Holly Hilgenberg of Bitch Magazine-- one of my favorite feminist publications-- recently posted this thoughtful article about "lifestyle blogging."
She gets into why these soft focused, Instagram'ed up the wazoo, DIY-ish blogs that portray a polished version of a supposedly simple life are so damn popular. Mostly it's their combination of authenticity and aspiration.
Authenticity in that, these blogs are, as she says:
...unlike more traditional forms of media like magazines, television, and movies, blogs are supposed to be real. In theory, they exist outside the economic strictures of parent companies and advertising contracts; they are, at the most basic level, online records born from a desire to share with others, rather than satisfy a bottom line.
And aspiration in the sense that readers look at these sites and hope to have a life as equally filled with cupcakes, smiling children, and good hair days.
Hilgenberg points out just how white, straight, and wealthy most popular lifestyle bloggers are-- which isn't the bloggers' fault, but it is amazing how traditionally feminine the documented pursuits are as well.
The copious images of female-focused domesticity can’t help but underscore that, while we’re all free to choose our choices, a clear and privileged path to happiness and achievement runs through the kitchen, the garden, and the nursery.
I think her most interesting (and Bitch-esque) point about these blogs though, is that "so few of them elicit the challenge to societal expectations of femininity one would reasonably expect in a medium so dominated by women." And:
So while lifestyle bloggers can rightly claim that their “choice” (that is, their privilege) to not work outside the home, their choice to be primary parents to their children, and their excitement about rewallpapering their downstairs bathroom is just that—an individual choice. But an accumulation of such choices promotes a homogenous narrative indistinguishable from those that have come before.
God I just LOVE the world homogenous. Total side track story: back in college, my friend Syd and I got into a ridiculous email account competition that saddled us with gmail accounts like firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Yes they still work. Yes we would like you to email us things.
But back to the blog issue at hand: I think Hilgenberg makes a really important point, and that is: if we can write whatever we want about on the free-for-all that is the Internet, why do so many of us so often self-censor and abide by existing, acceptable norms?