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

Yuri Lee of Lookbook.nu has responded to my post on October 26, 2010, Why I’m Not on Weardrobe, Chictopia, Lookbook, or Hypeed. Her response appeared as a comment on the original post, but per her request and like my treatment of Hypeed’s response, I wanted to run it as a post to ensure my readers don’t miss it.

Yuri, thank you for your thoughtful response. In response to your reaction, I only have one comment to make, and that is that age 16 is not arbitrary; at least in the U.S., it is the age of consent, and at 18 in most countries, you are no longer legally considered a minor. You are considered an adult. That was my reasoning behind suggesting that participants be at least age 16. Consent. And the fact that at least you are through puberty, can work to buy your own clothes, and drive a car.

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Dear V,

I am a founder of the online fashion community at http://lookbook.nu. I started the site with my boyfriend Jason less than 2 and a half years ago, and have watched our community grow from just a handful of users to where we’re at now. Obviously, the site is very dear to me and so this subject is very personal to me.

I first want to applaud you for this articulately written piece, and I’d like to say that I completely respect the reasons for which you choose not to be a participant of our community.

The fact that you took the time to learn so much about our site and what we do also deserves respect. I know that you are motivated not by malice, but a sincere intent to protect your own interests and the interests of bloggers like yourself. I also acknowledge that this world is full of companies seeking to profit at the expense of others, sometimes even at the expense of their own customers/users. Because of this, watchful journalism is always something that’s needed and appreciated.

That said, I believe that many of the things said in this article about LOOKBOOK.nu are neither accurate nor fair. So I would like to voice a response on behalf of the team behind LOOKBOOK.nu (there’s just 3 of us), and attempt to correct what I see is being grossly misconstrued.

I will respond only to the portions of this article that referenced LOOKBOOK.nu, as I cannot speak for the practices and motivations of other sites.

1. On the alleged promotion of a “single beauty ideal”

The allegation LOOKBOOK.nu exists to perpetuate a singular vision of beauty is appalling to me and could not be further from the true purpose behind our community.

LOOKBOOK.nu is and was created as a blank slate. It is intentionally minimalist in design and simple in function so that the content that is posted by our members and hyped by the community speaks for itself.

Not only is there a diverse spectrum of different people that get noticed and become popular on the site, there is a similar spectrum of people who do not become very popular on our site, and it is likely that slender Caucasian women are included. It would be hasty to automatically jump to the conclusion that race or shape or size is the deciding factor(s).

The fact is, every member on LB starts out with the same chance to be seen, and every member has the freedom to hype whichever looks they find inspiring. I don’t know about other sites, but on LOOKBOOK.nu, the members–and only the members–select and curate the front page. There are no behind-the-scenes editors picking and choosing what to hide or show on the front page based on personal biases towards certain styles, figures, or race. That is against the very essence of what LB stands for. We don’t make the statements, we allow the community to.

On the contrary, I believe that our gallery is actually the largest and most dynamic source of fashion inspiration you can find, much more so than traditional media outlets (i.e. editors telling you what is trendy and what you should buy this season). The success we have seen so far is due largely to the sheer diversity of our community, the rawness of its content, and the fact that our front page is actually determined in real-time by tens of thousands of active users, not just the tastes of one person.

I would respond to those who argue there is not much diversity on the site that they should look closer. No where else can you find talented and creative young men and women from such different walks of life coming together, connecting and inspiring each other. On any given day, someone from Germany might get to know a fellow fashion lover from SIngapore. These types of connections are being cultivated among our community members around the clock, and that is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.

In the end its all about inspiration, and LB as a platform is blind to everything else. If someone out there in some part of the world likes your look and finds it inspiring in some way, you will earn more exposure on the site as a result of their hype. Our hype system is not always perfect, but to us it is the best and only fair way to determine what deserves to occupy the limited real estate on our front page.

We get thousands of submissions a day from people all over the world, and to show looks “randomly, through a lottery or drawing” as you have suggested, would not be fair to the members who have been an active member of the community for a long time and have established a following on the site. It would be a shame if they were drowned out or buried by the multitude of newer members who are not as committed to the community.

