As I sit here typing this, it’s 9 o’clock at night on a Monday. I’m here, in bed, and all I can think about is the endless feeds I scroll through on a daily basis for my side hustle. As the title suggests, I am indeed a blogger.
I started this blog as a way to help women with fashion/style advice, and it’s morphed into so much more! About 6 months ago, I started taking on campaigns and working with brands. This is one part of my job that I LOVE, but it’s also made me notice a lot too.
I’ve noticed how sometimes I want to pitch a smaller clothing boutique with around 400K Instagram followers and how they don’t have a single ethnic model. I’ve noticed that if you aren’t a size 0, it’s likely you aren’t featured. I’ve noticed that brands pull “token” women of a single race to promote “diversity.”
I know that I’m not perfect. I know that sometimes, because the same type of woman is always in front of my face, that I feel envious, jealous even. The bottom line is that I SHOULDN’T HAVE TO. I know so many wonderful bloggers (and women in general) of all colors, shapes, and sizes, yet I RARELY see them represented.
This post is going to delve more into this and talk about how much I’ve noticed, and how when I speak about this on social media I have SO MANY other women chime in about the lack of diversity they’ve seen as well.
A Lack of Diversity in Corporate Offices
Now as with anything, there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. I’m not saying companies are purposefully out here only hiring non-POC, but honestly look up the main management level breakdown of most larger companies and a vast majority of corporate offices are not filled with a diverse cast of people.
I’ve seen a lot of corporate companies brag about how they’re “diverse” and how they have new “diversity and inclusion” roles. I’m just here to say that your company is not diverse if your senior level management is not diverse. Point blank.
— Amanda | Sequins and Sales (@sequinsandsales) March 28, 2019
I’ve noticed this myself and I know a lot of other people have too. The worst part is like what my tweet says above. Companies boast about how “diverse” their company is, yet they include all of their part-time workers too. Once you start moving up the ladder, it gets less and less so.
The reason I’m drawing attention to this is because this is what causes the disconnect on social media. We all remember H&M’s fiasco a couple years back when they had a photo of an African-American boy wearing a shirt that said “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.” Now, in a normal context that’s not a terrible phrase. Mom’s call their little climbing children monkey’s all the time.
However, if they had a single person of color there to look at this, it would have NEVER been released on the site. Creating a diverse culture in the workplace can minimize micro-agressions and promote cultural fluidity! It will also help prevent PR nightmares like this.
A Lack of Racial Diversity on Social Media
This is a huge can of worms and I’m going to open it. I don’t care! It needs to be addressed! I am in no way calling out any specific companies and will not even mention a single brand directly. (I also want to make sure everyone knows I am in no way shaming these influencers or women because they are amazing boss babes too)
I merely want to draw your attention to a few very popular boutiques, and show you what I’m looking at as a woman of color with curly, dark, short hair. Do you see the message I’m recieveing? As an influencer and/or blogger you want to work with brands. What I’m seeing below is that they don’t want to work with me.
Can you imagine waking up and looking at your favorite company’s feed and NEVER seeing yourself in their models? Never being able to relate to the influencers they work with? It’s even more difficult to sit there and wonder if the reason they’re asking a lot of other bloggers with a similar feed to yours, and not you, could be because you don’t fit their “brand.”
There are obviously a lot of reasons that they couldn’t want to work with me. Please don’t take this as whining! However, myself and other bloggers of color think these same thoughts every day while we are looking at companies WE want to work with. You always have a small voice in your head saying “what if it’s about race?”
One more thing that I noticed, which another blogger brought up herself to me too, is that even if a brand works with a blogger of color, they RARELY (if ever) repost them to their main Instagram feed. It’s like “oh you’re good enough to work with behind the scenes, but we don’t want you directly facing our customers.”
A Lack of Size Diversity on Social Media
When I asked the question on my social media platforms about if any of my followers (and other bloggers) have noticed any of these issues about diversity, a lot of them agreed. Then many of them even went on to say how they also noticed size inclusion is another issue. Some of my fellow blogger babes pointed out how they want to work with companies, but they don’t even go over a size large.
If you look at the Instagram feeds above, another thing you don’t see is SIZE inclusion. Working at Disney in operational costumes, I know that we have cast members from size 2XS all the way to 6XL y’all (and even larger or smaller sometimes)! This is just the BASIC size range of normal people. The fact that a lot of companies still only offer XS-L sometimes is crazy to me. They then go even farther and then NEVER feature any people above a certain size range either.
Companies need to adjust and take action when it comes to size inclusivity. It’s crazy to me that in 2019 some companies are JUST now starting to offer larger sizes. I mean, it’s good they’re realizing the world isn’t all the same size anymore, but come on guys! Get with the times!
