The 4th of February marked one year since I started this blog, so I thought a little bit of reflection was in order. I’ve been thinking about things I’ve learned (about blogging and myself), opportunities I’ve gained, people I’ve met and other things. This is what I came up with:
I don’t love blogging
I’m not really surprised by this, even though I love writing. I hate writing reviews though, and when I first started I thought that had to be my main focus. While I understand that lingerie reviews are extremely helpful, especially if you find a blogger a similar size and shape to you, it doesn’t have to be all I write. So maybe I’m still trying to find my “voice” or style as a lingerie blogger. There are so many things I can write about using lingerie as a base. There are also lots of things I’ve wanted to write about for a while but have been scared to because I don’t want to make readers feel awkward (namely any family members who may read), but this is my blog and I think I’m starting to realise that it’s a really good outlet for my opinions. And also I can do whateva I want. I don’t love the culture of blogging. It sort of feels like you have to say certain things and make certain friends and suck up to brands to get places. Obviously, again, I’m doing what I want and blogging isn’t my only thing. I don’t actually consider myself a “blogger”, in fact that identity comes really low on my list of things I’d label myself as. But at the beginning I felt a kind of pressure to talk a certain way and try and be part of some clique, but I found that when I stopped caring and actually started talking and writing like myself, I made more of a space for myself and seemed to resonate with more people. I don’t love blogging, but I do like helping people and I love talking about lingerie so I’m not going to stop. I’m just going to continue to figure out what works for me.
I’m so much more aware of my body
I think this started a bit when I became a bra fitter and was able to fit myself, so I was always very conscious of what my boobs were at and it became a sort of non-toxic way to track any changes in my weight etc. But taking photos of myself in lingerie and constantly seeing those photos means I know what every angle of my body looks like, which has been equally a joy and a bit of a bummer. I’ve always had a warped view of what my body looks like, be it thinking I was slimmer when I was heavier and the reverse. As body positive and confident (most of the time) as I am, there’s always been an element of denial involved with how I view myself. Lately I’ve been denying the weight I’ve put on, and especially the fact that I’ve gone up at least two cup sizes. But, body positivity lets me decide the best way to make changes in my life, if any, and also because I don’t want to change my name to J Cup Chronicles, I will make changes. I don’t weigh myself because it makes me want to hide in a cave no matter what number is on the scales, but weight loss is an inevitable result of exercise, and I do want to take running up again mostly because it was the best natural high ever. Also, the 40+ bras I own in 30H are just too much of a legacy to get rid of. It’s not all bad though. Looking at endless photos of my body does make me appreciate it more, and notice things I like about it that I didn’t like before. It can actually be quite a nice self care practice if you’re in the right frame of mind for it.
Men don’t care about your relationship status/sexuality/boundaries/feelings etc etc etc
And apparently posting photos of yourself in underwear on the internet makes you “fair game” – for trolling, unwanted dick pics and sexual comments, bodyshaming, slutshaming, pretty much anything negative can be justified by these creeps because the internet is “public domain” so we just have to “accept it”. Nah. Sorry. I can guarantee 98% of the people who do stuff like this would never do it away from the comfort and anonymity of their computers. Everything seems so much more acceptable when nobody really knows who you are. But it simply is not.
Men forcing their sexuality on us via the internet isn’t less acceptable than men groping women on public transport or catcalling in the street. It’s still harrassment. And I still don’t really know what to do about it. Sometimes I’ll call people out, name and shame and argue or whatever, especially if I’m in a good mood and don’t feel largely affected by it. Sometimes I really let it get to me and wonder if I should quit, because there will always, ALWAYS be men who do shit like this. (And really, when men are getting away with rape in offline world, they’re sure as frick gonna get away with online harassment but that’s a whole nother conversation). The easiest and quickest thing to do is just to block them and move on and secretly hope that they’ll realise and rethink their actions. But they won’t.
The odd time I’ll get a sincere apology (usually after I’ve contacted the perpetrator’s girlfriend/wife etc), and it does feel like progress, but a lot of the time it feels like a never ending uphill struggle. But it’s just another reason to keep doing this. On top of helping women find lingerie that fits and makes them feel good and promoting body positivity, I like to think I’m doing my small part in slowly but surely destroying rape culture.
My time and work is worth money
Sometimes. The thing about this crazy social media age we’re living in is that bloggers are doing a heck of a lot of favours for brands, sometimes without realising. Brands get so much free publicity these days, and a lot of the time they will ask for your time for nothing in return. It’s okay to ask for something in return. Getting free stuff isn’t enough. What if it doesn’t fit/suit/feel comfortable or you just don’t like it? If you’d bought it with your money you’d return it. And brands that offer a 10% discount or free shipping in return for a review or shoutout are bullshit. Do not waste your precious time on them. That’s kinda why I hate reviews, and only do them for brands I actually like or really want to try.
I’ve met so many wonderful people
There are people I haven’t even met in real life yet that I know because of this blog but I feel like I do know them. Being selected to become an ambassador for Leyah Shanks‘ The Body Confidence Revolution introduced me to a group of amazing bopo warriors, and they feel like a secret little family I get to have. I’ve made genuine connections with a lot of the other lingerie addicts on Instagram, and even got to meet some in person last year. I really believe that I’ll eventually meet so many more around the world one way or another. I met Nicole of MyMilla at the Moda tradeshow in August when I was just in the very early stages of setting up Ellen & Hick, and a few months later I got to model in her photoshoot and meet even more amazing people. I also did a super fun photo shoot with some friends in an abandoned swimming pool and a shoot in the forest with another wonderful friend!
Lingerie needs more gays
This will be short but sweet as I want to write something longer about this. Lingerie is still largely marketed in a way which targets straight women in relationships with men. Valentine’s Day shopping guides often tell men what to buy their women, and women are also told to buy this sexy set as a “gift for him”. Barf emoji. It’s 2017, we KNOW gay couples exist, but also can we get over the lingerie-is-for-sexy-times thing? ALSO, can we stop using lesbian imagery to sell lingerie? Everyone deserves representation but trivialising and over-sexualising our relationships to appeal to the male gaze is not how you do it. TBC.
Lingerie needs more fat women
Please note, I regard “fat” as a descriptor only and not an insult. Because apparently plus-size in the fashion industry only refers to a very small bracket of women who are the “good kind” of curvy. Women with bigger than average boobs and small waists and bigger than average butts and thighs are not representing fat women, and using this body type predominantly in plus size campaigns just creates another standard women must strive for that not everybody can or wants to reach. Representation matters.
And of course, lingerie needs more women of colour
Someone on twitter got me thinking about this by getting me to scroll through my lingerie newsfeed and count how many out of every ten photos featured a WOC. Sometimes it was 1/10. Once it was three. But mostly it’s 0/10. It’s great to see brands like Nubian Skin who are creating real nude shades for WOC, but they’ve had to do that because of the lack of representation and disinterest from other brands in doing anything about it themselves. REPRESENTATION. MATTERS.
The lingerie industry kinda sucks
Like most things. But I still love it and wanna be a part of it and hope that my own lingerie business and my passion can be a part of the change.