Don’t Feel Guilty If…You Aren’t White

by Elisabeth on April 27, 2010 · 66 comments

[Since so much of what we choose to blog seems tied up in what we feel like we should blog about, we at Hollaback decided to start a feature called, "Don't feel guilty if..." Many bloggers have expressed concerns about blogging about aspects of their lives that might be different from what they see on other health blogs. So we're going to be giving you lots of examples of things that are "OK" -- things that maybe we didn't feel OK about when we started blogging, but now we know totally are. Love, the Hollaback Girls.]

I don’t do average.

I was delivered by my father, on the floor of my parents tiny little house on a road named after a barn. This is not average.

When I was born, I weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces.

I’ve never done a cartwheel.

I once knocked the wind out of myself during a failed front somersault attempt.

I peed my pants in the fourth grade.

I’ve never been interested in white men, but I’m white.  You know—I’m white; but not WHITE white.

I haven’t checked the statistics, but I would venture to say that most health bloggers are white females who were raised in upper middle-class homes, with an average age of around 23-27.  If the blogger is married, her husband is also white.  He likes to drink beer.  He usually wears plaid shorts, Polo shirts, and Birkenstocks.  Sometimes, he lets the blogger take pictures of him posing with the wonderful food that was just prepared (and subsequently photographed).  Sometimes, he even cooks (and what a great husband he is)!

Me? I just turned 33.  Lipton Noodles and Rice-A-Roni were often on the menu growing up.  I’m lucky to have a great job now that allows me to branch out from packaged foods, but I’m intimately familiar with generic peanut butter, cheese, and cereal.  I’m engaged to a black man.  He’s black.  He was born and raised in DC, and as a young boy, he shared his home with roaches.  Did I mention that he’s black?  He played basketball so that he could get a college scholarship, and after graduation, he became a black cop. He likes kung fu movies, wouldn’t be caught dead in anything plaid, isn’t photogenic, doesn’t drink alcohol, and let’s just say I’m not marrying him because he can cook.

It may be shocking to hear, but just prior to starting my blog in 2008, I didn’t even realize that health and fitness blogs existed.  At that time, I only knew about one blog: The Pioneer Woman. I loved her quirk, her humor, and her love of life.

“I’m quirky, I’m funny, I love life!”

I’ll start a blog!

At that time, I was bursting with passion.  I was fresh out of treatment for my eating disorder, and I had signed up for my first 15K race.  I had a lot to say about health, body image, eating disorders, and I wanted to be the voice of a woman who broke out of her shell after 15 years in hiding with her eating disorder.  I was feeling very ‘girl power’, and I was ready to conquer the world!  After starting my blog and trolling around the Internet, I quickly realized that in the world of health and fitness bloggers, White wins.

When I realized that I had firmly embedded myself in the white bread world of health blogging, I started to feel left out in many ways.  In order to quell this feeling of not belonging, I tried personally connecting with other health bloggers.  However, when my fiancé and I were afforded an opportunity to meet some of these bloggers face-to-face, we both felt ostracized.  Based upon all of the concerned looks I received, I gathered that the majority of these health bloggers were not ‘down with the brown’.

Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time searching for my voice in the health blogging world, and I’ve invested a lot of time struggling to find a perfectly shaped role for myself in this virtual society.  Whereas health blogger would be my most accurate designation (considering that health is my ultimate goal in life), given the conventional cookie-cutter version of a “health blogger,” I’m just not sure I’m white enough to call myself one.  I don’t fit in anywhere in this health blogging world.  It’s been difficult to find my groove in a virtual world that is so overrun by people who are seemingly the exact opposite of myself, and it’s been nearly impossible to connect with people that I don’t innately know how to talk to.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m speaking an entirely different language, and nobody else understands or cares.

A great example of this minority blogger phenomena lies in the website Black Girls Run.  I have been reading Ashley and Toni’s site since they first started writing, and it has really drawn me in and allowed me to see things from the perspective of healthy women of color who are maintaining healthy lifestyles.  I love seeing this fresh perspective on running, health, and fitness in general.  It’s information like this that we need to see more of in the world of health blogging.

To me, learning is all about convenience, availability, and motivation.  If we are motivated to learn about something, and the information is convenient and readily available, we will likely learn about it.  However,  as health bloggers and readers of health blogs, how can we derive a fair amount of information from the thousands (millions?) of personal health blogs in existence if they are all the same, written from the same voice, and represented by the same type of people? When new health blogs come into existence and the writer represents a new cross section of the universe, rather than shy away, we should embrace them!  Thank them for showing us something fresh, and for opening up their world and their life to the rest of us.

Do you know of any other health bloggers who don’t fit the typical “mold”?  Please, tell me about them.

(If they live in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, they are quirky, and like cycling, long walks in the park, dogs, and Chipotle guacamole, it would be preferred.  I need some friends).

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{ 66 comments }

MelissaNibbles April 27, 2010 at 12:34 pm

Very interesting post. I never realized this before. I feel left out sometimes because, like you, I’m over 30 and don’t relate to a lot of the bloggers because I’ve outgrown a lot of things they do and their ways of thinking. I totally understand why you feel the way you do. Thank you for sharing your feelings and opening my eyes to this.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm

Being an ‘over 30′ blogger in the health realm definitely poses its’ own problems. You’re correct in saying that it’s difficult to relate to certain bloggers because they are at such a different point in their lives.

Christie {Honoring Health} April 27, 2010 at 12:46 pm

Boy, can I ever relate to this post. I feel like the odd man out for many of the same reasons. I’m 33, married to a guy who prefers to buy his clothes at Target and I’ve very publicly blogged about my poor, abusive upbringing and my disordered relationship with food. Thanks for sharing. I’m in VA, by the way :D
.-= Christie {Honoring Health}´s last blog ..Market Day =-.

