The Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl: Who She Is And Why I Hate Her

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There are many kinds of porn in this world. There is porn porn, there is food porn, there is travel porn, and then there is my least favorite genre of all, General Lifestyle Porn. It’s photo sets and blogs and magazine profiles designed specifically to make you feel badly about yourself, like the inadequate, sweatpant-clad loser you are, to remind you that there is someone out there living their best life, and none of it involves eating an entire bag of Doritos in a fugue state while watching House of Cards.

You know the Life Porn I’m talking about. It’s the airy, white bedrooms with a beautiful serving tray on it that somehow happens to be carrying tea, lemons, macarons, and the morning paper (what time is it??), the lush white comforter tousled just so. It’s the background of stark white (or exposed brick, or wood), with a single plant, and one Eames chair standing as the lone piece of decorative furniture, equipped with two art magazines that cost 15 dollars each. And on the bed sits the Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl, clad in her loose button-down and boyfriend jeans, messy bun the perfect amount of messy, gold rings adorning her long, elegant fingers. She’s sitting on the bed, usually laughing at the camera, while all of the delicious food goes untouched because she ~takes care of her body~.

She’s the kind of beauty we’d call “effortless,” which can be directly translated to “thin, with good skin, expensive (but minimalist) clothes, and hair that always looks done without ever looking touched.” It’s a lie, created with “no-makeup makeup,” and art direction, and vaseline on cheekbones to give you that dewy, beach-babe look when you are sitting in an air conditioned apartment in Williamsburg. But the effect is the same: This girl is beautiful and perfectly self-controlled, in a way you will never be, and it is reflected in everything from her expansive, perfectly-appointed kitchen, to her impossibly tasteful collection of thin gold jewelry.

She is never actually doing anything, of course. She is sipping her tea, staring out the window, sitting curled up on her comically large white couch with a few magazines strewn about her. She is not there to inspire anything other than insecurity, because her “achievements” include keeping everything incredibly white, not gaining weight, and having a messy bun that is always on the verge of falling but never actually does. It’s aspirational, but aspiration towards “being rich enough to have a fuckton of space with which I do absolutely nothing.”

And she is bad for mental health. She’s not just incredibly beautiful, which is a more run-of-the-mill sort of insecurity, she’s propped up as beautiful (and surrounded by beauty) without ever trying, which adds a profound level of frustration to the average Hollywood starlet who is stunning, but in a way that requires a process. The MPDG is there to convince you that if you only stop trying so hard, your life will suddenly be perfect, aesthetically pleasing, and entirely white without a single stain. (There is always an extra pinch of offensiveness to the photos where this aesthetic comes with a pet, because, as any pet owner knows, all-white is a masochistic choice if you have also chosen animals.)

We don’t need more photoshoots of her. We don’t need magazine and brand profiles of the ethereal writer/blogger/model/producer/DJ/yogi who lives in a loft that seems to have more windows than actual walls, and who spends their day making tea in their vaulted-ceilinged kitchen. We don’t need their utterly useless beauty tips (drink water, be confident, meditate), because we have jobs. And sometimes-messy apartments. And imperfect color schemes. And hair that doesn’t look good until we make it look that way.

And so does she, really. Because the Minimalist Pixie Dream Girl is all an illusion, albeit one that looks incredibly enticing when it pops up on your Tumblr dashboard. But remember that its only purpose in this world is to make you feel inadequate in every category, from beauty to home decor to lifestyle. And the world is doing a perfectly good job of that without some whisper-thin creative director named Margot telling you about why she needed her kitchen skylight to face south for her serenity.

Image via Pexels

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  • Erin Depew

    Omg, this times a thousand. Life-style porn is definitely my favorite type of porn 🙂 but recently the MPDG has been really getting on my nerves…

  • Seriously, thank you for calling this out. I kind of slowly figured out the racket that lifestyle blogging is gradually over the last couple of years. As much as everything looked gorgeous and aspiration, you’re right: it just made me feel inadequate for knowing that I would never be able to achieve that kind of beautiful effortlessness. It was MADDENING.

  • disqus_FDRppzxtNJ

    I always wanted to be the girl that doesn’t seem to work, but have enough money to buy a bunch of colorful celine trios to be the ‘pop of color’ for my black and white outfits, while living off pastries and iced coffees in an apartment with pot plants hanging off the ceiling.

    My wallet and actually working will never let me be that girl. 🙁

  • Brilliant.

  • Marion

    This. My single girl apartment prior to moving in with my husband had MPDG potential and it always kind of bothered me while I lived there that I couldn’t afford to decorate it as such. In hindsight, coffee in bed doesn’t look as pretty in an apartment with mismatched hand-me-down furniture but it tastes just as good.

  • Pia S

    Thank you for this <3 I was in such a slump. Being surrounded by MPDGs was getting my down, I seriously needed a little reminder she isn't real.

