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My thoughts on that Zoella article

Independent Voices Zoella Article by Chloe Hamilton

Twitter pretty much exploded today after Independent Voices published an article about how Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, was not the type of role model teenage girls should have. While I appreciate it is an opinion piece, the article not only angered me for being poorly researched, (as a Journalism graduate, these things bother me. Opinion pieces still need research), but also for that fact it was contradictory, derogatory and offensive. So here's my note to Chloe Hamilton.

My first point is going to be, that for an article that states that Zoe is contradicting everything about feminism, it should not have begun with a personal attack on her looks. The article does go on to describe the fact she is open about her anxiety, so why on earth would it then be okay to target her and make inexcusable comments about the way she looks? That is plain bullying and is not acceptable. Is this not also anti-feminist? Should we not be supporting and celebrating a young woman who has embraced the opportunities presented to her and used them to create a better life for herself and the hope to inspire others?

So who actually is the anti-feminist here? Zoe, or the journalist who feels a personal attack on another female, just because they don't like what they do, in a publicly aired opinion piece?

Maybe you could say that I am being anti-feminist by publishing this, but at no point will I comment about the journalist personally. I have no issue with Chloe Hamilton, the way she looks, or the job she does. This is about an article that I disagree with.

The reference to the name 'Zoella' being 'irritating and Disney-fied' is irrelevant. Actually, whether she realised it or not at the time of choosing her blog name, she's created something marketable with longevity and most of all she's created a brand which she has been able to extend past her blog, to a YouTube channel, beauty range and probably so much more that we don't know about.

The article continues to talk about Zoe's recent achievements, such as the Penguin book deal, the collaboration with mental health charity, Mind, the beauty products, the two Teen Choice Awards as if to paint them in a negative light, and states that she's taken an "easy-peasy way to fame and fortune". Actually, as a blogger, it would appear to me that Zoe has worked hard to get where she is today, and we should not be demoralising her for 'getting lucky' but celebrating the fact that what we are looking at is a young, female, entrepreneur who has embraced digital channels at the right times and in the right ways to turn her hobby into her career and enriching the lives of young girls who have not yet discovered their place in life.

What Zoe shows us, is hard work, ambition and a real passion for your interests will eventually get where you want to be. Zoe started her blog in 2009. That was 5 years ago. She has worked damn hard over those 5 years to be able to get to where she is now. Which is everywhere!

Now, don't shoot me down before you finish reading this bit, but I see where the journalist, Chloe Hamilton, was coming from. It's obvious that her view seems, as a whole, seems to be that beauty bloggers are paving the way to a rise in self-consciousness, body image issues and anti-feminism and Zoella, being one of the most popular beauty bloggers and vloggers around, has taken the brunt of it.

There are varying opinions on beauty bloggers and YouTubers, and you do see some absolutely gorgeous bloggers posting pictures of their stunning makeup and when myself, or other people, have tried it out, we just aren't rocking it in the same way. Sometimes that can be disheartening, but actually, perhaps it didn't suit us because the shades are wrong for our skin tone or the contouring was wrong for our face shape, or perhaps we just haven't practiced our make up skills enough and with a few more tries, we might actually make it.

Zoella posts videos for her fans to enjoy, she states at the beginning of every makeup tutorial that she's not a makeup artist, this is just how she does her makeup and it's not going to be the same as everyone else. She's not telling her viewers that they need to look like her, what she's actually doing, is providing an insight into her life which is something that certain groups of people need to feel connected to their role model.

In fact, if the journalist had bothered to discover Zoe's vlogging channel, MoreZoella, she might have seen that a vast majority of these are filmed with Zoe wearing no makeup, in regular day to day clothes or even her pyjamas, her hair scraped back into a bun or a ponytail and the odd spot here and there. Chloe Hamilton, I challenge you to find me more people who are willing to film themselves with no makeup on and publish it for 6million people to see. The fact Zoe can do it is actually saying a lot and shows girls that she's not perfect, she has spots, she sits at home in her PJ's watching TV with her boyfriend just like a normal person. She's just like them.

Look at the amount of reality stars who are buzzing around at the moment. You could probably say the same about some of these people such as the stars of TOWIE. Okay, some of these girls might not have degrees from top universities, but what they have done is taken an opportunity and stretched it to get where they want to be. Most of them now have their own clothing lines, boutiques and brands. Girls look up to them because they get to see so much of their life on TV and when you find out some more about them, you can see these women have businesses and are making money their own way.

