Sunday, October 14, 2012

How Happy Can a Blogger Really Be?

In Norway there is a huge debate going on about the female "happiness bloggers": The ones with the  perfect snapshots from their homes, clean and smiling children, healthy and exciting food every day, not to forget the lunch boxes to school.

With heart shaped pieces of cucumber.

In different sections.

These bloggers have received criticism for - like photoshopped women on magazine covers - not showing life like it really is.

Like we all know it is.

They are being accused of creating unrealistic expectations, only serving to make women feel bad about their own lives, lives not captured in cream colored sofas.

The readers feel they should make more food with green things (extra-terrestrial?), should bake more often (like me), or maybe should get a divorce to move things around in life.

Nothing wrong with this lunchbox, ey? People have survived on bread and cheese for centuries. I bet Einstein had this for lunch!

I avoid them like the plague since I know I can be affected: I once ordered a book about superfood, after reading about how brilliant and healthy children become from it. The book made me feel inadequate, power-less and certainly not super.

So I sent it back the next day.

That, on the other hand, made me feel liberated and awesome!

Are female bloggers apparently doing nothing but pounder around the house moving cushions for perfect camera angles - hence reinforcing the increase of post natal depression in the west?

The profound, funny, ironic and interesting bloggers can be difficult to spot through the cupcake frosting. Luckily I've found them, which makes my life on the internet interesting, and many of these are my readers too!

Taking out all the content of the cupboard and spread it on the floor. Any learning outcome at all? No idea. But I get to drink my coffee.

What a rant. So this is what getting up at five am every day takes you after a while.

What do you think? Do you feel intimidated by the "happiness-bloggers", or do you just skip reading them?

Have a great week!


karen @ badlandsquilts said...

I don't read them, and those that are more productive than I as far as sewing I dismiss by acknowledging surely those people don't spend at much time volunteering at school or have children with medical issues, etc. It's all about choices, and I've been a mom long enough to feel comfortable with the ones I make for my family and me. (And I loved your photos in the last post - I had days like that! What they don't tell you is that when your kids get older and having many activities it still can look like that cause you are never home!)

Little Dotty Bird said...

Hi, just found you randomly via Tracey English's blog! I have struggled with the happinness blogging malarky and I've found that it completely depends on my state of mind. If I'm feeling a bit cruddy and I read certain "perfect life" blogs then it makes me feel utterly crap, useless and inferior but if I'm in a good mood I can find inspiration from it. (however..mostly they just make me feel crap so I actively avoid them). I've found that now that I write my own blog..which I hope isn't too cheesey and perfect!, I can see how you could chose to project a certain carefully selected image. We all do the best we can and you can't be all things to all people, all of the time! Nice to "meet" ya
Lisa x

Di said...

I tend not to read them......I admit that I don't post about the bad things that happen in my life so perhaps I look like a happiness blogger......but I also don't get affected by the perfect life bloggers to often because we all know that there are problems in everyone's life!!

Oh and I love your blog......

Makeminemidcentury said...

Happiness bloggers ... I'm sure they're nice people, but I have to agree with you whole-heartedly. we have plenty of happiness bloggers in Australia. It's irritating because people seem to lap it all up without question. I don't read them. They're too boring and contrived. Funny that this is a world-wide phenomenon.

Satu VW said...

Ha ha, that picture from your kitchen looks just like ours, our little one has figured out how to open drawers...!

I personally don't mind the happiness bloggers, for me they are kind of the same as glossy magazines. I take a quick look, and move on. For sure they have their problems, bad days, messy houses and microwave dinners, but they just choose not to write about those.

Oh and I usually don't stay long enough on their sites to start feeling inadequate... :)

likeschocolate said...

I may be a little quilty of portraying a perfect life, but it is not. My children are eating top romen for dinner a pre packaged chinese noodle creation that you boil in water for three minutes. No nutritional value, but hubby is away and I do not want to cook. Addy loves to pull everything out of cupboards too and loves to dig in trash-yuck!

gemma said...

I actually only read blogs that seem "real" to me (yours rates as real and exotic). I live in Australia, and your world is so different and the same at the same time, just with really interesting seasons. I don't bother with blogs where I can't identify or sometimes even believe what the person is implying is their perfect life.

PS my kids loved to dismantle the Tupperwear cupboard, that was hours of coloured plastic and stacking fun.

BammerKT said...

I feel intimidated by NO ONE. At least I'm working on that, really hard, with a psychiatrist.

But honestly, it inspires me, but I accept myself separately. Reading happiness bloggers is like reading crappy romance novels. Honestly, in at least 75% of those, the people washed, maybe what? Twice a year? Is that someone you want to rip off your bodice?

That took a turn.

Anyway, I get inspired, but don't take them seriously.

ibb said...

Really don´t make me unhappy, but sometimes makes me feel my home is a real mess...inable to take five minutes to make a corner look "perfect". But have not much time to think about it.
I work out of home and spent more than 10 hours writting a bit is just enought for me...
Love real lifes, real problems, and real homes with real solutions...
But must confess that like also seeing those idilic white houses. Just see, not much to say. Like here for example

En støvel og en sko said...

Ha ha, I had to laugh becuase I've been doing EXACTLY that this weekend: rearranging cushions to make a perfect photo. But I hope that my readers understand the reasons behind it, that I'm so happy with the cushion I made that I just have to show it off as much as I can.
I used to feel depressed when reading 'look at me I'm so happy' blogs, but not any more because I know that they too have bad days, but choose not to write about them. I prefer blogs that reflect real life but who also inspire me. Your blog inspires me - don't know why, it just does.
Have a great week!
Love, Solvi :-)

Knittings Nice! said...