    Your blog is always the best xx

  • Cortney

    I have wasted so much money trying to achieve the level of put-together, clutter-free minimalist decor that I see on Pinterest and Tumblr. It’s always a “full-time mommy, part-time blogger!” who somehow manages to have three 2-year-olds and a perfectly organized house, including chalk labels and an infinite amount of hOmEmAdE hEaLtHy SnAcKs! She’s not exactly a MPDG but it’s a similar kind of aesthetic oppression.

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks trying to achieve this is a huge, worthless burden and we should all stop trying. But not in the effortless, MPDG way. In the “I don’t give a single fuck” way.

  • nowlo

    I always assume these girls are heiresses or otherwise being supported by wealthy families. Otherwise, there’s no way you can afford a beautiful loft in [insert trendy neighborhood] as a “lifestyle blogger”/DJ/jewelry maker/artisan yogurt creator/etc.and all the pricey furniture, beauty products, and macrobioticvegankalecrueltyfree groceries that fill it.

    These kind of blogs used to be a nice alternative to magazines since they featured real women sharing useful ideas about decorating, consumer products, crafts, cooking, etc. But they’ve become very commercialized (actual businesses with LLCs and so on) and are not any different from professional magazines. In the process of becoming more polished and profitable, they’ve also become MUCH less useful to readers since you can’t trust their recommendations due to sponsored content and other sneaky forms of advertising.

    Same thing happened to beauty blogs, which I had initially turned to after I realized mainstream women’s magazines were all about making me feel bad and spend money.

  • Angela Bonanza

    Oh goodness, I loved this post and especially the last sentence haha. Do these girls actually exist in the world? Surely not even Martha Stewart keeps everything neat and nice all the time. However, I have to admit that I do like the sweater this MPDG is wearing in the above pic – it looks really nubby and cozy, perfect for wearing with our faded old sweats and mismatched socks! 🙂

  • bahahaha this post is fantastic. This is exactly why I can’t use instagram.

  • looksandbooks

    YES. I am so tired of this aesthetic. What’s wrong with color? Personality? Eating food? Here, here to calling for its end!

  • MoLivinLarge

    I swear you’re living in my head lately. Every post since your Social Media Purge post has been EXACTLY what I’m thinking.

  • Sindhoo

    I like this so much, particularly because I never realized how much those blogs annoyed me until you articulated it here. They really DO make me feel inferior, yet I keep going back for more…even though 90% of the makeup they recommend wouldn’t even begin to work for me and my dark skin, even though I don’t even LIKE chia seed pudding or whatever dumb health food “dessert” they’re “craving.”

    I do want to ask something though: don’t you feel like a large part of this is just wrapped up in the concept of a lifestyle blog in general? I don’t know if you would call TFD a lifestyle blog, because it actually has a function and purpose and is actually useful.

    I have to admit, however, that sometimes I feel inadequate while looking through your instagram, because I can’t quite manage that put-together #neutrallife look you pull off (effortlessly?), and my workspace definitely doesn’t look like yours, and the food, my god the gorgeous food you make!

    Maybe it’s different because your blog has a clear message of fiscal responsibility, but I definitely find myself coveting your “personal brand,” which is as clear and desirable (if not more so) than any of those other head-in-the-cloud bloggers. So I guess my question is, If you’re marketing a lifestyle blog, isn’t it inevitable that you need to market yourself as just better than you really are in order to get people on board?

    Anywayyy, love what you’re doing here, I tell all my friends about your blog because it’s def one of my favorites – just wanted to hear your thoughts on this!

    • Jen

      Interested to hear your response to this, CF! I really enjoy following you on social + here, but there does seem to be a lil bit of “pot calling the kettle black” happening. Like, you def have a level of self-awareness that 99% of these MPDGs don’t…but you’ve also got the white bed + well-lit healthy breakfast shots + thin gold jewelry that annoy you so much. I definitely get a sense of “I hate/dislike/am annoyed by the MPDGs because I’m trying to be one sometimes and I can’t be.” Not meaning to sound rude here, just interested in your take.

      • chelseafagan

        See above post! 🙂

    • chelseafagan

      All very good points, and I definitely get what you’re saying! (For the record, any #neutrallife I may pull off is 100 percent not effortless, and that’s what drives me to write the articles about my thought process/closet purge/etc. Because I don’t want it to come across as effortless/organic when it isn’t.)

      That being said, I would say that my aesthetic isn’t really minimal, I like things a lot more feminine/messy/busy, and I am not into white-on-white with nothing else and simple/sparse furniture. But I DO frame my pictures nicely sometimes, and do my best to present a clean/simple vibe, because part of what I think financial cleansing is about is getting rid of things you don’t need. So in that respect, I can see how someone might look at my pictures and think things are better than they are — though I’m really trying to live the simple/homemade/DIY vibes I put out.

      I don’t think there is anything wrong with liking some of the MPDG’s style, nor do I think it’s unusual to see someone’s filtered life on social media and covet something. What I resent about the MPDG in particular is how dishonest it is — there is no backstory, there is nothing *truly* letting you in on the person she is or how she got there — and how expensive it is to look that simple. The reality is most of those clothes/apartments/furniture/etc are incredibly expensive, and no one is disclosing what goes into it. It’s Tons of Effort passed off as Effortless, and Expensive passed off as Simple, if that makes sense. So in my view, like whatever style you like, just be honest and human about it — that way you don’t drive (as much) needless insecurity.