Chari April 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

It’s true that a lot of the healthy lifestyle/food blogs are written by white women with white husbands. I’m sure there are more WoC (Women of Color) food/health bloggers out there; it’s just that since there are so many established food/health bloggers who *are* white women, it’s rather difficult to break through at times. I’ve seen it in the feminist blogging community as well. It’s a matter of privilege which isn’t at all obvious to the white bloggers, but which is painfully so to those who aren’t one of them. (I’m not saying that they are intentionally keeping others out!)

The difficulty you feel with fitting in is something I can identify with; albeit for different reasons. I’m white, I’m a woman, but I don’t fit the typical health blogger mold (that’s not to say I don’t enjoy the same privilege as they as a white person; just on a differing level). First off, I don’t have the time it takes to keep up with putting up 80,000 posts a day and taking photos of my food. I work full time away from home. Then when work is done, I have a home to take care of and a spouse with which to spend quality time. I am also a lot older than your typical health blogger out there. Then, there’s the fact that it’s *me* who wears the plaid shorts and polo shirts… ah — but that’s another post. :)
.-= Chari´s last blog ..Crap… =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm

How can we create a network of these blogs??!!

Maryland Girl aka Michelle April 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Great post. I blog about my world. I dont’ fit the mold, but I don’t care. I just keep doing what I like doing and hopefully I will meet other like-minded people. As a divorced woman and mom trying to create a new social circle, it is not easy. I do have some blogger buddies that I connect with – of course you never know what it may be like when you meet in person.

Chipotle guacamole is awesome!
.-= Maryland Girl aka Michelle´s last blog ..Race Report! A PR for pokey me! =-.

Leah (Nutritionista) April 27, 2010 at 1:04 pm

“I’ve never been interested in white men, but I’m white. You know—I’m white; but not WHITE white.”

Elisabeth, that’s me! My boyfriend (who’s not white) always says, “Boo boo, I know you’re white, but I wouldn’t be dating you if you were REALLY white.”

I’m really glad you pointed out the lack of color in the healthy living blog world. Let’s embrace all types of bloggers, not just those who fit the status quo demographic.

Also, I wish I lived in your area because we could bathe in Chipotle guac all day long.
.-= Leah (Nutritionista)´s last blog ..Win It: Sustainable Notebooks by ecosystem =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 1:12 pm

Leah, that’s exactly what Rick tells me too! He’s like “you’re white, but not really…you don’t worry about all of that other bullshit like other white girls.” Except, he does have to listen to a 45 minute synopsis of my day in blogging each evening. That’s mighty white of me.

Laura Georgina April 27, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Oh, this post is such a breath of fresh air! I sometimes feel the same about the healthy living blogosphere–on the basis of content (sometimes I wonder, where did the writing go?), interests (yes, it’s a healthy living blog, but surely people have other interests too?) and age/demographics (again, over thirty, Puerto Rican, and living in the Caribbean, so I really don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold). I think it’s important for us to remember that we’re all different and that’s what makes us interesting–and that those differences should be celebrated in our blogs and our interactions with one another.

BTW, I l-o-v-e Black Girls Run! Refreshing subject matter, refreshing writing, and boy, do they make me want to run and look like them!
I also love BitchCakes–she’s a very definite style, interests, and is a really motivational health writer (http://msbitchcakes.blogspot.com/)

If I lived in DC, I’d definitely come out, play with dogs in the park, and hit up Chipotle with you :-)
.-= Laura Georgina´s last blog ..When Good Habits Come Home To Roost =-.

Eunice April 27, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Haha. I fit into this in a totally different way. I’m not white…and I’m not black. I’m Hispanic…but I don’t feel Hispanic. I definitely feel like I don’t fit in anywhere! I know that this is meant as a post on your identity as a blogger, but I think what you’re expressing here goes beyond that and into the “real world”. Thanks for putting this out there! And thank you for linking to Black Girls Run. I’m loving their blog :)

Andrea (Off Her Cork) April 27, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Holy crap I sort of feel like this post was written for just me! I know it wasn’t but let’s pretend, ‘kay?

I grew up poor. I know what it’s like to eat government cheese and get handouts from the church. When I graduated college I was on my own which means I didn’t have mommy or daddy paying my cell phone bill and car insurance. I’m also 33 and actually love being in my 30s. I wouldn’t go back to my 20s if you paid me. My husband? Also not white. I think you might have inspired me to write a post on this! :D I totally don’t fit the stereotypical “healthy living blogger” mold but thank god for that because I would rather be my own person.
.-= Andrea (Off Her Cork)´s last blog ..Quinoa Cornbread =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm

I am loving all of these comments! Something important that this has made me realize is that every person who has commented mentioned feeling the same way that I do in one way or another. I guess the problem is that nobody ever talks about it! Remove the veil, ladies! Tell it like it is!

MelissaNibbles April 27, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Wow, just checked back and am so happy to see this discussion taking place!

I think the subject of “privilege” that Chari brought up is important as well. Not only talking about white privilege, but economic status privilege as well. It’s not as big a deal, but I really find it hard to relate to some people who are always happy with their parents paying their way, cooking for them, etc…I never had that, I escaped to college when I was 17 and haven’t been home since. I’ve been working my ass off since I was 14 and it’s very hard for me to relate to women who complain about not being able to buy the latest, new camera when I’m trying to put food on my table you know?
.-= MelissaNibbles´s last blog ..Mix It Up Monday =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

I have to agree here, Melissa! I find it really difficult to relate to those situations as well. I got my first job at 14 also, moved out at 18, and never looked back. I’ve worked my ass off to get to where I am, and I paid for everything the entire time. No college tuition, no college books, no cars, no houses…I’ve done it all on my own, so I don’t relate well to the ‘white girl privilege’ aspect of many bloggers. Yes, now I have nice things–but my parents didn’t buy them.

