Friend Friday: Showcasing the Negative

The Friend Friday group started the discussion of showcasing the negative on our blogs on our newly founded Google Group.
Basically we were talking about certain blogs that either take photos of unsuspecting people in “bad” outfits, or take photos of other bloggers and make fun of them.
Since this is a very serious topic with varying opinions, I think it’ll be pretty interesting.

1. Do you post pictures on your blog, or would you if the opportunity came along, of people with poor fashion/beauty sense?
No and no. My opinion of what is “fashion” or “beauty” is different than everyone else, as should be evident from last week’s Friend Friday. Since we all perceive the negative in different ways, me making fun of something someone else is wearing isn’t really fair, nor it is what I want to do with my blog. So while I might get a giggle out of someone wearing PJs to the grocery store, I’m not going to highlight it on my blog.

If someone sent me a photo of themselves and asked me to give them some ideas how to improve/update on their outfit, I wouldn’t make it a post, unless they specifically requested it. I am more than happy to give someone tips or ideas of ways to improve upon an outfit, but I’m only going to do it if they ask.

I’ve seen photos on other blogs where I’ve thought to myself “wow, her skirt is way too short” or “her eye-makeup is awful,” but I keep those opinions to myself. I’m not to “out” people because they don’t fit into my standard of beauty or fashion. To each his/her own.

2. Do you read any blogs that highlight the bad? Why?
Yes. I subscribe to Poorly Dressed People. Before you tell me that it contradicts what I just said in the answer to number one, let me explain. I view PDP like LOL Cats for people. The majority of the people on that site sent in the photo of themselves, knowing it was funny. Plus, about 85% of the photos look like they’re from Halloween or costume parties, which makes it ever funnier. I don’t get a laugh out of the captions making fun of someone’s size or weight, but I get a kick out of the captions pointing out the middle-aged man in fairy wings and a tulle skirt, because that’s not what the “normal” perception of a middle-aged man is. That’s why I find it funny. Heck, I’m sure people have laughed at why I’m wearing because it’s not “normal.”

3. Should these bloggers get permission to post the pictures from the subject in the same way the street-style blogs do?
Yes. If someone thought I was dressed poorly (which, let’s face it, has happened to all of us), I wouldn’t want them to just take my photo, post it online and make fun of it. I’d rather they ask my permission. I wouldn’t agree, but at least they asked!

4. As human beings we are fascinated with disasters – of all sorts – why do you think that is? How to the blogs/websites that highlight the negative thrive?
I think we, as humans, have the odd desire to watch someone else fail. Even if it’s for something as stupid as how they dressed that day. If the majority of the world can’t get behind they outfit they’re wearing, it means they fail and we win. I think blogs that highlight the negative- any negative- thrive because people WANT to see someone else failing. That’s why gossip magazines and blogs (like Perez Hilton) are popular. Sure, the writing might be funny, but that’s not what you want to see. You want to see someone else who looks bad/broke up with the boyfriend/had a shitty day because it makes you feel a little bit better about yourself.

5. For many, fashion is subjective. Do you think, there can be anything that is objectively bad in the fashion world?
Oddly, no. I have a feeling that the person wearing those jeans/shoes/thong/fairly wings actually LIKES what they’re wearing. They probably think we’re all dressed as idiots. Fashion IS subjective. That’s the only thing that pisses me off about sites like this- they’re pushing THEIR opinion about what’s right and fashionable on the reader. But, then again, aren’t we doing that as style bloggers? Albeit in a different way, but it’s the same general idea.


Additionally, I wanted to quickly talk about something that popped up in our FBFF Google Group about this topic. Someone mentioned that they believed the writers of the blogs that make fun of other people and bloggers “are probably the same people who got made fun of in high school.” As someone who was ridiculed, made fun of, teased and ignored in high school, middle school and elementary school, I have to greatly disagree.

I know what it feels like to be made fun of, not just behind my back, but to my face. I’ve had people tell me how much they hate me, how much of a waste of space I am. I know what it feels like to walk into a room, only to have it fall silent because they were just talking about you. I’ve had people tell me how ugly I was, to my face, behind my back and let me assure you; it hurts more than anything you can imagine. I’ve run home from the bus, to my room and cried. I’ve been befriended, only to be stabbed in the back later when that person had gained my trust and spread rumors around. Believe me, I’ve lived through a lot of crap.

Perhaps the person who wrote that comment has had a different experience with bullies and with those others being teased. Perhaps they were one of the popular kids doing the teasing. As a “nerd” and knowing how much those comments hurt, why would it be assumed that those tormented in high school would be the writers?

