Things I Have Learned This Week:
Nude lipstick does not look good on me. At all.*
Time I can last without buying any makeup at all: just about three months. Yep, I'm back to buying again.
Disqus is THE BEST THING EVER. Comment threads and replying, what?
We are apparently famous on the internet! When haters seek you out to hate on you, you know you've made it big.
A picture of #1, so you can see the horror (it's even worse in person):
It's Too Faced Lips of Luxury in Totally Nude, if you were wondering.
#2 is going to cause some BIG PROBLEMS for my bank account, but more on that later.
#3 is all thanks to Oriana. Yay Oriana!
And I wasn't going to respond to #4 at all (don't feed the trolls, et cetera) but Oriana said she wanted me to write something, and I wanted to thank all of you anyway for being SUPER sweet and supportive about the whole thing.
So, thank you so much! You guys are the best. But what else to write? The more I thought about it, the less certain I felt. Let me see if I can explain.
Warning – to paraphrase the always-apt Cleolinda, my eyeshadow is teal and so are my deer!
I am very distraught at the length of this post. Distraught, I say!
E/S: Fyrinnae's Futuristic Glamrock with a bit of Silk Natural's Fifth Avenue patted over it.
In other words, this is going to be long. And rambly. But stick with me; I have a point in the end!
Someone Is Wrong On The Internet
I wish I could say with a clear conscience that everyone should be nice to everyone all the time, on the internet and off. However, I myself am not entirely guiltless in this regard. I, nice person that I am, once flamed someone online. (It involved fanfiction, and miswritten characters, and...it was a dark time, I'd rather not talk about it.)
Plus, my regular blog reading includes gems like Go Fug Yourself, Regretsy, and The An(n)als of Online Dating. All great sites, but none of them are exactly bastions of love and cuddles and uncritical praise. Telling everyone that being mean on the internet is Very Bad, All Of The Time, would be hypocritical of me. I don't think criticism is intrinsically bad or mean, even when delivered with a dose of snark.
Everybody's a Critic
I love the friendly, welcoming nature of the makeup blog community. I love that there is this huge group of people who feel comfortable posting pictures of themselves for scrutiny from the world at large, all in the name of a fun shared hobby. It's fantastic.
But. The problem with a happy friendly community is that there starts to be pressure to be 'nice'. To not say anything critical, or maybe even neutral. To not say anything if you don't have anything nice to say. To gush over whatever your friends post because surely you can find SOMETHING positive.**
A community with no acceptable place for even justified or reasonable critical points will inevitably breed a backlash. People will search for an outlet to express disagreements. Add the trend of It's Okay, You're Anonymous On The Internet and a certain socialization pattern among Western women that “nice to your face, catty behind your back” is a valid method of handling interpersonal conflict, and you get the Cafe forum at MakeupAlley, with people saying that we “kill beauty.”*** Is it nice? Is it justified? No. But it didn't appear in a vacuum.
I'm not saying we should 'just get over it' or be immune if someone is being cruel, or resign ourselves to being called nasty names. Bullying or harassment or just garden-variety Mean Girl behavior is hurtful and often unnecessary, and it's normal and fine to feel stung by criticism and fight/criticize it back when appropriate. But besides not (always) being a bad thing, I am saying that criticism is inevitable, and trying to suppress or paper over it doesn't make it go away.
No One's Forcing You To Read It!
I think it's worth it to think about why someone takes the time to verbalize (or blog, or tweet, or what-have-you) something critical. Some childish people snark or flame just to get attention, or for the 'joy' of being mean. However, I think relatively few people are like this. When you really enjoy something, it's easy to get emotionally invested in it. And then, when you see something you don't agree with, or think is wrong, it's easy to react emotionally. This is especially true if you've had the same reaction and felt you had to not-express it before.
The often-used answer to that line of reasoning is, “No one's forcing you to read it!” There's something to be said for that; it's silly to go looking for things that you know will make you upset. But what if people are genuinely participating in a community and hobby they enjoy, and see something they disagree with or want to correct? It's a natural human urge. Sometimes it can be expressed in a respectful, healthy way and both parties move on from the experience unscathed. Other times...not so much. But it's important to remember that the person who is criticizing you may be coming from the same place that you are: a genuine passion for [issue or hobby in question].
Dun Be So Mean
Again, telling someone to 'just get over' people being cruel is unfair and unrealistic. Personally, though, I would like to get more resilient when it comes to facing criticism. Moreover, I would love to encourage an atmosphere in this tiny corner of the makeup blogosphere of kindness tempered with honesty. Not cruelty, or spitefulness, but an atmosphere where it's okay to say, “I don't think this is your best look”.
I'm not calling for some kind of Makeup Blog Critique Revolution, but it's made me think more about how I'd like to conduct myself in the blog community. I'll be more actively encouraging suggestions and critiques of my own entries, and will value honesty as well as kindness and enthusiasm when commenting on others' posts. (This has already started happening here, thanks to some of the awesome people we apparently are seeing from MakeupAlley. Thank you, constructive commenters!)
Please let me know if I ever say something that hurts you or makes you uncomfortable, as that is certainly not my intent. But I also don't want someone to feel like they're not allowed to comment on, or about, our blog unless they have something glowingly positive to say.
Beauty Raid: now raiding in the areas of both beauty and constructive criticism. Woo!****
Anyway, what do you guys think? Do you even think there's a problem with 'too much niceness' (what a problem to have) in the beauty blog community? Am I imagining/overthinking it? (Very possible) Do I use too many parentheses? (No such thing...)
*In truth, this is a lesson I seem to need to re-learn every six months or so. It's a problem, guys.
**Let's not even go into the potential problems, or perceived problems, this can breed of the Why Give Every Kid A Ribbon For Participating, It Just Makes The First Place Ribbon Worthless variety. That's a whole other blog post.
***I seriously want to put “Co-Writer of The Blog That Killed Beauty” on my resumé somewhere now.
****Did we ever explain our blog name, formally? I guess the WoW players probably get it. Maybe we should write a post about it. Oriana would be the one to write it, though, since she's the only WoW player among us.