In Defense of Beauty Blogs

4 Mar

A few weeks ago now, the lovely Charlotte of Lipglossiping posted her reaction to an article entitled Is Blogging the New Media. The author of said article questions blogging as “the new media” and lambastes beauty bloggers for their lack of professionalism. The attack on professionalism, or lack thereof, struck me as being particularly interesting, but hang on a sec… we’ll get there.

Let’s start with the larger issue at hand, shall we? I mean, hold up! Somebody out there thinks blogs are something new? Jeez, Grandma, where’ve you been? The article in question actually begins as follows: “Blogging. Do you know what it is?” Well, um, seeing as I’ve been blogging in one way, shape, or form for the past, oh, twelve years now, I’d say the answer to that question is a resounding yes. If you can access the internet in order to read the very article we’re discussing here, there’s no possible way you don’t know what a blog is. Yes, blogs comprise part of what we refer to as “media.” No, this is not a new concept. Media, yes; new, no. I feel like the author just can’t get on board with the fact that you no longer need a degree in journalism and an editorial gig at the local paper in order to get your opinions out into the universe.

Not that the author herself possesses a degree in journalism; she states as much herself when she writes “I will hasten to add that I’ve never been to journalism school and don’t have qualifications in writing, however, I write with a journalistic approach.” I’ve never been to journalism school either, but isn’t it a critical component of the so-called journalistic approach to write without bias? From what I understand, when you report on something, you are meant to present both sides of the story, stick to the facts, etc. etc. Can an article said to be written from a “journalistic approach” when it is based entirely on one anecdotal experience which is generalized to colour an entire genre of blogs (in short, the author read a beauty blog that she found thin on content and seems to infer that this means all beauty blogs are thin on content). The author writes with an air of superiority, seeming to believe that her opinions are more valuable because she, unlike many beauty bloggers, is an actual makeup artist.

Looking beyond the fact that lots of makeup artists actually have blogs too, I find it odd that the author feels her qualifications as a makeup artist somehow lend her opinions the ultimate in credibility. Yes, she has the opportunity to try products out on a broader variety of skin types than the average beauty blogger would, but does that mean that’s necessarily what she’s doing with every single product she shares her opinions on? Not to mention the fact that the article seems to assume that readers pick one blog and stick with it for all their information. I feel pretty safe in saying that’s doubtful. The miracle that is Google allows us to compare and contrast and get information from a pretty wide variety of sources. I can’t speak for the population at large, but when it comes to spending my money on luxury items, I’m inclined to do my homework. I’m also inclined to believe that the average girl (or awesome makeup loving guy) can provide me with more relevant advice, as our skill levels are more on par. For example, a trained makeup artist could probably make my eyebrows look really good with their deft product application and specialized techniques, but because I have no idea what the hell I’m doing with brow products, any time I make an attempt to use them, I end up looking like Groucho Marx. If the average beauty blogger tells me a brow product is user friendly, I’ll be more inclined to check it out than I might be if the recommendation came from a pro.

It may seem like a superficial topic, but cosmetics are a passion for lots of people out there. Makeup can make you feel better about yourself, it can help you express yourself, it can enable you to adopt a whole new persona a la Sasha Fierce. You don’t have to be a trained makeup artist to appreciate it, and you don’t need to be a professional journalist to have an opinion on it. So to answer the question posed in the article’s title, is blogging the new media, I re-iterate: Media, yes; new, no. Accept that it’s out there, appreciate it for what it is, and if you don’t like it, you can stick to the glossies where all the “unbiased” reviews are paid for in advertising.

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