When other bloggers talk about how awesome their family is and show everyone the nice things that their parents bought for them, in a sense I interpret it as bragging, and I think that it alienates many people who aren’t as privileged. I recall around Christmas time last year, a few people were receiving negative commentary for posting pictures of the abundance of Christmas gifts around their Christmas tree. Many took this act as ‘braggy’, and said that it sort of rubbed salt into the wounds of the families who were going through economic hardship.

What do you think?

Bess April 27, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I had just commented yesterday on the “Better Blogging” HBH post about how I for some reason do not want to lifecast too much in my posts b/c some people who do that bother the living daylights out of me, yet I couldn’t figure out why they exacerbate me.
Now I know! Your post totally shed light on my personal pet peeves on blogs, specifically the “privileged live overshare”.
I get that we can’t help where we came from but if you want to blog about abundance from time to time, at least show some semblance of a real struggle. Does that make sense?
.-= Bess´s last blog ..OK…Go! Applying Video Visualization To Your Workouts =-.

Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story April 27, 2010 at 2:47 pm

First of all, Bravo! Amazing post! Loved it all. 2nd, I’m 30, was raised by a single Mom, had a few “living on couches” months in my life and I have a husband that will not touch the food I cook and about as active as he gets (when not working) is walking to the fridge for another beer. He has never seen my blog (which I’ve had for almost a year) has only been to 1 of my 3 races and have yet to look at pictures from my 30th birthday girls weekend to Savannah, GA a month ago. My husband is supportive of my lifestyle change, sure, he’s just not involved in it at all.

So, when I look at the pictures of all the healthy blogger husband all dressed up in plaids and berks (neither of which my husband would come within 10 feet of) I also feel left out. You are not alone! Just for an entirely different reasons.

While I’m not in the DC area, I would like to be your blog friend. :)
.-= Tonyne @ Unlikely Success Story´s last blog ..Meatless Monday – Lemon Veggie Orzo =-.

Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter April 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I didn’t even think about the fact that most blogger’s are white, but I have realized that a lot of bloggers live on the East Coast… or maybe I just happen to follow a lot of bloggers that live on the East Coast.
.-= Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter´s last blog ..Running Away from Dementia =-.

MelissaNibbles April 27, 2010 at 3:10 pm

Tonyne, you’re not alone in that. My boyfriend (we live together) hates blogs, but supports me blogging and reads mine but he wishes I wouldn’t do it. He makes fun of healthy living blogs (“Is that girl seriously eating a carrot hot dog for dinner?! What the f*ck is wrong with these people!?” is something he said the other night for example). I like to write and have a creative outlet so he supports that aspect of it, but other than he couldn’t care less about healthy living.

Elisabeth, I remember the Christmas posts you’re talking about and I think that goes back to the age difference thing. The bloggers doing that were all in their early 20′s and I just don’t think they realize how they come off. They’re still stuck in the mindset of where you go back to school and tell everyone what you got for Christmas. I don’t judge them because, like you said, you can’t help what you’re born into, but at least they were maybe forced to open their eyes to what other people go through because of those comments.
.-= MelissaNibbles´s last blog ..Mix It Up Monday =-.

Gina April 27, 2010 at 3:37 pm

I must confess, I’m from one of those “upper-middle class homes,” but I know the sacrifices my dad had to make in order for it to work. My mom was a teacher and my dad worked 60+ hours a week to make sure my brother and I had a good life. I consider myself extremely lucky to have lived comfortably. My husband and I are working hard right now so we can retire early, haha.
I am in my mid-20s and the husband does like his beer, but he thinks it’s weird to take pictures of food and blinding the restaurant with camera flashes. He hasn’t read my blog, at least, I don’t think he has. Which is fine by me! My best friend growing up for almost 12 years was black, but she and I parted ways when we went to college.
And, since I’m about 20-30lbs over my ideal weight, I don’t consider myself part of typical healthy blogger “mold.”
Plus, I also like cycling, dogs, and work in Maryland. :)
.-= Gina´s last blog ..A “Speedy” 9 Miles =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Gina, I think that the key to the whole thing is how things are presented to the rest of the world. Just because we have (or always had) it all doesn’t mean that we need to put everything out there. As another person mentioned, it might just be a maturity thing. I just feel like other people need to be more sensitive to this type of thing when they’re writing.

Meredith April 27, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I definitely don’t think I fit the mold and I love this series we’re doing — I can’t wait to read what y’all have to say and write my own. what a great post! My mother is a nurse. My father was a car mechanic. We had a roof over our house and food on the table, but it certainly wasn’t the high quality stuff some people are raised on. It is good to know I’m not alone and that I don’t need to have a preppy, healthy life and husband :)
.-= Meredith´s last blog ..New Theme: Twenty Ten =-.

Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) April 27, 2010 at 4:41 pm

This is a great post! I feel like it’s hard for me to relate to other food bloggers for a variety of reasons. I’m 30 pounds overweight, paying my way through college (on my own), living in a tiny apartment with my husband and struggling to afford healthy foods. We can’t afford a gym membership so I started running outside. It’s cheap! When I expressed this to some bloggers at a meet-up, they looked at me like I was insane. One even said to me, “a gym membership should be a priority!” Bleh. It sucked.

Anyway I live in Southern California but would love a friend like you! Loved this post.