2. On the alleged exclusion of non-Caucasian, skinny females and the lack of a “spirit of inclusiveness”

The notion that LOOKBOOK.nu as a community somehow excludes certain types of people is simply false. Any one and everyone can join the site and become a member, share their looks and follow people they like. So if on a given day the top look is a girl from Brazil, the Phillipines, the US, or Sweden — which are all among our top 10 countries, we have no control. We do everything we can to keep the community diverse and open minded, and we take swift action against users that behave otherwise.

The bottom line: we do not control who visits or joins our site, and we do not control what gets hyped and what doesn’t.

3. On the use of the word “karma”

The usage of the word karma need not be taken so literally or seriously. We simply use the word karma because it is something members use to reward the people they find inspiring. You earn karma by contributing something to the site that someone else finds valuable. Semantics need not be a source of controversy.

4. On negative comments and user control over their comments

We obviously do not encourage nasty comments, and actually have a very strict policy when it comes to trolls or offensive people that leave personal insults or negative feedback that is not constructive. Most of them find themselves flagged and banned by the community and its moderators, either immediately or eventually. But they will always be around, sadly there is not much you can do about that!

We actually started out as an invite only community for the very reason of ensuring that LOOKBOOK.nu started out on a strong foundation of positivity, open-mindedness and diversity, and it is today still a community that has no tolerance whatsoever for rude or inappropriate comments.

Also, all users already do indeed have complete control over their comments.

5. On the fact that we make money from ads

LOOKBOOK.nu is not a nonprofit organization and we have never claimed to be. We have costs and we need to cover them. Like you wrote yourself, running a website isn’t free. At our level of traffic, our server hosting fees and the many associated costs with running a site full time are not at all insignificant. Advertising revenue keeps the site free for everyone to use and above all — it keeps the site fast and not crashing every 10 minutes. It is also the way that my bf and I make a living.

We also have never tried to hide the fact that we want to make some profit in return for the many long hours of sweat we pour into the site day in and day out as a bootstrapped startup. In running this company my bf and I are living our dream, but that doesn’t mean that we are in any way shape or form doing it at the expense of our members whom we value and have lots of deep relationships with.

We are grateful for the success that our site has and we know that we owe it to our community and we have their interests in mind at all times.

6. On the notion that we want our users to abandon their blog and use LB exclusively

We have never tried to encourage any of our members to give up their blogs. Again, while I can’t speak for any other sites mentioned, we’ve never deluded ourselves into thinking that we could replace any of our members’ blogs, nor would we ever want to.

LOOKBOOK.nu is a collective gallery of original street style photography. It’s not a blog, but many of our users find that they complement their blogs very well. As you’ve touched on, the members who are active and successful on LB are beneficiaries of hundreds or thousands of new blog readers and followers every time they post a look.

Additionally, in no way is any member giving up ownership of their content by using our service. All content posted by our members belongs to our members. We do have a permission to use content for our own purposes, but we have never done this in a way that harms our users or profits at their expense. I went over this in detail in the comments section here: http://heartifb.com/2010/04/30/read-the-fine-print-chictopia-and-payless-dont-need-to-ask-to-profit-from-blogger-images/

Our community is nothing without our members, and we know that in order to succeed, we need to do right by our members, not take advantage of them. LOOKBOOK.nu is just one part of the ecosystem, and that’s why we do our best to drive a lot of traffic to the blogs of our contributors. We do a pretty good job as well, as Independent Fashion Bloggers’ own Jennine has noted here: http://heartifb.com/2009/04/13/top-5-traffic-yielding-social-networks-for-fashion-blogs/

The bottom line: LB has always had a symbiotic relationship with our members’ blogs, not a parasitic one. We try to elevate our top members and hook them up with new opportunities, not detract from their success.

7. On the widgets we provide our users to promote their LB accounts

The widgets we provide our users allow them to drive traffic to their own looks or profiles. They are completely optional, but most of our members choose to use these widgets because having a following on LB is always beneficial to a members’ blog following as well.

Similarly, on the front page of LB, we feature a Facebook widget for our Facebook page in a prominent position as well. This is because our following on Facebook helps us stay connected with our audience and having an active presence on Facebook makes LB more successful. We see ourselves similarly as a tool for bloggers. An active presence on LB is surely not necessary to be a successful blogger, but it definitely does not hurt.

