A very warm welcome back to Fashioneyesta.com!
I’m so sorry I’ve been absent from the blogging sphere for a while, but I have been working on some very exciting projects which I can’t wait to share with you all. You’ll have to watch this space to find out more, I’m such a tease!
Anyhow today I thought I’d join the bandwagon of a certain tag that has been floating around the internet and that is the Disabled Blogger Tag.
This was a tag created by My Blurred World who writes a blog about lifestyle and disability. So do go and give her a follow if you aren’t following her already. I was nominated to do this by a couple of my fellow bloggers, so I thought I’d give it a whirl seeing as how I am a disabled blogger after all.
1. When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog back in July 2012. I was brimming with ideas and inspiration after hearing so many comments from people who told me that I didn’t “look blind.” People asked if I did my makeup myself and that I dressed well considering I couldn’t see. I was shocked, I didn’t think people actually thought that such a large and diverse group of people could all be lumped into one category of looking the same. My visually impaired friends had told me for years that I should start a blog, I’d always been very passionate about looking good and experimenting with makeup and fashion. But, it was those comments that really put the proverbial firework up my backside to start my blog and start changing some of these misconceptions. Almost six years later I’m still at it and I STILL get people tell me that I don’t look blind. So until that day arrives, I don’t think I’ll ever stop. Although I don’t think it will, but it gives me content for my blog so there’s the silver lining.
2. Did you intend to talk about your disability online from the beginning?
A little, I did mention about my sight loss as the name of my blog “Fashioneyesta” was a subtle hint that I had an issue with my peepers. But, I only ever intended to talk about it on occasion, as my blog was going to be fashion and lifestyle based. Of course it would be clear I had a disability when I posted outfit of the day posts with my guide dog Unity. However, that was as far as I thought I would venture into the topic of disability, however I remember I published a post for Scope and on my YouTube channel entitled “The Top Ten Misconceptions of Visual Impairment” back in March 2013 and it blew up. After the response I decided to start to talk about the subject of disability and my experiences more frequently.
3. Have you ever been skeptical about talking about your disability online?
Sometimes, especially when I start talking my more unpleasant experiences and people’s perceptions towards my disability. I thought people would think I was preaching at them or being derogatory. I’m someone who hates to upset people, I hate the thought of making anyone feel negative about themselves as so many have done to me. But, then that’s just it, people don’t always know about disability or hear from disabled voices to understand that sometimes what they say can come across as hurtful. So I decided to put my own skepticism aside and to think about the bigger picture. If I could change just one person’s attitude towards disability then surely it was worth it?
But I always strive to be as diplomatic and polite as I can and I always stress to my readers that its okay to make mistakes. But, it’s what you do afterwards that counts and to just hear me out and take heed of what I say.
4. What kind of response have you/do you receive in terms of your disability related blog posts?
I always get such a positive response to my posts on disability, sometimes its overwhelming. My disabled readers will write things like “oh my god yes! You hit the nail on the head. I have experienced the same too.” But then my non-disabled readers write that I have helped them to understand disability better, which is the best response I could ask for. It’s always lovely to see people interact in the comments and to respond with their own stories and experiences. I like to think that I’ve created a little community on the internet, full of so many understanding, eloquent and warm-hearted followers.
5. Do you write/talk about other topics apart from your disability?
I do indeed, I write a lot on beauty, makeup skincare and fragrance. But I also write on fashion and post outfit blogs and other style blogs. I also post blogs of my travels and the places I have been and I am also starting a new topic on my blog on creative writing. I like to keep it mixed, that’s the way I like it.
6. What steps do you take to make your blog accessible to yourself as well as other people?
I always look for ways to improve the accessibility of my blog. I keep my layout clean and easy to read with a clear colour contrast. I also chose WordPress as my platform on account of how accessible it is to read if you use screen readers. I also describe my outfits and makeup colours. I describe the shades of swatches when I do makeup reviews and I try to put descriptions of my photos in Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Oh and I also closed caption my YouTube videos, well actually a lot of them are very kindly contributed by the lovely Glen from Well Eye Never.
