He Who Seeks Beauty…
01 . 20 . 14
“He who seeks beauty shall find it.” – Bill Cunningham
I’ve been trying to figure out how to broach a certain topic on the blog recently and I think the time has finally come. I was really disappointed in some of you who emailed and left comments harshly criticizing the looks of the women I posted recently. First, I don’t like negative emails about anything first thing in the morning. It’s not a great way to start the day. Second, it goes against everything that this blog stands for. All I try to do each day is put something pretty out in the world. If I’ve posted a picture of a house or a person, it’s because I find something beautiful in it or them.
That’s not to say that everything is perfect or that all of you will like it, but I hope that you might stop and look for something to appreciate about it. Perhaps the design style is not yours but you can see that you like the paint color or the sofa. So when someone immediately says they hate something or worse, makes a derogatory statement about someone’s looks, a person who I might actually know personally, I take offense to that remark.
Think for a second how you would feel if you read something not nice about yourself on the internet. I’ve been there and it’s not good. I’ve also heard from friends who’ve read things written about themselves by people who’ve never met them that have made them cry. It’s why I won’t post comments that are mean or could hurt someone’s feelings.
Recently, Jezebel offered $10,000 for unretouched photos of Lena Dunham’s Vogue photo shoot. They turned what should have been a pretty exciting time for her into a circus. She handled it publicly with aplomb but who knows how she was feeling behind the scenes. No one should have to be subjected to that just because they aren’t a size 2. And as someone pointed out, you could just watch Girls on HBO to see the unretouched Lena.
One of the reasons I can’t wait to spend more time in Paris is because Europeans see beauty in everyone. They genuinely see what makes a person beautiful even the imperfections. Where as most Americans look for all the imperfections that they think make someone not beautiful.
As I stated in my post 10 Little Things, I think we should abide by The Golden Rule more often in our daily lives. And if we strive to seek beauty instead of flaws, it might just make this world a more beautiful place too.
Cheers to Heather!
Well said. I wish vogue wouldn’t photoshop anyone’s photos, period. Maybe then we could all be a bit more accepting of ourselves and others. -Caitlin
Thank you for this.
Heather, well said. I am amazed sometimes to read some comments on blogs that personally attack the blogger or the photos they post. As you well know, putting together a post takes time and effort and most bloggers try to post things they find interesting and that they feel their readers would like. And, while they know not everyone will like everything they do, they don’t expect to be attacked for their efforts. After all, it is quite easy to just click off something one is not interested in.
I don’t think people would say such negative things to someone they were visiting in their home about their decor or their friends or family. But for some reason, a few people seem to think it is ok to, and even that they are entitled to be rude to their virtual “host” or that host’s “guests”. It’s just sad and I am still shocked each time I run across it.
Definitely! One way of responding is “ah, you’re looking at it from a different aesthetic”, but really, being considered in a response online is not hard… There is beauty in most things, in unexpected places. It can be like looking at a different style (of art, interior decoration, poetry, music….) and challenging yourself to sit with it to see if you can hear it’s voice.
Love this post! Nicely done 🙂
Heather, thank you so much for writing this post, all my respect for doing so.
Well said! I guess we are all so perfect living in our “not a glass house”
I have been a devoted follower of your blog for years and it saddens me to know that there are people who have the time, inclination and nerve to post negative responses.
I’d like to say that the beauty and perspective you present in HC has consistentily been a jem in my inbox, amidst a landscape of obligatory job and life related to-do’s.
Thank you for the beauty and inspiration you bring to your readers and hope that you never comprmise your unique voice and discerning eye. I’ve been inspired to start my own blog, Unfiltered Randomness, and it is still in its infancy. When the time comes that there are negative posts, I will remind myself that “even Heather gets haters!” and let it roll off my back. Your diplomatic response to the haters is appreciated and respected as well.
Rock on with your habitually chic awesomness, Heather.
Well said….people should definitely keep negativity to their own lives. If they “bully” on a blog they probably do to those around them.
I felt the same way when I read the comments..this was tactfully well put. Life is short, people are suffering…just be nice, right? Spread goodness!
it comes down to common courtesy. the french motto is, in part, brotherhood and equality so they refrain from being so negative. where in the USA it is more about freedom. yes, living in the states allows (and encourages) us to say anything but please be kind.
Amen to that, sister!
Oh let 2014 be the year the naysayers fall by the wayside:-) Comments are only ever a reflection of whoever is commenting………
I’m thrilled you posted this. I hope the people who need to hear it will!
Beautiful Heather! I love you and your blog and your courage! Thank you Thank you thank you!
I was going to say “well said” or “right on”, but that seems to be covered, so I will say thanks for being the voice of sanity! I really wonder about peoples’ lives that they spend so much time, on the internet, spewing venom and negativity.
You, on the other hand, bring creativity and beauty into my life every morning when I read your blog.
AMEN HC!! We are born with and will die with many flaws.
Its the road in between which
allows us to interpret the world as we see it. I no longer see the world, but NOTICE IT! Keep on posting..pretty or not!