8. On the age limit of membership on our site.

You need to be 13 in order to hold an account on LOOKBOOK.nu. This is stated explicitly in our TOS. When we get wind of younger users, someone on our community team will eventually gently let them know that they cannot have an active account until they are of age.

In response to the suggestion that we should raise our age limit to 16 years old, (1) I’m not even sure if that is legal and (2) that seems like an awfully arbitrary age to exclude. There are 13 year olds like Tavi who are wise beyond their years and have a very mature understanding of themselves and their personal style, and I am sure that there are 40 year olds who are not and don’t. I don’t believe it is our place to determine at what age a person can start developing their own fashion identity. To exclude 13-15 people who wish to participate in the community, within our terms of service and community guidelines, would be similar to the very sort of discriminatory exclusion that this article stands against, would it not?

I hope that this establishes more clearly our intentions and values. I am happy to discuss any of the issues above in further detail, and I can be reached via email at yuri [at] lookbook.nu.

Vahni — I do ask that you re-post this response as a separate post so your readers can know how seriously we take the well-being of our members and our community.

Many thanks and best wishes.

Sincerely,

Yuri Lee
Founder, LOOKBOOK.nu

43 comments

  1. I’m sorry Yuri, but just because you VERY RECENTLY changed the site so that “anyone can join and participate” does not mean that at some point in time you and your team did not promote a certain look or beauty ideal.
    Embarassing but true fact: I applied to join quite a few times, and was never accepted.
    I’m sorry my look is not artsy or bohemian or eclectic, or whatever. I have a 9-5 corporate job, and therefore cannot wear torn jeans, long flowy dresses, fur vests, monster platforms, or any other trends I may like during the current season. I have to work them in a way that is appropriate for my environment. An environment you’d like to pretednd doesn’t exist in the fashion world.
    If you were truly trying to be all inclusive, you would have included a variety of members with DIFFERENT esthetics from the start.

  2. I may be wrong, but I do believe after having recently and finally grown old enough to do whatever I want but rent a car–25, really? I believe that in the U.S. you are considered a minor until you are 18. That was the reason I was given when at 17 I couldn’t drive my car past 9, buy porn, or get married without a parent’s permission.

    Age is important on the internet, because you never know who you are exposed to. On a site that is driven by people posting photos of themselves, the age should be much higher than 13. In my personal opinion.

  3. V you are stirring up the pot and that is soo awesome! I’m glad these companies are responding and taking part in the conversation.

    The age thing is really important because a child who is 13 to 15 isn’t capable of assuming full responsibility, nor fully understanding the terms and conditions that comes with using a site such as this one. Yes, a 13 to 15 year old may have style, (and Tavi is a big exception) but in order to fully understand something like the site being able to use their content and other terms like those, you have to be older.

    1. And also, sad to say it, there are people out there who have really reprehensible reasons for searching for and selling photos of 13 year old girls dressed up in shorty-short skirts and platforms and lots of makeup.

    2. Well said! And, technically, some of those photos kids under 18 (yes- KIDS) post are bordering on child porn. I don’t go to LOOKBOOK anymore because it’s kinda gross. It’s all emancipated teenagers (or pre-teens) wearing posing oddly and quite sexually in some cases.
      I have to wonder if their parents would agree with them having a LOOKBOOK account…

      1. I meant to write:
        wearing provocative clothing, posing oddly and quite sexually in some cases.

        At least those are the photos I always see- I don’t see the “normal” ones.

    3. I’m frankly appauled at the cavalier attitude to the age of their members – they seem more concerned about maximising their membership than about the welfare of this age group online – and many of the people answering here seemed to find their response a concern too. As Lorelle above mentions – “Age is important on the internet, because you never know who you are exposed to” and MJ has it summed up succintly above – how can you expect 13-15 year olds to be able to fully understand and take responsibility for what they are undertaking. Especially when the people running this site are prepared to offload such wider concerns that may adversely affect the safety of their members both on and offline under the guise of a non-discriminatory policy.
      Good for you Vahni for pulling them on their comment on using the “arbitrary” age of 16 with such clarity and reasoning based in reality, and for not just buying the line that giving minors an opportunity to showcase their personal style should override their safety on the internet.