7. What is your favourite thing about blogging about your disability?
I love being able to use my blog to turn a negative into a positive. Its my platform where I can write about the day-to-day experiences in a constructive way. When I hear a comment from a passer-by about my disability like “you’re wearing eyeliner how can you be blind” or “how does your guide dog know the bus numbers” the cogs in my head start turning and I think to myself “Emily its time for a blog post.” Then I go home, my fingers fly across the keyboard and I write a blog about it.
8. What are your top three favourite disability related blog posts that you’ve ever published?
I’ve written 530 blog posts, not all of them disability related. But, out of them all my top 3 would have to be…
I wrote this blog as a Halloween special, where I discussed how so much of the representation we see of disability in the film, stage, TV and books shows disabled characters being cast as villains. This was a really fun blog post to write as I was able to talk about the perceptions of disability and how they relate back to the disabled villain. I studied disability representation a lot throughout my Degree and my Masters Degree. So it was really fun to be able to put all of my research into this blog post. It also happens to be one of my most popular disability blog posts.
This was an accompanying blog post to a YouTube video I made on the same topic, I wrote it after getting a lot of frustrating comments online and real life about the fact that I apparently didn’t look as if I had a disability. So I made a blog discussing this topic and the context behind it and why I personally didn’t take it as a compliment as so many people told me I should take it as. I am more frank than I am in other blogs, but I had heard this comment one too many times and I wanted to write an honest blog about how I felt about the whole “you don’t look blind” enigma.
This was a poem I wrote where I vented my frustrations as a visually impaired person when someone says “its over there.” I’m sure you understand why I would find that just a little frustrating?
9. Do you think that the disabled blogger/YouTuber community is overlooked?
To an extent yes, the disability community is still invisible in a lot of areas especially where certain kinds of disabilities are concerned. But, the world is changing, attitudes are changing, people are reaching out to disabled bloggers and YouTubers. Its improving vastly, when I first started my blog there were hardly any disabled bloggers or not that I was aware of. But, now there are more than ever and we as a community are stronger and more numerous than we have ever been. We are thriving and present, but we need to keep up the momentum to ensure that the industry doesn’t tokenise us or turn us into a gimmick.
10. Do you find it difficult to think of new disability related content to publish?
Not really, I like to keep my content and topics mixed. I don’t have disability as my sole topic of content I vary it with fashion, beauty and lifestyle. So whenever I return to disability I find there is always something to discuss or re-address. Many of the blogs are inspired by misconceptions or stereotypes towards disability and believe me there are many. So, I’m never at a loss for things to say, like I said the misconceptions give me content!
11. Do you think that blogging about your disability helps to change people’s perceptions?
Certainly, my blog changed my life and without wanting to sound to egotistical it has changed other people’s lives. In small ways, but the amount of comments had from parents who tell me about their children who have been recently diagnosed with a visual impairment or other disabilities and how encouraging it is for them to see me and hear about my experience. I hear from people with visual impairments who tell me that my blogs have given them the inspiration to get into makeup and to experiment with clothes. I hear from non-disabled readers who tell me my content has helped them to reach a better understanding and see it form my perspective. Its wonderful, sometimes I forget the enormity of the comments I receive. But, when I think about it, the fact that my blogs have helped people, even in a small way brings a tear to my eye and makes me glad that I started my blog in first place.
12. Who do you tag?
I am going to tag these lovely bloggers below, they have incredible blogs so do go and follow them.
Sarah from From Sarah Alex
Shona from Shona Louise
Tania from When Tania Talks
Steph from Bold Blind Beauty
Hollie from Catch These Words
So that concludes this blog today, I really hope you enjoyed it.
Do feel free to do this tag yourself if you are a disabled blogger.
Don’t forget to like, comment and follow my blog if you are new.
And I will see you all next time!