      I have a bunch of home makeover/DIY posts coming up, and my aesthetic might veer into what some people would consider “lifestyle bloggy,” but to me as long as I am honest/human about it (and the struggle/imperfections that come with it), and come from a perspective of financial savvy, it’s not just the “empty calories” of aesthetically beautiful lifestyle blogging that leads you to feel badly about yourself. A big part of why I started TFD was because I wanted to live a nice, beautiful life, but was frustrated by the dishonesty behind what really goes into that. So I’m not always perfect, but I’m trying to be a more “normal/financially realistic” voice in the game.

      • Sindhoo

        I just realized how much this article blew up, and how many people are saying “WELL YOU DO THIS TOO.” Just want to confirm that I am not trying to do that and I think your reply is super thoughtful and articulates what’s great about TFD.

        This blog really is pretty honest, especially when you consider that 99% of lifestyle blogs don’t even MENTION money. I think you hit on something here that resonates with most of us who follow blogs.

      • em

        Not trying to be argumentative here, but MPDG doesn’t *owe* you backstory. She doesn’t owe you context, or access to who she really is.

        Everyone online puts out there what they want to put out, and no more. If this is her art, her vision, her message, then she’s got just as much right to put it up as anyone else, and no more responsibility to explain, justify, or contextualize it than anyone else.

        If it’s not a style that works for you or inspires you or whatever it’s doing for other people, then don’t buy into it. Don’t read the blogs, unfollow the instagram feeds, unfriend her on facebook.

        But it’s pretty snarky — and not in a funny way — to write about how much you hate someone doing what they want to do because it somehow personally offends you.

    • Rachel Yasmin
  • KM

    This is SO. GOOD.

  • Annie Goldbaugh

    Thank you for articulating exactly why my self-esteem has plummeted since social media took over. RIP, my Instagram.

  • I love you.

  • Jess

    this is too real. so so true. also i came across a really interesting semi-jokey post on tumblr the other day which actually made a really interesting observation about those pale aesthetic blogs who post this sort of thing, and how their glorification of the minimalist pale/white ideal actually has really interesting racist implications? something to think about, at least!

  • First world problems, lol. While I do enjoy those kinds of lifestyle images, I have to agree that maintaining such a lifestyle in real life can be ridiculously expensive.

  • Sophia

    White-painted exposed brick in your profile picture, adorable tiny dog who goes on your bed (“lush white comforter tousled just so”) with your new macbook pro in your “airy, white bedroom…” , delicious foods and drinks, self-proclaimed writer (on a blog-like site, weird huh?…..) and “cook.” You are that girl.

  • Samuel Shirley
  • Krista Swan

    OMG I love this.

  • I wrote a post about this.. but from the opposite perspective. Y’know, some people’s lives really are THAT GOOD and if you look at social media and feel jealous the problem is YOU not the person you’re jealous of..

    • seriously?

      And I suppose you are one of those with a life that is “THAT GOOD”? Waouh, your life must be a real fairytale ! Well, I guess not everyone can have a picture perfect life. 😉

      • Not particularly, my life isn’t a “fairytale” but I’m smart enough to realise when I’ve got things pretty good and recognise I’m in a privileged position. I find it incredibly tiresome to hear people – in very similar situations – complaining about social media because it makes them feel bad about their lives. Well, BOO HOO.

        • chelseafagan

          Why… are you here?

          • To discuss the subject raised in the original post..?

          • Necromancy

            Poor little rich girl needs to defend her serious career of “making jewelry” and “lifestyle blogging” while she jetsets.

          • Jealous? Sounds like it.

          • I agree with TwinkieTheKid. You do not have have to be jealous of something to be critical of it.

            Am I the only person who finds “you’re just jealous” infantile and disrespectful? The phrase is used to cut a person (usually a woman) down to size when they raise insightful criticism. Instead of listening and seeing validity in their opinion, or, still disagreeing but countering with your own opinion and conversation, it is dismissive of that person and their thoughts.

            To me, saying “you’re jealous” to someone says more about you than it does about them.

          • I feel like the same can be said for anyone trying to be negative about other people enjoying their lives and wanting to share that online. It’s just an attempt to tear someone down in order to make themselves feel better about their own lives.

          • Necromancy

            lmao no you bland basic bitch, not everyone who criticises you is jealous, could you be more self-absorbed?

          • L O L

        • Twinkiethekid

          To be critical of something doesn’t mean your jealous of it. I’m critical of how animals are treated at the circus. Should I be look at myself on that one too? My frustration with this these bloggers is that the aesthetic is tired and many of them can’t afford the very lifestyle they are tying to promote for financial gain. My response is not to visit their site(s) anymore.

