The Blog Issue – Body Image

Posted in Blogging, Writing.

I’ve never had any problems with how much I weigh, or what the label in my favourite jeans says. Numbers are meaningless to me – what matters is how I look and how I feel. And for the most part, I’m happy with who I am and how much space I inhabit. I’ve never felt particularly influenced by the slender physiques of models and actresses either. As regular readers will know, I’m much more interested in real people with real figures. Real people, like bloggers.

Bloggers often discuss the supportive community that surrounds them, but fashion blogging in particular is a breeding ground for insecurity. That daily slew of posts showcasing beautiful girls with slender size 8 figures, styled to perfection with blindingly white teeth and cascading waves, can have a profound affect on others.

I was shocked to read the beautiful Lily from LLYMLRS had been described as a ‘plus size blogger’. She’s a petite size 10 and utterly stunning. And if she’s plus size, I’m morbidly obese. The fabulous Jazmine from Jazzabelle’s Diary is a supermodel in the making, yet she tells me blogging can make her feel ugly. Again, if Jazmine is ugly, I’m a troll in lipstick. Could our exposure to these perfect ‘real people’, who blog just like us and who aren’t models or celebs, lead us to feel less than enamoured with our own ‘real person’ bodies? Could blogging tempt us to judge others because they don’t live up to the standards being set?

There was an article in Marie Claire this week about healthy living bloggers and the levels of perfection they present to their readers. I don’t read any of the blogs mentioned and judging by the comments, most disagree with the notion that they may be pressured into dieting or exercising after reading a blog. But there are a few who admit to striving for perfection so they can blog about their slim figure/zero calorie meal/intense running regime.

There’s a difference between people who model clothing in magazines and those who wear clothing on blogs. Magazines make a huge fuss about ‘real women’ (a term I despise), but this term should not exist in the blogsphere, because we’re all real women. We exist; we walk and talk and breathe, and that makes us real. No matter what size we are.

Have you ever felt the niggles of insecurity when reading blogs, or when writing your own? Have you ever acted on them?

42 Comments

Ellie

I understand what you mean, I like to think of Blogger as a positive community, but these negative insecurities can surface from it. I think we just need to be able to appreciate ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚

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Heather-Louise

I totally agree with you on the ‘real women’ thing, it’s such a ridiculous phrase.
I’ve grown up with an immense amount of insecurities, purely due to being bullied from the age of 8, up until I turned 18 and left high school. At a size 8/10, I’m happy with my weight knowing that, yes I am skinny, but more importantly I’m healthy – in high school I was bombarded with the question ‘are you anorexic?’ and ‘are you bulimic?’ I was also told everyday by the ‘cool girls’ that I was ugly and nobody would ever want me.

Now, a year on I’m living with and engaged to the most amazing boy I could imagine, but still suffer from anxiety about how I look almost every day as my confidence has been utterly shattered. I started blogging about a month ago in the hope that I could try and gain some self-esteem and speak to like minded people, such as yourself.

Thank you for this post, I think it’s about time people stop viewing the differences in us as flaws, and just start accepting that we are all unique and beautiful in our own way!

Heather-Lou x

HeatherRetro

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Laura

As a ‘healthy living’ blogger the marie claire article has really caused a huge impact. I think your comments are spot on, here in the blogging world we are all ‘real women’ (i hate that bloody term too) and that means all shapes and sizes, different styles, different approaches to eating and exercise – these differences should be celebrated. I do think an interesting point has been highlighted about how people can relate to the information and images we put out there but surely the blogging world puts out a more balanced view than magazines which can promote a very narrow view of whats beautiful and healthy? Great post, soz for the long comment! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Kendra

I just started reading some of the blogs mentioned in the article (and many others like them) and some of them posted really good responses to the article. It seems the writer went into it with a vandetta and was very misleading while interviewing the bloggers, about the focus of the article.

On the other hand, I find it a little unrealistic. All this talk about stop comparing yourself to others, yadda yadda. I think it’s human nature for us to compare ourselves to others, and to strive to improve ourselves based on ideals we create from things around us. Sure this can be taken to an unhealthy level (eating disorders, depression, poor self-esteem), and I surely don’t want that, but we (especially, women) will never stop comparing ourselves to others. Just my two cents.

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jaljen

The media coverage is extraordinary. One mag has red-carpet pictures and the next mag has a zoom lens on a supposed bulge or bit of dry skin. Madonna’s veins for example!
Forget it. We’re “supposed” to look like Cheryl Cole (fully airbrushed of course) but if we do manage all the primping the lenses will be trained just to catch us on an off-day.
It’s sick.
And YOU, Jen, look lovely.

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Lauren

How can anyone call a size 10 ‘plus size’? It’s ridiculous!

