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26.7.16

Why Are Women Of Colour So Underrepresented In Blogging?

For quite some time thoughts have been brewing in my mind, but I've just not been able to construct them in such a way that they're suitable for documenting. So let's just cut to the chase: blogging in the UK has evolved into something very white. One of the reasons our mediums originally became so game-changingly popular is because they were democratic, free from air brushing and representative of 'real women' in all their shapes, forms, colours and sizes. However, increasingly I've noticed that women of colour just aren't getting the recognition they deserve and it's tricky to even discover new talent that doesn't have a Caucasian skin tone. With the launch of every new brand campaign the same faces fill up my feeds, reflecting only one part of the makeup of this country and proving we're still some way off equality. In the 2011 census 1.9 million (3%) of the population identified themselves as Black British, an increase from 1.15 million ten years prior; with more and more diversity on our streets should come the diversity available online, but that just doesn't seem to be happening. With the recent #BlackLivesMatter campaign bringing ethnicity to the forefront of our minds, it's made me question why there aren't that many commercial and traditionally 'successful' influencers outside of the creamy coffee colour spectrum.


I touched on the issue of inequality on the high street here, with the launch of Superdrug's 'Shades Of Beauty' campaign, and unsurprisingly it garnered quite the reaction. It seems women of colour are becoming progressively frustrated at the lack of products suitable for their skin tone, but equally there's frustration amongst the community as it's very hard to find bloggers they can relate to. Although a body moisturiser, lipstick, eye cream or nail polish can be universally enjoyed no matter your ethnicity, when it comes to hair products and foundation shades women need to trust those that are most similar to their own biological makeup. So what happens when that's near enough impossible to find? I think as a community we need to champion diversity and celebrate WOC, but equally brands need to widen the spectrum of those they support through campaigns and opportunities. The bloggersphere has become very one dimensional because of the level support given to one set demographic, so I really want to see talent from across the colour spectrum applauded and recognised as having equal value. After all, a fab pair of shoes or the hottest new lipstick can be enjoyed no matter your skin tone. In an attempt to do my bit, no matter how small, here are eight women of colour that are kicking backside when it comes to blogging - and I want you to check them out.

Kristabel: iwantyoutoknow.co.uk
A mix of fashion, beauty, lifestyle and bold colours, Kristabel's blog is an inspirational melting pot of all she's passionate about. A great place to spend your lunch break browsing, and the perfect destination if you need some inspiration.

Patricia: patriciabright.co.uk
Probably one of the most well known WOC bloggers in the UK, Patricia has been documenting her love of fashion and beauty since the early days and has achieved a huge amount of success already. Having just introduced her baby Grace to her audience, Patricia proves you can have it all and more. An inspiration to many I'm sure.

Grace: graciefrancesca.com
Although predominately on YouTube, Grace's blog is a refreshingly open and honest account of her life, interests, passions and opinions. I adore her no-BS approach to life and how she's not afraid to tackle issues around mental health; her recent documentary 'Clean Eating's Dirty Secrets' illustrated how she's known for saying it how it is and is an absolute must-watch. Total girl crush.

Annie: epiphanniea.co.uk 
The only thing wrong with Annie's site? I wish she blogged more. I adore her style, her photography is amazing and she's got lots of projects in the pipeline to help WOC choose the perfect shade of makeup for them. I can't fault her approach to blogging. 

Shirley: shirleyswardrobe.com

Like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day, Shirley just makes me smile. I love her Instagram shots, her lighthearted way of filming GRWMs and her easy to follow tutorials. Again, she's already hugely successful but until very recently I'd never even heard her name - proving that we need more black beauties on our radar.

Joy: joytotheworldblog.com
A fashion and beauty journalist by day, by night Joy documents her love of everything from lipstick to pizza via this bright and enjoyable site. A mum of two, this isn't a mummy blog in the traditional sense - proving you don't stop being who you are when you push out some little people. 

Freddie: freddieharrel.com
So high fashion it hurts, Freddie's blog is an absolute inspiration. Her natural hair is gorgeous and definitely helps her stand out, but what I love most is how much she obviously enjoys what she does. Plus, she may well have the world's best shoe and bag collection.  

Sareta: kikiblahblah.com
I discovered this beautifully put together site during the Thirty Plus awards and loved it immediately. It's a collection of eclectic topics, discussions, interviews, features and so much more, predominately written and curated by mum of two Sareta. Any blog with a unicorn in the header is a winner in my book.

