This is one of those knee-jerk posts in reaction to learning that one of my favourite bloggers is closing her blog. Why? Well, despite being articulate, well travelled and a hard-core beauty fanatic, she’s been subject to a disproportionate amount of abuse, both personal and racial. I might add that amongst beauty bloggers, I think she has been well supported; she is certainly very well liked, but the main protagonists come from beauty forums around the world. She is of Asian descent, but to some she isn’t quite ‘Asian’ enough; to others she is ugly, to yet another faction, she has too much money to spend on beauty products. She has been the subject of mockery, derision and the worst possible kind of written abuse, including identity theft, because she has a beauty blog.
We all have a certain number of ‘haters’, and the internet is a very easy place to be ‘brave’ on when you don’t have to face your target and can hide behind anonymity. That’s a subject all on its own. But, really? Racism and beauty? How in the world do these two things collide? Beauty is open to subjection, but surely it should be a unifier.
It pretty well boils down to forums, where gang mentality allows certain groups to round on one individual. This bloggers most looked at post, that generated literally thousands of hits, came from a forum abroad, accusing her of being an old crone kept by her husband who shouldn’t wear make up. Those who profess to be against internet bullying are quite happily throwing personal comments into the forum ring – and sometimes outside of that – under the guise of discussion and can often use exclusion of others as a key weapon. It’s not a discussion if you are making threats, unpleasant personal comments, racial attacks or implications about another individual; it is out and out bullying. And, it’s nothing to do with beauty either; it’s a more hateful agenda than that. It is people so desperate to be part of something that they’ll swim with the shoal because the feeling of being accepted is far superior than the morality of the situation. The exclusion issue is the same. There are many faces of bullying.
Ultimately, the key lies in responsible forums where abuse of any nature is not tolerated and is swiftly moderated. I’d urge beauty lovers not to join forums or organisations where this is not the case; however benign it seems at the time it is literally the strokes on a keyboard that could make you the next subject of the same unpleasantness. Reporting abuse is absolutely key, and feeding back on those that are not ‘safe’ forums is also a good way to spread the word. If nobody joins in, then the words might as well not have been said.
All in all though, it is a very sorry state of affairs that allows racists and bullies to use the umbrella of beauty to unleash their hateful words. If you see it, report it and stop it.
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