Thank you and God Bless.
Well said. Great post.
Hi Heather, Perfectly stated. As a culture, Americans lack a certain type of vision. Perhaps, it is because we lack a certain cultural depth; perhaps it is because so many of us focus on control rather than creativity and receptivity. Maybe it is due to the fact that we honor competition and believe that you must “win” in order to have validity. Europeans seem to focus on themselves, rather than “the other”–we do have a long way to go in the quest to honor self.
Have a great week–thank you for starting it off right for me.
Good points. Although this is an interesting read that I came across recently showing that Parisians do very much see imperfections. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-25215641
J’adore Anna Wintour’s American Vogue.
Wow, are you kidding me people actually took the time to write negative comment about how people look! What are we in sixth grade!! Women need to support each other not rip eachother apart that is the only way we will combat issues like low self esteem , anorexia etc. I see what my daughters and their friends go through, our priorities are all screwed up.. We need to laugh and look at the beauty of all the simple things around us, and you are right we need a little European culture!
Well said and don’t let the snarky emails get you down! I love your blog and love all the beautiful pictures you post. The type of people that write the ugly comments would never be happy with ANYTHING anyway. Thank you!
Very well said, Heather. Thank you for having the guts to speak up about this. I’m saddened by those who only seek out the flaws in others. It only tells me that they are insecure about themselves. I pray they will one day see their own beauty and learn to accept and love themselves. Only then will they allow themselves to let go of the negativity and accept the beauty in others.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… Thats says it all doesn`t it?
Love your blog, a feast for the eye!
Bart from The Netherlands (Europe ;-))
As A British American your posts, their international flair and coverage of diverse beauty are a morning highlight, Heather.
I saw the report on The Today Show this morning about this cover. I never miss an issue of Vogue. I also grew up in Europe. Let’s get real – Vogue is not National Geographic! We want a bit of fantasy as we turn the pages of fashion magazines. Even the world’s best paid model, Gisele Bundchen, is photoshopped and honestly, if any of us had the miraculous opportunity to be featured on the cover of Vogue, we wouldn’t refuse being photoshopped either!
This the first of a dozen blogs I read each day and love it! To those who criticize a blog, please delete and go elsewhere!
Strength and grandeur be you.
~ Absolutely*Kate, author/promoter and most of all believer in believers
good for you, heather + well said xxpeggybraswelldesign.com
I totally agree with you. And it is so true that most Europeans appreciate natural beauty in a way that our society does not. They are not obsessed with aging, for example. I’d go to live to France right away if I could.
Dear Heather, I have heard stories of cyber negativity but I can’t imagine why on the beautiful blog you bring to us several times a week that you should ever have to deal with this behavior. Whats not to love? It only strengthens my belief that unfortunately in this world there are so many people who are just not right, they hide behind anonymity and even feed on the pleasure they receive while attacking others… but ahhh what was I just talking about? hmmm who cares about them… I care about how I look forward to what you bring us, inspiration, style , beauty and peeks into the lives of talented human beings. As far as Lena Dunham she is fabulous, so beautiful and uber confident she is hopefully laughing at this, after all she exposes her self flaws and all on national t.v.episode after episode. We fall in love with her raw talent and that beautiful face (with or with out makeup)every week. Thank you so much making her your Covergirl!
Thank you for showing people that not being or playing nice is not going to be acceptable. I love the “10 little things.” I, too have been subject online and off to people saying things about me and they didn’t even know me.
One for you today: BRAVO!
Everything else I would type has already been said Heather,–so Namaste and Happy New Year.
Heather, I have always admired that you strive to elevate people, fashion, interior design, the arts…we all need uplifting and positive influences in our lives, and I thank you for all you do!
The Arts by Karena
good for you. bravo. beauty is in the eye of the beholder, certainly. your amazing photos show beauty in every single thing. for each of us there is an epitome of beauty….and each of us needs to realize that our idea of what is beautiful needs to expand. open our eyes and our minds, as it were. i’m with you about people outside of this country and the simple things that make their hearts and break and sigh over. if more of us would do that….place our idea of beauty is small and simple things, rather than the facade of glamour currently raging through this country….why, i believe we would have more honesty and transparency in all of our lives. gosh. what would that do to the fashion industry? likely put it on its nose and make it rethink itself. wonderful article. keep them coming. you’re my daily dose of inspiration and epiphanies.
I don’t see the point of harshly negative comments. I believe it says more about the commenter than the commented-upon. I feel rather sorry for people who are constantly negative – its like poison.
1. There is a place for critique.
2. Many Americans are lovely, graceful, and polite people. Don’t judge us all by a few commenters.
2. The French are lovely and interesting people, but they too are not immune from being harshly critical at times. (I know quite a few French).
I always find it so hard to believe that people take the time to literally type things that are mean and inappropriate. I hope that in the future it does not happen as often as it seems to right now! Wishing you the best day!
What an incredible waste of time it is the be negative. If that same energy and focus was placed on the opposite, which is looking at positivity in our daily journey, we probably could have shifted to change the world by now.
