Now that I have two years of blogging under my proverbial belt, I’ve learned quite a bit about the lingerie industry and all of the perks and downsides that come with being a blogger. This isn’t meant to be a list of complaints, but rather an honest look at blogging, and some of the downsides that I’ve discovered in my time on the Internet. I’ve written this as a kind of letter to my past self, the things I would tell myself before I started blogging, as well as some advice I would give past me. If you, too, are interested in starting a lingerie blog, then this might be helpful for you, as well.
Dear me from two years ago:
- Your wallet will be crying
Lingerie is expensive (for a good reason, mind you). Whether you’re buying Freya or Fleur of England, it adds up, and releasing weekly reviews, particularly featuring indie brands, gets really expensive. The upside is that I’m not sure what else I’d be buying if not for lingerie.
2. Beware of The Creeps.
With around half of your ‘likes’ on Facebook being male, you get excited whenever you see a name that could belong to a woman. You even find yourself convincing yourself that “John? That could definitely be a lady.” You’ll receive marriage proposals, unwarranted comments, and many other unsolicited…things. Get ready to be familiar with the ‘block’ option on Instagram. Use it swiftly and without mercy. You don’t need to put up with that.
3. The Hannah Montana Effect
Having a secret identity isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s pretty cool, and you feel like a super spy sometimes, but telling your friends is definitely a lot easier than trying to come up with an excuse for as to why you have 400 boob pictures on your computer or why there always seems to be a garter belt lying around.
You still keep your Internet anonymity, though you’ve changed your name from ‘Kate’ (what I used to go by, so people who knew me couldn’t find my blog) to ‘Meg’, something a lot closer to reality. It was just too confusing when I’d see an email addressed to me start out as “Dear Kate,” and I’d subsequently go “who the f— is Kat-oh.” You also choose to keep your face out of all of your photos– this is a good thing, I think, because it might explain why we’ve received almost no hate– see number 11.
4. People will treat you differently
Don’t get me wrong, most people think it’s hecka cool. However, on occasion you’ll come across someone who’s either weird about it, or creepy about it. The people who are weird about it are usually moms who are thinking “Really glad that’s not my daughter!” Ignore them and their small little minds.
You also have to be careful about who you tell your hobby to, because when some people hear “I pose in my underwear and post it online”, they think “oh, she’s down.” Avoid these people like the plague. They are gross.
5. Body Image, especially in relation to social media
I used to live in a little body image bubble. The thing I was most self-conscious about was my lack of boobs. Thanks to places like Instagram, where literally thousands of women post photos of their flawless bodies, I’ve learned that there are so many more things to be self-conscious about. You also learn exactly what your body looks like, because you’ve stared at and edited so many photos of you that you know exactly what you don’t like. Thanks to this blog, you’ve never been unhappier with your body. Vicious thoughts will pop into your head as you strive for perfection, and you have to learn to block them out. You haven’t quite gotten the hang of that yet, but you’re working on it. Remember that the way you look has absolutely no effect on who you are as a person. You’re still pretty effing awesome.
6. You learn all about the industry- including the bad.
Two years ago, had no idea that most models were white. I could see that they were, but it didn’t occur to me that the lack of diversity was a problem. You start to realize how depressing it is that every photoshoot features people who look just like you, with little variation. You’ll also become very familiar with the term “POC”. Being white and slim, you’ll start to feel like a little tiny homogeneous fish in a big, big homogeneous pool. The only hope comes from the numerous bloggers and boutiques (Like Blue Stockings) bringing attention to this issue, you’ll be glad that it’s being acknowledged, even if it is by a very tiny portion of people.
7. Who cares what you have to say?
As I mentioned before, being part of the majority doesn’t really set you apart. That paired with the fact that you’re not a social justice blogger, or not as well-versed in the industry as other bloggers are leaves you feeling a bit discouraged. You’re another thin white girl with a blog. You’re going to feel like you don’t have a unique perspective, or anything to offer– but you’ll find your niche (hint: it involves thread and a needle. Start immediately, you’ll need a lot of practice). Readers out there are looking for exactly what you have to offer. I think.
8. When you’ve been at this for two years, it can be hard to get excited about lingerie. You’ve seen a lot of bras in your time, so you start to get a lot more selective about what you buy, because not everything catches your eye anymore. You’ll also see a LOT of lingerie bedroom shoots and lingerie lying around with flowers. Cue yawn.
9. One of the biggest challenges is to keep your photoshoots interesting. You’ve worked with numerous apartments, photographers, and keeping that consistency while making the shoots visually appealing is tricky, tricky.
10. Beware the Popularity Contest
I’m very proud of this blog and what I’ve accomplished, but sometimes you can’t help but compare yourself to others. Who has the most followers, likes, favorites, shares, retweets, views– it’ll start to feel like you’re competing in a popularity contest, and you’re on the losing team. You tell yourself that you’ll be happier when you reach X number, but you won’t. You’ll just set your sights higher. And even when you feel good about that number, you’ll look at what others have, and you’ll feel like crap all over again. You’re never going to have 200K followers on Instagram, and you might never get nominated for that award, but that’s okay. Those people have their blog, and you have yours. Decide to accept that your blog is what it is and people are either going to read it or they aren’t. Becky from Becky’s Boudoir brings up some great points about this.
Okay, we’ve been lucky–we haven’t really gotten many haters. Like, at all. I’m not sure what it is, but we’ve never had a negative comment on our blog or Instagram (and that’s not an invitation!), so I’m speaking second-hand from watching ugly comments appear on my blogging friends’ profiles. Our photos are fairly impersonal because we don’t put our face in them, so maybe that’s it.
But with every post, you’re putting yourself out there with the knowledge that a random person on the Internet could ruin your whole day. Know that they’re just sad people on the other side of the world who have nothing better to to do than bring other people down. Block immediately.
12. Blogging friends will go away
Two years ago, there was almost an entirely different set of lingerie bloggers than there are now, and you’ll watch some of your favorite blogs slowly fade into silence. The blogs that inspired you to start your own aren’t around anymore, and that feels weird.
Had I known all of this two years ago, I still think that I would’ve started blogging. I love blogging, and I hope that life permits many more years of it. I don’t think you can properly love something without knowing the bad that comes with the good, and now that I do, I can accept it and move forward. I’m still working on a lot of these issues; and it’s been hard. I’m glad that I’m still at it, though– quitting has never seriously crossed my mind because I like blogging too much to do so. So instead, I’m looking forward to what comes of the future, and I can’t wait to make the best of it. I’ll tackle the problems as they come and approach each situation with an open mind and a little bit of optimism.
As always, thank you, to every person reading this. You’re what makes this blog special.