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.)


  1. I still can't believe this. I read Stu's post on it yesterday and I'm just gobsmacked that this ever got printed by anyone, let alone Company, who as you say, claim to be supportive of bloggers.

    The sentence that you've highlighted
    "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?"
    just makes my blood boil. As if we're going to go all school yard and childish going 'na nah na nah na, we're better than you'

    My blog and yours are both two years old this month and your blog has done so much better than mine. You've been featured and mentioned in huge publications like Vogue and GQ and I couldn't be anything other than over the moon for you.

    The bottom line with blogging is, male or female, if you're willing to put in the hard work, you will succeed.


  2. I haven't read the article yet but it sounds completely off kilter to me. The Sartorialist was the first blog I started reading and it's still one of my favourites. The stereotyping and misconception of blogging and male bloggers which seems to run through this piece is shocking!

  3. The article makes it out as if the fashion industry is women's domain. There are so many fashion designers, MUAs, stylists and photographers in that industry. Yes, there aren't a lot of male bloggers, but that's, as I said on Stu's blog, partially society's fault too - it's not like the industry focuses on men, does it. There's not even nearly enough choice for men in terms of fashion as for women, may that be the actual items or outlets that discuss men's fashion!

    Rather than gloating about how us women have found a niche, we should encourage men to blog and make them feel ok about having an opinion about fashion too!!

  4. I think you have responded very humbly to that article despite it being so ridiculous. Pandora seems ill informed, I do see where she is coming from but it seems she has articulated it really badly and has ended up ignoring any type of gender equality for the sake of a 'girl power'type of approach. There may be more female fashion bloggers but it doesn't mean they all have the talent to be successful. You've done really well for yourself so I hope you're really proud :)


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