I sincerely hope your writing today triggers that thought process for many.
Thank you for the fantastic post today!
Wonderfully said. Thank you for raising the bar!
What Jezebel did was just gross and petty and not female friendly.
I fully expect Lena to respond with more nudity 😉
The Navajo weavers create a slight imperfection in each rug as a reminder that only God is perfect.
Thanks, Heather, for calling those unkind commenters on their *stuff*.
Don’t be discouraged by the hateful comments of a few, but you are right to call them out. These misogynistic sentiments are not exclusive to Americans, but rather,(unfortunately) reflect the human condition in every culture. As a 55 year old Registered Nurse who works on an oncology unit I look forward to the joy and beauty that you bring us every day. Your posts are a daily refreshment!
Hi Heather it’s me Jeff Garlin from the world of entertainment. I praise you for what you wrote and your use of the word aplomb. Very underused. Aplomb is the way Lena handles everything. She is beautiful and kind and she should be treated as such. You’re writing is a big bowl of wonderful. Keep it up.
All the best,
Your blog makes me happy every time I view it!! It’s always beautiful! You inspire me.
Thank you for speaking out… Thank you for your creative blog and the work you put into it. 🙂
Bully for you, Heather! You’re wonderfully positive personality shines through again. Petty criticism never raises the status of the critic – au contraire!
Heather, I am so impressed by your post and also by the comments. I am lucky enough to be working in Europe a few weeks now and always notice a rawness in the beauty. If something or someone is too shiny, perfect, there is imperfection in that. It is the “flaw” that makes something soulful, handmade, real and lovely. (and why i will never get a nose job) Although there is a time for constructive criticism, of one’s looks there is not. I applaud YOU and seek to surround myself with those who breed positivity and celebrate self acceptance. In our national quest for impossible celebrity perfection, we are in a spiral of physical and metal illness. Thank goodness there is a backlash and a social movement for young girls of awareness. Brava for the uproar and standing up for lovely Lena and all of us normal, beautiful gals!
I believe you are absolutely right. All my life, people had told me that I should model and that I was beautiful. I have hard time accepting that because more often than not, I believe what was negatively said about my looks. Women need to stand up for women… like you did Heather. Lena is lovely and she represents a model for most women and girls in America that are not a size 2.
I think something really important that you pointed out was that you don’t like reading or posting any negative feedback, which I think is so awesome! Because I’ve noticed (through comments and some similar posts by other bloggers who address the negativity they encounter) that regardless of the subject – beauty, art, literature, food, etc. – many people have become accustomed to making negative remarks before they even stop to think about what they are doing. Not only are those people sending out negative vibes, but they’re harming themselves by focusing on the negatives and trapping themselves in that energy. If people would learn to focus on the positives, in this case the fact that each of the women you posted carries a beauty from the life stories that are told in their eyes, markings, wrinkles, smiles and so on, we’d all be much happier and vibrant people. But I want to also comment that we can’t dwell on the fact that some people choose to be negative because like you said, it will start your morning off badly and affect your mood. So stay positive and know that there are many people out there who appreciate your blog and perspective on a daily basis! xoxo
You are still an inspiration Heather, in every possible way! Cheers from the Philippines!
As an American married to a French man, living and working in Paris, I completely agree, you’d never see negative comments about a French woman’s size. But that’s because there are no young, female, French celebrities who are above a size two. Problem solved! It’s similar to the French law about racism: it’s racist to take statistical data about race, so there’s no reports, so there’s no information showing the huge correlation between race and socioeconomic status. Therefore, there’s no problem!
France ignores a lot of things as a country and a culture, and the pressure to be thin and stay thin is so much stronger here than in the US, so I’d be careful making broad-stroke comments about how France “accepts all beauty.” It really doesn’t.
Here here, for a wonderful post.
So glad you had the guts to stand up and say this.
I TOTALLY agree wiuth you. Im really sick of negative comments on blog posts, unless someone is posting offensive pictures or information. People just need to ignore things that are not quite there thing and keep there rude comments to themselves as it does no one any good. The reason we read blogs or at least I do is for pleasure and if I dont like something I simply skip over it and move on to something else that may take my fancy. Big congratuations Heather on your brave attempt to help stop cyber bullying, well done.
I check in on your blog on an irregular bases but have not left a comment in a while. This is an exception. I feel the same way as you do about negative criticism. I am interested in inspiration. To inspire and be inspired. There is a difference between criticism and to criticize. One is based on inspired fact, the other based on pure personal opinion. One is constructive, they other is destructive. I feel strongly that what we do as creatives can be very powerful in many ways. It is easiest to be negative than it is to be inspiring in this our challenged world. Shine on!
I want to thank you for raising awareness to these issues that affect all women, so courageously, as you always do.
I am just a huge fan. Over the years, your site has deepened my knowledge of design, given me travel tips as well as style ideas, not to mention the chance to see life through a New Yorker’s eyes.
Thank you for doing this work on a regular basis, it makes our days that much brighter.