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On Blogging & Body Image

Since you started blogging has your image of yourself changed?

Since I started blogging in general, no. Since I started taking photos for my blogs, yes, I think it has. More so with the beauty-related photos than anything else, because, as they’re obviously taken for the purpose of reviewing products, they’re normally extreme close-ups of my face, and I defy anyone to look at photos which are THAT detailed and not want to recoil a little. Trust me, it can be pretty scary. Even the outfit photos I take have changed my image of myself a little: I think just looking at so many photos every week has made me notice things I probably wouldn’t have even been aware of otherwise, and, when you’re constantly looking at photos of yourself, it can be hard not to focus on the perceived flaws, rather than the things you actually like. And then, of course, there are the occasional comments bloggers get about their appearance: I’ve been lucky enough to have had too many really hurtful ones, but it does happen from time to time, and it can be impossible not to take some of the criticisms to heart – especially if they come at a time when you’re already feeling low, or when they focus on something you’re already self-conscious about.

Are you self-conscious about any aspect of yourself? If so, do you go out of your way to avoid it or do you post it/talk about it anyway?

Oh hell, yes, I’m self-conscious about lots of things. I’m not going to tell you what they are, though, because in answer to the second part of the question, no, I don’t talk about them. When I was younger, I did: I was the kind of person who would always point out her “flaws”, so if I had a giant spot on my forehead, say (which I often did), I’d be all, “Hi, everyone, I’m Amber: get a load of this spot! I bet you’ve never seen one as big as this before!” I kind of felt like if didn’t mention those things, people would obviously notice them anyway, and, I don’t know, it would be like they had one up on me, or something. As if they’d be thinking, “Ha! Amber has a huge spot and she doesn’t even know it!” So I would attempt to remove this “power” from them by making sure I always mentioned it first, whatever it was. Pretty stupid, no?

These days I don’t go out of my way to draw attention to the things I’m self-conscious about, particularly not on the Internet. I just don’t think there’s anything to be gained from it, and I’ve also learned the hard way that people on the Internet don’t need me to point out my flaws to them – they’re more than capable of noticing them all by themselves! 

redhead in green dress and thigh high boots3.
Based on how you are feeling now, what do you think the future holds in the evolution of your body image?

I think that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little bit more comfortable with myself, and I’m hoping that continues. That’s not to say I’m totally happy with what I see in the mirror – far from it, in fact – but, I mean, I used to be the kind of girl who wouldn’t take the bin out unless she was wearing a full-face of makeup and a carefully chosen outfit, but these days I’m much less bothered by the idea of been seen looking less than my best: if I’m really unhappy with something, and I can change it, then I will – but if I can’t, I just try not to think about it too much,or let it bother me, which is a huge difference from how I was in my teens and early twenties, for sure!

Do you photograph yourself for your blog? If so, how do you feel about the experience when you’re having your picture taken?

 I expect this will come as a surprise to most of the people who read my blogs, but I hate having my photo taken: I always feel really stupid and self-conscious, and this isn’t helped by the fact that I’m a “blinker” – seriously, I can take 10 photos, and in 9 of them I’ll be standing there with my eyes shut and my face all screwed up, so when I’m having my photo taken I have to do this crazy kind of “deer in the headlights” thing where I try to open my eyes as wide as possible and stare like a madwoman.  It’s not fun. (Although I guess it might be quite fun to watch…)

What would you want every person who struggles with body image to take to heart?

That we’re all our own worst critics, and that the things we’re self-conscious about are often things that are really only noticeable to ourselves. I’ve had so many conversations with female friends where they’ve mentioned something they absolutely hate about themselves, and  they’re always things I’ve never even noticed about them, and I don’t think anyone else would either. I think that’s probably often the case: we’re all too busy worrying about our own body image to pick apart someone else’s. One of my favourite quotes on this subject is a really famous one from Cindy Crawford, who once told an interviewer, “Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford…”  I’ve always loved that, because I think it’s so easy to look at other people, and compare yourself unfavourably to them, but the truth is that we’re all struggling with our own set of insecurities, and no one is perfect. Not even Cindy Crawford.

Um, that was Jerry’s final thought for today. Until next time, take care of yourselves – and each other…”



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  • Karen
    February 18, 2011

    “I’ve had so many conversations with female friends where they’ve mentioned something they absolutely hate about themselves, and they’re always things I’ve never even noticed about them, and I don’t think anyone else would either. I think that’s probably often the case: we’re all too busy worrying about our own body image to pick apart someone else’s”

    I couldn’t agree more with this. When I have those conversations, I always compare it to bad-hair days. Everyone has them, but I always ask people when was the last time they noticed someone ELSE’s bad hair day? We really tend to only notice our own. Sometimes I even need to remind myself of this, but I’m hopeful that taking more pictures of me for your shoe challenge will help me get over that self-consciousness/critic too.

    • Amber
      February 19, 2011

      Exactly. And even if you do notice something, like a bad hair day, or a spot, or whatever, it’s not like you think, “OMG, how hideous! I can’t believe she went out like that!” You just think, “Yup, been there, know the feeling.” We’re all much too hard on ourselves.

