This post had been sitting in my draft folder for quite a while and after reading a few blog posts about blogging and diversity, I felt like it was time I shared it. I was writing as quickly as the words were coming to me, so it might be a little wordy. Grammer might not be 100%, but it’s all of my thoughts and feelings on the topic of diversity and how this is the time that bloggers need to turn to brands to make a change!
Blogging and Diversity 101: Why This Needs To Happen ASAP
I read a post titled Diversity Matters yesterday and it’s probably one of the best posts I’ve read about the blogging industry recently. It’s a strange thing to me, that it’s 2018 and we’re still having issues with diversity. It’s not just happening in the blogging industry either, it’s happening in our day-to-day lives as well.
The event that kinda prompted this post and this rant was a certain blogging conference that just happened last weekend. If you’re not a blogger, you probably have no idea what I’m even talking about. Let’s just say that it’s a huge conference, where bloggers and brands gather for a weekend. I’d say it’s a who’s who type of event and if you’re invited, you know you’ve made it as a blogger. You’re also getting an opportunity to network with other HUGE bloggers and brands. This is a big deal for their blogs and for the amount of money they could potentially be making when the time comes to work with brands on sponsored deals.
Lack of Diversity At Blogging Events
The big problem I have with the event is that when I saw IG stories from women who attended and when I looked at hashtags to check out what was happening at the conference, I realized that I was looking the same woman over and over again. Let me explain even more clearly: White woman, skinny, aged 25-35, blonde balayage hair and chic, fashionable attire. Also, if you frequent the content that they share on their IG, you’ll see the same women being featured. Over and over again. This is NOT ok.
Yes, I am a white woman. I have (had) blonde balayage hair and yeah, I try to look chic and fashionable often. However, I feel like the woman I represent WAS NOT represented by the women who attended this event. I would say that a lot of us bloggers feel that way. Hell, it’s not even bloggers who feel this frustration. It’s real women! What happened to women of color? What happened to the women who aren’t a size 2? What happened to the women over 35?! Sure, there were probably a few non-white, size 2, blonde women in attendance, but I sure didn’t see many.
The thing is, I love blogging, but I’m so disappointed by it lately. Just like magazines, brands are only catering to a select type of women for a lot of their sponsored work. Not all brands, there are actually some brands that do an amazing job working with many types of women. However, a lot of brands only work with certain bloggers that look a “certain” way. I see this all of the time, especially in the beauty and fashion part of blogging.
Bloggers and Being Over 30
Being 36 is something that terrifies me because a lot of brands DON’T want to work with me because they think I’m too old. Fashion brands have turned me down because I’m not the average size. But guess what guys? I am a real woman that people turn to for advice and information. Brands just sometimes don’t see it that way and I miss out on a lot of opportunities because of it.
I recently made the decision to stopped attending as many blogging events that I used to because I felt so out of place with the other bloggers who were invited. I wasn’t in the same “mold” as these women were and to be honest, I just felt so out of place that it was no longer comfortable. Isn’t that a damn shame! To not go to a blogging event that even though it’s something you’d love to attend all because you’re not comfortable being the one “different” girl at the party. This feels like high school all over again. It’s not just me either, I hear this from a lot of bloggers!
My friend Lindsay from Bourbon & Lipstick wrote an excellent piece titled “Dear Brands: Where’s The Diversity?!?” When she gets fired up about a topic, I love to see what she writes. She speaks so much truth about bloggers and brands and how this whole situation needs to change.
I’m aware of my privilege as a white, heterosexual, middle-class woman, and that I have it much, much easier than most – I’m certainly not here to dispel that fact. But these women do not represent me, either. I’d personally love to see someone in my age, income, and body-type bracket instead of indistinguishable 20-somethings over and over. I cannot buy what they’re selling. The majority of us cannot.
If only brands would realize that the average woman IS NOT the one being shown in their marketing campaigns. There are so many bloggers out there who are wanting to work with brands and are willing to do incredible work for them and to talk about their products with their readers. It’s just that a lot of brands are only working with certain “types” of women and that’s frustrating for both bloggers and the average woman who reads blogs.
The women that read my blog (YOU) are an incredibly diverse group of women. I’ve got all age groups, all styles, all skin tones, all income levels. I’ve got some women who are living the big city life and other women who are more small-town type women. I’ve got women who have children and women who don’t. I’ve got working women and stay at home moms. The thing is, women who read our blogs are all looking for different information. So as a blogger, this is an opportune time for me to be able to showcase different products at all different price points and styles. However, if brands aren’t wanting to work with “certain” bloggers, that’s missed opportunities to get their work across to MANY women who are reading my blog.
Bloggers Need To Speak Up
I’d love to see the blogging industry and brands really do some thinking on this topic. How can we create an environment that showcases ALL women? I want to go to a blogging conference, with brands in attendance and see a diverse group of women being represented. This is a time for bloggers to speak up about this topic and do something about it. As a blog reader, you can support the blogs you read by clicking on their affiliate links, by leaving comments and engaging with them on their social media. All the engagement helps bloggers show that their readers are interacting with them and engaging with their posts when they try to work with brands in the future.
Sure, not every blogger will get every opportunity thrown their way and I get that. But to all the bloggers that are out there, busting their butt to produce good content and grow their audience, I think brands should really look to those bloggers more often and give them a chance. Learn from what the magazines did wrong by only putting certain women on covers, let’s be better than that and give everyone a chance to be represented!
For my readers, know that I try my best to put information out there that is relatable to all of you! Sure, from time to time certain posts might not apply to everyone, but I try to mix it up. This is what I want from brands as well and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will happen in the future. I hope so at least. I think all women deserve to be represented by the brands that they are buying. That’s only fair and I hope that brands will soon realize how important that is.