White Slim and Pretty – But what about me! (my response to IFB’s Blogging and Body Image + the Founders Open Letter to YOU!)

We often like to convince ourselves that our world is equal. Sure we’re not slaves anymore, and I am not running around fixing 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 your typical fair skinned, tall, hair-weaved-all-down-my-back model type .. 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 white, slim, and pretty. Although the last adjective might be debatable.

[photo from IFB]

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 intent of the author. 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.”

You know, I have to do a large LOL, and a huge le sigh at the above quotes. While I do agree with a large portion of the post I felt compelled (after a push from LoveBrownSugar) to write my own response 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 than corporate america. Women of color or size get passed over for numerous 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.

This is the reason why there’s a significant difference in the number of models of color used during fashion week. Or 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 create our own networks, and publications. It would be nice if IFB highlighted more bloggers of color and size. Technically they are a part of the problem too. But kudos for having Iman as a keynote. Maybe change is near? #SHRUGS.

UPDATE (8/15/2012 10:58AM). First let me thank all of you for your comments, tweets, and emails. It’s encouraging to know that your voice is heard and truly understood. 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 immolate 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.

* Race, Body Image and the Conversation Bloggers Should Be Having by ThoseGraces.com 

* Breaking The Silence: A Response To “Bloggers & Body Image” by LoveBrownSugar.com 

* IFB Says Not Enough Women Who Aren’t Thin, Beautiful Have High Quality Blogs by GetOffMyInternets.com 

* Removing Myself from IFB by dreafashionista.blogspot.com 

* Diversity in the Blogging Industry by deejayspeaks.blogspot.com 

* Requesting Your Assistance by WardrobeOxygen.com

AND of course .. SOUND OFF below!

I LIVE ONLINE, LET’S CHAT: TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FACEBOOK | TUMBLR | BLOG UPDATES

 

About Ty Alexander

As seen in Redbook Magazine, CNN and NY Daily News, NY-based writer Ty Alexander makes grey hair not only acceptable but fierce and fabulous.

28 Responses to White Slim and Pretty – But what about me! (my response to IFB’s Blogging and Body Image + the Founders Open Letter to YOU!)

  1. Taylor says:

    Hi Ty,

    Just finished reading your post (I got a pingback notification on IFB). I just wanted to drop you a note to say that I really, really like this response. It’s true, it’s thoughtful and its very eloquently said. As the author of the IFB article, you can imagine that I’ve been learning (and reeling) quite a bit from the reaction to this post. It’s been an insanely educational few days, and I’m really taking to heart the feedback from the community. I should have chosen my words more carefully in trying to convey my thoughts in this post (and it should have been more clear that they were thoughts, not hard facts). I do hope you caught my apology in the comments, but if not, just know I’m trying to make amends where I can and grow from this experience. All the best, Taylor

    • Taylor this is great and I really love that you owned up to it and are apologetic. I have NOTHING against you at all for this and wish you the very best! We all learn from every experience and Im happy that you are willing to listen to us.

      • Ty Alexander says:

        Unfortunately Taylor and the IFB team have gotten a lot of heat from this post. But I do appreciate them for starting the conversation. A conversation that doesn’t end here. Our next conversation is about the solution. xo

    • Ty Alexander says:

      Hey Taylor,

      I means that world to me that you read my blog and left the comment. I hope that we can keep the conversation going for the sake of change!

      XOXO
      Ty

  2. Dekishea says:

    “In order to get the notoriety we deserve we create our own networks, and publications. It would be nice if IFB highlighted more bloggers of color and size.” <<<< That statement says it all. Be your own advocate and PR person. I have been doing that since before I started my blog 5 months ago and I have created my own opportunities. Like this open letter. I didn't get to read the original post. But it is up to us to be the solution.

  3. anitra says:

    Part of the reason people have opinions that are narrow minded is because their experiences are narrow in scope. In most industries those with the most power and influence focus on pleasing those within their same circle. Unfortunately our society has many tiers that never intersect so we need to identify more ways to have true collaboration because people all over are missing out on the opportunity to grow.