Oh so with you on this subject, there is one inparticular that it makes me want to peuk!!!...honestly I sometimes feel like putting a comment to the effect..."don't you have crap days, where you love your kids but don't always like you live in a rainbow world where nought goes wrong, perhaps if you wrote about lifes ups and downs then the blog would seem more real".....but I chickened out as I didn't want any backlash from elsewhere. Bravo to you for raising this topic....well rants over....take care.x

Vince Stephen said...

That was seriously funny.

Dorit said...

Ha! :) My blog was called everyday happiness, so I should probably feel guilty. And maybe that's why I don't blog anymore. My life is far from perfect, but I focus on small "happiness" things to keep my mind sane ;). But I don't know the Norwegian happiness bloggers. Is it those with perfect, spotless houses? I don't read those, but I do follow several, who have a more productive, creative and exciting life than me. And that is ok. They inspire me. Most days.

Minnado said...

Ah how this post made me smile! I tend to avoid blogs that are too perfect especially when they describe wonderful husbands and wonderful children! There is a fine line between inspiration and intimidation blogs that have photos of perfect homes! I like the photo of your cheese roll, if i knew where my kids put my camera i could show you my daughter's boring cream cheese sandwich!

Teresa said...

I'm just addicted to your blog my dear, which never fails to make me feel happy! :-) No need to venture further into blog-land... It's an interesting debate anyway, and if this 'perfect' breed of rather bland sounding happiness bloggers do present an airbrushed view of life, rather than telling it how it is, then I can imagine that's a bit annoying/amusing for the reader (depending on one's mood). The heart shaped pieces of cucumber in the kids lunch boxes made me laugh! But harmless really, no? As one of your other readers pointed out - it's the glossy mag approach to life isn't it, which you can dip into (or not, in my case) and then cast aside, depending on how you feel. Or you can simply avoid such blogs, full stop, as you do. But I doubt any reader wants tooooo much reality though, do they?! Humour, warmth, inspiring photography and something interesting to say though: YES :-)

Judy @ said...

What a great blogpost - I read this with such interest. I've been blogging for about 4 months ( and I've been wondering about whether I should be more honest about the times that I feel knackered and fed up with life. I have 4 boys (teenagers) and work full time as a teacher. Lately I've found that I haven't had the energy to blog anything very positive so have avoided it, but your post has inspired me to be a bit more honest about my life. I feel that I have been guilty of writing posts only when I am feeling happy and consequently come up with "happiness blogs" and therefore just as guilty as the too happy too shiny posts that annoy me in their turn.

by the way - I loved the photo of your litle boy- taking things out of the cupboard and exploring them is just as valuable as anything more structured - they're discovering about shape, size, colour and weight and that mummy is not their slave! I will be reading your blog again. Judy.

Karen said...

Just found you - I like! I think we all want to portray ourselves in the best light knowing that nobody in their right mind would even think that anyone has a perfect life. Life is messy, sad, difficult, happy, and yes, sometimes all cleaned up. Does anyone want to see my dirty laundry? I don't even want to see it! And we should all support one another as women, knowing that nobody has a perfect life, but sometimes....we can pretend. So Happy Blogger, Sad Blogger, we all need to be supportive. xx

Linda said...

I tend to avoid the 'my perfect life' blogs, but I am fascinated by the very definite Norwegian blogging 'look'. There is a certain format and composition of the photos, especially of the blogs which have a home interiors style. They are so elegant and essentially Norwegian and make me feel that my house is a dull Scottish mess!

la casita said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
la casita said...

Oh well, let them be. I wouldn't accused them for making someone life miserable. We are responsible for our choices. As a westerner I can't complain much, nobody force us to wear certain clothes, expect us not to go to school, and marry at 14yo.
It's a bit like when people who are over eating and yet over weight accuse people who are slim (because simply they don't over eat) to make their life miserable!!! what??? eat less (by less I mean the right amount you really need) and certainly you'll loose weight I don't mind the blogs where all is perfect, it's pure escapism and sometimes I learn something from them. Sure is that we tend to look for beauty and perfection and that's why we are mostly attracted by all white Scandi perfection. I tend to look at thing with a certain degree of detachment well aware that blogs are blogs and real life is real life and so human beings. I welcome diversity and so, if actually someone manage to live in that way, well good for her! At least we should look it as a positive example rather than with green envy eyes.

Van said...

I do read some of the "happy perfectionist" blogs for inspiration to get the house cleaned, but I don't get sucked into it and believe it's reality.

This type of false advertising is especially insidious with blogs, because blogs are supposed to be personal. It blurs the lines between fantasy and reality and makes people reading along feel worse. I hope my blog never does that. I show my mess. I don't bake. I don't follow the trends. I cook as healthy as possible, but I don't spend hours making my food photogenic.

Let's continue to do our thang! Love your blog :)

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chiara said...

I really believe that people use blogs as a form of diary and when they show pictures of a cake they baked or a tidy house they do it more for themselves than for others. I am convinced that there is no need to show how hard life really is because we all experience it every day and sometimes what we need is to remind ourselves the good little things we are capable of and not what we feel we are failing. I understand the critics and see the point of not believing some bloggers' life is perfect but I honestly don't always feel like reading about children getting sick, getting fired and not making the rent, having sick parents or complicated relationships.


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