So, 2016 has been, let’s say, testing. World events have left me feeling uneasy and a little bit fearful if I’m honest, and I am certain I’m not alone in that. Things have been, and will continue to be, scary and sad. When you’re encapsulated in beauty world, it’s easy to look as though nothing outside it creates any kind of ripple, but it does. At the very least, it’s good for sobering the mind when worrying pointlessly about whether you have enough Instagram followers. At the worst, it’s an impotent, empty feeling that makes me want to physically bind my children to me and never let them leave the house.
In social media world, things have changed again – I am sure that I say every year the blogosphere has ‘changed beyond all recognition’…but the past year takes it! Being frank, it’s brutally and unpleasantly competitive, horribly clique-y and actually pretty dishonest across the board. I have never felt more on my guard in my life than in the past year. So, obviously, all that has to go in 2017! I’m not game-playing, strategizing or competing nor being unwittingly drawn in to doing so going forward. What happens with the site, happens. If I went into every little detail of the competitiveness of social media and the weirdness of beauty world this post would be a mile long, but it’s not pretty to see and it’s uncomfortable to be part of at times. The elbowing up the ladder is shocking – but you can fall down a ladder as easily as you can slither up it and I’m saying no more!
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The problem with social media in general is that all but a handful feel they’re failing. Very far from being the ‘real women’s voice’, social in beauty is utterly unreal; sometimes inspirational, often aspirational, mostly unattainable and very regularly completely destructive. Being introspective, making your on-line world all about ‘Me’ is a one-way ticket to confidence issues that will hound you all of your life. Not enough likes? Fail. Brand missed you out of a campaign? Fail. Not on the ‘press’ list? Fail. Camera not good enough? Fail. No matter all of the successes, any one of those and a million other permutations sets you back on the fail path. I do not know what we are setting women up for in the future but I do know that very few are taking responsibility for it right now. And, it all just has to play out.
On the up (sorry, there really is an up, but once I start a social media commentary, I find it hard to actually shut up!) beauty world is slowly becoming more inclusive, more democratic, more affordable and more creative. As a beauty consumer, forgetting anything social media for a moment, your time is now! We are awash with affordable brands that open beauty out to everyone and do such a great job with formulas and colours, we are seeing more and more indi brands emerging with clever, shifty colours that are exciting and more-ish. We have more choice than ever to be discerning, to choose with competence, to be a shameless beauty lover.
It really was not so long ago that ‘liking lipstick’ was considered fluffy and banal: brands have learned so much from blogs about women and beauty. That we don’t all love unicorns and bunnies (I do, and I’m not sorry), that it’s possible to have intelligent opinions and like mascara, that you can be a feminist and exercise your choice to wear pink blush, that we don’t need help from an ‘expert’ to choose a gloss, that we’re not stupid or vapid for strobing, that we’re decision makers, label readers, educated consumers, confidence builders, tough judges and deal breakers. Pretty cool, hey? If you ever think for even a second that a brand holds you in their hand – they do not. It’s quite the opposite. As a body of beauty lovers, we’re holding all of the cards – the entire flipping deck.
So, more of that for 2017 please – more consumer focus, more cutting through the marketing BS, more honesty, more integrity and a bit more beauty on the inside of the industry too.
All of the joy of blogging comes from interactions – I had some really wonderful Christmas messages that reinforced that there is a purpose and a point to all this (because I need reminding from time to time!) and there is a bigger picture playing out. BBB isn’t about me, it’s about you and that’s why it matters.
I’ve had a strange 2016; some great campaigns that I’ve been more than proud to be part of, some wonderful events and trips where I’ve really learned something, masses of fun and laughs, and I’ve had my hands on the world’s most beautiful products. On the flip, I’ve met people who aren’t what they seem and fallen for it (that won’t happen again), I’ve found some brands to be unworkable with (and glad to see the back of them) and I’ve been at breaking point from the volume of expectation – oh and let’s chuck in nearly choking to death one more time so you remember to check how to save yourself if it happens to you.. Taking more down time in 2017 is absolutely crucial – it’s nearly year 9 for BBB; no wonder I’m a bit bloody knackered!
So, you know that I’m thankful to you, and wish all of the good things for the New Year for you. If you stick with me, we’ll tackle an uncertain 2017 together – bring it on!
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