When I hear the term ‘real woman’ all I can think is of course we’re all real women? We’ve all got lady bits right? If those parts are attached to a size 6, or size 26 body, we’re all ‘real women’.

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Anonymous

v good post and i agree with your points and comments, however i think the person who called lily “plus size” did so to get to her because they knew her weight was a weak point for her because she used to be bigger. i think very few people would actually call a uk size 10 “plus size”, even in the world of fashion blogs.

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Danni and Maria

I think writing a blog has made me more confident. Like any girl, I have grown up with a lot of insecurities but I think blogging demonstrates you can look fab whatever you wear and it is possible to disguise things you don’t like with your clothes or change your weight etc. like Lily has worked hard to do. I do think people always compare themselves to others but I just try to do it without being TOO critical of myself… having said that, I do have my off days!

Maria xxx

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Rachel

I’ve just started my blog the other night after being so inspired by all of you incredible bloggers. However at the moment my camera is broken (which I hope is fixed tomorrow) but this means that I cannot post outfit pictures, something which I am sort of thankful for, at the moment.
I think this is because I don’t consider myself overweight, although who knows what the ‘industry’ says, but what is more to me is that I don’t personally think that I’m that pretty. I’m recovering from some bad skin problems and I guess I just want to show that fashion can give you the confidence to get through, if I can get the confidence to upload myself to the internet.
I guess this would be a whole lot easier if you looked like Lily (LLYMLRS) Blair (Blaironabudget) or Emma (OhEmma).

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Kelly

It’s such a mad world when someone who is a size 10 can be labelled plus size. I really worry for people like that.

Some bloggers, I am talking about a small very small handful make an issue out of their weight and size, posting pictures in which they don’t look the least bit fat and commenting “I look mega whale like but yeh” etc, that can be annoying.
Me, as a size 14 am I’d imagine a larger blogger than a lot I’ve seen. But then there are some amazing plus size bloggers.
Whatever size I don’t think people should be made to justify their size or what they choose to wear, it’s their life. They are sharing so if you don’t like, like anything else internet based, click the red cross and forget it. Simple.

Another great blogging issue. Love them Jen.
Not sure if I’ve missed it, but ‘Keeping up with the bloggers’ may a good next choice. ๐Ÿ™‚

xxx

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Sam Harvey

all we can do is focus on how WE feel. everybody has their own game going on, they don’t have to understand your game. and that is ok. it is all ok for everybody to get what they want with different expressions.

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Victoria India

I don’t think it makes me have hang ups about my image. Reading Lilys blog has given me confidence about myself, and im currently feeling a lot more healthy.

But i do i feel pressured to have the latest ‘it’ and ‘on trend’ items in my outfit posts. I can’t afford to do that so that does kinda get me a bit annoyed.

But that’s just a personal feeling, no one has made me feel like that xo

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Rhamnousia @ Desi Girl Does Makeup

I feel it has made me notice “faults” a lot more with my face.

I think that is inevitable though, if you’re going to shove a camera in your face and shoot with the super macro function on, you just have to remember that sometimes you make yourself think you are a lot worse that you actually are.

My main “worry” since I started my blog was my nose and how big the pores on it were but a few weeks ago I was out shopping and an SA at a concession noticed I had pores on my nose but asked me how I managed to make them shrink so much..so it just goes to show, the things you think are the worst about you aren’t usually such a big deal.

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jennie

The way the media portray weight is very strange; if a celebrity puts on a few pounds they’re suddenly obese & if they lose a few pounds then they’re dangerously thin. There’s no middle ground and there needs to be.

If Lily is ‘plus sized’ then quite frankly, I’m a whale. There are some very strange people who seem to get pleasure from leaving anonymous comments to bloggers specifically about things that might be a little sensitive.

I’m a size 12/14 and am more than happy with that because I used to be a size 18. I know I was overweight then but more importantly I know I’m not overweight now, so any comments like that go straight over my head. There are other aspects of my life where I have let negative comments get to me, but I think I’m at that point where even they can’t affect me anymore. Life really is too short to care what anonymous strangers think of me.

xx

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E is for Eleanor

Well done Jen, this needed shouting from the rooftops. To be honest, I’m sick to death of seeing all this blogger hate and negative outpourings. Thank you! x

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charl

i cant believe a size 10 is a plus size!!!!

i must be classed now as a woman who needs a crane to get her out of bed then!!

its so depressing how everything is based on what size clothes you wear.. i think as long as you look and feel good thats all that matters..
but it seems that even if you do feel confident in your shape someone is to ready and willing to pick holes
to me its so refreshing if i see a girl of a normal size wearing clothes that i can afford and not some stick airbrushed to the max wearing clothes i can only dream about!
keep up the good work love!!!