  • Moni
    February 18, 2011

    I can totally relate to that “telling people in advance what’s bad about you”-thing. I’d rather have them hear it from me directly, than figure it out for themselves and talk behind my back about it.
    On the other hand, they’d probably never have noticed it if I hadn’t mentioned it. You never know.
    Funnily this post of yours coincides with my second Shoe Challenge post in which I write that I prefer myself not smiling in pictures, because in my opinion my grin is to wide and my teeth are too big. I bet you that all the others have never noticed that. At least not in real life.
    Photos unfortunately capture only one moment and one expression and preserve it for eternity. That one expression might look awkward to us, but for the rest of the world (who see us in motion anyway) it’s just one of many and not even worth thinking about. Or they pay attention to something completely different in that picture. (For example somebody might compliment me on my beautiful eyes or the pretty hairdo when all I can see in the photo are my giant teeth.)
    Plus: We must not forget that celebrities are not only styled to perfection but also train their expressions before pictures are taken – which we do not. So of course they always look their best because they know how to move which muscle, while we “just” smile our natural smiles.
    So it’s up to everybody to decide if they want to show a perfect but rehearsed smile to the world or a natural unrehearsed but lovable one that might come out a bit imperfect. 😀

    • Amber
      February 19, 2011

      This is so true. I’m always having to remind myself that photos are just a split second of time, and it’s so easy for them to capture you looking bad. I have so many where my mouth is hanging open, or my face is all scrunched up, or my eyes are closed, or I have a double chin, or sometimes all of those at the same time. Sometimes it’s quite hard to look at them because I think, “OMG, do I look like THAT?” And of course, I don’t really – although I don’t think I really look like the good ones either, which I guess is the flip-side of that particular coin: I hardly ever see a photo that looks like “me” – or the “me” I see in the mirror, anyway…

  • The Style Box
    February 18, 2011

    I was going to write a post similar to this this morning but I ran out of time. I think that women in general put far too much pressure on themselves about how they look. It’s impossible for us to all look airbrushed all the time. You always look absolutely beautiful so you needn’t worry.
    I LOVE that colour on you! And I love the edge that those Louboutins give.

    • Amber
      February 19, 2011

      Thank you! And yes, I totally agree, the pressure women put on themselves is terrible – I actually think magazine airbrushing plays a huge part in that: people always seem to complain about “size 0” models, but airbrushing has always been my pet peeve, because while some people ARE actually skinny (and naturally so), NO ONE looks like they’ve been airbrushed in real life: it creates such an unatainable ideal.

  • maz aka MallyMon
    February 18, 2011

    It’s such a shame that before any of us go out into the big wide world (aka ‘school’) we are kind of satisfied with ourselves. Then people start pointing out our ‘faults’ and it’s all a bit downhill from there. I think it would be much better if more kids were taught common courtesy at a very young age.
    I think you look really lovely in these photos and your hair is such a lovely colour and so shiny. But I know that you work hard at keeping fit, going to the gym, running etc., and you’re an example of how these things really work if you stick at them. That’s my trouble, you see, lack of stickability!
    PS I think those shoes are my favourites, of any I’ve ever seen – but I’d not be able to walk in them.

    • Amber
      February 19, 2011

      Oh yes – I was actually completely oblivious about my personal appearance most of the way through primary school (I was oblivious to most things except books and ponies, mind you!) . It was only really in my final year there, when people started to make comments about me, that I learned to look at myself critically, and then in high school I had a friend who’d constantly point out my faults in this faux-sweet way (“You’re such a nice person, Amber, it’s such a shame you have X flaw!”) that I really took to heart. It would be great if we could all just go through life with that childlike acceptance of ourselves!

  • Chloe
    February 18, 2011

    Not actually read the post yet but just had to say you look amazing!
    Your hair colour looks so gorgeous with the green dress and those shoes are lush 🙂

    • Amber
      February 19, 2011

      Thanks! I have a bit of a thing for green, as you can see 🙂

  • Drea
    February 18, 2011

    I get the whole feeling stupid when someone is taking a photo. What has made it worse is the fact in all my prom photos I look tired or drunk or something, even in the posed photos. Although, it’s worse if someone else takes the photo, if I’m on my own I don’t feel silly pulling a pose.

    • Amber
      February 19, 2011

      Ha, I even feel silly when I’m on my own. It’s as if the inherent ridiculousness of taking photos of myself suddenly strikes me at that moment and I think, “God, woman, what are you doing?!”

  • Linda W
    February 18, 2011

    I can sit and read all your insights, but these pictures look they are out of a magazine shoot. Beautiful. You hair is wonderful with that dress.

    • Amber
      February 19, 2011

      Thank you, that’s such a wonderful compliment 🙂

    February 21, 2011

    I totally know how you feel about taking photos. The only way I am truly comfortable is with NO ONE around! I’ve taken hundreds of photos of myself, but the moment someone else steps behind the camera, I feel like a total bloomin’ idiot!

    Love the cindy Crawford quote. So true. My look is a process. Not a long one, but one nonetheless.

    Of course, your photos (and body) are gorgeous! And those shoes. Gah. A lucky lady you are.


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