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Okay I’m going to dance around some things today so as not to get my butt sued, so try to bear with me. This past weekend in Dallas, there was a huge influencer conference hosted by (probably) the largest and most well known influencer company. They’re based in Dallas. Tons of bloggers use their product on Instagram. You get my drift?
Well, if you checked out the hashtag for the event, you’ll see lots of beautiful photos. Tons of well dressed ladies, lots of flowers, props…it’s influencer catnip. But you probably also noticed something that (should be) glaringly obvious…..a HILARIOUS lack of diversity. I scrolled through the hashtag after day 2 of the conference and saw ONE person of color. She wasn’t an influencer though. I wish I was joking. There’s also a major lack of diversity in body size and even personal style!!!! (I probably shouldn’t type this but here I go) My friends and I joke sometimes because I have a bit of “face blindness” for a lot of influencers. They all look the same to me and dang, as I scrolled through the hashtag I was basically looking at photos of the SAME people.
And it’s a freaking JOKE.
It’s the reason you won’t see me linking ANYTHING on my site or social media with their links anymore. I won’t support them as a company by putting their name on my content, and I SURE won’t support their pocketbook anymore.
As Marrica (aka @flauntyourfro) discussed on her Instagram stories yesterday, this conference is not only a place to be seen, it’s also a place for actual networking. The influencers there get personal meetings with three brands, which almost guarantees them amazing partnerships that other influencers will never get. This company is continuing to boost up those who are already doing well (because SUPPOSEDLY only the top 200 earners attend the conference but….well, I won’t comment any further on that). It’s systemic oppression, plain and simple. The ladies who attend the conference work hard, and I’m not trying to diminish what they do, but it’s the same women who get featured on Instagram all the time by this platform. They’re getting one opportunity after another, while women of color (and anyone else outside their cookie cutter mold) are left in the dust.
What can we do about it?
Honestly, I think the BIGGEST thing you can do is to support bloggers that you love who *don’t* get the love and recognition they deserve. Give them likes and comments (seriously that is a HUGE help), share their posts with friends and family who might be interested (an even huge-r help lol), and ESPECIALLY be generous with likes and comments on sponsored content. We work hard for partnerships and they’re keeping our blogs afloat. Also if the influencer is doing things right, their sponsored content should be just as good as all the rest of their content!
If you’re feeling REALLY generous, support your favorite bloggers financially. Ask if you can send them a few bucks via PayPal as a thank you for their awesome content. Most bloggers give away a TON of helpful information for free on a regular basis, if you find it helpful you can give them a little tip! It’s common practice for artists and other content creators, but for whatever reason it hasn’t become common practice for bloggers. This is probably an unpopular opinion, but hey, you asked what to do about it (well, really I asked in a rhetorical way, but….ya know).
SO ANYWAY. Let’s focus on the positive.
There ARE bloggers out there that are diverse. They are inclusive. They are interesting. They look like you. They thrift some of their clothes and/or shop the clearance racks. They write MEANINGFUL posts. They shop ethically. They only use cruelty free beauty products. They live in your city. I promise you these bloggers exist and I’m really sorry that you have to dig a little harder to find them. If you’re reading this you might already know about the Diversity Chic ladies, but I promise you there are many more out there in Dallas and beyond. It’s hard to not get discouraged, but if we give up now it’s only going to get worse. Seek out the creators who are making content you love!
It’s been a while since we’ve done an actual Diversity Chic post, but these photos just felt “right” for this particular subject. I know we don’t do these posts monthly anymore, but I hope it’s still okay that we pop in occasionally 🙂 Also, say hello to Caro Merino – she was kind enough to lend her beautiful self to our Diversity Chic shoot! This time around, everyone is wearing one of the newest shirts in my shop (Fiercely by Valery Brennan) and it’s DEFINITELY a new favorite.
“The future is female” shirts always make me cringe a little bit. I know it’s based on a feminist shirt from the 1970s, and back then it probably felt revolutionary….but today it feels outdated. It excludes trans women and I’m not down for that. So, I created one of my own – a shirt that represents all women. I’m so thankful Sevi (and her sweet baby, Delilah!), Denise, Stephanie and Carolina were willing to model, get up early and look fierce AF on this unseasonably cold April morning.