  4. I think it’s a little bit of a strawman to argue that V. said you were deliberately designing your system to promote a particular ideal. What she was saying was that systems based on un-curated viewer ratings will tend to promote the “lowest common denominator” of looks, i.e. looks that diverge least from the dominant cultural bias towards young and skinny. Maybe you don’t want to promote fashion as something that only applies to skinny late teens/20something hipsters; in that case you would have to put some energy into the system to start diversifying your results away from the “easiest”, dominant culture compliant choice. But it’s OK if you don’t want to do that, it’s your site! I just won’t be posting my 40-something office-style looks on your site for people to rate using a standard that I can’t possibly meet.

    1. Excellent point, well stated. The dominant culture is anything but diverse and inclusive – if you want a diverse, inclusive site you’re going to have to do something besides subject every look to a popular ‘vote’.

  5. 13 year olds are mature and have an understanding? HAH! And even if they were, I am actually not sure if what they are ALREADY doing is legal. I mean letting 13 year olds post outfits of themselves, god knows what they are wearing, to an online audience who may even be registered sex offenders for all we know? I anticipate the day where a parent finds out about this and actually holds Lookbook.nu responsible and sues them… This is the excact reason we uphold a 16 year old age limit to be posted on our site. And to be honest, I don’t always think the fact that an editor picks out looks is neccessarily so bad. I mean, yeah, you have moderators and so forth, but stuff like this http://jensum.blogg.no/1279394881_hva_skjer_med_lookboo.html with the title “Horizontal Lines Make Your D*** Look Small” would NEVER make it through my eyes and even if these pics were removed afterwards, it was still up there for a little while in you invite-only era…

    i actually think they should go back to their invite only policy, disable accounts that haven’t been used for a while and do a little spring cleaning, that way their hosting could be cheaper as well!

    this debate is SO much fun! 😀

  6. “So if on a given day the top look is a girl from Brazil, the Phillipines, the US, or Sweden — which are all among our top 10 countries, we have no control.”

    Granted, but if everyone selects those people because they’re all pale and skinny, well, that just proves the original point. While you may not be able to control someone else’s opinion, it would be simply ridiculous not to acknowledge that a bias towards light-skinned, skinny people exists, and that standard is perpetuated all over your site. Just because the women come from different parts of the world, doesn’t make your site “diverse,” especially if they all look the same.

    1. Zenzele, this is exactly what we’re all trying to communicate…thank you for phrasing it so succinctly and eloquently:

      While you may not be able to control someone else’s opinion, it would be simply ridiculous not to acknowledge that a bias towards light-skinned, skinny people exists, and that standard is perpetuated all over your site. Just because the women come from different parts of the world, doesn’t make your site “diverse,” especially if they all look the same.

  7. I definitely, whole heartedly agree with the point that V and other commenters are making about age. Letting a child post pictures of herself when she is unable to think through all of the consequences (would you make the same decisions now that you did at 13? I didn’t think so) could be harmful. Maybe it hasn’t been – but it could be – which is where the safety of an age of consent comes in to play.

    On the subject of perpetuating a certain ideal look – my opinion is that I don’t think these websites set out to make that happen at all and it’s almost an unfair criticism. That is more of a society thing that is only highlighted on websites like this.

    Unless of course…it’s true that people were denied membership just because they were older and not in style? Now…that is disheartening and just that is enough for me never to support a website like this.

  8. I am loving all the controversy this is stirring up. I admit that I opened a Chictopia and Weardrobe account, but I never found them to be much of a traffic driver or reader provider. It almost seems to me the people who are bored at work/school and have the time to comment and friend everyone, are the ones that are featured and ‘liked’ the most. I don’t have time for that. I rarely log on to either anymore and after all this discussion, I’m not sure I’ll really take the time to log on to either site again.
    – Katy
    Oh and random thought… couldn’t her excuse for allowing 13 year olds on the site be used to allow 11 year olds? What about 10 year old? And those mega-mature beyond their years 8 year old? There needs to be a cut off to protect people. Teenagers aren’t always aware of the dangers that exist out there. Heck, most adult don’t even know!

    1. Katy, this is brilliant:

      “Oh and random thought… couldn’t her excuse for allowing 13 year olds on the site be used to allow 11 year olds? What about 10 year old? And those mega-mature beyond their years 8 year old? There needs to be a cut off to protect people. Teenagers aren’t always aware of the dangers that exist out there. Heck, most adult don’t even know!”

