Why It's Important to Be Negative

On the beauty blogosphere, it can often sound like it’s all roses and gravy. That is, stumbling upon negative product reviews seems to be a more infrequent occurrence (granted they do still exist.) And people love negative reviews - if you look on YouTube, videos titled “What I wouldn’t repurchase” or “High End Flops” always garner views. But in the blogging world, writing negative posts feels like a faux-pas.

As I conducted my research for my thesis over the summer, I became quite perplexed at this fact. It turns out that every single blogger I followed commented upon the reason they chose to write mainly positive reviews on their blogs, each following the line of argument that their blogs were their personal space and as a result they wanted it to be inviting, warm, and a place they could feel proud and happy about. And part of me totally buys it. The beauty of the internet is that it can lead to a realization of a utopic space, and it’s one in which we have (for the most part) total control of. Stemming from my last post, the internet, and particularly blogs, provide us a medium to place our voice. Therefore, what we choose to do with that voice, whether it be through praising or criticizing, is empowering on the basis that it remains a choice, an individualistic one.

But as Maddie pointed out on her blog, the choice to remain positive may also have to do with more troubling facts and external pressures. As she writes, writing negative reviews can jeopardize potential partnership opportunities with brands, and this pressure can sometimes be coming from the company who manages you (if you’re a big-league blogger). So as so not to upset both your managers and the brands who send you tons of free products every month, you keep writing about only the products you love, not those you hate.

Because big-league bloggers are highly influential on us little-league ones, the result is that the ideology found on beauty blogs comes to represent this positive-mentality-only mindset. And that, to me, is deeply problematic. Part of why I argued beauty blogging can be a feminist act is because it allows us to be critical. We must not lose this critical edge, otherwise we become passive dupes in a consumer society highly targeted at women. If you detested the latest mascara launch, don't be afraid to tell the world why: it won't make you come across as a negative-nancy, but as a smart, opinionated woman with thoughts of her own...otherwise, what makes the beauty blogging world empowering is completely destroyed, and, once again, the marketers win.

Keep the blogosphere a democratic space. Keep the blogosphere yours...and stay negative.