There are several things I’m hoping to accomplish with this blog. I want to develop my skills as a writer of course and get my ideas distributed, but I would be lying if I said that I had absolutely no interest in popularity. I’m not jealous, but I sometimes wonder why so many people are so focused on pink.
The most popular bloggers in Norway are so-called pink bloggers, which means that they “write” about fashion, make up and cosmetic surgery. These have 70 000-90 000 hits every day, while my Norwegian blog, which is by far the most popular of my two blogs, are just about to reach 60 000 hits after 4,5 years.
Sophie Elise is the most popular blogger in Norway and she seems to have a talent for being controversial for all the wrong reasons. Last year she wrote an ad for the national lottery company, but published it as a regular post and didn’t make it clear enough that it was an ad. Some time later the organization Norwegian People’s Aid paid her 30 000 NOK (about $ 3 500) for a first aid-campaign. She wrote this as an ad too, but once again without making it clear what it was. Many people misunderstood when she posted a selfie where she was standing in front of a man lying on the pavement. He had suffered a heart attack (staged of course), but she stated in her post that she didn’t feel like helping, it was too inconvenient. She wouldn’t know what to do, she could make it worse, which I suppose was the message of this campaign. Then she went on about how she couldn’t do anything that would give her a disease or mess up her new chanel. Don’t ask me what that is.
The latest controversy came at the Vixen Blog Awards where she won the blogger of the year and the people’s choice awards. I can understand the people’s choice, but I very much doubt whether she deserves the price as the best blogger. The big controversy, however, was what she did when she accepted the awards. She had shown up for this show without her bra, and once she got up on stage she pulled her shirt up.
She supposedly did this because of the comments she had received during the show, and when she explained her action after the show she said it was an impulsive protest against the focus on body and sex in media. She made it sound like it was something she did on the spur of the moment, but I think it’s more likely she planned it. This is where it gets crazy. Feminists were celebrating her as a feminist icon and a new type of feminist, apparently one that made her body pleasing to men and teenage girls before she participated in the public debate. Last year she was also named the most powerful person in media.
Where do I begin on this insanity? When Sophie Elise started developing her blog she did some upgrading that was essential to the product she wanted to sell. She had breast implants, as well as injections of a gel called restylan in her lips and cheeks. She writes about appearance, but I’m not sure what the commentator in one of the biggest newspapers thought about when she called her a pundit. I suppose it was the stand she took against … herself.
I agree with her supporters about one thing, we can’t disqualify someone from the public debate because they are good looking, but this is also a problematic stance. We should always stick to the topic when we debate and not attack the person, so when we debate Sophie Elise’s blog we should ideally keep her out of it. The problem is that she is her blog. The blog isn’t a product she has produced; she is the product. She is a part of a general trend these days where we want to present our lives as perfect in social media.
This reminds me of something the political scientist Janne Haaland Matlary wrote in 2011. A journalist asked her once: How can you as a well educated, Norwegian woman be a Catholic? When she replied that the question revealed her bias, the journalist was offended. She had implied that being a Christian was incompatible with progress and liberation. It was just a weakness.
I agree with Janne Matlary that we have to accept opinions we don’t share. I believe there is room for both Sophie Elise and Janne Haaland Matlary in a democracy (or Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders for that matter), but I know which one I hope my daughter will listen to. Sophie Elise is very profitable to someone. She is a useful tool selling the dream of perfection. Her admirers are probably correct when they say that Sophie Elise has influence, that she is powerful. Stupid gets attention. Stupid sells.
That’s not going to last, though. I believe this pink blogger is sailing under false colours, pretending to be a feminist, but needing men and young girls to admire her body before she can speak. If that’s feminism I hope my daughter has sense enough to stay away from it. She can do better.
She could be inspired by someone like Hanne Nabintu Herland for example. She is good looking, but is clearly a part of the public debate because she has the skills. She didn’t need a plastic surgeon to be allowed to speak.