So what can we do to make a change and ensure there's adequate representation and success across the bloggersphere, no matter the individual's skin tone? First of all, read and follow the sites you think are awesome; share them with other people and let others know you want to see more content from women of colour. If you're a blogger, let brands know of great sites you think would be perfect for them and encourage the use of faces from across the colour spectrum. If you're a brand, PR or marketing executive reading this: start including more diversity in your proposals and not just opting for the same old. If you know of any other great sites that you want others to read, then please share them in the comments below so we can enjoy them. Finally, WOC - I want to know your ideas and suggestions about how we can make a positive change. How can we help you get the recognition and representation you deserve?

Image taken from epiphanniea.co.uk (because it just couldn't *be* any more appropriate to this post!) 

Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.  
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26 comments

  1. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

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  2. Listen. I have long wondered why the "big" mainstream bloggers were all different shades of cool tan, soft ivory and the like. We are vastly underrepresented, but there are plenty of us out there! Thank you for this post. I'm off to check out some of the lovely ladies mentioned above Xx

    Chantel (www.TheActiveSpirit.com)

    p.s. Love the new blog design!

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    1. Thank you! And I hope you enjoy them as much as me.

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  3. Ahhh I absolutely love Patricia! Have been following her for ages and love her style and general aura, she's a beaut. So many new lovelies for me to follow now too - thanks love!

    Katie xx ¦ lacoconoire.com

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  4. A really important post, something I've raised before on my own blog a few times. I find there's a small group of people (like you perhaps) who are genuinely interested in diversity, and a majority of people who quite frankly couldn't care less. There's a lot of pointless platitudes from brands and bloggers alike, and quite often when I talk about these things, it's like I'm met with a stunned, awkward silence.

    There's no simple fix, but for starters brands need to acknowledge the spending power of the woman of colour. We've got cash, and we're willing to spend it on quality products. Secondly, non-PoC need to treat PoC like regular people, because we are. So often I see people go on crazy bursts of blog love on their Twitter feeds, and every single one of the bloggers they recognise without fail is white. What does that look like?

    It's also a reflection of society in general. Think about the outpourings of emotion we see from people who've never been to Paris, Nice, Munich etc and then compare that to the lack of a similar reaction when 284 people are blown to bits in Baghdad. It's all about relativity. The majority cannot look beyond skin colour in order to relate to other people, but as your list displays, literally anyone can relate to the 8 wonderful bloggers you've picked out.

    Maybe this comes across as bitter, and perhaps there's a bit of that in this, but honestly, I've tried being nice about it, I've tried working my ass off, we all have, and nothing changes. So why not complain once in a while? ;)

    Thanks for your post!

    Lima

    Fashionicide

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    1. Complaining is a good thing if it opens up discussion and illustrates frustrations :) It's a much bigger issue that just blogging, I totally understand that; it's just such an injustice that WOC are often overlooked or not recognised despite their talent. Skin colour has never even come into my consciousness because of the values instilled in me from a very early age, but I know that's not the same for everybody.

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  5. I'm from America but I'm in a black blogger FB group that has almost 3000 members, it's called "Bloggers Like Me (BLM)" I think you should join https://www.facebook.com/groups/BloggersLikeMe/

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    1. I'll check it out, thank you!

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  6. this is so important and coming to think of it, it is very true! Will have to check some of these ladies :D
    Pam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

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  7. I was nodding along throughout this post! I feel like the WOC bloggers I follow are because I've gone out of my way to find bloggers with similar skin tones to me. I also think that as the largest ethnic minority, Asian women are really under-represented. I will be checking out all of the blogs you linked that I don't already follow :) I really hope to see more WOC blogging because it's the one thing you can start up yourself without the support of mainstream media. I feel like we are making baby steps towards progress in this area; today I went into Superdrug and they actually had black haircare products which you used to only be able to get in specialist beauty shops. I went into WH Smith and was surprised at how many covers featured WOC. There's still a long way to go though

    Jasmine xx

    Jasmine Talks Beauty

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    1. I agree with everything you said! I'm Asian (Pakistani) and it's so difficult to find other bloggers who are in the limelight and being recognised. There is a huge lack of diversity and ethnic minorities are as usual disregarded. However, there is progress and I hope more and more begin to get noticed for their hard work.

