Hypeed Responds to “Why I’m Not on Weardrobe, Chictopia, Lookbook, or Hypeed”

Reader Raven, of Lipstick & Lumber, gave me a heads-up that Hypeed had responded to my post, Why I’m Not on Weardrobe, Chictopia, Lookbook, or Hypeed. Thank you, Slanelle, for taking steps to improve your functionality, and for your well-crafted response.

Readers, here is what Hypeed had to say…this text was originally published on the Hypeed  blog at http://blog.hypeed.com/?p=1239.

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In response to Grit and Glamour

In an article entitled “Why I’m Not on Weardrobe, Chictopia, Lookbook, or Hypeed”, written by Vahni, from Grit and Glamour, our online fashion magazine has been the target of some criticism that we’d like to comment. We understand her point of view and think she’s raising an important issue.

Vahni has conducted a very interesting inquiry about fashion-based social networking sites, and the fact that these website predominantly feature “young, thin, attractive, and white” girls. I recommend you to read her article to fully see her point of view and to get why we, at HYPEED, felt the need to write a little response.

First, I’d like to underline that what she said about one’s will to delete his or her account on his own made perfect sense. In fact, after she sent us an email asking us to delete her account because she couldn’t do it on her own, we realized that it was indeed a problem, and added a functionality that enables you to suppress your account at any time, by yourself.

When she says that members should have control over the display of their information (choosing if they want their age or location to be displayed, for example), I also tend to agree. If someone does not want other people to know his age or country, he should indeed be able to leave it blank. Actually, on HYPEED, you can leave it blank. But it would be better if everyone could give that info, and then choose if he wants that to be displayed or not. That’s not yet possible, but we can work on it. We’ll be sure to keep that in mind for future developments.

About the fact that young people are allowed to post on the fashion-based social networks sites, I don’t really have a problem with that. I think it’s everyone choice to expose themselves to the public eye. Maybe it should be their parents’ business. But I really don’t consider it’s our role to forbid certain people from joining the website. I’m not saying this because I want more members. I’m saying this because young people can have a very interesting style. Take Evita, from Jelly Jelly Beans! She has a very strong sense of style, and we’re very happy to count her among our members.

But when Vahni reaches the main point of her article and wonders why she should join a site that “perpetuates one standard of beauty” and point her finger at, among others, HYPEED, there I slightly disagree with her point of view. Of course there is a majority of “young, thin, white, attractive” girls featured on HYPEED. As Vahni herself points out, they are the ones who predominantly send their photos. But I truly believe that HYPEED features a large diversity of members.

When I select the photos which will get featured, I will tell you what I take into account: I first look at the top rated photos (and let me remind you that I have no control over the rating), then I focus on the best styles, and then, and it’s one of the most important things, I choose the best quality pictures. If your style is awesome, but your photo is blurry, or too dark, or the setting looks terrible, I just cannot feature it. The pages of our magazine must be agreeable to read, so I really have to pay attention to that. I often add in the magazine photos that are at the bottom of the ratings. If I personally think they’re good, I add them. Because I too feel that sometimes, the community is missing cool people that deserve to be featured! On HYPEED, you can be featured even if your blog is not well-known.

Let me quote Andrea and Sandy, from Paris Most Wanted, whom I contacted to know their opinion on the matter. I think they have a point here :

The most popular girls in Fashion-oriented social networks and in the whole blogsphere in general are indeed most of the time white, young, and thin. Unfortunately, it’s a reality in Fashion in general. It is unfair, of course, but fashion-oriented social networks are not responsible for this. They’re a mere reflection of what’s going on in Fashion. The problem is way deeper. We live in a world of stereotypes, ruled by certain beauty standards,  where looks are essential, which is especially true in the Fashion world. So we partly agree with Vahni on that point, but want to stress that fashion-oriented social networks are not responsible for this.

Honestly, when we wander on HYPEED, Lookbook, Chictopia or other websites, we really find a large variety of styles, people, and ethnicities. There is a real diversity. But it’s true that there is no equality. Of course there are more ‘white, young, thin females’, but you have to take into account that it’s also true for the whole blogsphere.”

The only thing I can advise now is to let you flip through our magazine’s pages, and you’ll see for yourself. Do not just judge the cover, I encourage you to really read lots of fashion features on HYPEED, and then, you can decide whether or not these criticisms were justified or not.

24 comments

  1. Well, I think kudos to Slanelle over at Hypeed for responding. For taking part of a conversation you’ve help start. I didn’t get the feeling that your post was blaming the networks, the Chictopias, the Lookbooks, or Hypeed, I got the feeling you were sharing with us your reasoning and your choice on why you decided not to participate. And I have to tell you, you’ve given me much food for thought. I’ve been meaning to stop posting on Lookbook (my zero hypes pretty much say it all) and I’ve never done well on Weardrobe, don’t feel the community, but it’s a little more than just that. A reminder of what all this amazing democratic voice in fashion is all about. To have a say. To vote.

    And I now what to be really clear on what I’m voting on. So for the moment, more thinking and less hyping. And again a big thank you for saying many things that I feel but saying it smarter, and starting things to improve my perspective.

    G&G rocks. Always.

  2. The response touches on a very important issue that a lot of people seem to be missing, including the responder. “White” and “thin” do not necessarily equal “beautiful;” I don’t care what the fashion industry says. Just because the “dominant” culture views something as beautiful, doesn’t necessarily make it so – it just means that they’ve managed to force their opinions onto everyone else, so much so that other folks started believing it, as well.