  9. I am really glad this conversation is happening. I am thankful to Yuri, and Shanelle for even taking a minute to respond. I don’t think the networks themselves are a bad thing. I kinda like the idea of them, and am inspired by many real life people I find there. But it does reflect on a fatal flaw in our present society that rewards a certain look. And it’s up to each of us to be aware of what part our response and participation adds to this reaction. And this discussion is a wonderful catalyst for our self-awareness, and actions.

    1. Well said, Bella! It’s important to realize that whether we actively promote this lookism or not, we are all a part of the society that perpetuates it, and therefore we each have the opportunity to change things for the better. By using this discussion to be more self-aware, we are taking an optimistic, proactive stance, rather than seeing ourselves as passive victims of an unfair system.

      I agree with V that cultivating more meaningful relationships with other bloggers is more fruitful than trying to win tons of hypes from random people on these lookbook sites.

  10. As someone who posted plenty of pictures of herself on the internet starting at age 12, I actually found it great for my self esteem. Taking photos of yourself allows you to portray yourself in a certain way–and I don’t mean sexually, just in a different way than you might come across in daily life. I don’t think that’s the problem. I think the problem is that a site shouldn’t condone users younger than 13 unless they get some sort of more valid documentation of parental consent than the so-easily subverted “enter your parents’ email” thing.

  11. You got ’em on the run Vahni! Actually I like their reply and I’m glad someone’s making money on the web. I’ve never been to lookbook so I don’t really have an opinion one way or the other, but I’m enjoying the conversation.

  12. “We do everything we can to keep the community diverse and open minded,” – Do you really? The fact of the matter is, the only people on the site that get any shine or attention or “hype”, fall under one common aesthetic and for the most part that aesthetic does not include curvy, older, or non-Caucasian/non-Asian – period. Yes I understand that users choose, but if you only see the same 10 people out of a crowd of 100, and someone asks you to vote…hmmm….who will you chose? More than likely it will be 1 of those same 10 people, because those are the only ones you see. If the site was updated, for example, by recency as opposed to popularity, that would be different. But the verdict still stands – diversity might be “there” but it isn’t actually seen.

    1. I agree Pinkbow, somewhat. They care. But they only care about defending themselves at this point, not about creating a truly inclusive, safe, responsible online community.

      Thank you for your comment!

  13. I adore all of you for not only sharing your thoughts here—we’re pretty much all in agreement—but for also conversing with each other. I LOVE IT! I’m glad you all interact and comment back to each other because THAT’S the definition of community. Sharing your knowledge and thoughts and supporting each other.

  14. I’m not a member of Lookbook and what I’ve learnt about this site has been mostly in passing through seeing the odd profile, through discussion boards on IFB and more recently through your (V) posts here. The common complaint from bloggers seems to be that the sites seem to perpetuate a certain look which if you do not conform to results in you languishing in the nether regions of rankings whilst those who do shoot to ratings fueled lookbook fame.

    It’s not rocket science to see how this could happen from reading the response of the site owners. My understanding (and please correct me if I am wrong) is that lookbook.nu was invite only for a long time before opening up to allow anyone to join. There are just three people behind this venture, JUST THREE!!! How long was it invite only? A year? More? It is not hard to see that three people selecting from thousands of membership applications are going to be screening out applicants in a way that reflects their fashion taste regardless of what ranking gets applied afterwards – ie the fashion taste of just three individuals. To speak about it in purely statistical terms when you are passing such a diverse selection through such a narrow first pass filter for such a long period of time it is no wonder you get such a narrow selection of looks/styles to start ranking in the first place.

    I think it is cheeky for them to now argue that now that it has recently opened up that it has completely evened out the playing field. People in your comments section to your previous posts and you yourself have noted what looks have done well because a norm has been already set in that invite only selection process during which their older members have established followings and rankings. Imagine joining as a new member – to get ranked you would have now to either conform to the norms that set the standard for being stylish to do well or break ranks and not get rated well. The norm becomes further perpetuated by people who join and fit the bill of those already doing well or by those conforming to emulate it. That norm is bound to persist for some time despite opening the floodgates particularly as the site owners seem to have a vested interest in protecting the status of their older members as they have stated themselves:

    “We get thousands of submissions a day from people all over the world, and to show looks “randomly, through a lottery or drawing” as you have suggested, would not be fair to the members who have been an active member of the community for a long time and have established a following on the site. It would be a shame if they were drowned out or buried by the multitude of newer members who are not as committed to the community.”