ZenLizzie April 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I think I’m a second (or third or forth..) wave of health bloggers, but I feel like I’ve been able to find a handful of health bloggers who are also in interracial relationships (like me.) Not a ton, granted, but more than I expected.
And, now that I think about it, I guess I was surprised because you`re right. A lot of health bloggers do fall into that white-cute-upper-middle-class category with their grown up frat boy husbands. It doesn’t bother me, I guess. I’ve never been surrounded by many people who are “like” me in the blog world or real world. BUT, I have often thought that a lot of the bloggers that I read a lot aren’t people I would necessarily hang out with or connect with in real life.
Sometimes I see blogger meet-up pictures, and I think “These girls wouldn’t get me.” lol. It is weird because I fall into the mid-twenties, college educated, white girl category, but I don’t share a lot of the same interests outside of health-related stuff. It makes me wonder if there are more people like me out there blogging.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Lizzie said:

“BUT, I have often thought that a lot of the bloggers that I read a lot aren’t people I would necessarily hang out with or connect with in real life….Sometimes I see blogger meet-up pictures, and I think “These girls wouldn’t get me.”

YES, YES, YES!!! This is at the heart of the whole matter for me. I can’t see myself hanging out with them, so I honestly can’t relate or be interested in what they have to say. And that’s not an example of ME being close-minded (although I can be at times), it’s just too BORING for me to read…they’re just not speaking my language or something.

Ashley April 27, 2010 at 4:42 pm

I can relate to not fitting in, Elisabeth. I’m white (and maybe even what you would call white white, not sure) but grew up poor with a single mother (in a trailer!) When I started my blog I was working as a newspaper reporter (poor) and a second job in retail to pay student loans. I was also single, and that made me feel kinda left out, too, because it’s a total pain in the ass to cook for one person, especially on a budget.

I totally LOL-ed at: “Sometimes, he lets the blogger take pictures of him posing with the wonderful food that was just prepared (and subsequently photographed). Sometimes, he even cooks (and what a great husband he is)!”

My fiance is OK with being mentioned on the blog and having his photo posted, but I honestly don’t like pimping him out, so to speak. I was single for a long time and would get so down seeing someone’s ahhhhhh-mazing husband/boyfriend/fiance/whatever. That’s great that you have that person. I found someone more amazing than I ever dreamed possible — but I really don’t feel the need to broadcast that on my blog. See: Blogging and narcissism. :-)
.-= Ashley´s last blog ..Blogkeeping =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm

Ashley said:

“See: Blogging and narcissism”

True that!! I have a great, great, fantastic (albeit non-chef) of a fiance. The only time that I talk about him is if he’s done something amazing personally (he doesn’t just watch kung-fu movies, he’s also an incredible martial artist), and I did a ga-ga post about him when we got engaged. That’s it…I don’t like exploiting love. Not to mention, for all of those who exploit how great their significant other is, do they also balance it by talking about the fact that he left his used Q-Tip on the bathroom sink yesterday for the 458th time this month?

Yeah…I didn’t think so.

Mary (A Merry Life) April 27, 2010 at 4:43 pm

I think part of the problem is that the type of blogger you are talking about has been allowed to hijack the term “healthy living blogger.” Because I read A LOT of blogs about people living healthy lives (Hi, I’m a lurker, it’s a problem), and barely any of them fit the early 20s white girl healthy living blogger thing. Well, I’m an early 20s white girl, but I’m also poor, overweight, and don’t blog my food on my regular blog. So I definitely don’t fit that mold and neither do the bloggers I read, who happen to be anywhere from a teenager to 60 years old both men and women in any shade of skin possible, but I still think that they are healthy living bloggers.
.-= Mary (A Merry Life)´s last blog ..Housekeeping: Winners and Swag =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 5:04 pm

Mary: You’re the exception…I love you in real life!

skinnyrunner April 27, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I pretty much fit that stereotype to a T. what? just saying… except my husband is way too fashionable to wear birkenstocks. Man, I wish he’d pass some of that on to me…
You might as well be proud of yourself, REGARDLESS of color. Not white, white, whatever. Be proud of yourself and own it.
Now, can someone take me shopping and give me some fashion tips??

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Sarah: You do fit the “mold”, but then again you don’t. I’ve read your blog since you started, and I’ve never felt like you were being exploitative. Yes, we know that you have a nice house in Cali. We know that JayZ (sorry…had to do it) is amazing. We know that you are white and gorgeous and you can run fast…but we also know that you work your ass off on a fishing boat for like 1/2 of the year…and we know that you pray and read the bible. You are humble and dorky, and that is not offensive or off-putting (to me at least).

Julie (thedoctorsrheum) April 27, 2010 at 4:50 pm

It’s hard not to compare ourselves with other bloggers. Thank you for pointing out we don’t have to feel alone for not knowing exactly where in the blog world we fit.

pammy pam April 27, 2010 at 4:54 pm

thanks for your perspective. you are what we call in our house “light skinned” (which is a white person who gets the whole black thing. or at least tries). i dont exercise but i am black and find it very disconcerting that there aren’t enough of us WoC out there. def putting you on my blog roll.
.-= pammy pam´s last blog ..Mindfulness or lack of it (with some quotes thrown in) =-.

Kim @ LEO the lion says GER April 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I’m definitely not in the white middle class genre. I’m a broke ass college student with parents that barely speak English and I have a fondness for what may be “strange” Asian foods (dried fish, pork floss, etc.) We don’t do Christmas and I’m totally fine with that.

Hell, we don’t even have enough money to pay the mortgage. It’s a constant struggle, but everyone has their own problems to deal with.

I loved this post and I’m definitely following you from now on.
.-= Kim @ LEO the lion says GER´s last blog ..Makin’ It Monday: Banana Stuffed French Toast =-.

Tamara @ The Stretch Jean Incident. April 27, 2010 at 5:07 pm

*Raises hand* Me! Yeah, I don’t fit that mold. My dad is: black, Cherokee & Irish. My mom: Mexican, Spanish, German. Put ‘em together, and you have a couple of unique lookin’ mutts, between me and my sister.