Since I graduated high school, I’ve gone to college, even graduating early. I’m married, happy and successful. I do not plan to attend ANY of my high school reunions because I do not want to see most people I went to school with because it wasn’t a happy time for me. I still talk to a few people I went to school with, and I adore them. But a lot of people didn’t like me, I didn’t like them and there is no reason to see them again. Just because they made fun of me eight years ago gives me no right to make fun of others now.

I’m not trying to defend the writers of these blogs, but I’m trying to defend others that were teased in school, because I believe that offhand comment was extremely judgmental and a little rude.

Suze

PS- to read other opinions on this heavy topic, head over to Modlychic!

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28 thoughts on “Friend Friday: Showcasing the Negative

  1. Suze, I am right with you on this topic! Someone had suggested that my blog have a feature where I judge whether someone’s outfit has panache or not. I refuse to do it… it just feels so wrong. And like you said, I do have opinions, but I keep them to myself. Or in a private conversation/discussion with a friend. But I would never post them on the internet for all to read… it’s just plain rude and obnoxious. Also, as a true believer in karma, I would not want to face karma’s fierce and inevitable payback!

    ~Nicole

    • The idea itself is kind of a normal one, judging what someone is wearing. But then when you THINK about it and realize we all have different opinions, it is rude! It’s not what I want on my blog, so I won’t do it (and I’m glad you didn’t either!)

  2. Girl I loved your answers especially the side note at the bottom. I was known as the chubby little black girl back in elementary and middle school and was teased ALL THE TIME. I’m a quiet person by nature so that seemed to make it “easier” to picked on. I guess you can say I blossomed in college and when I went back home to NYC after being gone for years, no one recognized me and one guy pointed at my old house and told me all about the chubby little black girl that used to live there! So I completely understand how you feel and I always say that I would never degrade someone who degraded me. Karma is much bigger than me!

    • I was kinda worried about my sidenote, LOL. I don’t want to call out the person, but I wanted to give my opinion on the comment.

      And I agree! If you know what it feels like, why would you do it to someone else!?

  3. Hiya, I just joined the FF group, and I’m so glad cos all you girls are awesome! I really like your answers and totally agree about the being teased thing. I didn’t have a great time at school either, but why that would make me more likely to pick on others I don’t know!

  4. I will not be attending my high school reunion either. Those days were tough and bring back bad memories of being made fun of and laughed at. We didn’t have much $ so I was a thrift store kid for the most part. And back in those days if you didn’t wear GUESS or Keds or Polo, you sucked. I wouldn’t DARE do a post where I was picking apart someone else’s outfit. I feel like in the blogging world I have finally found a place where each creative outfit is recognized for being beautiful because it’s that person style. Thanks for the post! Good stuff!

    • Oh yes. The days of wearing logos across your chest. I remember those. Ugh.
      I do enjoy blogging because I also feel like I’ve met some other women who understand me. 🙂

  5. I’m sorry about what you went through in high school. I grew up being highly mocked myself but now I think they have changed their minds about me. I have forgiven them all because they didn’t realize most of the time what they said and I think a lot of them would go back and not make fun of me as they did. I am glad I went through it because it made me stronger. I look forward to my high school reunions haha. That sounds odd, but I do. My husband’s reunion is coming up soon (I guess in May) and I got along better with people in his grade than mine (the year under), but the year afterwards I will probably go to both my old school’s reunion (attended 2nd-9th grade) and the school I graduated from’s reunion. . .because people can change.

    I enjoyed your entry and agree with you quite a bit on a lot of factors. well done.

    • Now, I’m ok. I have good friends who like me. High school just sucked and that comment ticked me off, so I wrote about it, LOL

  6. Part of me knew stuff like that went on in the blogging world. When I started I knew I was leaving myself open to ridicule and weirdos perusing my blog. But to have people dedicate their free time to putting down other people trying to do something creative is just plain stupid. God, I hope I’m not out there somewhere being laughed at. I guess just let me in on the joke and I will laugh at myself too.

    • LOL- That’s how I thought about it too! I was really freaked out, thinking someone was going to make fun of me, but then I realized, as V from Grit and Glamour pointed out, ANYONE can take a photo of you with or without you knowing about it, so it’s entirely possible to have someone do it without you knowing, which is scary!