          • April Mae

            Chelsea, I believe you’re on point with this article. The majority of women (and men) who are working hard to make a living don’t have time to make those lifestyle images a reality 24/7. Thanks for pointing this out.

            Sophie, please see attached image.


          • So anyone who has time to take nice looking photographs doesn’t work hard for a living? My point is: some people DO have time to do that AND they work hard. Saying they don’t is very ignorant and comes across jealous and bitter.

          • mamavalveeta03


          • True, it doesn’t but often that is the case.
            How do you know they can’t afford that lifestyle?

            And why does it even matter to you?

        • theminglemangle


    • yes I agree a little – we should realise and deal with our own feelings towards these ‘perfect’ images and snapshots – why do we let the negativity creep up…especially when we need to be realistic here…life online is usually ‘edited to perfection’ even the ‘perfect’ girl/boy/blogger/instagramer knows that …Im sure they edit their images, select the most beautiful one to share with us – are they themselves happy on the inside?! like really happy about this perfect status…no one knows that.
      but I agree – no need to wallow in negativity…life your life how you want!

      • The issue definitely lies with the person having negative thoughts about other people and what they portray online. This article absolutely demonstrates this – why hate on people for wanting to see the positive in life?

        • mamavalveeta03

          What most bloggers, or hell, ANYONE on social media posts is usually the version of their best life that they want people to see. “Look at me and see what a charmed, interesting, stylized life I lead!” ️No one wants to show that their kitchen has unsorted mail on the counter, piles of unread mags on the floor, that their kid puked all over in the middle of the night, or that their cat tore up their new sofa (Yes…my imperfect life.

          • Personally, I am OK with that. I don’t want to see messy living rooms, untidy beds, pets ruining an apartment, or grainy, unfocused photographs of what someone had for dinner. I want to see the good parts. I want to see photographs AFTER someone has tidied their apartment. And that’s OK. If you want to see all the bad, messy parts of someone’s life, that’s OK too – but why do we have to slam each other and say “I don’t like this so I don’t want anyone else to either?” Claiming “it’s not real” isn’t good enough either, of course it’s real – it’s just presented and packaged in a much nicer way.

          • mamavalveeta03

            Don’t get me wrong, Sophie: I don’t have a problem with people posting whatever they wish to on their Instagram or blog feeds. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to follow, right? I enjoy many of these “MPDG” posts, myself, but I guess I read this article as satire, rather than taking it literally. I may be wrong about that (wouldn’t be the first time!).

            The photos may be “real” in a sense, but extremely stylized and unrealistic, in my opinion. And that’s ok, but there’s a difference between real life and Instagram life.

          • mamavalveeta03

            I’m just saying its “stylized.” No one lives without the day to day mess of life…or if they do, then they ought to learn to sit down and relax! (Dust bunnies and all!)

    • Olga

      I read this post and totally resonated with it, and then read yours and realized it is all a matter of perspective and you have a healthy positive view on the matter. I loved your post and ended up looking at the rest of your blog. Of course I subscribed. I love your creativity and honesty. The world needs more people like you. <3

    • six6sixwitch

      Every time someone points out how ridiculous it is that the position of The Privileged is presented as THE NORM, be in art, media, or the damn news, the person who points it out is JEALOUS. That’s pretty much what you’re saying and just proves the whole point of this article.

    • MsDalfo

      You know, I was reading this article and started thinking about the opposite side of things. A friend of mine linked to this from FB, and I was hoping it wasn’t as inflammatory as the title suggests. Everyone lives a different life. Some live this one.

      Thanks for posting. I like your website. 🙂

      • I feel the same way – everyone has a different life and judging them is just negative and, sometimes, nasty. So what if someone makes their life look nice online? What does it matter? Let them get on with it, ignore it, why bash them for wanting to enjoy life?

  • This is awesome. Unfortunately with more and more approachable, friendly fashion/lifestyle bloggers with good photography, the pixies seem even more realistic and achievable on a blog or home tour site than they do in an anonymous model shot!

  • Aubrey Becker

    I think what is even more horrifying than acknowledging that these people don’t exist is acknowledging the possibility that they do. And that we idealize the type of character whose chief aspiration and driving goal in life is to create a universally pleasing aesthetic. I personally would feel a little bit sad for a person who didn’t have much more in their brains than hair, social media, and tea cups.

  • ENC

    To add a little humanism to this conversation from the perspective of someone who has been classified as a MPDG: we all know that a publication is not real life. It is nothing more than a dream; someones creativity and inspiration channeled into a photograph.