My Feedback from Followers & Other Bloggers
On my Instagram stories and in one of my larger blogging Facebook groups, I wanted input for this post. I asked (for people in my group specifically) if I could feature them/post their names (with credit given). The results were exactly what I would’ve expected! Read some of them below:
“I wrote about a brand called Triangl a few years back “In My Skin | Black Girl Magic.” This comes up a lot in the fitness industry. When I see blogger events, the lack of diversity is stark!” – Danielle Keep It Simpelle
“I’ve noticed the huge difference in diversity when it comes to events. I was fortunate enough to be given opportunities early, but even with living in such a diverse city as Atlanta, I am still one of/if not the only African American blogger in the room.” – Alana Solely Living
“I’ve noticed this and felt a ton of insecurity about not fitting the ‘Asian’ mold.” – Jianna Mariel (Instagram)
“You know what bugs me, is that there are sooo many bloggers that are Asian but brands aren’t open to working with new people, new faces, new shades in skin tone. If they want to throw in diversity, they’ll go to the same influencers…[My favorite part] We’re not token pieces to throw in when you’re worried about backlash and we’re more than what fits your agenda.” – Rosie Damzel In This Dress
“I see a lot of Instagram influencers who only promote those who are similar to them. I remember seeing a promotion for a giveaway and all the accounts that were required to be followed had the same hair color & had the same aesthetics etc. It would be refreshing to see a variety of women promoting their differences!” – Alexandria La Vida Demia
“There’s definitely a huge issue when it comes to plus size models. Then, when they’re plus size and of color, they don’t get as much play.” – Nichole Almost Famous Unicorn
“I’m not sure I have much to contribute, as I’m a ‘newbie’ blogger, but the lack of diversity is staggering and makes me feel sad and, frankly, a bit insecure, entering this beauty/style blogging world as a woman of color. I would love to help open the dialogue about it/discuss what we can do to bring more attention and resolution to this issue.” – Ashley Cultivating Beauty
“One issue that really bothers me is every time there’s a profile or feature on Asia, there’s a distinct lack of South Asians in the piece. I’m not suggesting that East Asian and South Asian cultures are interchangeable because they are not, but you can’t do a feature on Asia and conveniently neglect nearly 2 billion people.” – Shibani Bombay Taxi Boutique
“I’m Latina (Mexican.. specifically) and I’ve just experienced it. I once submitted myself to become a model for this online boutique that’s kind of big. Anyway.. when they selected their final choices… they all seemed to be the same race. A lot of people noticed it as well and were commenting that they need to have a diverse group.” – Michelle Little Thing of Mine
“I’m a Black Jewish blogger and instagramer, I would blog about modest brands or post about them as well as makeup brands and was never featured or get a like back. Most of these brands ignore woc — and once in a while a racially ambiguous woc might show up on their page or get brand offers but never anyone as dark as me.” – Elisheva Rishon (Instagram)
“I feel like because I have very fair skin, typical tanned model brands (like beach clothes, bikini companies and tanning companies) all over look me in collaboration work. Lately I have had to tan just so I’d be at least considered to model or collab with some brands.” – Tahlia Goschnick (Instagram)
My Conclusion on this Topic
Once I read through all of the comments I got on my Facebook post, it was CRAZY just how many races were affected. Even people predominantly featured are left out for being too light or dark (or “too large”)! This is such a massive issue and it’s crazy to me just how many people feel worse about themselves due to this problem.
I know this post isn’t going to immediately change the industry, and I know blogging is just a small niche of people. That being said, we work very closely with thousands of brands! For some bloggers, this is their livelihood. I was able to make this my part time job last semester and I know I am privileged for having lighter skin too (even though I’m black).
True change starts with one person. If even one of you reads this, even if you didn’t previously think there was a problem, I hope you see that this is a larger issue now. This is something people of color go through EVERY SINGLE DAY. It’s the world we live in and all we want to do is see ourselves represented. Brands: I want to ask you just one thing in this post.
If you’re a brand and you somehow come across this post, please take a look at your company, your social media platforms, and yourselves! Take a hard look and see if you can be contributing to this problem. I’m not asking for a complete overhaul of your brand; however, the world is changing. We don’t want idealized beauty standards. We want to see ourselves.
Thank you all SO MUCH for taking the time to read this post. This has been a topic I’ve wanted to cover for so long now and even though this was long, I hope it opened your eyes to how widespread this issue is. I have been so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given as a blogger, but we have far to go as a society when it comes to a lack of diverse representation.
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