    I’ve never heard of any of those websites and, apparently, I’m not missing anything. I don’t need a bunch of anonymous people telling me what I already know – I’m brown-skinned, curvy, short, and drop-dead gorgeous. I dare anyone to say otherwise.

  3. Good to see the response – yes, I mean it’s true of fashion in general, but at the same time the blogosphere, you’d imagine, is meant to respond to that issue of monorepresentation, rather than replicate it. I wonder will the other sites have to something to say too?

  4. i think it’s amazing that your article got a response from them and i love that they agree with some of the points you stated. hopefully they will aim to work on and improve those issues. i think they’re response is really respectful, and i’m so glad that they decided to respond to you. this just goes to show that speaking your mind and being honest, respectful and eloquent (as you always are) will yield interesting results. congratulations!

    also, your original article, which i just got around to reading, was wonderful and i wanted to tell you that as well.

  5. Go ahead and defend yourself by saying that the IRL Fashion Industry is the cause of young, thin, beautiful and blonde being the main standard, but isn’t that the whole point of the internet? To do something different? The web is an AMAZING opportunity to CHANGE what is going on in the fashion industry, but instead sites like these (and probably mine) are not only complying but in fact promoting that very mould we are trying to get away from.

    I think it’s great that they replied to the post tho. But I am still VERY much against people under the age of 16 being allowed access to these pages. Of course, you can lie and say you are over 16, but hey… I don’t think you can say it’s their parent’s business, that’s like a teacher not telling the parents that a schoolgirl changes into a provocative outfit when they get to school and change back again before they go home. Many young girls want to be featured on my blog and sometimes they even say: I can make my parents send you a note or something? But that’s not really the point. The point is that you are a CHILD! And yeah, you probably dress better than I do, but you shouldn’t. Because you are 15 years old and you should be babysitting and playing in the pool, not trying to win a popularity contest online. Have fun while you still can, and stop trying to be a grown up. Sites like these shouldn’t encourage young people to do this by disabling age limits on their communities.

  6. Wow, that’s really cool they decided to respond to your blog post. I thought the response was done in a very respectful manner and I’m glad she agreed with you on some points. One thing in the response that really struck a chord with me was this:

    “Honestly, when we wander on HYPEED, Lookbook, Chictopia or other websites, we really find a large variety of styles, people, and ethnicities. There is a real diversity. But it’s true that there is no equality. Of course there are more ‘white, young, thin females’, but you have to take into account that it’s also true for the whole blogsphere.”

    There are plenty of blogs that don’t fall into this stereotype (like mine for example). If you could make waves with a blog like this one, couldn’t they make the same amount of waves and make change to bring more diversity to their site??

    Just a thought!

  7. So awesome that Hypeed responded, your previous post was fantastic. I’ve been hestitating on joining those sites (though I do peruse them), yes it could boost traffic but with the undesireable bonus of making me feel old and um, lumpy. Truth be told the idea of having to update yet another site whenever I post was less than appealing as well. Thanks for making my hesitation seem a little more intellectual that it really was. You’re the shit, V!

  8. I just re-read this answer/response after reading the LOOKBOOK response, and honestly I have much more respect for this woman and site than I do for LOOKBOOK.
    Although I don’t use Hypeed, it seems like she’s not trying to tell V she’s wrong, but more of trying to explain WHY we may see more thin, white females on the front than other women.
    I actually think her response was better written and less rant-like than LOOKBOOKS.

  9. I guess a question this starts to bring up for me is whether there ought to be some sort of “affirmative action” for “minority” outfit posters. That seems like the absolute wrong way to go about it to me, though. What I think needs to happen isn’t really about Chictopia, Hypeed, Lookbook, or Weardrobe. It’s about a larger cultural shift away from unrealistic, unhealthy ideals for women.

    And yes, of course, there are plenty of women who naturally have such a figure–but most women don’t.

  10. WOW! I’m blown away that HYPEED responded and impressed that they’ve done it in such an honest way. I think they definitely have some points, ones that I myself tried to point out in my write-up. I can’t personally blame the actual fashion communities for the fact that diverse users don’t get featured or appreciated. You really have to chalk it up to the users, and that hurts even more.

    What’s most disheartening about the whole situation is that there really isn’t just one person you can point the blame at. It’s a societal dysfunction that will take some time to overcome.

  11. Thank you all so very much for sharing your thoughts and for taking part in this conversation. This is why I put so much time into this blog—because readers like you are so intelligent and interested in topics like these.

    We all love fashion— that is our “thing” in common. What binds us together, though, is our belief in diversity and respect for each other not as bloggers, but as brothers and sisters of the human race.

  12. I love that they responded without mud-slinging, but the “we’re not responsible for this, so we wash our hands of it” bit just doesn’t sit well.

    …When I select the photos which will get featured, I will tell you what I take into account: I first look at the top rated photos (and let me remind you that I have no control over the rating),…

    …We live in a world of stereotypes, ruled by certain beauty standards, where looks are essential, which is especially true in the Fashion world. So we partly agree with Vahni on that point, but want to stress that fashion-oriented social networks are not responsible for this….

    Maybe not, but you don’t have to go along with it. Change it! Go around it! Go outside it! I get the feeling they’re thinking about it, but aren’t willing to try that hard.

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