Between awesome homemade New Mexican- style meals on my mom’s side and gut-busting soul food on my dad’s, I put on weight steadily over the years, between about ages 8 and 24. With diabetes running on both sides of the family, I decided to break *our* mold by eating better, moving around more and shedding 90 extra pounds, hence my venture into the healthy blogging world.

I live with my 6 ‘ 7″ white boyfriend who studies industrial design, wears Chuck Taylors & Sonic Youth t-shirts and frequently tears through bags of spicy pork rinds, sans shame.

I have gathered that most of the popular healthy bloggers do indeed share common traits that my ethnicity, education level and social class will simply prevent me from matching. And I’m ok with that. (Though I do totally appreciate coming across more culturally diverse bloggers!) But overall, I guess I don’t feel the need to point it out in posts because it’s not something I’m conscious of most of the time.

Interesting and thoughtful post- thanks for sharing!
.-= Tamara @ The Stretch Jean Incident.´s last blog ..Grilled to perfect-shon. =-.

Tamara @ The Stretch Jean Incident. April 27, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Oh, and yes, I forgot to mention that I agree; some of the bloggers I follow, I couldn’t hang out with in real life either. Some have horrible taste in music, but awesome taste in nut butters, so it all balances out :)
.-= Tamara @ The Stretch Jean Incident.´s last blog ..Grilled to perfect-shon. =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 5:15 pm

My Google Reader has tripled today–I have a lot of reading to do now. I love all of you already!

MelissaNibbles April 27, 2010 at 5:59 pm

I forgot to add that I feel like the only person not on Facebook. I just don’t like it.
.-= MelissaNibbles´s last blog ..Mix It Up Monday =-.

Kendra April 27, 2010 at 6:16 pm

I may be a white girl… but I’m not a WHITE girl. I was dirt poor growing up but have lived in affluent areas most of my life so being the poor kid on the block is nothing new to me. I know how to fake it but I love when I don’t have to. I have learned how to get every discount, freebie, and deal possible so that I can still have decent things and not look nearly as broke as I am. I also work 13 hours a day about for about half the year so that I can keep going to school the other half (while working as well). I definitely prefer the blogs of people who are a little off center.

In real life most of my friends are not white, in fact we joke about me being the token white girl. I may be in the age range… well just under it, I’m 22, but I don’t think I quite fit the mold. Then again, does anyone actually like to admit to fitting the mold or do we all look for those little things that make us different so that we don’t have to be one of “those” white girls? Hmm.
.-= Kendra´s last blog ..Am I deep… or just thick? =-.

Megan April 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Let me start by saying that I agree with your point that there is a lot of similarity in the blog world, and that new perspectives are always welcome. However, I think there is something deeply flawed in a discussion of race, class, and homogenaity that is rooted in your description of “not being WHITE white.” My understanding is that you somehow classify yourself as “less white” simply because you have a fiance of color and a background that is not priveleged. However, that doesn’t fundamentally change your race. In fact, suggesting that dating someone of color is something that makes you not “really” white is actually a pretty offensive premise. I think it’s totally legit to say you wish there were more diversity in the blog world, but as you yourself point out, this is about more than race.

To make it all about race–and to say you’re not REALLY white–shows somewhat flawed perspective, in my opinion. No matter who your fiance is or no matter what prejudices you yourself have encountered (even as a member of an interracial relationship), you have not had the experiences that define what it is to be a person of color in America. As far as we’ve come, racism is still a reality in this country, even if it’s in the form of subtle comments or prejudices. And, because of the color of your skin, this is something you have never had to face. To completely discount this factor seems to miss the whole point.

You, along with several other of the commenters, pointed out that having a fiance/partner of color means that you aren’t REALLY white. Um, sorry, but you are. Furthermore, acting like a “real” white person would never be in an interracial relationship is a really weird thing to say. Why not own it and be proud of who you are as a person, including your race? By pretending you arent REALLY white, you make race an even bigger deal.
.-= Megan´s last blog ..Arthur Ave: Italian Heaven. =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Actually, the premise of “I’m white but I’m not WHITE white” is more correlated to the notion of a commercial version of what “white” is. At no point did I call myself “black” by stating that I’m not a traditional “white” girl. I’ve never claimed to have had the experiences that define what is to be a person of color in America, and I wouldn’t. This post is about not belonging to a particular group of people based upon your own personal choices or lifestyle.

My perspective is very clear. I am a white girl who does not lead a typically “white” life. It’s easy to gloss over it and pretend that there is not a stereotypical view of what “white” is, but the fact is that each and every day, I live it. Each and every day, there is someone who recognizes that I am not typical. I would love to live in a perfect world where that type of thing is not noticed (believe me, I would), and that is truly what I’m discussing in this post.

Honestly, nobody ever said that I’m not a white girl. I never said “real” in this context (I am indeed a “real” white girl). I believe that I said “average” and “typical”. Those are both points that most of society would agree upon. I’m actually glad that you don’t.

Katy April 27, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Elisabeth,

I think you already know that you’re one of my favorite bloggers — and meeting you in person was amazing.

And I think it’s AMAZING that you’re posting so honestly about not feeling like you fit in. I did the same right after Fitbloggin’ — changed my blog name, URL and mission statement completely.

But I cringed a bit when I saw your description. I’m white, married to a white man who loves (and brews!) beer. I cook, I started my blog in my 20s and I lived a middle-to-upper class childhood and don’t have much trauma to speak of.

But in many ways, I struggle with the same sense of fitting in, and it has nothing to do with age, race or any other label. I hope that me being stereotypical doesn’t mean I’m TYPICAL. I really do have an open mind and an open heart when it comes to interacting with other bloggers, and sometimes I feel like part of the problem is that bloggers aren’t forward enough about seeking out new friends, especially in person and at conferences/events.

Rant over. Love ya mean it.
.-= Katy´s last blog ..Pies and Pigs =-.

