I’m no great ascetic. I like nice things, I want nice things, I appreciate nice things. I’m very blessed and fortunate to have lots of them. There’s nothing wrong with nice things.
But there is something wrong with the lion’s share of blogs that ostensibly deal with shopping for and acquiring such nice things, especially when it comes to the things that people wear, or how they style and accessorize themselves. To me, the model for a great blog about nice things related to fashion and design and personal appearance would be structured along these lines:
1. I found something fabulous and got it!
2. This makes me feel great about myself!
3. I want to share that great feeling with you all!
But if you waddle around the Internet for a while, most of the blogs that you will find dedicated to fashion and design and personal appearance follow this model instead:
1. I found something fabulous and bought it!
2. You don’t have this thing, and the other thing that you do have is not fabulous!
3. Therefore, I am going to publicly mock you in front of my friends!
4. This makes me feel great about myself!
The meanness of these kinds of blogs really makes my soul hurt, especially when the targets of their venom aren’t celebrities, but rather regular folks living regular lives in regular places. The content of such blogs is just one tiny step removed from the sort of teenage cyber-bullying that all too often results in terrible, hurtful, tragic results. They are also stunningly shallow and unfeeling: their authors and readers have no idea what goes on in the heads of others when they make choices about their appearance, nor do they have any idea what economic, social, educational or emotional constraints the targets of their cruelty operate within.
The most hurtful part of this hateful approach to me is the fact that most of the targets of the mockery probably were, themselves, thinking “I found something fabulous and got it, this makes me feel great about myself!” So why would anyone else want to undermine their ability to feel good about themselves by mocking their appearance online? Does their happiness subtract from your happiness? And how do you think those mocked folks would feel if they logged on and saw themselves (or others like them) being cruelly judged in a public forum, with streams of anonymous, giggling ZOMG me-too’s providing a sad, shrill Greek chorus of encouragement and reinforcement for the original meanness?
That’s just an awful cycle of inner ugliness. Awful, mean, cruel and pointless. If you wouldn’t want some Seventh Grade bully to publicly, mercilessly mock your child, sister, friend, nephew or cousin online or on the playground, then why do you think it’s okay for you to do it to others as a (so-called) adult?
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if there were fewer Fashion Bully blogs in it? And wouldn’t the world also be a better place if more of us read life-affirming, uplifting blogs, rather than wallowing in those blogs that anchor themselves in shallow harbors, and promote the deliberate, methodical, collaborative chipping away at the dignity of other people by mocking them for what they look like, or what they wear?
I certainly would enjoy such a world. Wouldn’t you?