Zoella was one of the first blogs I read.
Zoe Suggs, the woman behind Zoella, came across as a sweet and lovely 24 year-old with an interest in fashion and beauty.
I warmed to her personality, quirkiness and writing style. She covered topics that I found interesting. I enjoyed her sweet friendship with fellow blogger Louise at Sprinkle of Glitter. And I admired the honest way she wrote about her struggles with anxiety.
Zoella doesn’t drink, smoke or take drugs. She is a loyal friend who has a strong work ethic. And she talks openly about her struggles and how her perfect-seeming life can be anything but. I think the Mental Health charity Mind have made a brilliant decision by announcing her as their first digital ambassador. She is the right choice to lead their #DontPanicButton campaign.
She seems to be an excellent role model. But apparently, I am wrong.
According to Chloe Hamilton’s recent article in the Independent Zoe Suggs is a terrible role model for young girls and Zoella’s “sickly sweet brand of girl power” brings poor Chloe out in hives.
Hamilton’s main argument is that Zoella can not be taken seriously when she “uploads videos to her YouTube channel in which she squeals with excitement over new brands of mascara.” She suggests that rather than blogging about beauty and make-up she encourages girls to buy books and spend more time with their friends.
This article made me angry
I believe that the argument that you can not be taken seriously if you are interested in make-up and clothes is flawed. It is an extension of the theory that you can’t wear make-up and high heels and be a feminist. Bollocks!
I like to think of myself as a feminist. I believe that women are equal to men and should be given the same rights and opportunities. I believe that society should not pigeon-hole a woman or discriminate against her just because she has two ‘X’ chromsomes. And every woman should have the right to do or be whatever she wants.
But I also like to wear make-up. I like to put on a dress and high heels. I like to do my hair and paint my nails. I do not feel forced to do this by society. These things bring me pleasure and I choose to do them.
Does this mean that I can not call myself a feminist? Does it mean that I am a bad role model for my daughter? Does it mean that anything serious I have to say is immediately made redundant because I may be wearing red lipstick?
Of course not! If that were the case, then Ban Ki-Moon made a serious mistake when he asked Emma Watson, the actor and U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, to deliver a speech launching the HeForShe Campaign on gender equality. A killer speech which she delivered whilst wearing killer lipstick and killer heels.
As a woman, my appearance and how I present myself to the world is just a small part of who I am. My slight obsession with lipstick and nail varnish does not define me as a person. It is a piece of the jigsaw!
The beauty vlogs of Zoella are also a small part of Zoe Suggs. They are not all she is or all she has to offer the world.
Zoella has found legions of fans because she vlogs about her passions and interests. She appeals to young girls because she is open and honest. She does not try to hide who she is. That is why young girls love her.
This is the perfect time for her to partner with Mind. She is now in the position to talk more openly about self-confidence and anxiety. And she can do so in the knowledge that her fans will listen and will look to her for support and advice.
I don’t think that makes Zoe Suggs a bad role model. I think it makes her a very inspirational young woman.
P.S. What do you think? Do you think you can be a feminist and wear make-up? Is the Independent article correct? I would love to hear (your nice) opinions.
P.P.S. If you would like to read more, then please check out this brilliant post from Kate Takes 5 about feminism: Pink is a feminist issue (apparently).