I come from the town that's right next to the village Zoe was brought up in. I know people who went to school with her and are friends with her and Joe. I don't know her myself, and never would profess to knowing anything about her other than what I have been told or seen in her vlogs, but I've never heard a bad word spoken about her, and it's astounding that such an article has been allowed to be published about a girl from a small village who has made what she wants out of life.

When I have children, if I have girls, I would much rather they looked up to aspiring entrepreneurs and independent women who have achieved so much by being motivated and passionate about the things that they love.

Perhaps if we were all more like that, and took a positive attitude in life, there wouldn't be so many grumpy people writing misinformed pieces of journalism that offend not only the person featured, but hoards of other people.

Thoughts?

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12 comments

  1. This was extremely well articulated. I completely agree with everything you say - yes, a makeup channel can seem superficial, but yes, Hamilton clearly did not look beyond the makeup videos. Loved this post!

    Jill | alittlesoapbox.com

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment :) and thank you for taking the time to read my post! x

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  2. Great post, really well said <3

    Simpleandcurious.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I hadn't even seen the article about Zoella until now. It was great to read your opinion on it.
    Reinventing Neesha ♥

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  4. You, my dear, have hit the nail on the head. I was utterly shocked reading this hack job of an article earlier today - it was the epitome of living up to the disgraceful 'catty woman' stereotype. She had nothing meaningful, or relevant to say (as, IMO, Zoella is not perpetuating any sort of negative ideas surrounding body image or beauty) but purely wrote a whole bunch agenda'd, nasty nonsense. Very well written piece here though :)

    Kitty | kittyhearts.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. I was just so totally in shock I needed to blog my response lol. It's a shame that the journalist is now going to get a lot of recognition for such a poor piece, just because it was poorly researched and controversial. In effect, what she's one is offend an entire legion of beauty bloggers, who do this as a hobby, but taken it out on Zoe and thrown in a personal attack for good measure.

      Thank you for your lovely comment :) x

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  5. I have just read the article and it was shocking. Nothing but bullying!
    Very well said....

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  6. I was so shocked to read the article in the Independent but I guess it's got thousands of us talking about their paper.

    When I was young I used to be so desperate to learn about make up. My Mam never really wore any so I thought myself how to do everything. I would of done anything to have someone like Zoella to look up too!

    www.katiejaneonline.com

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    1. I was the oldest of 3 girls at home, so while I didn't have an older sister to look up to as a role model and to teach me how to put makeup on or what clothes looked nice on me, I still had the pressure of being a role model. I turned to various people in the public eye and used them as guidance for how I wanted to grow up (there weren't any YouTubers back then! #old!) and that's exactly what these girls are doing. There's nothing wrong with it at all. Rather Zoella than someone parading round in no clothes, glorifying alcohol, partying and drug use, let them look up to an intelligent, entrepreneurial, friendly girl.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my post :) xx

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  7. This is a wonderful post, and I hadn't seen the Zoella article either. I have a post scheduled on Monday that discusses beauty blogging and how it could be seen as anti feminist for promoting make up - thus conforming to gender stereotypes, or suggesting we need make up... To me, feminism doesn't have right or wrongs. It should be supportive of one another, and our choices - which will obviously be different depending on the individual. I like make up. I blog about it. Deal with it. It doesn't make me any less of a feminist... and on the topic of being supportive, the blogging community is one of the most supportive out there. From what I've seen - though I'm not a huge fan - Zoella is a nice girl, down to earth and pursuing a hobby she enjoys (and turning it into a career). She's not hurting anyone. There's far worse she could be doing. So why shouldn't she be a role model?
    (ranting a bit now, so I'll stop)
    Aimee
    http://aimeebelleblog.blogspot.co.uk
    xx

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my article and write this amazing reply. I'm so glad people have agreed with what I've said. I'll keep an eye out for your Monday post, I'd be interested to read that!

      I totally agree with everything you've said in your comment. Especially the fact that she isn't hurting anyone and there is far worse she could be doing!

      Thank you for reading hun xxx

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  8. This is such a great post, and bang on. I know, and many others do to, how hard it is and time consuming it is to write a blog. Why not support someone who's made a career out of an hobby. All the writer of this article has done is try to turn anything positive Zoe did and put in a negative light, poorly. x

    Kate | A British Sparkle

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