I’m not a beauty blogger. Yes, I write about products that I have used and share my experiences but I don’t consider myself a beauty blogger. I don’t fit into any of the parameters that define beauty bloggers- I’m not obsessed with makeup or other beauty related things and neither do I claim to know a lot about them. I write because I love to write- about anything. Like most women, I have quite a stock of products on my dress and in my bathroom and am constantly trying out new ones. Since I enjoy writing, I though why not about these too?
As I spend more time on the net, surfing through various sites, including beauty sites, I’ve come to realise that beauty bloggers are a clique unto themselves, and sadly, very often misusing the apparent “power” they wield, defying not only all rules of the English language and grammar with impunity but also failing to give an objective review of a product. No one is expecting a Jane Austen masterpiece in a beauty blog, but if you are conveying yourself in a language, at least do so without defiling the language. At times, the meaning is also lost because of bad and incorrect language. But dare a reader point this out and in no time she’ll be told to go read a site on English language than a beauty blog! What am I missing here? Why this uncalled for haughtiness? And this is the attitude not only towards the reader but towards the beauty brands/companies as well. Not too long ago I came across a comment by some blogger on Kiehl’s Fb page saying something to the following effect – “Don’t take us bloggers for a ride”. Seems the company had not delivered some samples, they had promised. I’m sure Kiehl’s is quivering in their boots!!
And this brings me to the most important area that is, in fact, the sole reason for beauty blogs to exist- product/service review. Now I may not know much about makeup and beauty but I have studied English Literature long enough to know the “do’s and don’t do’s” of a good critical review. Does a good review mean that you have to praise the object of review? Definitely not. But what it does demand is a certain objectivity, a critical distance and should definitely not be a means to settle a personal vendetta or start a mutual admiration society. Extremes of emotion or sentiment do not make for a good review. I have mentioned this incident earlier also( read here) and I mention it again- I read a review of Forest Essentials Jasmine and Aloe Vera Toner that the reviewer said smelt like cow dung! If the use of such strong words isn’t a total lapse of good, objective judgement, I wonder what is.
However just yesterday I came across a review of handmade soaps that seems to have rolled all these potential pitfalls into one to become an explosive combination. While most have lauded it as “brutally honest”, all that I could find in that review was brutality sans the objective honesty, which should, in fact be the hallmark of any review. With a title like “One of the worst purchases of my life” I was expecting to find a product worth a couple of thousands gone wrong and giving the lady an irreparable rash or something similar in the process. But that a hapless soap worth around Rs 200/- that caused some dryness can evoke such strong emotions, I was surprised to find. May be the soap is as bad as the blogger says it is, may be the maker of this god forsaken soap needs to replace her supplier, mend her attitude as her soap, but what/who is the object of the review- the soap or the maker? And when this maker offers some clarification, everyone jumps on her for not taking the criticism in the “right, positive” spirit. Was the review in such a spirit, if I may dare ask? If one was to see the whole trail of comments, it’s a veritable fish market out there. And I thought we were all educated, balanced, reasonable women! If this was an Estee Lauder product gone wrong, would the reviewer still be as vicious in her review and in imputing motives? I don’t think so. Why the maker instead of the soap became the object of review, I failed to see. The funniest thing was when some FB group “banned” this soap maker for failing to take the review in right spirit! My response, as a reader, and not a blogger? ROFL !! I would love to see this “soap that launched a 1000 vicious attacks” ( A take on the famous quote – “Face that launched a thousand ships” for those who don’t get the context) What a pity that the soap has long ago melted and since gone down the drain !
I’m not here to defend the maker or the soap or criticise the reviewer but to highlight what seems to be the biggest pitfall of beauty industry as a whole and of beauty blogging- vanity. Pride of any kind has been the downfall of the high and mighty. Let us not delude ourselves that it will not be the same for us lesser mortals. None of us are going to make it to the annals of history- let us at least be a part of the current day with humility and objectivity.