    In many ways this reminds me so much of the plight of women to achieve equality in the workplace! Despite decades of enjoying having equal opportunities there are still glass ceilings in place, inequality in compensation and representation particularly in industries which have been traditionally male dominated, and for a very similar selection process that favoured one group in society over another and was applied over a long enough time to make it seem normal. I’m sure the same argument applies to ethnic groups.

    1. V, you make many excellent points! Thank you so very much for your passionate comment.

      I agree, it IS cheeky for them to now argue that now that it has recently opened up that it has completely evened out the playing field. As you pointed out, those years of controlled entry…how could that NOT skew the population? And how ridiculously contradictory is it to call it “collective fashion consciousness” when it has NOT been a collective, all-inclusive endeavor until only very recently?

      I appreciate Yuri’s response. But to pretend that is has always been an level playing field implies that we’re all idiots. And I know, my dear, that we most certainly are not.

    2. Hear hear! I was thinking that myself – that this is really a reflection on all our larger struggles for equality, be it gender-, race- or sexuality-based. It is obvious that Yuri cares passionately about what they do over at Lookbook, but as others have said, it is naive to claim or assume that innate prejudices or preferences are not at work, either from the creators’ points of view or the people who have been ‘permitted’ use of the site from Day 1. Defend your position, yes, but this bit of acknowledgement would have helped enormously.

      And – great post, Vahni. Good work at provoking this discussion!

  15. her response was very long, hence my delay! but i finally got through reading it all. it isn’t poorly written or anything, i actually think she sounds really eloquent and there are certain points she makes that i definitely appreciate and am glad to know about now.

    i use lookbook… loosely. it took me a little while to get into and i’m still not all about updating my lookbook account. there’s something kind of… unfriendly about the site. it has this vibe… the front page is always littered with angsty looking teens and uber-pretentious titles. don’t get me wrong, i don’t necessarily blame yuri or her bf. i think it’s great they are realizing their dream and i think the whole concept is pretty brilliant. but on the other hand, raising the age would help the site shed that weird vibe it has. that vibe that comes with the stench of tween. i know that sounds weird and vague, so allow me to explain.

    i’m one of those people that considers age to be really arbitrary, and i support that a person’s age does not determine who they are nor do i consider it a way to compare, contrast or determine a person’s worth or appropriate life status. BUT, protecting impulsive tween-agers from their own hormonal indiscretions is a REALLY good idea. and citing tavi as an example of 13 yr. old is not really an acceptable response. tavi IS wise beyond her years, yes… and i personally think she’s a child prodigy. and as a result definitely does NOT represent the majority of 13 year olds out there. tavi has the common sense and wisdom to know that she shouldn’t dress like a 20 year old going clubbing, but rather like a young girl of 13, with an innocence and sense of wonderment about her.

    however, other 13 year olds do not know that. they doll themselves up the way they see much older women dressing and it’s literally destroying the fabric of youth! i know that sounds REALLY dramatic… but it’s true, damnit! kids are getting older and older at younger and younger ages. and while i wish they would just “wisen up” the fact is that they are CHILDREN and they will do dumb shit because they don’t know any better. it’s up to everyone else to be like, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU YET.

    and as for lookbook, i think it makes their site’s stock plummet when it’s filled with teenagers. it doesn’t exactly scream serious, professional or artistic. there are definitely some users that blow my mind and whose styles i adore, but i would likely be far more involved if it felt like a place where people with an actual perspective, a perspective born out of life experience and knowledge of themselves, were sharing their style aesthetics and not a place where teenagers flock to seem cool. to me, there’s a definite difference.

    and this comment has officially become far too long and so… i shall go now. thanks for sharing her response V!