Elisabeth April 27, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Katy Katy…I was completely not passing judgment in mentioning my vision of the “typical” health blogger. The mention of beer was also in no way calling you out! That was just a crazy coincidence. The only reason why I put things that way is because I was trying to point out why I have felt singled-out in the past.

I don’t think that you’re typical, and I love you.

You do have a good point about not being forward enough to seek out new friends in person and at conferences/events. The problem is that oftentimes, other people are not receptive and do not also make the effort. I’ve had enough experience with situations like this to know when people want to connect and when they don’t. The other problem is that if you don’t have any thing in common, it’s difficult to connect anyway.

Rachel April 27, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Megan — I think you raise some interesting points and I think that sometimes when you talk about race through a more humorous POV, it can sometimes offend. I think that when Elisabeth was talking about being “REALLY white” in this post it was pretty tongue-in-cheek…by “REALLY” I assumed she meant “stereotypically” and maybe “A LITTLE BIT RACIST.” (And in response to Katy’s comment, I think that no, just because you are stereotypical does not mean you don’t “get it.”)

I do have to disagree with the fact that your skin color is what makes your race. Yes, socially and economically disadvantaged white people do have one up on black people, but as a privileged half-black girl (you have no idea how many times people tell me I’m not REALLY black) I can kind of say, no I’m NOT, because I have it a hell of a lot better than a poor white person, even though I have dark skin. People are always like trying to give me credit for “overcoming” being a minority, but it’s like, 90% percent of my life, I haven’t been treated like one, so I can’t take TOO much credit. Definitely experienced serious economic struggle growing up, but oddly enough, that was more when I was living with my single white mother, so who even knows? But I do think constantly having white people ask if they could touch my hair growing up does earn me some cred and yes, good scholarship opportunities.
.-= Rachel´s last blog ..Taste Testing: Macadamia Nut Butter =-.

Kendra April 27, 2010 at 7:30 pm

@ Megan

I think a good deal of what you have said is valid but I want to point out that it isn’t true that white people will never deal with racism and prejudice against them. I grew up in a neighborhood where my sister and I were the only white kids. We got the full experience of being treated completely different for our race. I’ve since come to a general peace about my race and lack of melanin and the fact that despite being half Native American (Mik’Maq) I look half albino, and can really say that despite the fact that I am white, I am not WHITE white.
.-= Kendra´s last blog ..Am I deep… or just thick? =-.

Leah (Nutritionista) April 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Echoing what others have said, by no means do I think dating or being married to or being friends with people of color means that a white person can somehow understand what it means to be a person of color. Or that they can eschew their inherent white privilege. No, not at all.

But because many of the people I’m around every day are non-white (not only my boyfriend and his family, but most of my friends), I feel like I’ve been given a small glimpse of what it’s like to be in their shoes and go through life often being judged by what they look like. If I were dating a white guy, would he get pulled over by the cops for doing NOTHING (true story)? Maybe, but probably not. So I’ve been privy to all these little things. And even though it’s not easy to see that stuff, I’m so grateful I have, because it only serves to enrich my life and my path.

At the end of the day, am I still white? Uh, yes, very much so. I’m practically translucent. But I also understand what it’s like for people to be incapable of looking past skin color, to get weird looks when people see me and my man holding hands in public (and this is what? THE YEAR 2010??), and to feel completely helpless when people I love are judged just because of how they look.

So when it comes to blogging, yeah, maybe I appreciate/value a little diversity more than the next blogger. That’s all.
.-= Leah (Nutritionista)´s last blog ..Win It: Sustainable Notebooks by ecosystem =-.

betsy April 27, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Great post!
I also sometimes feel like I don’t fit in since I don’t cook and maybe drink too much! :-)

Jess April 27, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I’m a Chinese healthy living (weight loss) runner blogger. Now I have yet to read another Chinese healthy living blog. I grew up in a family that owned a Chinese restaurant and I would help out when I was 4 because my parents didn’t have the funds to hire a babysitter. When I go visit Taiwan/China, they see me as American. When I fill out all my applications here, I put Asian. So I’ve never really “belonged” to a certain group. I spent a year traveling where I showered out of a river, farmed, slept under a mosquito net, and my only form of air-conditioning came from visiting a 7-11. I’m going back to law school in the fall but I’m paying for that with loans, grants and scholarships. It’s effin’ expensive, to say the least.

But despite all of that, I truly honestly believe that we are all more similar than we are different. Yeah, the outside is different, but we all have similar types of struggles. With family, with relationships, with self-image, with money, with self-acceptance, with reaching our goals (whatever they may be). So I try to keep an open mind.

A lot of times I do find it harder to relate to certain people, but then I try to place myself in their shoes. Although a lot of healthy food bloggers usually just post pictures of their food, making it hard to relate…I feel like most blogs I’ve found have substance. Dirty, gritty substance. And that’s what I like. I feel like on a general basis, each person has something they’ve experienced, something special, that we can learn from.

I’m going back to GW Law in August. If you’re down to cycle so I can train for my triathlon, run a marathon in Richmond in November, and eat homemade guacamole that is cheaper (and better) than Chipotle’s, hit me up :)
.-= Jess´s last blog ..Day 85: Breaking Down the Walls =-.

Eunice April 27, 2010 at 8:53 pm

Such an interesting discussion going on here! I’m not sure if it’s because of my upbringing or because I’m in a interracial relationship, but I’m kind of numb to talk about race. Whether it be labeling people as black or white or talking about stereotypes. I get that this post was supposed to be humorous and I’m all about that! But, I also understand why some people would be offended by the labels mentioned here. Keep up these thought provoking posts, hollaback girls!