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Roo

Stuff like this really winds me up (not you, the issue). When will we stop pandering to these vile body fascists?

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Harriet

I have felt insecurity, although curiously not over my weight! I’m pretty happy with my size, but I do get hair envy, height envy, chin envy (I’m probably most insecure about the shape of my chin! Bizarre I know, but someone once told me as a joke I looked like Ian Hislop and it’s kind of stuck with me ever since. I really like Ian Hislop but I don’t want to look like him!)

The thing is the blogging world is in general a very supportive and friendly place, but at the same time everything you own and wear and what you look like is out on display for everyone to see. It’s hard not to occaisionally think ‘oh she’s so nice, and so pretty, and she takes amazing photos, and she’s doing so many cool things, and she has loads of followers,why aren’t I like that..?’ I guess I don’t get body envy so much as general blogger envy!

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WeShop

Great post, Jen. Once I’d discovered fashion blogs earlier this year, I stopped buying so many magazines. Now I take most of my ideas and inspiration from other bloggers. I love seeing clothes on women of all different shapes and sizes as opposed to the media one size. Body envy does creep in – but sometimes it’s over the most curvacious people, the ones the media would label plus-sized I guess. Blogging for me gives perspective. xx
http://www.weshopthereforeweare.co.uk/

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Steph0188

Great post ๐Ÿ™‚
I feel the blogging ‘world’ if you like, is either bloody amazing & supportive or it will get u and drag you down.
I’ve put on A LOT of weight over the last two years, and in a way, I am like you. Even though I physically dont care what size I am, I am starting to look in the mirror and go URGH, THAT IS VILE!
I think people saying size 10 is fat, they are everywhere and not just in blogging land, unfortently thats just how it seems to be! I dont think fat people are more ugly, and on fashion & beauty blogs if you wear the clothes/makeup well- Im gunna wanna copy/take inspiration from you what ever size you are.
x

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Alex

It’s a tricky one. I know I’m too negative about myself and it does comes across in the blog sometimes but it’s just an instinctive reaction for me – I say the bad things before anyone else can (not that I think any of my followers would, because they’re all amazing).

If I do say things like that though, it’s not ever to fish for compliments, it’s because I genuinely think them about myself. And I know as I’m typing that that it’s a terrible thing to own up, and I’m trying to get better. I would love to have your body confidence but for some of us it’s a unrelenting struggle. I see things in photos of myself that I loathe but most people probably wouldn’t notice them in the first place.

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annabelle

hate ‘real women’. hits any size of woman who doesn’t fit the norm specified with a big fat/skinny stick.

something you brought up that i haven’t read in another article on the same terms as yours – the idea of advertising healthy meals/exercise to bloggers. i can see why bloggers do it: it’s the same type of verbal motivation to keep up the healthy lifestyle you would get from telling your ‘real life’ friends. however, i find that, unless it’s specifically a healthy eating/exercise blog (of which i read NONE), then reading these details from a fashion blogger actually puts me off reading their blog. x

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alltumbledown

I’ve definitely noticed a trend in the blogosphere where slim, size 0 (American) bloggers have many more followers than those of us who are normal sized. Perhaps we’re so used to the editorial model that it carries over to the choice of blogs we read? I am not certain how it affects my self image, which is generally positive but honest (ie, fine with how I look, know I could stand to lose some weight/be more active.)

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Shibby

Awesome post!

I definitely read some blogs and think I wish I had a figure like that. I do like who I am and I’m happy and like you I dont think numbers mean anything, but something inside me wants to pull off clothes like that. Then I realise that’s just silly and carry on with my life ๐Ÿ™‚

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Leia

I’m really glad you raised this issue because it’s actually something that I’ve been thinking about lately. I too feel that I am not affected by how *other* people look – I see slim, gorgeous models/bloggers/actresses and admire their beauty, but I don’t try to judge myself against their standards.

However… fashion blogging, and constantly taking pictures of myself, has allowed me the ability to scrutinize *myself*. And that’s kind of scary for me. While it’s good in many ways – I can see what’s flattering, what needs to be taken to the tailor, what goes with what – it also draws attention to the bits of my body that I’m not comfortable with. I feel like I’m on display so much and it has made me feel a bit insecure about my body. So blogging has definitely raised body image issues for me, and I haven’t yet found out the best way to deal with them…

Leia

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SabinePsynopsis

Mmmmh, it’s an interesting issue and I hope what I say doesn’t sound totally wrong, but personally I’m finding fashion per se belongs into the sphere of dreams and the myth of perfection and beauty – and it’s the realm where I want to get away from reality a bit. This doesn’t mean that I don’t agree with this being a problem (especially for younger girls, who are still insecure with their bodies), it’s just I do not necessarily want the truth when it comes to fashion…

