Like most young women my age, I grew up with and worshiped glossy beauty and fashion magazines like Seventeen, Teen, and Teen People. I started reading Jane when I realized that the other magazines were full of crap. Now, I hardly ever read fashion magazines; sometimes, I read Lucky with the full awareness that the editors promote a fantasy lifestyle.
My favorite commentator on all things fashion magazine is Wendy Felton, the blogger responsible for Glossed Over, which she founded in 2005. Years ago, she was “an editor at a small, now-defunct magazine” but is now more interested in publishing her personal reactions to content for women.
Why? In reference to magazines, she writes, “I’m disappointed by them.”
Sure, women will continue to read crappy magazines, despite people like Wendy, feminists, and the “death” of publishing. However, I do believe that outspoken female bloggers have helped a lot of women realize that the “truths” projected by women’s magazines before the widespread use of the Internet are actually very false.
As a confused adolescent, I wanted to believe that wearing a certain color would get my crush to notice me or that braiding my hair a certain way would secure a seat with the cool girls at lunch. Why weren’t these superficial fixes working? Why wasn’t I happy?
Now, bloggers have a chance to respond to what grates them, to write something contrary and bold. Wendy did it. And now Jamie Keiles, an 18-year-old high school senior from Pennsylvania, is doing it too.
In her first post for The Seventeen Magazine Project, she explains her premise: from May 21st – June 21st, she will live according to the tips found in the June/July issue of Seventeen Magazine and those posted on Seventeen.com. She will use the blog as an outlet to provide commentary and insight.
Bloggers, free of editorial guidelines and lucky enough to be able to say whatever they want to say, really have one responsibility, as I see it: to tell an authentic, true story.
When the Federal Trade Commission announced in October that bloggers would be required to disclose endorsements and connections with advertisers, this just affirmed that people reading blogs want and expect transparency. Magazine editors do not have to disclose which items (pretty much everything) have been sent to them by PR teams.
For this reason, blogging is very human act. For me, blogging is like writing important fiction; posts should reveal the truth about the human condition, they should be sincere, and they should bring people closer together so that they feel less alone.
If you’re not striving to do these things with your blog, then you should reconsider your purpose and potential as a blogger. Blogging is a big responsibility!
(Photo: Blog Horoscope)