    My reality is that I unknowingly took on the role of Cover Girl for a very well known Minimalist Lifestyle Publication. My face now represents the companies Wikipedia Page, over a half million physical copies of the publication and and impossible amount of Instagrams… and while I feel nothing negative towards those I worked with, I as a person am not a true representative to the brand, and in that way it is an odd feeling to be seen as so. I do not lead a glamorous life: I work with children, not as a model. Although I can’t eat anything I want because I have an autoimmune disease, I do eat healthily, though I can’s say it’s always food porn. My cat drags litter and fur all over my apartment and sometimes she pukes on the bed because she has a sensitive belly. Sometimes my plants are half dead because my basement bedroom gets shitty light. I often spend my time binging on the X Files. I’m still figuring out who I am and what I enjoy and how I want to spend my time. I have fewer Instagram followers than there are posts with my face in them. I don’t even read the magazine I was on, as it doesn’t resonate with me at all. I did feel insecure for a time when the issue was released and I did fear new friends and acquaintances or community members may have a false notion of who I might be based on a magazine cover I randomly was engaged with.

    I’m not here to say “look! don’t worry — I’m not perfect either!” I’m not trying to GOOP Common Woman anyone, but I am here to say that maybe the MPDG is our cultural reflection of a societies people’s that are just trying to appear as having it together, while none of us actually does. Everyone is trying, everyone is doing the best with what they have. We’re all seeking serenity and purity and the presence of mind to be content with what we have been given. I try to live in a way that feels right: and that is different for each person. If we are going to focus on material aspects of the MPDG: Yes, I covet the white enameled wood handled kettle at the cute boutique down the street, but the one I have that was a hand me down’s hand me down works fine without a whistle. And goddamn that shit is unnecessary. I would rather buy something from thrift. Or Marshalls if I need it new. No need for excess or living outside of your current financial boundaries, or even striving to have deeper pockets in order to perpetuate this idea of a lifestyle. I guess the moral of the story is, take on the things that are appealing to you, but are doable. Live within your means, but that does not mean you have to live a life that is not beautiful. Redefining beauty means being honest with yourself about who you are and what you value and having a sense of self large enough that it is not easily swayed by a trend or Lifestyle God dressed in White.

    • Chloé

      I read this all & I believe that this really comes down to women respecting other womens choices to do things and pursue a lifestyle that makes THEM happy and that THEY find fulfilling.

      • ENC

        Amen, sister. I noticed many of the discussions in this thread came from someone’s disagreement or a negative attitude. Let’s get positive! Let’s support our fellow woman! And mainly, let’s support ourselves — without putting anyone else down. Lord knows we have to work to bring ourselves up enough as it is. We need to start honing the tools for what self support for ourselves and others requires… I guess it starts with looking in the mirror and saying “I love you, I’m okay” instead of using Instagram as a mirror for saying “I’m not you, I’m not okay”. Insecurity is a real thing… I think the antidote is an open, bouyant heart.

        • Chloé

          Exactly. You get it, girl. I couldn’t have said this better myself. A huge part of self love is the acceptance of others. It’s an unbelievable and exciting thing that happens when insecurities fade away and are instead replaced with celebration!

          • Chloé, you couldn’t have said it better! I 100% agree with you.
            The most judgemental are usually the most insecure. Let’s help these people free themselves and finally have inner peace.

        • rachelberglund

          I am a student of communication, currently focusing on the creation of identity through various representational forms (such as media, public plans, school materials).

          What you are saying rings perfectly true with a good chunk of modern science on identity creation. Many scientists believe that identity is not something you create by looking inwards, but rather by reflecting yourself against people you surround yourself with (such as the depiction of a woman in a magazine).

          The implication here is that by changing up how you view other women, you will automatically change up the field by which you reflect yourself up against. So your identity as a woman can change based on changing this general ‘field’ of women. It is like an automatic process.

          Just thought I’d ad in, as it’s such an interesting topic. There’s hope! 🙂

          • gattita

            wow, that is fascinating to read and think about. so glad you shared your research and thoughts on this subject.

      • LP

        I agree with you that woman should be celebrating and pursuing a lifestyle that makes them happy. Puppy pics and pretty pictures also makes me happy so I say keep up the amazing styling, pretty pics and positivity right? Why all the negative about essentially positivity right? I mean, styled flowers and coffee against a white background – whether it was effortless or not, staged or just good lightning seems pretty positive to me. But I guess some people find it offensive? Chelsea is entitled to her opinion on this, as its her blog however, I do view this article as a “hate” article – i mean the title is “why i hate her …” about someone’s taste and an INTENTIONAL attack on it. I understand the media pressure for woman to be smarter, thinner, prettier, richer but woman should all be smart enough to not be so impressionable and more importantly to stop tearing each other down.

        • Chloé

          Yes yes yes!

          • ejane

            These comments warm my heart! And oh dear, everyone can meditate. Even those of us with jobs 🙂

          • gattita


        • mamavalveeta03

          I read the article in an entirely different way….very “tongue in cheek”….satire served up with the target on a white couch. Just perusing the other stuff that Chelsea writes, it’s funny/snarky. I knew instantly what kind of photos she was referring to, since I’ve pinned them myself. But it made me laugh, not get angry! I’d say take it for what it is, an opinion piece written by someone with a great sense of humor. And then read between the lines.

  • Twinkiethekid

    The only thing you forgot to mention is that half of the Pixies are actually photo shopping out any signs of aging and stress and all stains and dirty faces.

