How well-known bloggers are manipulating their images in Photoshop, making themselves appear much smaller – and we keep liking it.
It’s a well-known fact that mainstream A-list fashion blogs have gone from “exciting peek into a fashionable and real life” to a highly curated, stylized and manipulated depiction of a parallel universe in which everything is bright, bubbly and perfect. I remember the Rumi Neely’s of the world awkwardly posing in front of their garage doors, a Nikon CoolPix capturing their pigeon-toed poses. The pics were uploaded onto the blog for the world to see. And people liked seeing that. But soon came the professional wave of blogging, equipping every single blogger boyfriend with a DSLR, a pack of lenses, and a subscription to Photoshop. And with some, the realness began to fade.
I was truly kind of shocked – betrayed even. Here I am, looking at pictures of a girl who publicizes herself as an inspiration of style, with realness and transparency being the connotation that a personal style blog still ought to have. But it’s none of that. Her photos have been highly edited, manipulated, transformed – and not only on the blog. Even the small squares, supposedly taken in an instant and upload onto the web immediately, need to run through the Photoshop factory. Favourite tools du jour: liquify and warp. I’m talking about Danielle from WeWoreWhat which, if you read a blog every once in a while, you’ll probably know.
A lazy Sunday spend on GOMI had me learning the true colours of the 23-year old New York blogger. I’ve been following @weworewhat for quite sometime, pinning her images, envying her wardrobe and probably subconsciously letting her affect my clothing purchases. I’ll be 25 in a few weeks, and I consider myself to be not as easily influenced by the things I come across on social media than the hundreds thirteen year old girls endlessly scrolling down Danielle’s instagram feed. But I still caught myself eyeing her pictures, thinking that she has the kind of body I wouldn’t mind having, how she rocks the dresses + flats combo that I would look short and frumpy in. I don’t take these thoughts with me – they leave my mind when I exit her page in favour to Maddie the Coonhound. But I can imagine young girls take these thoughts with them – when they dress, when they eat, when they work out. But taking someone who manipulates an entire online presence as your idol can be extremely dangerous. And seemingly it’s not just youngsters that are being affected. Moreover, a thesis by Kendyl M. Klein (2013) investigates the relationship between eating disorders and high consumption of social media by female college students. And guess what the conclusion is?
Wearing the hat of fashion blogger whilst manipulating your pictures to the extent of looking nothing like you do IRL is awful. People will like your pics, like your style, like your blog, think they like you. But they actually like a version of you that doesn’t exist. And I cannot imagine how that must feel for the blogger herself. Stuck in an illusion – the latest trend in blogging?
See the images for yourself. Fellow Belgian blogger Siel did a write-up on the topic just yesterday, while Rima from Fashionisers rang the bell back in April of this year. But the bloggers in the article are still up to their ways and not much attention has been given. Big brands continue to work with the bloggers, and if you call them out on it, they just block you. So what’s next? I’m not trying to start a movement with this post, but even just raising awareness to the matter is important. Love to hear your thoughts on the matter.