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Vicki

unfortunately blogging does sometimes give me hang ups, mainly being that i have bad skin..but this is a hang up ive always had and i am trying to get over it and deal with it cos if i wanna post outfit posts i have got to! ๐Ÿ™‚ very well written jen!! you always cover great issues! x

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Nadine2point0

Just found your blog and I absolutely love it – especially this post. So … much….to ….say!
Basically I agree with everyone here that 10 is plus? Wow. We all know the detachment from runway to realway and what looks good on us, and I am sad that I look like a Sumo wrestler in a mandarin collar…sniff. I don’t really post a lot of photos of myself, but I have no problems sharing the fact that I am no size 2 and I’m super Ok with that, really. And in some stores I’m a 12 and others a 14/15…then recently I went to Old Navy and got a XXL cardi becasue I loved it. Numbers? Bah!
I sew for my work, and custom make clothing because I find off the rack rarely fits us ladies like it should.
A recent summer trip to a waterpark resort in the U.S. made me feel skinnier than I have in years and when I look around, everyone was seemingly happy which is great but who knows. All I know is that what is important is the whole “airplane oxygen mask” thing: love yourself first and then you can take care of loving others.

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Janelle Lena

Wow, this was such a great and powerful blog post. As a fashion lover and normal human being, I’ve been a size 4, a size 6, a size 8, a size 10, and back down again. When blogging, there’s a need to put your best “self” forward, and for me, that has always (subconsciously) been a thinner self. It’s hard to compete with gorgeous, model-esque fashion bloggers. I’m really glad your brought this up to discuss.

You’re so lovely. (:

Your new follower,
Janelle Lena

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shealennon

I’ve had just the opposite experience, and maybe it’s because of the positive voice of the blogs I read. Since I’ve started reading blogs (and blogging myself) my body image has actually improved. I still love my magazines, but for true inspiration and confidence-boosting, I turn to the blogosphere.

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Alice

This post is so well written and again you have got it spot on. I agree with a lot of the things you are saying. A wonderfully insightful post xx

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Kimber!

I find this quite tricky. Although I enjoy the blogs of everyday girls, I didn’t make mine public until recently & I can’t pretend I don’t look at models and think “I’d rather look like that”. Does that make me a bad person? ๐Ÿ™

While size 10 is definitely definitely not “plus size” in everyday world, fashion models are a different breed where size 4 or 6 is “normal” (add to that their ridiculous height & the proportions are even more skewed). I know a size 6/8 model under strict inch loss unstructions. I suppose the comparison is made because fashion blogging sort of implies that that person wants to BE a model- although, as one myself, I understand that in fact it’s ALL about the fabulous clothes for these girlies ๐Ÿ™‚

http://kimbersfiddlestick.blogspot.com

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Jazzabelle

brilliant post, jen! i am so annoyed that my first, and very long, comment didn’t go through. damn my dodgy internet connection! so i shall leave you with a smaller version of what i previously wrote.

i’m in a awkward position here, because i have very low self esteem and body image, but i also happen to a be rather slim, with a clothing size of four (american size 0) to six, have skinny legs and weigh less than six and a half stone, so where do i fit in here? above and on other blogs, i am constantly reading ‘i’m not a skinny size zero, i’m a real woman’. it really upsets me and frankly annoys me, as i am a ‘real woman’ too, i just happen to be the size that many women hate, or aspire to be. talking about my size, and people who force themselves to be slim, a few years ago when i was a lot slimmer than i am now, many of my photographs from an old social network site where posted on pro-ana (pro-anorexia) websites, where people looked and commented on my pictures, aspiring to be my size. my pictures were next to a skinny nicole richie and mary-kate ashley, i literally couldn’t believe my eyes when i was told i was on these websites. shocking, right?

i feel like i’m caught in the middle of this issue. ninety percent of the time, i hate the way i look. i have bad skin, horrible hair, i just don’t think i’m that pretty. i look nowhere near as good in real life as i do in my photographs and i an certainly not a supermodel in the making. in a way i feel you have contradicted yourself by saying that, because you said above that there is a difference between people who model clothing in magazines and those who wear clothing on blogs. so once again, i feel like i am caught in the middle of this issue?

as i’ve said before, i find it quite difficult to express my feelings in words, so i’d love to meet you one day for coffee and a chat ๐Ÿ™‚ sorry for rambling and probably not making any sense!

jazmine. xxx

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Serina

Whoever called her a plus size model is absolutely ridiculous! Great post, it’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite a while. T

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LadyBugSays ...

Great post. I haven’t found that fashion blogs have had a negative influence on how I feel about my body shape, but beauty blogs have definately made me feel worse about my skin/make up! I love that blogging is actually about real women, whether a size 4 or a 24 you are still a real woman!

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