    1. Kristy, thank you for your heartfelt comment.

      I was thinking the very same thing your wrote here when I crafted this post:

      however, other 13 year olds do not know that. they doll themselves up the way they see much older women dressing and it’s literally destroying the fabric of youth! i know that sounds REALLY dramatic… but it’s true, damnit! kids are getting older and older at younger and younger ages. and while i wish they would just “wisen up” the fact is that they are CHILDREN and they will do dumb shit because they don’t know any better. it’s up to everyone else to be like, THIS IS NOT FOR YOU YET.

      If the occasional 13-year-old is disappointed because they can’t participate, so what! It gives them something to look forward to. And it doesn’t prevent them from doing what they want on their own blogs. We as a society have to preserve childhood for our children and keep them safe. None of this existed when I was 13. And there were many things I did NOT have permission to do. You know what? It kept me safe. It kept my journey to adulthood on a safe and natural pace. And I’m not harmed in the least; in fact, I’m better for it. Because I wasn’t even allowed to wear makeup at 13, much less photograph myself dressed like a full-grown woman and post it on the Internet.

      I agree: with this as well:

      i would likely be far more involved if it felt like a place where people with an actual perspective, a perspective born out of life experience and knowledge of themselves, were sharing their style aesthetics and not a place where teenagers flock to seem cool. to me, there’s a definite difference.

      Thanks again for your comment, sweetie!

  16. Dear Yuri, your attempted refutations are so thin and week that it just further cements criticism of lookbook a thousand times more. Congratulations. (PS you really shouldn’t be allowing 13-year-olds to be judged on how they look. That is really, really bad for their self-esteem, and enough of that sort of BS goes on in middle schools as is, you DO NOT need to be adding to it anymore.)

  17. While I agree with many of the points made by G&G commenters such, I also appreciate the validity of certain, but not all, points made by Yuri Lee.
    I do agree that the recent revocation of an invitation-only policy shows that bloggers were initially hand-selected allowing the taste of the three-member LB team to pervade the site.

    However, it is important to acknowledge that if the featured images are selected by popularity, you cannot really blame the LB team. It may be true that certain demographics get more play, but that is a fault and fact of society as a whole. There are plenty of skinny white/Asian girls lacking a (popular) sense of style. There are URMs with style and without style. There are URMs thin & not. There are plenty of “fat” Asian/white girls who don’t get ‘hyped’. I suspect that the URMs becoming popular have simply a sense of style that gets them noticed, a number that will likely/hopefully increase as their demographics have more representation.

    just a suggestion not a war-making statement: perhaps, as demographics of the site shift and change, with the recent opening up of the site, demographics of featured bloggers will likewise shift.

    Thanks for facilitating this discussion! Inclusion in fashion is very imporant, and quite the heated issue! 🙂
    NB: I am not on Lookbook.nu or any other fashion medium

    1. Thank you for your comment, PRG. You have some valid points, but I still feel like these sites are high school all over again…who’s “in” and who’s “out.” Teens, especially, are very sensitive about how others perceive them, and I personally feel these sites create exclusivity instead of inclusion—a contradiction since they are billed as fashion “communities,” and “collective fashion consciousness.”

      But that’s not my real beef…it’s more all the fine print regarding photo copyrights, etc., that I have a problem with. Users need to know the full scope of their engagement, before they post shots. Most do not. So the intent of this post was to raise awareness in that regard.

      1. Yeah, I find the fact that you don’t own the copyright to photos of yourself odd (since they are not paying for the production or anything) and kinda creepy (considering some of the tween self pics haha).
        Plus I was not really “in” or “popular” in high school, haha.

  18. I could not help but notice how many people say that LookBook is discriminating towards appearances. Have any of you thought that monkey sees monkey follows. The users themselves post similar looks because you check out the site before you join don’t you? It is also possible that the site may be more appealing to one market segment than others. You can only control your website so much. In the end, it is up to the user to join and post a look. Some people with different appearances may be to shy to post a look because media over all makes you believe that to be in the fashion industry you have to look a certain way. My sister has great style but she has way too many self image complexes to post anything on any site of herself because she feels she is a bit big. I cannot force her or convince her to think otherwise. It is her choice. Personally I do think that some people do avoid to post on fashion blogs because of self perception. I can say this without being rude or discriminating because I am a curvy girl, size 10 and have been posting my awesome looks all over the internet. I am happy and healthy and have the confidence to do it. There are maany other women out there who will agree. PS. So sorry for spelling mistakes, english is my second language

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