  • billy romp

    So, images of well-groomed, good-looking women in clean, clutter-free homes makes you angry? Women whose beauty seems effortless (as if) causes you mental distress? Makes you HATE?! I think what you are angry at is yourself, for being a sweatpants-clad loser, a Dorito muncher, a slob with a job, who buys $15 magazines. You say we need more photo shoots of messy apartments? Try that. Try getting the photos published. Try finding an audience. Try Mother Earth News or High Times. (Seriously, though, lighten up and find a better outlet for your writing talents, girl.)

  • …love Maegan

    If you look at Instagram as a new form of art, and people using it and photography as another form of creative expression, it’s for their own purposes, and not there to make anyone feel lesser than. It’s beautiful and artistic, and that’s all 🙂

    • m@

      Very few people use Instagram for that purpose.

      • Alex Ekkelenkamp

        Then you’re following the wrong people.

  • Dominique

    Hi Chelsea! I just found your blog and love, love, love your writing. I also clicked over to and enjoyed that as well. Do you have a list of blogs somewhere that you enjoy? I’d love some new recommendations!

  • oh my gosh – Yes!!! this is such a great post…true true!

  • Sarah

    This is brilliant. Brilliant!

  • Alex Ekkelenkamp

    This article annoys me. Because my wife is very much this girl. Our apartment is white. She has good hair. She eats well. She has good style. But to say she never does anything and sits there taking pictures of herself is crap.

    She painted the house white because it’s a small apartment and white makes it look bigger and cleaner. Her hair is perfect because she works (HARD) with a fantastic hair dresser and by trading work with him, she has beautiful hair. She eats greens and organic food because it’s good for her. She shops for deals and has NEVER wasted any of our money on clothes.

    To me, articles like this simply shows the authors immature reaction to something they don’t have. No one is saying white walls are good and colour is bad! Just go live your life and enjoy it how you want to enjoy it! If you don’t want to see the feed of the MPDG, then don’t look. She didn’t paint her walls white to make you angry. She did it because she likes it. If you like purple walls and enjoy them, paint them purple and post it on Instagram. Or not. It really doesn’t matter!

    • Dyl

      Okay, I’ll bite.
      1) This article is not about whether or not your walls are white. You are missing the larger point of the article, which leads me to…
      2) Note that you say your wife “WORKS” for her hair to look like that. That she painted the house. That she searches for deals. The point is, that she does work for those things, but that isn’t how it is portrayed. The term “effortless” is constantly used to describe this demographic of person, but the reality is it isn’t “effortless” at all. It’s selling a lie.
      3) This article wasn’t necessarily for you. Not to be all holier-than-thou and bring up the feminist angle, but the minimalist pixie dream girl fantasy is one that is squarely aimed at women. In a society where women are constantly pinned against each other, presenting a highly maintance life as “simple” is a device that only makes women feel inferior about themselves.

      • Alex Outhred

        Well put!

      • Alex Ekkelenkamp

        Thanks for the response Dyl! I appreciate the explanation, and the manner in which it was conveyed.

        I think I do understand the larger point of the article, I’m just trying to point out that not everyone online (labelled an MPDG in this case) is trying to portray themselves as perfect and effortless. Most people aren’t trying to screw with other’s minds by posting things. Those people exist, sure, but a blog post about hating the aesthetic and those that post it is a little over the top IMO, which is why I posted a rebuttal.

        My wife is not making up a pretend person and flaunting it online. She posts our life.

        But I do understand that culture around all of this is a little out of control. But I believe that one’s response to stimulus is their responsibility and their’s alone. Complaining about someone else’s feed making you feel frustrated and why you “hate” her is what got to me. (For the record, I understand that the author doesn’t actually hate these people, but simply the image they represent.)

      • Jenalee Kreiser

        I’d like to point out a flaw in your response. You bring up the fact that in today’s society women are being pinned against one another, which is completely true. However that is entirely what you are doing in this article. You are tearing down a type of women because you see it as unrealistic and unachievable. Well even though I feel I am somewhere in between these two realms I am friends with and know several women who are entirely like what you have so much angst toward. They live these lives and I see no harm in having nice things and wanting to use a platform of social media to share it. It brings people, well some people, joy! I find all of these women quite honestly inspiring because they keep trying to add beauty to this already so dark and twisted world. And for you to tear your fellow ladies down just because you deem it barbaric and false is just the complete opposite of feminism. You owe your fellow ladies and apology because quite frankly you’re a hypocrite.

      • mamavalveeta03

        Yup. You get it!

    • Catelyn

      LOL ew.

      Also are you really judging insecurity when your link in your Facebook is to your wife posting dozens of staged wedding photos for strangers? Like really come off it.

      • Alex Ekkelenkamp

        You mean wedding photos? Who doesn’t do that?

      • Beulah

        Hi Catelyn!

