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Saturday, 20 June 2015

The Controversial Award

Some people won't like this post. Some people will think and/or accuse me of being bitter or jealous. Some people will think I'm and/or accuse me of being unsupportive; well, I'll get over it. Firstly I'd like to highlight that I'm very happy that so many people, bloggers in particular, are getting recognition for their hard work, especially as I consider many of said bloggers to be my friends. It's not often that the work of the plus size blogger is highlighted, particularly in the media, and even some brands like to pretend that we don't exist. Heck, a lot of folk like to pretend that fat people don't exist full stop.

The topic that I want to discuss is the British Plus Size Awards. I'm sure most of you know what it is, if not give it a google. Hands up, I attended the awards/pageant in 2013 (as I won two tickets in a raffle at Big Girls Paradise, which is run by the same person/company/team) and I attended the 2012 awards/pageant as an official blogger. I've also had a lot of friends enter the pageant over the years, and of course some friends have also been nominated for awards. I even put out a tweet and Facebook page post this year asking people to vote for me if they'd like to (I figured everyone else does so I may as well). That being said, my support and interest in this event has continued to diminish over the years and has now pretty much extinguished following the announcement of this years nominees.

Sounds pretty awful (of me), doesn't it? If you haven't now decided that I'm the spawn of Satan for daring to utter such words, I'll explain. There's been a lot of discussion as of late regarding the lack of diversity in plus size/fat representation, including within the blogging community. How is this relevant? Well, if you've seen the gallery of nominations for this years awards you'll hopefully know how. There is a distinct lack of ethnic diversity. At this point I'd like to firstly acknowledge my white privilege and limited knowledge in relation to this subject, and secondly to apologise if I inadvertently use incorrect or offensive terminology; I openly invite you to correct me if that is the case.

I'm not saying that all the nominees are White British as that certainly isn't the case, but there are very few people of colour (PoC). I know that the results rely upon individual nominations and perhaps as I didn't nominate anyone I don't have the right to comment in some people's view, but I felt I had to say something. Or, rather, I felt that I couldn't not say something; because not only do we need to recognise these things, we need to talk about it.

I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, I just felt like I needed to do something and wasn't really sure where to go with it, what to do, what to say and to whom; so, here it is. I'm not sure what to do about it. I'm not even sure there's anything I can do about it, bar the one thing I can do and that is to not remain silent, to not say anything.

So, there you have it; answers on a postcard, or a comment if that's easier. No, wait. One more thing before I go, a side note if you will. Asides from the above, it's also been highlighted (on the grapevine) that quite often the 'Best New Blogger' nominees aren't actually new. As much as the recognition is deserved, it irks me that those who are new bloggers are at a disadvantage of being in a category that includes people that would potentially have more views, more followers, and even perhaps more experience than them. Granted, previous experience shows that this doesn't necessarily equal winning, but, uh, well, it isn't equal, is it? Honestly, if it were to happen to me (ha), I'd say; "Hey, I'm really chuffed but actually I'm not a new blogger, can you amalgamate my nominations into [a more appropriate] catagory and then, if I don't come out in the top sixth, so be it, but at least it will give another blogger who hasn't been blogging for over a year the opportunity?" I fully expect the blogging mafia to be dispatched to my door after this one, but...#yolo, or something more appropriate and eloquent along those lines.

10 comments:

  1. Glad you had the guts to right this - I feel exactly the same!

    My first bugging point was the 'Best New Blogger' bit too. One of the nominees has been posting on that blog since 2013 - virtually the same time I started mine, I'd never say my blog is 'new' now because its established.

    I have the unpopular opinion of the plus size blogging community that if you aren't best buddies with the top bloggers, you won't be in the plus size blogging elite - which for me, doesn't bother me. But it does bug me for other people who are actually new, and get no recognition :/

    http://anchorsawaybeauty.blogspot.co.uk/

    Emma V xx

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    1. Thank you! I was chewing a wasp over it so needed to get it 'out there'. There's been a lot of discussion over the 'new' categorization and a few have suggested there should perhaps also be a category for 'emerging' blogs; what do you think?

