Alternately Titled: Sorry, eighteen-year-old me.
“Why is it that being a ‘female blogger’ means 90% of posts are fashion or makeup related?”
That was the thought that ran through my head this morning as I scrolled through Twitter, looking at @FemaleBloggerRT and searching for new blogs to follow.
My second thought almost immediately was, “I should start a fashion and makeup blog. There’s a billion of those and they all seem to get pretty popular pretty fast.” (Wow, early-morning me; be more of a dick.)
I think I’ll be eternally frustrated by my first thought. If you’re a woman, especially a ciswoman, and people find out you have a blog, they generally assume it’s a fashion or beauty blog. *insert grumbling about stereotypes and the patriarchy here*
On that point, though: Maybe so many female bloggers do fashion and beauty because that’s where the success is for female bloggers. Which leads into that second thought.
I’ll admit that my just-woke-up mindless pondering is extremely hyperbolic and dismissive. First, there aren’t a billion fashion/makeup blogs. Maybe a million, if you count all the inactives. Second, the ones that got popular (which is only a fraction of the grand total) did so because the people running them worked their asses off to gain and maintain their following. Taking fashion photos is hard enough (finding the right setting, lighting, posing, making sure the clothes are falling in a way which shows them off, etc…). Taking fashion photos using a tripod and camera timer (as many have to do) is a Herculean task. I have nothing but respect for those folks (and contrary to popular belief, it’s not just women who run fashion/beauty blogs) and they deserve every fan and follower they get.
Fashion and makeup blogs are so popular because there’s always something new in each one. No two people on the planet have the exact same features or aesthetic or style. People have different face or body shapes, different skin tones, different hair styles/colors/textures… Yes, there are a lot of skinny white female fashion bloggers, but even they don’t all share the exact same style.
Fashion and beauty blogs are so popular because they appeal to people who are looking for reflections of themselves online. There are seven billion people on this floating rock and they’re all unique, but they all have similarities. Because fashion/beauty bloggers are also all unique in some way, those seven billion people have options for finding those similarities. This blogger has a similar body type to mine, this blogger has a similar eye shape, this blogger has a similar hair style… There is always someone looking for some aspect of what these bloggers/vloggers offer. They provide reflection and representation.
Fashion and beauty bloggers rock.
I’ll just never be one of them.
I wonder how different my online life might have been if I had started a beauty and fashion blog and/or a YouTube channel back when I was eighteen and still actually cared about that stuff. That would have been back in 2006 when YouTube was still relatively new (they were founded in 2005 and acquired by Google in 2006). Like, if I had just thought about it, I might have been one of the first beauty vloggers on YouTube. When I was a teenager, everyone always said I should be a makeup artist or hair stylist. So, I had the appeal, I guess.
Maybe I wouldn’t have been very popular (that anxiety of being on screen, you know; it’s why I never started a YouTube channel for any reason). I would have faded into the background and my life would be relatively unchanged.
But, maybe I would have become really popular and gotten sponsorships and worked with my favorite makeup companies to create custom colors with my name on them. Maybe I wouldn’t be panicking over money right now, because I could live off my YouTube earnings. I would have a pre-established fanbase to promote my side hustles to.
Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll never know, because I never tried.
And now, I just don’t care enough about fashion or makeup to bother. I still like fashion and makeup from an observational stance, and even from a “wishful thinking” point of view. I would like to be one of those people who dresses cute and poses in front of artful graffiti for my blog.
I’m just… not. I’ve seriously considered just buying seven of the same shirt and seven of the same pants just so I don’t even have to think about fashion. I like to say I’d accessorize the hell out of that same outfit, but I’m also realistic in that I wear pretty much the same aroma therapy pendant every day and that’s it. Over the years, my makeup has gone from bright, outlandish, punk-inspired smudges, and gothy black lipstick to… pretty much nonexistent. When I do wear makeup, it’s usually subtle browns, maybe some eyeliner if I don’t feel too lazy, and mascara. Maybe powder, blush, and lipstick if I’m going somewhere fancy. Maybe.
I think eighteen-year-old me might be appalled to see what she’s grown into.
Which is fine, because when I look back on eighteen-year-old me, I’m kind of appalled to see what a judgemental asshole I used to be. I’ll gladly sacrifice looking cute for being even a slightly better person.
It’s probably for the best that I never thought to start a fashion blog or a beauty vlog. Being YouTube famous probably would have gone to my head and I would have ended up even more insufferable than I was before.
I mean, I’m still pretty insufferable, but it’s a compassionate and polite insufferable.
I love you all.
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