Yesterday I read an article that made me want to (awkwardly) fist pump the air.
It’s called The Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl: Who She Is and Why I Hate Her by Chelsea Fagan at The Financial Diet. (I recommend reading this funny and well-written post.)
Fagan writes of the dangers of following “general lifestyle porn” made by the “minimalist pixie dream girl,” a.k.a. that beautiful young woman you see on Instagram or Tumblr with flawless looks, style and decor. You know, the one that makes you feel like an oily-faced, dimply-assed fraction of a woman. In this post, let’s call her Kinfolker.
Fagan says, “She’s the kind of beauty we’d call “effortless,” which can be directly translated to “thin, with good skin, expensive (but minimalist) clothes, and hair that always looks done without ever looking touched.” It’s a lie, created with “no-makeup makeup,” and art direction, and vaseline on cheekbones to give you that dewy, beach-babe look when you are sitting in an air conditioned apartment in Williamsburg.”
We all know that girl.
Or rather, we don’t know them. We follow them online. Because we want their lives. Or, if you’re a blogger, you want to look like you have their lives.
Fagan comically points out, “She is never actually doing anything, of course. She is sipping her tea, staring out the window, sitting curled up on her comically large white couch with a few magazines strewn about her. She is not there to inspire anything other than insecurity, because her “achievements” include keeping everything incredibly white, not gaining weight, and having a messy bun that is always on the verge of falling but never actually does.”
Reading this article made me come to Jesus with something I’ve been in denial about feeling.
I try not to pick on my fellow women. Being a woman is tough, and the last thing we need to do is to tear each other down. However, I couldn’t help but snicker when I read this essay (I’m a shitty, shitty feminist). Fagan said what the little voice in my head screams every time she sees a photo of tiny-nosed, blonde-haired beauty eating lox and bagels on her lox-colored kitchen table next to her similarly blonde-haired and blue-eyed dog in her Dwell-esque tiny house.
These girls have a lot of followers simply because of the beautiful lifestyle they create. People eat up their nicely photographed glitter shit featured on Crate & Barrel plates.
When I first started blogging, I got the horrible, no-good disease that is called envy, and at times, I wanted to be like them. I thought that if one morning I woke up and my Jewish nose was gone, if my house was as bare as a baby’s bottom and I took enough selfies of me standing pigeon-toed in front of a white wall (with my tripod and timer), I’d become a popular blogger. And then I remember that I didn’t give a crap about that stuff growing up, so why should I now? The Internet is the largest of high schools, with direct or indirect peer pressure running rampant. Though my mother raised me to have confidence in who I was, I’ve not been immune to feeling like the crud on the bottom of a Kinfolker’s Toms wedges.
I do know a few Kinfolkers. They’re not all bad. Some of them are actually photographers or designers who just happen to be beautiful and have darling houses. As much as you want to hate on them, you can’t. They’re genuinely cool and talented.
Then there are the girls who orchestrate the facade. I knew one gal who would make her husband pose for creepy photos of them laughing while drinking coffee on Sunday morning, laughing while running through a field or laughing while standing in their manicured back yard holding their manicured dog. I always imagined that one day both her husband and dog would bolt in the night, broken and tired from forced smiling.
Oh, and then there are fashion bloggers.
Though I don’t share the same sentiment with Fagan in that I hate the idea of the minimalist pixie dream girls/Kinfolkers, I do think we women often need to remind ourselves that it’s ok to be imperfect. It’s ok to have a messy house, messy hair, messy face, messy body, messy workspace, messy children and messy dog. Life is messy. Maybe a messy life doesn’t look as good on Instagram or Tumblr, but in the end, who really gives a crap? Be who you are.
And if unfollowing these ladies makes you feel better, do it. Sometimes we need to put blinders on to keep us going down our own unique paths.