Some of you may already be aware of this up coming “documentary” and the controversy surrounding it, but for those you that may not know, “American Blogger” is a film made and produced by the Chris Wiegand, the husband of the popular blogger Casey Weigand behind the blog “The Wiegands”. The controversy has to do with the fact that the film is called “American” Blogger and there is a distinct lack of “American” diversity in the bloggers that are featured. Let’s start off by saying this film is not about bloggers in general—but a specific sub set of bloggers. The film is specifically about fashion, beauty, life-style and mommy bloggers, so the lack of y-chromosome participants is not particularly surprising. However, what is surprising is the lack of female bloggers that are not white, thin, under thirty five, slightly tan, and blonde. There are a total of fifty one bloggers featured in this film and of the fifty one, two are African American, one is Asian and the other forty eight women are Caucasian. And of the forty eight Caucasian women featured, almost half of them are blonde and are eerily similar looking to Chis Wiegand’s wife. I guess we could say he has a thing for blondes.
I do not think Chris or his wife are racists, nor do I think that they intended to create the controversy that has plagued this film. Though a little controversy can do wonders for promoting an unknown film. Because really, the only people who would be interested in watching this film are other fashion, beauty, life-style and mommy bloggers, and even many of them may not be interested in seeing this film. In fact one blogger lamented that she feels that this film will only ridicule what she does, though of course this was not the intention of the film. And for me this is where the film truly fails. It is this lack of intention, and the obvious self-absorption and lack of awareness that “America” is not just a white washed, shiny, TV commercial. Yes there are plenty of people who earn a living creating aesthetically appealing, manufactured non realities, it is called advertising. And there is nothing wrong with that in of itself, it employees a lot of people and keeps the financial world ticking along. But the issue is that this film claims to be a “documentary” and it claims to represent a slice of American female bloggers when in “reality” it is only reflecting a segment of that slice—a predetermined, chosen segment. And what is truly sad is that the filmmakers are completely unaware of this fact. And sadly I think the filmmakers along with most people are unaware of how influenced they are by the media and advertising. In fact when I do my fashion posts and my weekly Look Book Friday posts, I try to go out of my way to feature models of color, but let me tell you, it not easy and nine times out of ten the models in the look books are white and blonde.
Perhaps if the filmmakers had called the film “Blogging 2.0” with the tagline “ Life on the other side of the computer”. And perhaps if they took a much lighter approach with their advertising and marketing, and oh I don’t know, had an actual diverse set of American female fashion, beauty, life-style, and mommy bloggers represented, this film would not be the focus of such ridicule. And perhaps if they did not have a male “movie-narrator” voiceover claiming that these bloggers are changing the world, and perhaps if the filmmaker did not sing his own praises, and did not create a poster for the film that looks as if it is about anarchy and a political movement, it would be taken more seriously.
But this all goes back to a lack of awareness and an obvious lack of experience. The film itself may be produced beautifully and does feature some interesting, smart, and ambitious American women. I discovered some very clever and creative bogs that I do plan on visiting again. But it seems this film missed the mark, and the chance to create a fun, light hearted, tribute to a phenomena that really is sweeping if not the world, then certainly a corner of the “internets”. A world where anyone with ambition, talent, ideas and drive; regardless of class, race and yes gender, can make a name for themselves. So what do you think? Will you see this film? Do you think it deserves the scrutiny it has come under? To read more about the controversy regarding this film and to hear what a blogger of color has to say about it, head on over to IFB.