  4. RChelle says:

    Excellent post and I completely agree. I think, nope I know there are amazing bloggers of color that aren’t getting their shine because “we” just don’t look like the mainstream. Many of us are now rocking natural hair and expressing individual freedoms that just don’t fit the cookie cutter image. While I’m happy for the success of bloggers as a whole it’s pretty close minded for the author of that post to count it as a lack of skill, that’s just not the case. If anything I feel we have to work 10 times harder.
    What you have highlighted is definitely an issue but I wonder will it ever change?

    • Ty Alexander says:

      I think change begins when we accept that we are different. Brands will soon see that their consumers are too.

  5. Lisa says:

    This post is so poignantly written and just goes to show the elitist attitude that exists in fashion even among bloggers. I can appreciate that Taylor of IFB is apologetic of her approach but I wish she were more thoughtful before she put pen to paper, fingers to key board-you get the picture. My biggest disappointment with the publishing of this post is that IFB is a community of bloggers that come from all walks of life, different shapes and sizes with unique voices that up until now I thought were celebrated by the community- this post shows otherwise. I have honestly enjoyed the networking and comraderie that resulted from attending IFB in the past. I just hope they get it together and recognize they are moving away from the core focus of what they CLAIM to do if they continue to produce content that alienates its membership.

    Signed, fat, nappy and plus sized ( with good content and an awesome photography team to boot!)

  6. Raimesela says:

    I looove response and so agree with Dekishea. One of the reasons I looooove Brownsugar is that she doesn’t confirm to the herd mentality. As a society world wide we do not promote individuality. That real women have butt & curves and unfortunately the fashion world still caters for the few individuals. I am African & I an sooo over it. Why must we all look like we are pre puberty. I am not saying we should be all big, but hey we can’t all be skinny and it’s nice to have real black blogs where the model isn’t a girl who looks 12 while I am freakin 30 can’t compete with my nephew or Miley Cyrus. So please more Brownsugars and more will follow the blogs and support you all. Ignore the ignorance and superiority complex

    • I absolutely agree with this post and everything you said. I’ve been going all over the web reading replies and remarks from people and the subject but there is one thing that I notice in the comments section. I am an african american female that is a size zero. Always have been. I have never passed the 100 pound mark and that isn’t for lack of trying. But to read comments where people bash thinner females as not “real women” I think is a bit much. I don’t see why to make a point, we have to bash someone else. When I read the IFB post I was angry but not surprised. Like Ty said as an African American especially in America discrimination is not new to us. If they don’t want to post about us, leave links in the comments! do whatever you can you make change. It may not come quickly but powerful change never does!

  7. Just got caught up on this IFB madness today. Although this article is a shame, like you I am not all that surprised. These type of views and mindsets are unfortunately shared by many. Not only in the fashion community but in this world. However, I am very excited that bloggers/influencers like yourself, LoveBrownSugar, Comme CoCo and Shamepuff are lending your voices to encourage others to speak up. Great post!

    -Shakiyla
    Iwannabefierce recently posted..InstacapMy Profile

    • Ty Alexander says:

      Thanks Shakiyla, I was actually informed by LoveBrownSugar about the post. I’m sorry to say I stopped following IFB a while ago because of this type of issue.

  8. Vesta says:

    These are the kind of issues that bum me out and then I don’t want to blog about fashion. All but a handful of the blogs I follow are women I can emulate. I am bootylicious and chocolate and prenatural and loving it. Even the dark skin ladies whose blogs get any hype are more caramel that dark chocolate or ebony sans nappy hair.

    Please, IFB stop making excuses and stop pointing fingers at my curves. Thanks Ty for this.

  9. this post is AMAZING! Very well written and extremely top tier and high quality. I wish I could write like you because this spoke volumes and was sooooooo eloquent. THANK YOU for this! I am now a new follower of the blog and I hope you take a minute to watch my video on this topic…. thanks again!

