my dear, are a rock star.

Sarah xxx

JTWisdom said...

Hi Bella,

i am also late but I wanted to tell you that this letter is brilliant, you are so confident and strong.

Kudos to you!

Idee Fixe said...

Thank you for this well-written and thought out response. I was late to the party because like you, I rarely read IFB anymore. I too loved IFB in the beginning. A few years ago saw a change and backed off, rarely interacting as honestly there wasn't much for me to interact with. I don't recall such importance placed on monetizing earlier on, I recall it was mostly about blogging. Content, photography, how to make a great looking blog and the technical aspects with the occasional post about how to interact or develop a relationship with PR's. One of the things that really, *really* bothers me is the editing of the original post. It was immature and frankly sneaky to change the post rather than print some kind of addendum or even a brand new post, clarifying and actually opening the issue to conversation. I don't see any professionalism in the way this was first posted -- there would be no need to edit the final post had it been edited or researched properly in the first place -- nor in the additional responses from IFB. If you want to be considered professional, then act it. While I'm at it... "top tier"? Really? WTF? It sounds like a high school popularity contest. Ooo who did you vote for blog queen and king? Ugh! Sorry, but its not only a dreadfully irritating term but also implies that anyone else blogging isn't as first-rate. Funny, I had been thinking about taking off the IFB badge awhile ago but kind of forgot about it. Now I haven't. XXX Suzanne

Anonymous said...

Once again you've written a thoughtful and pointed piece. I've been unimpressed by IFB for while now and have to say that they've fallen off my radar almost completely. There are so many talented bloggers to follow and to me variety is the spice of life.

x Laura

Anonymous said...

Hear hear. Thanks for this post - I completely missed this fubar being kinda bored with ifb s outputput lately

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% - great post. I just took down my badge too.

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% - great post. I just took down my badge too.

Sharon S said...

Hi my dear!! Well it just goes to show the support you deservedly have regarding the IFB, well done indeed for voicing what a lot of bloggers really think and from the looks of it, IFB will be a badge NOT a lot of true hardworking bloggers will want to display on their blogs xxx

Unknown said...

Wow, I had no idea that IFB thought I was worthless .. lol. I knew there was a reason I never put their badge on my site. I never truly felt a part of their community being over 40 plus a pear shaped gal.

What's odd is that it would be so easy to include everyone so we could all connect, but I guess that's not the business model these gals have in mind. Oh, well .. everyone gets old, ya know ;-)
and what goes around, comes around.