        Those photos are from our wedding. If you read the content, you’ll see I’m sharing on how to save money when planning your future wedding, along with some tips and tricks! The post was created after a few people asked me some questions 🙂

    • Alex Outhred

      You’re an imbecile. You missed the ENTIRE point. Your wife clearly doesn’t do what she does to portray an existence, she lives it. Hi five. You lover her deeply… Hi five. Not understanding that the surface resemblance between her and the MPDG is NOT a statement about your wife, in fact it might be the opposite, and then spouting off publicly is a testament that you might not be smart enough to truly appreciate some of your blessings. There is an experience here COMPLETELY unrelated to you and yours that you just shat on bc of your prideful peacocking.
      Nothing worse than defensive yelling when it’s NOT ABOUT YOU.

      Think harder. Idiot.

      • Alex Ekkelenkamp

        Wow man, easy.

        I’m just trying to point out that not everyone posting on social media is trying to portray a life that isn’t real.

        • Alex Outhred

          To think and express that that has any relevance to the purpose of the article is essentially shitting on sunshine. Sorry for the tone, but you really might wanna re-read it for what it depicts, not as a broad statement that social media posters are bullshit, bc that’s not this article in even the slightest degree. Have a better day.

          • Alex Ekkelenkamp

            I don’t mind having a rational conversation with someone who allows me to disagree. But yours I won’t be contributing to, I’m sorry.

          • Derek_V

            Work on your anger issues dude.

          • Alex Outhred

            Work on your chiming. I apologized the next day. I’d rather err passionately than dance around politely. Was mourning that morning. Reason, not an excuse. (DJ Aurajin/ Vegas passed away the night before). Wake up to read a more veiled attack on a writer who wrote a brilliant, necessary caricature. That our friend opted to personalize, and criticize accordingly. Beyond the natural idiocy of his driving point, shitting on sunshine is precisely what his original post was, and if more people held up a mirror to those people, the world would be a better place. I shat on shit, so I’m a bit less concerned with my tone than his content, as poor as my time was. You, however… Have a beautiful day chiming.

          • mamavalveeta03

            I’m going to have that image in my head all day now….

      • mamavalveeta03

        Now, now. No need to be mean.

    • “How to Have Perfect Hair by Working (HARD) with a Fantastic Hairdresser: The Definitive MPDG Lifestyle Guide”

      • Beulah


        He meant that I collab with a hairstylist (I’m a photographer) and we trade work, so he cuts its for trade 🙂 meaning I pay nothing! Saves a bunch! and before that – well I would cut my hair with a kitchen scissor because it’s expensive!

        • His wording is hilarious though, so…

    • Alex Outhred

      Just wanna apologize for being an ass about how I wrote that.

  • This is awesome. The last two paragraphs are the best! Thank you!

  • Eric

    This is one of the most obnoxious blog posts I have ever read. What’s even more obnoxious is how upset the writer is about people not agreeing with what she wrote and acting so childish about it. I don’t understand how you expect to grow a new blog if you get so worked up over a few negative comments. isn’t that a part of being a writer – the fact people may not agree with what you say? To quote your tweet, “here’s the best part about the internet: you literally do not have to see or participate in anything you don’t want to. it’s all voluntary!” Exactly, Chelsea. You don’t have to participate in viewing those blogs. There are tons of aspirational type of blogs out there – lifestyle, travel, etc. If they’re making you feel bad that’s more on you and your insecurities. It’s not much of a shocker that’s what is portrayed on an aspirational blog or Instagram isn’t realistic.

  • LP

    Duh, everyone should know social media is curated now, it is now a medium to express yourself and your “brand”. I rather look at pretty images, curated and inspires than to look at ugly mundane messy apartment pictures. Social media is NOT real life, everyone should know that so hating how their expression in a pretty photoshop curated image of a lifestyle they want to achieve is just being a hater. You can say this about ANY kind of person posting in a specific way. Social media is almost an escape from real life, curating the kind of life you dream of so who cares if thats what they are posting, they aren’t claiming, their life is like this everyday. More power to you if you want to post your messy room, I admit I have one, but I’m not proud to post it. I want to post it when its clean even if its once in a while and one picture. Don’t judge your behind the scenes to everyone’s high light reel and all the hating would be unesscary.

  • Guest

    BTW, your instagram portrays this too.

    • Cortney

      I actually did a double-take at the mention of sipping tea by a window, because that is the “about me” picture on the sidebar.

      I do think there’s a difference, though. I don’t exactly stalk Chelsea’s Instagram but from what I can see it’s not unrealistic. Of course people want to share nice mornings with relaxation and tea, but there’s also plenty of funny pictures or “oh my god look at my dog you guys” kinds of pictures. I think what this post is saying is that to only post those pretty pictures and act like that is your entire life is frustrating.

      What I’m trying to say is that there’s a difference between appreciating and sometimes portraying minimalist beauty and trying to embody minimalist beauty.