    Jen
    Jen (comme coco) recently posted..Home Runs and Washington NationalsMy Profile

    • Ty Alexander says:

      Hey Angela Davis, LOL! I loved your video. I almost did one myself but I am much better with words when it comes to heated debates or discussions close to my heart.

      Thanks again for reading, and welcome as my newest “Readie”!!

      That’s what I call my readers! XOXO

  10. Lindsay says:

    Thank you for writing this. While I have been keeping up with this IFB drama, this is the most poignant piece yet. Honestly, my favorite statement was when you mentioned your influence. You do have influence! Honestly, I wish I had some grey hair or at least some streaks! You are an empowered woman and you are very, very talented. This is why I read your blog. You have a strong voice and an educated point of view. I hope one day things will change and that bloggers over a size 2, of a different race, of a different religion, etc. will be recognized for our character and not our labels.

    I could continue on about IFB, but I won’t because of my affiliation with another blogging community. I just hope the truth comes out, end of story.
    Lindsay recently posted..Freddie & CinnamonMy Profile

    • Ty Alexander says:

      Hey Lindsay, thanks for commenting and thanks for being one of my “readies”. I’m trying really hard to create a space for like minded individuals here. As much as I love fashion and beauty — I have opinions that I believe you can relate to. XO

  11. Mary says:

    Hey Ty, I came over here from Wardrobe Oxygen. I have a lot of time for Allie and when she commented (twice) on this subject and linked to you, I came to visit. Well done and very thoughtful!!
    I appreciate Taylor’s response, but as far as “catching an apology”, I think it’s nice for the words, “I’m sorry,” and/or, “I apologize,” to actually be written or said. You responded very graciously to her.
    I am white and slim! I DON’T claim pretty :) Allie’s blog is the only fashion blog I read (and I read only 3 blogs total) but now I intend to follow yours too.
    Keep at it!

    • Ty Alexander says:

      Awwh, thanks a bunch for taking the time to read. I’m always amazed at the connections the internet brings. I think if we keep talking things will change for the better. xo

  12. Pingback: Talk It Out: Body Image | Black & Blonde

  13. Pingback: IFB: When Good Sites Go Bad « A Sunny Day in L.A.

  14. Joanne M says:

    Wow, well said my friend. You’ve got yourself a new follower! Women like you should be represented: great content and articulate. Oh wait, everything IFB claims get’s you noticed;)
    Joanne M recently posted..Lemon DropMy Profile

  15. Pingback: Cute and Cheap Merona Dress For Work

  16. tami says:

    This was a GREAT post and so needed! Hell, I have great images,update DAILY and I still can’t get any love! It’s a shame that its 2012 and people still can’t be a bit more open minded! #Shrugstwice! I keep on pushing though but atleast you’re younger. Try being an African American fashionista that has tweens,middle aged and married! Its not that much easier for us either! Lol. xoxo
    tami recently posted..Cool Product: FLAT OUT Of HeelsMy Profile

  17. Jet says:

    Your comments are exactly what I was thinking. So the bloggers who aren’t white/skinny/pretty just have rubbish blogs do they? It’s only the girls that conform to fashion norms that are good at design, writing and photography?

    That’s just stupid.

    Great post. x
    Jet recently posted..Feeling beautiful and working outMy Profile

  18. Pingback: Friday Links « Tutus And Tiny Hats

  19. Barbara says:

    O waoh, obviously we don’t have this issue over here because African women are typically expected to be rounded and not skinny. Thus it is mainly social connections and not intelligence or body type that gets you the opportunities one needs (of course I have an issue with that as well but over here it is the norm and we have to live with it).

    I am appalled that the fact that there can even be an indirect reference saying that bloggers who arent skinny or white have poor content. I totally agree with dreafashionista.blogspot.com for leaving such a community.

    Barbara
    http://barbsiesmusings.blogspot.com
    Lagos, Nigeria
    Barbara recently posted..Product Review: Tara Orekelewa Twist-up Black PencilMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge