12 November 2012

Company Magazine: blogging is a girl's world

Only two days ago, I was celebrating my blog reaching its second anniversary. Meanwhile, Company Magazine had published a feature which seemingly relishes the fact that men have a lower standing within the fashion blogosphere. Having read Stu Bradley's critical response yesterday, I was encouraged to read the article for myself, and I too find some of its inferences questionable.

Company Magazine Dec 2012

As a male fashion blogger, I appreciate I belong to a minority. Female style bloggers outnumber their male counterparts by a considerable ratio, and therefore I have often had to accept that I will miss out on certain privileges and opportunities. But when I was shortlisted for the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards, it proved that I had worked hard enough to be recognised within this female-centric community.

So having read Pandora Sykes' feature in Company Magazine, which suggests female bloggers should revel in the knowledge they are more influential and noteworthy than male bloggers, I can't help but feel upset. I accept that the overall feature is a long-winded acknowledgement that style blogging is statistically dominated by women, however there are particular aspects of the article which infer I shouldn't deserve equal recognition.

Company feature 

"For years, men have been the ones closing financial deals and creating billion dollar ad campaigns, but now it's our turn, in an online industry dominated by women. It seems both apt and deserved then, that Leandra Medine, aka The Man Repeller, won 2012's Blog of the Year, at the BlogLovin Awards."

I'm all for girl power, but say I had been awarded 'best established fashion blogger' at the Cosmopolitan Blog Awards - would Pandora be frustrated that a man outshone twenty female nominees for the coveted title?

It is openly stated that the fashion blogosphere is dominated by women, therefore my being the only male blogger to have been shortlisted was a real achievement. And I am in no way arguing I ought to have won for the fact I am a guy, but rather I am saying it was fantastic to observe that a male blogger has equal weight to a female blogger.

A better example would be Garance Doré and Scott Schuman being awarded the CFDA Eugenie Sheppard Media Award - two individuals, of different genders, being recognised and praised for their influential contribution to the fashion industry. We now exist for equality, and that should be reflected in the blogosphere too.

Which leads me onto the following...

"You could argue that makes us no better than the sexist male controllers of the Mad Men-era advertising, but surely it's our turn to gloat?"

I reckon this is perhaps the most controversial sentence in the article. Stu argues that it perpetuates sexism, that it encourages female style bloggers to lower themselves to the attitudes that men once had over women. It's a rhetorical question, but I can understand why it can be found offensive, particularly by the use of the word "gloat".

If not taken lightly, it comes across as putting male bloggers in a position of inferiority. Women may have a stronger standing in the fashion blogger community, but having only ever experienced a society in which men and women are treated equally, I find the idea of female bloggers gloating they have more worth disagreeable.

Then there is presumptuously justifying why male bloggers lack status...

"Even the most stylish men like to look on-trend, but to overtly celebrate and share his image? That just wouldn't be, well, manly, would it?"

I suspect this comment from a female blogger was not intended to be offensive, however it steps on the issue of stereotypes. From one point of view, it infers that all men desire to be macho characters, while from another, it suggests that fashion is a feminine subject. Regrettably, it's a no-win situation for the commentator.

But I suppose what bothers me overall about this article is that it's published in Company, a magazine which declares a devotion for blogs and bloggers alike. (Ironically, their next issue will be a special blogger edition.) So why then endorse an article that appears to put male bloggers down? Surely that's counter-productive?

In truth, I appreciate that the article in question is an opinion piece, just as this response is opinion. I also appreciate there may have been sub-editing, so the original copy could have been twisted to polemic effect. And I understand what Pandora endeavours to get across to the readers, therefore I do not condemn her specifically. But for Company to represent a detracting view of male fashion bloggers - that is where my quarrel lies.

(If you wish to form your own opinion, or if you simply want a reference to my critique, the article in question can be found on pages 61 and 62 of Company's December issue.)

© Joseph Kent / www.unlimitedbyjk.com

All photographs are subject to copyright law, and must not be reproduced without express permission.

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