I was drifting off to sleep tonight when my friend Sevi sent me a link to an Instagram post published by a local blogger/woman of color whose work I greatly admire. It brought to light an issue that has been eating away at me for the past two years.
I thought leaving my career in the influencer marketing industry would absolve me of my own complacent contributions to its exclusionary structures, but there is guilt in omission and remaining silent on the topic of inequity.
Influencer marketing is incredibly powerful. But as any comic book fan knows, with great power comes great responsibility. It’s easy for people in power to justify exclusive spaces/events by saying they are reserved for the most successful (and thus, deserving), but it’s not enough to look at who is invited to the table.
Who has been empowered by years of promotion and support, given opportunities to shine/earn money on platforms with enormous reach, introduced to brands for high-paying campaigns? Who had the financial independence to jumpstart their blogging career by hiring professional photographers, web-designers, and buy new products to hawk on aforementioned platforms? What factors contributed to this success and which opportunities to be inclusive were missed along the way?
I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade, but can’t continue to do so responsibly without fully acknowledging my participation in a system that rewards privilege.
Tonight was the wake-up call I needed to remove the custom field I had created in my theme to house my “shopping widgets” and take the final step off of the carousel. I fully expect to lose followers, friends even… by voicing an unpopular opinion. That the money you earn from a platform whose values do not reflect your own is not worth the cost of your morality.