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  8. Such a lovely post, thank you for sharing all these bloggers too. I've followed Patricia, Kristabel and Shirley for a while and they're so inspiring as they reach amazing success as WOC, but I still find myself agreeing with you through this whole post. There is still an inequality, I can see it as a blogger of colour myself and there's a long way to go but everyone of every colour should be celebrated and reach their success! Amazing post!

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

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  9. Such a great post and one that many other bloggers need to be highlighting. For brands that have continued to only have one race in their advert campaigns even when not using bloggers per say dont see my money. If they prove to not care about being diverse then I vote with my feet and money. Bloggers who are popular, a lot of them seem to take the money and run with instant fame and never seem to use their platform to make the changes they have wanted to see whether for the good of others of things they thought were unfair before getting as big as they are now. I applaud you for post it this as its a topic that needs more light.

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  10. It's actually saddening as I've been seeing this all over the past few years. I could actually add that woc in the US have it better than us in other European countries, there they seem to have more opportunities. From the ones you listed, all I know is Freddy, Shirley and Patricia.

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  11. Thank you so much for this Hayley, it's just another area in life where it feels like my skin colour holds me back yet again, although I try not to look at it like that, it's sometimes hard to ignore. This isn't something I thought would still be an issue in 2016!!!

    Ps: The 30plus awards was lovely!!!

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  12. Brands really need to change their attitudes to this! I find it most obvious on Instagram where often brands don't even regram WOC's posts, let alone actually feature them as models! It's so disappointing and I hope that by asking for change we all make a difference

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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  13. This was so refreshing to read. Will def be checking and following the girls you have recommended that I do not follow already. its no surprise or anything new that WOC are overly oppressed in so many life situations. But my blog is MY blog and is one of the only things i have full control over. I'm so glad you brought this subject up!

    Laura| www.lauralivinglife.com

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  14. This is so important, its hard to be equal when not everyone has the same ability to have a voice in the media. Your post was a great read and I appreciate that you have shed light on such a quiet topic particularly in the media.

    Aliya x | www.aliyasabrina.com | https://www.bloglovin.com/people/aliyasabrina-10150959

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  15. Brilliant post! I don't think there has been a month this year when I have not spoken about this in conversation with friends, family, even makeup brands I happen to meet on my blogging journey. Really happy you she'd light on this subject as things really do have to change.

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  16. This is an issue that should definitely need to be raised in society, diversity is finally settling around and this should also happen in the blogging world, and recognition should be based on quality of content not on physicality :p xx

    http://girlsjournal95.blogspot.co.uk/

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  17. Love this post as someone who is a black British muslim I know we are not represented on these platforms hugely. Even the success of those mention are still not up to par of the likes of some white bloggers. Thanks for such an inspiring well put post!!

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  18. Completely agree with what you've said, and thank you for bringing attention to this. It's not just restricted to black men/women, it's many other ethnicities that just do not get recognition. Nonetheless, I am positive things will change, slowly but surely.

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  19. Great post! Women of color are so underrepresented in not only the blogging world but all things fashion...models, designers, boutique owners, etc. There are so many reasons why this occurs but I feel like the WHY isn't important, the HOW is important. How are we going to change things? Continue to move forward, use your platform to express yourself and to educate people and break as many barriers as you can. The world will have no other choice but to see us as being fashionably, beautiful too!

    http://www.bluelabelsboutique.com
    http://www.fashionnotfear.wordpress.com

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  20. great post bbz! the message is strong i hope it gets across as its about time!

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  21. totally loved this post and had to share. 6 years on, I still fee like I'm getting my blog off the ground lol.

    http://www.wandesworld.com

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  22. I loved this post Hayley! Completely agree with you. It's something I've always made noise about. I feel like PR / Companies need to give more WOC an opportunity, as that is what is lacking. Once the opportunities arrive we become more visible. There are many WOC who blog, but our presence in the blogging world is only represented by a few. It's difficult to see who the new and 'upcoming' WOC bloggers are because when we are given opportunities companies tend to not venture beyond the 5 most well known. I feel like other bloggers could help by also sharing each other's content and collaborating with more WOC bloggers, but also WOC bloggers should be more open to collaborating with people from different backgrounds. I see it a lot, especially on youtube where I see new fab bloggers who are White increase their subscriber numbers 10x faster than black youtubers. I guess there's no real answer to this, but it would be great to see a change. xx

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