Thursday, October 17, 2013

Oh, Martha, Let's talk

For those who haven't heard, Martha Stewart recently said in an interview on Bloomberg that bloggers are not experts. Sure, it's taboo to argue with Martha, nor is it "appropriate" to be argumentative or political on a blog, but today we're going to be real. For the past couple days I have been tweeting back and forth with some sweet folks on Twitter on the topic, and we reached a great point: that place where the line is drawn.

To an extent Martha is correct. But only to a small extent. Bloggers ought to blog with ethics. If you have not thoroughly studied chemical compounds and the like, it is not wise to share hair treatment advice. There are a lot of PH levels and other chemicals you must understand. I do not, so, no, I will not tell you how to best dye your hair and what conditioning treatment will work best for you. Everyone's hair is also different, so that will always play a big factor. I have consulted my stylist about hair advice, and she has animatedly insisted I not share it on my blog and ask me not to quote her. Why? Because if it doesn't work for your hair, it comes back to her and to me.

There are many other topics we could go through, but I think beauty bloggers tend to me my own biggest pet peeve, because this is your physical body we are talking about, applying ingredients and chemicals to your skin and hair, all directed by inexperienced bloggers. 

So, yes, Martha, there you have a point.

But I do not think it's fair to lump all bloggers into one single You're-Not-An-Expert category. I have readily admitted I am not an expert, but I shared my Mustard Greens Recipe anyway, because it was loved by many. Not just myself, but the southern community I have taken to. I did not "copy" anyone's. I stood in front of my fridge and thought, what do I have on hand that I can throw in here? I am sure there are many other recipes like it, as it is not an overly-complicated recipe. But it is mine. I am also learning Photoshop, and as someone who is self-taught, I have tried sharing little things I learn along the way for others who want to learn.

Martha, you quote in your interview, "They're not trained editors at Vogue Magazine. They're copies of what really good editors have created and done."

Okay, I'm going to jump on that right now, because I know for a fact that editors COPY WHAT BLOGGERS HAVE DONE. In case you don't follow Epbot, late last year Redbook Magazine took her Flip Flop Hanger tutorial, traced her pictures with colored pencil, then published the idea as their own in their January issue with no credit to Epbot whatsoever. When the editor of Redbook was alerted to this she immediately corrected the mistake, even quoting "Creative women like you are key contributors to our magazine." What sweet recognition!

Which brings me to my final point, Martha. How many bloggers have you had as guests on your show and your website? How many times have you stood there, beaming over their creations and recipes and know-how, and all the while you've been thinking, "You don't know what you're talking about, you're not an 'expert'?" This begs the question, why do you have them on your show then? Because your producer said so? Do you not truly support them and value their work? Are you not self-taught as well? Did you not leap into your own business adventures based on what you knew you had a knack for? You did not study culinary arts or interior design or any form of writing, yet you developed skills on your own, which you now share with the world. How does this make you any different than us bloggers? 

I must say, that was a little saddening to hear your lack of support for the creative community. After-all, we enjoy your products. We beam with sincerity at your creativity. I oohed and ahhed over your costume on the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living. You truly did give beauty to Halloween! We envy what you have done for yourself. And until that statement, you gave a small bit of hope to other creative individuals on the possibilities their creative genius could have.

I know you are entitled to your thoughts and opinions, and I would not dream of denying you them. I am sorry if you think us bloggers create a "popularity" of some kind. My personal opinion is that the statement sounded like one of inferiority. Please let me assure you, I personally do not mean to encroach on your empire in any way, or desire to create a "popularity" that would take away from your creative domain. My sole goal on my amateuristic blog is to encourage others to be the best version of themselves they can be. To give hope to other single mothers barely making it along that there is possibility. To ensure they know it only takes a little ingenuity and creativity. I want to uplift others and be sure they know they can be a self-made woman and be proud of that!

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