      It's an interesting point on the second part, not sure what I think about it; I guess a lot of it defines who/what you class as a 'top' blogger. I think it's somewhat natural for those with similar goals and/or experiences (even things like being involved in campaigns together) to potentially form friendships and I know that the blogging world can seem a bit cliquey to some people, and maybe it is in some aspects, but personally 'knowing' some folk who I consider to be 'top' bloggers I know that it isn't and that they are (can't speak for everyone, just some!) lovely people who are incredibly supportive of the community. But yeah, I don't know, I posted yesterday not long after this that I know I'll never be a 'top' plus size blogger but I'm pretty much OK with that, but agree with you that although the community as a whole is getting more recognition and that's great, and some deserving individuals are being recognised, there are a lot of people that aren't. Then again, I'm a bit of a hypocrite, as I seldom read other people's blogs!

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  2. Feel quite bad because I didn't even realise all the nominations were white British till you said and I know some fabulous blogs written by PoC. I suppose we are to blame as obviously they weren't voted for but I like that you have challenged this and it has certainly made me think. As for the best new blog you are right many that have been nominated past and present are not new so maybe best emerging blog would be a better title. Although that said I class myself as a new blogger perhaps as I post so infrequently and I guess now I have been blogging quite a while!

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    1. I ought to mention that the nominations aren't all White British, although they are predominantly. Anyhoo, don't feel bad! Sometimes these things need to be highlighted in order for us to be aware of them and whilst that's not ideal and perhaps unfortunate, we're all on different levels of awareness and it takes time for each individual to develop that awareness; this is something that I probably wouldn't have even picked up on a few months ago. I do, like you said, feel that perhaps I am partly responsible as I didn't nominate (anyone for anything)...I don't know, I'm still trying to figure it all out in my head and I'm not sure I even will. Emerging blog would be good as you said, but yeah, it's problematic; I guess half the 'problem' is setting a definition of the category, making it transparent and sticking to it. I'd agree that the nominations for new blog that have been over a year old have really come into their own in the past year, and (I think I mentioned) higher stats/followers doesn't necessarily mean a 'win', so perhaps it could be best new and emerging blogs...I don't know! I say I don't know an awful lot with this I am coming to realise lol. I guess mainly because I don't know what I can change if anything.

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  3. The new blogger nominations irked me too, similarly the attitude of some people regrading them. But like the cosmo blog awards "new" bloggers miss out on established bloggers mis-categorised. I've just voted for someone I feel more deserving (although it took me over an hour and a half to pick in the end) BUT all the bloggers picked are great in their own right.

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    1. I'm not overly familiar with the Cosmo awards (heard of it but that's about it), the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is Navabi and yeah, like you said, folk miss out. Some people have suggested that 'emerging' blogs may be a suitable additional category, what are your thoughts? *Scratches head* this whole thing is tricky though.

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  4. I for one am glad there is a little criticism of the blogosphere. There needs to be balance. There's no way it's all sunshine and roses.
    The Fat posi community is pretty inundated with white, typically attractive people, able-bodied folks. I agree there needs to be more diversity, and not just with colour.
    As for the "new" catagory, it's much like anything else in blogging, as long as you're pulling in the numbers then that's all that counts and, for me, that's when you start losing the quality of your blog and when bloggers start to become "brands".

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    1. Yes, I agree entirely! We're not talking about personal 'dear diary' journals here, and (imo) if you're going to put your opinion (etc) out there then you need to be open to constructive criticism, and if you want to be part of this 'community' then you need to be inclusive and intersectional. Even as a fat person I've got a lot of privilege from being white, able-bodied, heterosexual, etc; I feel that it's my responsibility not to only keep that in check but also to listen to and support the words and activities of those who are less privileged.

      The whole stats thing is tricky business (especially when Blogger stats are inaccurate and that leads to misgivings in the first place, but that's an entirely different topic). There are some people who want to or do blog as a business/job, and that's totally fine, but then again even some of those folk aren't 'all about the stats' (Betty Pamper for example is a full-time blogger but is also still a 'natural' writer if that makes sense, in my opinion anyway). Cor now I sound like I'm calling everyone a sellout, that's not true either! It's a difficult subject to navigate.

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  5. I was quite surprised about the new blogger category. New should be within started within last year? I'm not slamming the blog in question; just saying that they shouldn't have been put in that category. It isn't fair on the others.

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    1. I'm so sorry Vicky, I thought I'd replied to your comment but clearly I hadn't! I agree with you; it's all a bit wishy washy that's for sure. Still, best of luck to all those nominated irrespective of this...

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