making lemonade

making lemonade

i recently read this article as linked through another blog which i won’t reference.

i read it to get a sense of what the argument was but to be honest, i can’t agree.  in fact, it’s been bothering me which is why i decided to record my thoughts.

for the record, i do not consider my blog a lifestyle blog.  i would call it cultural since the majority of what i highlight is art, photography, and the writing of others.  only once in a while i do a personal post which might be considered “lifestyle.”  all this is to say that i’m not being defensive in the following.

the argument is that lifestyle blogs are vapid and designed to make women feel inadequate.  that by showing a sanitized version of their lives, bloggers are setting too high a standard for readers thereby making women “feel bad” about their lot in life.

to that i say, of course it’s sanitized!  i wouldn’t invite someone into my house if i didn’t pick up my laundry from the floor and i wouldn’t post a photo of a dirty room on my blog either.

but mostly, i don’t see the harm in highlighting the positive.  i’m well aware that these bloggers lives are not perfect but they choose to show me the good portions.  it makes me feel that i too can find good portions in my life, and so i do.

this post for example.  the photos are pretty, yes, but this is what you don’t see:

  • first row: waiting for a tow truck / stuck in a hot car for 10 hours /
  • second row: got sick from this drink / {a lovely day}
  • third row: was late to work / was super exhausted but pushed through
  • fourth row: {awesome show!}
  • fifth row:  stuck in a hot car for 10 hours (again)

i could have mentioned all the negative feelings and experiences associated with these photos but i chose to focus on the positive.  do you feel better knowing i have bad days?  probably not.  and, honestly, as bad as i may have felt at those moments, putting those feelings aside and creating a beautiful or interesting photo and sharing it made me feel better.

those people who feel bad about seeing someone elses’ life portrayed as perfect need to realize it is only a veneer.  these blogs are run by designers and making things look pretty is in their blood.  the intention is not to boast or to make anyone feel bad but to look for the good.

2 Comments

Jess A
June 26, 2012 2:48 am

I agree with you that the intention is not to boast or make anyone feel bad. If anything, the intention is to receive positive feedback and reassurance on the beautiful things they have created.
However, I think the article (through no fault of the author, who doesn’t seem to be able to settle on what exactly she’s writing about) has some valid points. The main being, “…tension between authenticity and aspiration may be at the heart of why lifestyle blogs don’t just inspire readers, they also tend to bum them out.” I don’t read any lifestyle blogs, but I read a few fashion and several photography blogs, and while I greatly enjoy doing so, there is that moment when I get to the end of the last entry and think, “wow that looks so great!” and then I look around myself and think, “My life should look like that. Why doesn’t my life look like that?” and there is a moment of slightly bummed out self-judgment.
Is that the blogger’s fault? Of course not! And is this a phenomenon singular to blogging in general? Absolutely not! We all watch carefully crafted movies, read glossy magazines filled with flawless pictures and novels that cover several years time without mentioning a single bathroom break. The desire to see/hear/read something beautiful is entirely natural. Being disappointed that not everything actually IS beautiful is also natural. What we do with that disappointment, whether we allow it to motivate us to find/create a little more beauty in our lives, or allow it to totally bum us out and complain that it’s someone else’s fault that we feel crappy today, is up to us.
In the end, we all live in the same world, the only difference is what we make of it.

sarah
June 26, 2012 2:16 pm

“What we do with that disappointment, whether we allow it to motivate us to find/create a little more beauty in our lives, or allow it to totally bum us out and complain that it’s someone else’s fault that we feel crappy today, is up to us. ” you are so, SO right. i think what irritated me about that article was that they were blaming someone else for how they felt when, in reality, we have control over how we choose to use those feelings of dissatisfaction/disappointment.
thank you for the well thought out comment! :) i love it when i can use this blog as a platform for discussion.

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