  7. LOVE this post. You are sooooooo right, especially in the last section. I was also picked on in junior high and high school, and I could NEVER pick on someone else! It feels like s***! Plus, I can’t imagine walking up to someone and insulting them. Being an underdog always makes me feel for other underdogs. I’d rather celebrate our differences. Even if I’d never wear what some wear, it’s their life/choice.

    ♥ V
    http://www.gritandglamour.com
    twitter: @gritandglamour

    • Thanks 🙂 I know the last part had pretty much nothing to do with the questions, but the comment in the group made me feel like I needed to talk about it.

  8. Love how you took your own picture are marked it all up. It was the perfect way to add art to this post! Wish I thought of that. – Katy

  9. I like the mock up of an outfit review you did on the photo. I couldn’t even think of an image I wanted to include. And thanks for sharing your experiences with bullying. I wondered about that bullying in highschool comment too – I thought exactly the opposite – that it was more likely to be people who were the bullies at high school that would do this kind of thing because they get off on that kind of behaviour, rather than those who suffered being bullied, who take in some cases all their lives to shake off the effects of it. Which is all the more why I don’t condone bullying in any form on the internet and why these kind of bloggers really annoy me.

    • Very well put, and that’s exactly how I feel. If you were a bully in school you’re much more likely to continue that behavior. Haven’t studies shown that people who WERE bullies were the ones more likely to become delinquents as they grew older because they liked that behavior?

      I think it’s very distasteful to take and post photos. It makes me not want to read a blog if they’re ripping someone apart.

  10. I always like how you address these touchy issues in your posts – you’re very objective and acknowledge both points of view, yet stand behind your own opinion. I agree with your last point about ppl who have been made fun of in the past – if anything I think ppl who have experienced bullying are less likely to do it themselves; they are more likely to be compassionate because they know firsthand how hurtful it is for someone to make negative comments.

    • I really appreciate you noticing that I’m objective! I have a friend (EMILY!) that I’m often on the other side of the argument with and we tend to be able to see each other’s point-of-view, even if we don’t agree.
      Certainly on my blog I highlight my POV, but I do try to show that I can see the other side.

      Bullying is another topic, and although it wasn’t the purpose of the post today, I really wanted to touch on that subject.

      I’m glad it’s been well received and I’m slightly shocked by the ladies who’re commenting saying they too were victim of bullying! It’s amazing how far it spreads!

  11. Suze,
    I loved your thoughts on the questions, and I also really agreed with the side note. I too was teased in high school and for that reason I despise it when people use the internet as a way to say horrible things and beat people down. Knowing how it feels, I would never want to inflict such pain upon someone else.
    -Tess

  12. Wow. Great post, Suze and thank you for sharing your personal story with us. You didn’t have to do that, but clearly it fuels your passion for being compassionate to others.

    I also love the point that you made in question #5…
    ‘the only thing that pisses me off about sites like this- they’re pushing THEIR opinion about what’s right and fashionable on the reader. But, then again, aren’t we doing that as style bloggers? Albeit in a different way, but it’s the same general idea.”

    Very good point that I had not thought of myself. Things that make you go hmmmm. Obviously, you are not defending what you’re doing, but playing the devil’s advocate a little is always thought compelling and necessary. A negative POV is still a POV, so I suppose they still have the right to share it, even if I choose not to indulge in it. There are plenty of people who do.

    • Exactly! I may not be pushing a negative opinion on others, but through my clothing choices, I’m still pushing MY idea of fashion on them. But, that’s why it’s my blog, so I suppose if we don’t like the negative blogs, we just shouldn’t read them.

  13. I had not recognized you in the opening pic, because I’m such a new reader of your blog. Yours is the fourth take on this topic I’ve read and I like that you included the bit about bullying. Myself, I want people to comment on how I could improve a look because I’m trying to outgrow an invisible style. Since many of us acknowledge that we think of little ways to improve a look, I’m wondering if there isn’t a gentle way to nudge some folks…withOUT offending. You see, I WANT the criticism, but I seldom offer it myself.

    • I do believe there are nice ways to suggest things to people. In an earlier post, I had two people suggest I wear heels and shorten the hem of the skirt. They were worded really nicely, and were constructive. I actually WANTED to wear heels, but chose not to.

      That’s what I agree with. If someone looks at my outfit and thinks of something I could do instead or a way to make it look more polished, leave me a comment about it. I don’t mind at all! There is vast difference between someone making fun of you and someone offering a helpful suggestion.

      Have you openly asked for suggestions on your posts? Some people might not want to say anything unless you’ve asked? (I usually don’t unless it’s asked for, because I don’t want to appear as rude on anyone else’s blog)

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