Fashion Bloggers: A New Wave of Faux-Fame

By Hayley Grunebaum on October 6, 2013

Fame used to be something unattainable for the average person. It was a romanticized construct embodied only by icons resembling Audrey Hepburn, James Dean, and Madonna. Fame not only implied being universally recognized, but also indicated that someone had achieved something novel or noteworthy. Only a set few coveted such a well-known identity and even fewer actually achieved one.

Now, in the days overwhelmed by Facebook mini feeds, tweets, Instagram photos, and blog posts, the state of fame has drastically changed.

Bloggers like Leandra Medine's Man Repeller have worked their way into the upper echelons of society with only their quirky personalities and unique senses of style. They have created a new world of fame outside of the glamours of Hollywood that appears attainable to the average person.

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Medine began her personal fashion blog by posting pictures of herself in garments that she deems, “May result in repelling members of the opposite sex.” These clothing pieces include overalls, harem pants, boyfriend jeans, and jumpsuits, to name a few–virtually, any mildly offensive clothing that will send your boyfriend running the other way. Medine is not a model, she is a normal New York City woman with a fabulous closet and an eye for putting together outfits that are edgy and different. Her unique ability to dress herself, post pictures of herself in her clothing, and wittily blog about it, has turned into a thriving career. Now, Man Repeller has over 150,000 followers on Twitter and over 400,000 followers on Instagram. Young women are attracted to the fact that she represents real people, opposes the longstanding stereotype of modelesque glamour, and makes the idea of fame seem more attainable. Fashion gurus in their twenties live by her distinct style, and if you asked them, they would say she was just as famous as the next “it” girl.

Countless of other bloggers have utilized this egocentric blogging model in an attempt to get their fifteen posts of fame. Girls post pictures of themselves day in and day out with the hope that their style will be picked out of a fashion blog haystack and be, in some way, revered.

Don’t get me wrong, Man Repeller is my preferred tool for procrastination. She is a talented writer and, overall, kind of rocks. I do, however, see something inherently wrong with the general trend of blogging about oneself. It seems to reflect a larger problem with millennial culture: The excessive desire to be “known”.

At this point in time, young people forget to enjoy themselves because they are constantly posting pictures of themselves on Instagram, so that it merely appears as though they are having fun. Friends of mine often comment that they only go to certain events or take part in various activities because they do not want to miss out on any Kodak moments that will later be chronicled all over Facebook. Cameras have become the new eye, and we are obsessed with personal appearance and image. There is a wish for what I have deemed “faux-fame” that our peer group vies for and that the blogosphere reinforces. It supports the notion that if we package ourselves correctly to the outside world, we too can achieve celebrity status. Today, online popularity and recognition take precedence and people genuinely forget to enjoy themselves.

The question becomes, are bloggers like Medine Icons in their own right, or do they represent something essentially artificial about our culture? There are over 3,000,000 people who blog everyday and are vying for the same taste of fame achieved by the Man Repeller. In my eyes, it may be necessary to take a step back and think about what really matters.  Does our generation only want to be remembered for the magical conception of the Facebook, “selfie?”

Hayley is a senior at the University of Michigan, majoring in English and Psychology. This summer, she interned at a start-up media company called Bedrocket, as well as The Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention Studies at NYU where she worked with young adolescent gay males with and without HIV. Hayley loves creative writing, poetry, and people. She can only chew two pieces of gum at once, even if each individual piece is huge (can't break the habit), and has a weird obsession with John Mayer, despite his reputation as a womanizer. She is so excited to be a part of the Uloop team.

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