Dear Feeling Magazine,
I am angry with you. Angry for many reasons, the first being that you made me so angry I needed to break my first rule and write about something I DON’T love. Also angry that you have put me (and others) in a position to feel embarrassed about Belgium. Again. As if we don’t already have enough to be embarrassed about right now.
I am a Belgian blogger-slash-journalist, living and working in London, lucky enough to have started with this blogging malarkey when the worst of the journalism vs. blogging conversations had already happened. When companies over here understood the power of bloggers and fully embraced it rather than fight it. When it was ok for bloggers to sit front row with “real” journalists, because most of those bloggers you attacked by putting their pictures up with those silly little quotes (Susie Bubble, Diane Pernet, Liberty London Girl, Tavi, The Sartorialist,…), well they singlehandedly have more readers than your magazine does. So why shouldn’t they be front row?
When I was told about the article by a friend last night, I had to look it up. When I finally found it this morning on a blog – sorry, we have no Feeling here in London – I was shocked that this was even allowed to be published, and for the first time I felt the need to speak out for the community you offended so carelessly and naively. A community which is much stronger than you apparently seem to understand.
I don’t have the time or energy to rip apart every single offensive remark in the article – this article on StyleLab does that pretty well, but here’s the gist of it:
1: Bloggers are narcissists
2: Content is often an unnecessary luxury
3: Bloggers are incorrigible snobs
4: “Speling mistaks arent bad”
5: All blogs have the same readership: 1
In some cases, these things are definitely true, but generalising a whole community was your first mistake. You seem threatened by a world you clearly don’t understand. You claim you read some fashion blogs, which is great, but you dislike pretty much all the blogs you looked at and dismissed them as not worthy of more than a mouseclick. Fair enough – there’s plenty of blogs I don’t like. It would be like saying I don’t like magazines, just because I don’t like yours. That’s how wide your generalisation goes. Don’t go comparing apples with oranges.
We don’t all walk around with “fake Chanel 2.55 handbags” (mine is very real, thankyouverymuch), taking pictures of ourselves or of celebrities for the sake of it. Some of us have some knowledge of the industry, of fashion, technical aspects of clothing, materials and photography. Even more, we do it all ourselves: we go to events, take the pictures, we edit them, we write our pieces, publish and promote them. We often even write in several languages! We don’t have a team behind us like you do – so yes, maybe once in a while there can be a spelling mistake, but I’d be very surprised if you’ve never written one yourself. Most importantly, most of us do it unpaid, as a hobby.
Yes, I have sat front row at Chanel. I have had a few pictures of myself on my blog. A lot of my posts are mostly picture-based. If I’m a snob for writing about my REAL Chanel 2.55, then so be it. A fake one clearly doesn’t do it for you either. So clearly I fall under your ‘worst nightmare’ category. But I have a very respectable readership and people seem to value my opinion, so clearly I must be doing SOMETHING right. I think perhaps it’s something to do with the fact that up until now I have never publicly bashed anyone cowardly like you did without the right to defend themselves.
So dear Feeling Magazine, dear Michaël,
get with the times. Blog bashing is soooo 2009. If you’re still asking yourself whether there’s a place for us in the industry, then you have well and truly missed the boat. You should know better than anyone how difficult it is for small Belgian labels to survive, when even the bigger names can’t seem to stay afloat these days. Blogs are one of the most powerful tools they have right now, to publicise and promote their brand on a national and even international level (because let’s face it, it won’t be in your magazine). Instead of writing this article, you could have been promoting the many young talented bloggers in our country rather than bashing them. All the other Belgian magazines do… At a time where Belgium is finally starting to catch up with some of the big countries where blogging is now standard, you have now singlehandedly given this community – and I hope by now you realise that’s what it really is – a major knock back.
Congratulations, great job.
P.S. The irony of it all? The article ends with a box promoting the new Feeling blog, where the author of this article, Michaël de Moor is also blogging. Not that I think he’s worthy of my mouseclicks.
P.P.S If Feeling or Michaël de Moor wanted to respond, then I’d be more than happy to listen. Because having a conversation is what us bloggers do.
Thanks to It Girl for the scans.
* RANT OVER *