Kyra April 27, 2010 at 9:05 pm

Great post. I agree with Katy in that me being stereotypical doesn’t mean I’m typical. At times I feel that I don’t fit in because I’m older and don’t have kids.
.-= Kyra´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday =-.

Heather April 27, 2010 at 10:41 pm

I am white. I am in my midtwenties. I am spoiled.
I am ignorant. I am nieve. and I talk too much.

I am sometimes jealous of people who haven’t grown up in my situation. Because I haven’t yet learned my lessons in a wide variety of areas. But I have learned some. And also – because the grass is always greener. At least for me it is. I like the summertime in the winter and am ready for snow come july.

i think that we are all more similiar than we think we are sometime. All the same but totally different. Alike in the ways in our uniqueness.

We want to be liked. We have experienced heartbreak. We have one form of insecurity or another. We desire. We dream. We love. We are human.

[and i love you all. and i am sappy. ahem.]
.-= Heather´s last blog ..33:48 =-.

Katie April 27, 2010 at 11:15 pm

This post and some discussion rubbed me the wrong way since it seems judgmental– about being judgmental? It’s literally been open all day on my computer as I tried to figure out what I want to say (warning- really long post!!). I usually hold my tongue because I don’t like confrontation. Though discussion is good. I haven’t really tried to fit into any blog mold because I like many types of blogs as they all provide different types of information. On the other hand, I’m not super passionate about blogging like I know others are- it is not my career or a career launching pad- so maybe I don’t quite get it. I’ve always been that girl trying to be friends with everyone- why can’t we all just get along?

Yes, I’ve noticed a lot of the same trends- a lot of bloggers are married white women in their 20s- but I don’t think any of them are trying to push anyone away that isn’t “just like them.” As the blog world grows, more people with different backgrounds, ages, sexes, races, interests, weights, etc will beget more variety. Blogs provide an amazing glimpse into other lives and while it may be different from your life and might seem showy or bizarre or just plain wrong to you, you could choose to not read or take it as an opportunity to learn something. But- it goes BOTH ways.

Obviously, everyone wants to feel a connection and community. In everyday life we all find friends whom we are comfortable with and people that we just don’t like. It would convenient if the common love of health and food united us on some level but it’s unrealistic that everyone’s going to like everyone. Just like in real life, there are mean people, cliques, drama queens. More importantly, there are tons of amazing, sweet, open, funny people. Though again, I doubt that anyone is out there writing their posts with the purpose of alienating others.

If someone appears to be from a totally different background or culture, it doesn’t mean they you couldn’t ever relate or find common ground, or that they never experienced “x” like you did. I don’t think it’s fair to say that all of a “type” of people have the same experiences and life-views. Again- this goes BOTH ways. No one wants to be attacked or judged [on what their blog shows] about their life- especially when you can’t control who your parents are and what situation you were born into. If you do not want to learn from someone different or seriously can’t relate, then don’t read it. No need to pass judgment either.

I’ve never shared much about my background and I don’t post super personal things. Through a blog on a computer screen, you can never know what people really have going on in their lives, how they dealt with a relationship/eating issue/financial strain/terrible family/health problem/emotional struggles, or what cards they were dealt by seeing their current situation via blog.

Basically, I still am going to read all the blogs I like. I love finding newer, growing blogs and I love the old standbys. Maybe some people won’t want to read a blog that doesn’t share “enough” while others love deep discussions about heated topics. There is no one right or wrong way. I think that applies to anything. Except for like, killing people- that’s always wrong. After feeling for awhile like I had to pick a “side,” I’m just sticking with this… I love all kinds!
.-= Katie´s last blog ..Cherry Creak Sneak Recap =-.

Don't be a hater. April 28, 2010 at 2:18 am

This post has rubbed me the wrong way. You sound like hater. Your blog was something totally different just a few months ago. Now you are organic and vegatarian one day and eating chicken the next. I am sure that if and when you become pregnant, your blog will change to a mommy blog. It seems like you are just trying to find something you are good at and that isn’t working very well. JUST BE YOU. You are such a follower and i really think you might be right about needing some friends…

Elisabeth April 28, 2010 at 2:33 am

Well, I’m not really sure how to address you, since you’re anonymous and all…

The personal attacks are not really necessary, but if you have anything constructive to add to this discussion, please feel free.

Paula April 28, 2010 at 6:31 am

I am not a health blogger but follow alot of them (including some who have responded today). Even though I enjoy them and find them informative, most of the writers do seem to have the same M.O. (in their 20s, white, married, college educated). I do wish there were more out there for women of color and over 40. Lord knows I’ve been looking and not having any luck finding any.

Whitney April 28, 2010 at 8:23 am

Thank you for this post–finally someone has come forward and said “No, I’m not the same”, and that is very important!

I may be in my 20′s, I may be white–but my family is far from cookie cutter and I am far from the atypical blogger. I almost look for bloggers that are different. And I don’t necessarily like the WFMC (white female middle class) quit-your-job-and-eat-quinoa-everyday blogs. I mean, really?

Best of luck to you!
.-= Whitney´s last blog ..Looong Week =-.

Mama Pea April 28, 2010 at 2:13 pm

I don’t group myself in the “in crowd” of Healthy Living Bloggers, because I’m a little bit older, I don’t photograph all of my food, I “talk” more than most on my blog and I obviously have two really BIG priorities in my life other than race bibs and cocktail dresses.

I would like to think that I’ve made connections in the blog world and have a fairly strong following not because of the color of my skin or my husband’s horrible affection for clothing made for 60 year-old men, but because they like what I have to say and how I say it. Nothing in my life is “staged” for the blog, and I do resent when other bloggers think I’m naive enough to fall for their, “Oh gee, wifey, this is delicious” poses. My life is what it is. I wasn’t a popular girl in school. I didn’t have a lavish wedding or have expensive clothes. And though I don’t make a point of broadcasting it, one of my best friends is 100 lbs. overweight. One of my best friends is in a committed homosexual relationship. I’m the first person in my family to graduate from college. And my parents eat meat like it’s a religion.

