Freshman at Sarah Lawrence College, writing a social media project on Norwegian lifestyle blogs.
I initially concentrated on Norwegian fashion blogs for my project, but soon decided I was more interested with lifestyle blogs. The two main blogs I studied for my project were www.fotballfrue.no and www.eirinkristiansen.blogg.no. They are both extremely popular and widely discussed blogs in Norway. Furthermore, they represent two slightly different age groups: “Fotballfrue” is in her late twenties, has settled down in the suburbs with her child, house, and husband, and writes about her everyday life as a stay-at-home wife. Eirin Kristiansen, on the other hand, is a younger blogger, but she too has similar interests as “Fotballfrue”. The similarities are many, especially when analyzing the esthetic design of their blogs: the color palette ranges in different light pastel tones, and the language is positive and welcoming.
In my project, I questioned the viewership of Norwegian lifestyle bloggers, and the attraction that Norwegian youth seem to have towards lifestyle blogs that emulate traditional values as opposed to modern working values.
In my research, I interviewed my mom’s friends, as most of them work and have children of their own. Their thoughts as I predicted: lifestyle bloggers’ façade were far from what my mom’s friends’ everyday life looked like, and they were provoked by “Fotballfrue’s” way of presenting her life as perfect, avoiding to write and share awkward or unglamorous topics. I asked them questions such as: how realistic is the life that “Fotballfrue” presents on her blog? Do you think there is a reason for why she chooses to use this type of positive but naïve language, considering her Journalism-education? Considering the feedback I got from you, they contradict “Fotballfrue’s” popularity in many ways – why do you think her blog is so popular?
In Norway, popular bloggers are also considered celebrities. They get the opportunity to attend big events, promote products, and collaborate with designers and big brands. “Fotballfrue”, has, since she first became a famous name in Norway, frequently been criticized in the media for her unhealthy body image. She also heavily emphasizes health and fitness on her blog, which creates an extreme image towards young readers. A term often used in Norwegian media is the concept of a “pink-blogger”, which basically means a blogger who writes about materialistic subjects such as beauty and fashion. Some have been criticized in media because they make a lot of money on their blog, which, for many, is not considered a “real” job.
One of the most interesting aspects of my project, in my opinion, was the blog post on housewives and women in the labor force. Norwegian lifestyle bloggers seem to idealize the role of the housewife, contradicting the over 70% female population in Norway and their active role in the workforce. If over half of the female population in Norway work, why is “Fotballfrue”, a stay-at-home mom sporting the role of the housewife, the most read blog in Norway? One reason might be an urge of escaping reality: a place to seek light entertainment and inspiration. My generation sees the blogging-culture in two ways: we are provoked by the amount of money bloggers make by writing a few blog posts about materialistic topics, but at the same time we read blogs regularly. Reading lifestyle blogs is seen as a “guilty pleasure”. We are very opinionated about bloggers even though we frequently read them, as the interview with my friends proved. We don’t like the idea of bloggers calling their blogs their job, as we see the phenomena as leisure rather than work, thus incorporating the questions related to labor: what distinguishes paid from unpaid labor in the digital world?
To answer the question of the viewership of Norwegian lifestyle bloggers is tricky, as I find it challenging to give a concrete reason. Even so, I think that one main reason is that lifestyle bloggers’ readers are young, and may not yet realize the unrealistic presentation of everyday life that many bloggers actively sport. On the other hand, I think that some realize the unrealistic presentation, yet read blogs as entertainment. Still, the oppositions between bloggers emulating traditional values and modern workingwomen are crucial; yet, it seems natural to question whether these values are starting to blend into each other.
In my project, I have explored Norwegian lifestyle bloggers and the way they present themselves online, but there are also lifestyle bloggers who write about their unglamorized everyday life: they sarcastically make fun of lifestyle bloggers in a humorous way, revealing their unglamorous everyday life by posting funny pictures of themselves without makeup with their kids chaotically running around them. One of these bloggers calls herself comedian wife (http://komikerfrue.blogg.no), directly making fun of the famous blogger “the soccer wife”. The “comedian wife” writes about her problem with acne and her poor cooking-skills. It’s funny, because she writes the same product reviews as “the soccer wife”, but hers, especially when it comes to food, turn out to be disasters rather than perfectly done, picture-ready meals. Here’s an example of both bloggers reviewing “cake in a cup”:
“The soccer wife”:
“The comedian wife”:
“The comedian wife’s” blog does not look as esthetically professional as fotballfrue.no’s platform, and instead of focusing on photos and colors, she writes funny stories from her day, emphasizing mistakes, her messy husband and bad habits. Reading her blog is like confirming or reassuring ourselves that striving to become as perfect as “the soccer wife” is not realistic.
It seems like the comedian wife’s main purpose is to present a more genuine, real and humorous type of housewife to show us that, even though other lifestyle bloggers present their life as perfect, it does not necessarily mean that it is perfect. Presenting personalities online is a tricky case: it is easy to create a perfect profile, and can be described as filtering, where all the negative aspects, or aspects you are not happy with are excluded.
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