Essay: Blogger Body Watch

by Susanna Lau on 3 November 2010

Susie Bubble shares her thoughts on blogging and body image.

Susie Bubble shares her thoughts on blogging and body image.

‘You've looked like you've lost weight today! Kisses from Brazil!’

‘Oh dear, you seem to have put it back on again… ’

The above two comments were posted on my blog Style Bubble sometime in 2008, successively within a few days by an anonymous reader who was indeed from Brazil (I manically checked his/her IP address stat). When they appeared on my comments list, I was somewhat confounded by the fact that someone would take the time to monitor my weight and take the care.  I couldn't figure out whether to be upset or bemused. Afterall, I had unwittingly found a prospective personal trainer/nutritionist perhaps who just happened to be on the other side of the world!

This string of comments illustrates just how personal style fashion blogging, which has spread like wildfire in the past four years, with no sign of stopping, lays the bloggers, such as prone-to-a-cheeseburger-or-two me open to a sort of pointless critique process that can declare you to either be ‘GORGEOUS!’ or ‘You're a fat cow and your thighs are like jelly’ all in the same breath. I say pointless because it's a) anonymous and b) what ARE you supposed to do with a comment that calls you both fat and thin by the same person anyway?

Still, the result is that over four years of blogging, having experienced a string of inane comments/emails and numerous accusations of dressing in a way that supposedly doesn't flatter the body to its best advantage, it does leave me questioning at times my gut instincts in the way I dress and how I view my body. It has revealed my distinct lack of awareness of the so-called fashion body in relation to the clothes I love, when I have a set of readers who points out the bodily realities. 

That old chestnut ‘Don't dish it out if you can't take it’ is something that people putting their image out there should heed.

A mid-calf baggy Yohji Yamamoto dress worn with trainers feels great in the morning but by the afternoon, once a pic has surfaced on the blog, I'll have been told that mid-calf lengths stumps one’s body. An elastic cage skin tight skirt seemed like a good idea until one points out the possibility of thigh and stomach bulges. 

My tendency NOT to try things on in store (I’m a shop n’ go kinda gal) together with my blinkered focus on the overall statement of an outfit doesn't leave much room to figure in realities such as flattering the body to its best potential and baring all to the world through my chosen choice of the personal style blogger route just point out this deficiency of mine (I’d like to point out that back in ancient 2006, it made sense to me to demonstrate what the hell I was talking about by posting photographs of outfits without too much thought on the consequences of my actions).

This isn't to say that the internet is trolling with avid blogger body watchers and to be fair, I've not fallen victim to the sort of insults that go to heart-wrenchingly horrible extremes. Furthermore, that old chestnut ‘Don't dish it out if you can't take it’ is something that people putting their image out there should heed anyway lest you want to go through life fussing over every ‘hater’ in the world.

I’ll of course keep on dishing it out there and perhaps another weight-monitoring commenter will surface soon, advising me on what indeed is causing my apparent weight fluctuation. Maybe we’ll even become the best of email-pals.




Essay: Bloggers

17 May 2012
Fashion Fetish: Harriet Walker on online self-objectification.

Interview: Susanna Lau

10 January 2011
Writer and blogger Susanna Lau, or 'Susie Bubble', interviewed by Alexander Fury on 10 January 2011 as part of SHOWstudio’s 'In Fashion' series.

Essay: Milking

14 February 2013
Milking Mayfair: Erin O'Brien on the 'milking' Internet phenomenon.
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