Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday Links

Mrs. Fashion dissects "fierce".

Linda Grant, Thoughtful Dresser blogger
is on a quest for well-made, fashionable and ethically produced clothes in the Guardian.

Afrobella
reviews Cover Girl's Queen Collection.

Annie at Poetic and Chic
makes fun of "officially unofficial award-giving and mutual heavy petting that's running rampant around the blogosphere" and I couldn't agree more.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Transparency and Beauty Bloggers

Yesterday's New York Times had a very thought-provoking article on the lack of transparency among beauty bloggers, most of whom do not reveal when they've been given products for free from companies or refuse to review a product negatively, out of fear of harming their relationship with the brand. For those of us who've followed the beauty blogging world for a long time, this isn't new news, but it serves as a good reminder of why you have to always be skeptical when reading blogger reviews. I have written in the past about my own policy in regards to accepting gifts from companies and take the stance that it's dishonest not to tell readers how you acquired the products you're reviewing. Whether they still choose to trust your opinion is up to them, but at least you show that you respect them enough to tell the whole story.

Check out the article and my previous post on the subject and let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Reader Question: Dealing With An Obnoxious Acquaintance

Hi Meg,

I need some help with a difficult acquaintance of mine. I have known her for the last two years through a sports club and have never really been on the best of terms with her. She is unbearably rude, loud and arrogant. She frequently chooses not to talk to some of the club members because they speak to someone who happened to point out her behaviour to her more than three years ago. My main problem is that when the entire sports club gets together, she basically ignores half the group, gives them cold looks or even goes so far as to make nasty comments about some of the people in the room, passing it all off a joke.

Unfortunately, there is no way to not invite her to these events as she is a club member and a girlfriend of a club member. At the club's New Year's Party, I was organising a game of Twister and asked some of the people at the party if they would like to join us. She rolled her eyes, sighed and commented: "Would someone giver her some f*cking vodka to shut her up?" to the entire room.
Unfortunately, the club has organised an event for the weekend which both she and I will be attending. I was wondering if you could give me some advice to deal with her rudeness. Should I politely ask her to stop being so rude, or should I just ignore it? One of my friends told me to start retorting to her comments about people when she makes them but I really don't want to be rude in return. Any advice you could give me would be appreciated.

Regards,
Diana

Wow, this woman sounds like a real nightmare!

I think you have a few options in addressing the situation, though I'm sorry to say that I think you should keep your expectations low and not expect her to change her abysmal behavior.

It's inevitable that she'll make another rude or inappropriate remark at some point during the weekend and I think that taking her aside and politely saying that you didn't like what she said, that it hurt your feelings or made you uncomfortable, etc. There's a small chance that she is totally oblivious to how others perceive her comments and has positive intentions. I've had experience with people who say rude things or publicly put down others out of insecurity and a desire to seem funny or powerful, and this may be her problem.

Unfortunately, she's probably just an obnoxious person who doesn't care at all what you or other people think of her. While ignoring her is frustrating, I don't think she would respond well to being confronted in front of others, as your friend suggested. I think you're right that it's wrong to meet rudeness with rudeness and the situation could quickly spiral out of control. In my experience dealing with people like this, you just have to come to terms with the fact that you can never change them, and just hope that they realize the error of their ways on their own. If she doesn't like most of the people in the club (and it doesn't sound like they like her either), hopefully she'll drop out on her own.

Does anyone else have advice for Diana?

Monday, January 28, 2008

"Letting Herself Go"

Of all the phrases frequently applied to women, one of the most frustrating is "she's let herself go." You never hear about a guy who's "let himself go," and I often find myself confused as to the real meaning of these words. It's usually intended to signify that a woman does not put as much effort into her appearance as she once did, that she's lost control over her looks and is subsequently less valuable or desirable. Yet the words themselves, taken out of context, suggest the kind of freedom that many of us would love to have. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the idea of freeing oneself from the expectations and pressures placed on us as women means that we've lost control of our identities and how others perceive us.

I got to thinking about this topic after reading this recent New York Times article discussing how looking young and trendy is considered by some to be "critical to every woman's personal and financial survival." What offends me about the positions of many of the women quoted is that they promote the idea that looking one's age is one of the worst things a woman could do to herself. To look your age is, in their words, "letting yourself go." It would be one thing if this message was coming from a man (I think a lot of women would be up in arms if it was), but to hear this from another woman is especially aggravating. As women, we should be fighting to reverse gender discrimination and change society's impossibly high expectations for how women should look and act.


Obviously one's looks play a big role in how they're perceived by others, but it seems that the woman who dresses to flatter her body, who looks put-together and appropriate, but who refuses to get dye her hair or get Botox or more drastic plastic surgery, is in no way "letting herself go." She's fully in control of herself and should be proud of how she presents herself to the world. And I won't deny that we live in a culture that favors youth, but it's not like you can really fool anyone as to your real age. Instead, most women who go to drastic measures to look younger end up emphasizing their age, and looking desperate and insecure. Somehow, I don't think those qualities will help anyone achieve more in their personal or professional life, let alone enjoy the things they have achieved.