I guess the point of all this is just to say that if we ever meet at a blogger meetup, please don’t be afraid to say hello. I, for one, think we would be friends.

CJ April 28, 2010 at 6:22 pm

It’s quite impressive that your post has generated an ‘actually I grew up in a trailer’ post and ‘all bloggers are awesome’ tweets http://twitpic.com/1ixu03

Whit April 28, 2010 at 8:22 pm

I’m white. I’m 23. I grew up upper-middle class. So I guess in that sense, yes I am stereotypical.

I was also homeschooled. I am a committed Christian. I am single. I am happy that way. I struggle with my weight daily. In that way, no I am not typical.

I think that the reason we sometimes feel left out and different is because we can see the differences in OUR lives when comparing them to what other bloggers PORTRAY, when in reality we really don’t know what is going on behind the computer screen. Everyone is going to portray themselves as they want to be portrayed, and often that means hiding the ugly.

I’m just saying…everyone has something that makes them not typical or that is considered ‘not typical’ or ‘doesn’t fit the mold’. Just because they don’t share it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

Deep down, we are all the same. Like Heather said: We want to be liked, we all have insecurities, we desire, we dream, we love, we are human.

So yeah, sometimes I think I don’t ‘fit in’ but then I realize the everyone else has their insecurities too.

Elisabeth April 28, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Whit, I think you make some really good points here. We do all have our own insecurities. My perception of any given situation could be completely different from another person’s perception of the same situation. The part you mention about how bloggers portray themselves might be at the root of the whole problem…

Elisabeth April 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm

@Whit On a separate and completely different note, I’d love to hear about your homeschooling experience!

Whit April 30, 2010 at 4:49 am

@Elisabeth perhaps I shall do a post on it one day soon. I’m kind of ‘over’ the whole food blog thing, methinks and sort of searching for my next ‘place’ in blogging.

Fattie Fatterton May 3, 2010 at 12:47 am

I don’t understand why it matters what color you are, a blogger is, the person to whom their married is. If the writing is good, who cares?

I don’t understand the whole I can’t identify with you unless you’re my color vibe. I’m pretty sure that we all breathe, eat, go to the bathroom, etc. the same way.

I don’t write my blog and talk about how white I am or how white my fiance is or how white my life is. I write it about me, Angela, the person, not my skin color.
.-= Fattie Fatterton´s last blog ..Go big or go home =-.

LT May 21, 2010 at 6:00 am

Great post. I don’t often comment on blog sites, but some of your points struck a note in me. Your point about the stereotypical health blogger—twenties, white, female, heterosexual, married, etc.—may be related to class. Many of these ladies are in a position where they can give time for health as a primary concern, interest, or hobby because they’re in a fairly comfortable position. This can be financial or personal. They’re the *default* in our Western society.

Women of color (I am one of them), on the other hand, have other issues to deal with. Indeed I am interested in health (of course!), but I realize that I’m not the default, and I’m always critical of any of my interests because I have a complicated cultural history. Like, why the hell do I need a fancy gym membership now when my grandma, who was alive for 96 years and lived through a genocide, was totally a survivor who was never interested in health. I inherited her awesome genetics, so why do I need to spend money on green powders? I’m critical of myself and question my interests because I don’t feel like they’re part of who I am—I feel like I’ve been influenced by media, our capitalist culture (let’s admit it, all this health-blogging stuff sells tons of shit), and conforming to a certain mold of beauty.

Was that too much? Anyway, my two cents. Thanks for writing that.

Jul October 4, 2010 at 2:07 am

I’ve been hoping and hoping to see a post like this. for ages. Thank you for having the guts to say it straight.

I don’t know that I agree with everything you said (and no, I’m not white), but admire the courage it took to say it.

Thanks.
Jul´s last post ..Chocolate chip banana oat bread

sui November 1, 2010 at 4:17 am

Even if you’re not “white white”, you’re still, well, yes, physically “white”– if you post photos of yourself, you may still be accepted more readily than any person of color who may or may not have been raised in even a high-class lifestyle. (See: http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf Despite your class growing up, just the fact that you look white will affect how privileged you are and how you are treated)

I am not white. I did not grow up in an upper middle class setting.

Thank you for this article, though. I’ve noticed myself that the majority of the “big” health bloggers, or women bloggers in general, are white. And it’s not like only white people use the internet/read health blogs. I wonder if these bloggers realize the privilege they have. I wonder if they will ever discuss it and how it relates to how much more accessible they are to others. Or realize that not everyone can AFFORD to eat organic food, or drink coconut water or eat certain things or buy certain things, and their “budget-friendly” food receipts still quadruple my average grocery spendings for two people.

Haha. I started ranting a bit there. I guess this article is even making me question the fact that I may not have been as easily popular as those other bloggers, and if that has to do with my background and the fact that I don’t look like some of my readers. I wonder.
sui´s last post ..the easiest steps you can take towards a plastic-free life

cindylu April 12, 2011 at 8:15 pm

I’ve just recently discovered healthy living blogs even though I’ve been blogging for nearly 10 years. I’m a Chicana, 30 years old, from LA. Two years ago, I started WW. Over the course of a year, I dropped 60 lbs, took up running and have been enjoying my newfound strength, speed (relative, of course) and slimmer body. I write about my running, training and races, but not much about the weight loss process. It seemed a little too personal, even for someone who has blogged about her life for years.

I’ve found few blogs out there from women of color (see Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss), but there’s a big gap when it comes to Latina healthy living bloggers I can relate to. The few I have found definitely do not fall in to a mold. And I’m fine with that because I’m not in there either.

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