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!
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…”