      • LP

        There are far worse issues on social media. This is the pot calling the kettle black. There’s no rule that says what you put on social media should about your “real life”. The people who post pictures like this aren’t claiming its their life or that the live like this everyday, its merely they choose to post aesthetically pleasing pictures. The difference however is Chelsea is INTENTIONALLY writing a “hate” -(“who she is and why i hate her” is the title) article about why she hates that and she’s entitled to her preference and her opinion but at the same time, she’s claiming that people who post pictures like are intentionally trying to make other people feel bad about their lives? Chelsea is doing the same thing. I mean, why be negative about pictures that are mostly just pretty and positive and people celebrating life. They make everyday life look extraordinary – that’s all. Don’t like or like it, whatever but no need to be negative about it.

        • Cortney

          Are you similarly neutral / accepting of magazines that push women to try and achieve a perfect, Photoshopped body? Or that show only muscular men with that perfect level of body hair?

          it’s not just about being jealous or feeling inadequate, it’s about surrounding people with images that are meant to look unattainable and perfect so that you will keep looking and reading and following in an attempt to somehow be on the “same level.” It’s not just a matter of “wow, my life isn’t that perfect, I’m sad.” It’s a big mental game and to just go with the flow and ignore the negative effects of media pressure is unacceptable in my opinion.

  • s_knucks

    let she without an instragrammed photo of a mug of tea on a neat white surface cast the first stone

    • kris

      Cool. I get to throw stones.

      • Carol Schienle

        Yay! Me too!

      • Ford_Prefect313

        Molotov cocktails? If so, I’m in!

  • Lina Abascal

    this post is amazing. yet i sadly am trying to adopt some of these vibes into my social media prob because i am brainwashed. <3

  • Jonii Bryant

    To make a distinction between someone who shows their working process and someone who does not is utter bullshit. That’s a choice that any artist can make for themselves and does not owe to the audience. So it may look effortless, it may be expensive, it may be minimal but I don’t feel that the people who created these blogs or images are obligated to prove they live that way themselves. It is a kind of art, presented to be aspirational. I think that’s what most of these people are pushing. Aspiration. As such, it really doesn’t matter what the process was. This is simply a matter of taste. Either it’s your thing or its not. It’s extreme to say that the intent of these content creators is to make the audience feel bad about themselves or their lives, since appreciation of the aesthetic is entirely subjective. If someone feels bad about themselves or their life/lifestyle after viewing it, that says more about their own internal feelings than it does about the works or the authors of those works.

    • dawnrenee

      The most logical thing I’ve read since I decided to click on this steaming pile of poo.

    • mamavalveeta03

      Nah…she’s saying these blogs/instagrams/pins are the Martha Stewart of our day. The woman with the perfect garden who (allegedly) runs over baby bunnies in a burlap bag with her BMW SUV because they are munching on said garden.

  • guest

    yet this is her instagram:

    • Michael Chikos

      Oh my god.

  • Simply fantastic

  • Rachel Yasmin
  • Everything is being touted as “effortless” because of the instant gratification society we live in. It’s ubiquitous. Doesn’t matter what subject. Real life is messy and requires hard work and effort. Stop caring what society/media tells you is important, what your ideals “should” be, how your life should look, and you will be much happier, <3

  • Nchanel


    • mamavalveeta03

      …to the choir, apparently.

  • Chloé

    Wow. When will women stop hating on other women?!

    • Athena Politou

      I don’t think she’s hating on those women in particular. It’s not personal. She’s just commenting on a phenomenon. Learn to seperate the two please.

      • mamavalveeta03

        For a second, I thought I’d stepped onto a parallel universe, where people get their panties all in a wad over the littlest things. And then I read your post, Athena, and I realized, “Nope. ‘We are not alone’.”

    • MimiBambino

      This is my thought exactly. Women don’t support one another! You have feminists who post this hate about a woman because she is too pretty/her house is too clean. Why? She is figuring out a way to be a mother and have a career, so what if she is pretty.

    • JesseAyababa

      You can tell the author picked a cover photo where the woman face isn’t shown for a reason. As the other people who replied already mentioned, she’s more so attacking the illusionary lifestyle that is pretty unattainable for most women.. and most men too, ours is just not as white.

      On that note, guys probably don’t care enough to write an article about it. Which goes back to your point I guess 🙂

  • Perhaps I’m the only one who sees an all white room and cries for someone to use a little color now and then, rather than wishing my house looked like that…

  • El Kim

    I have to admit that you’ve described my Pinterest to the t. I can’t say that I’ll be deleting any of my boards anytime soon, but this was definitely a refreshing reminder to not only be okay with yourself but to embrace and be proud of your life and all it’s imperfections.

  • mia

    I believe those people that makes this topic as a problem, are those people who are actually sad about their own life. I think if you are smart enough you would know when to actually stop copying you see and read on social media. Nobody told you to open ,check or read their blogs right? For me those people who post their beautiful lifestyle in social media just want to inspire people. They don’t want to harm you. Personally seing and watching those post on instagram or youtube it makes me want to be organize as well, healthy and empowered. So Sorry writer if I disagree on you on this particular topic.

  • Nadine

    I have read both blogs and both perspectives, and I have to say I agree with this one more. The problem is not that people moan about others having a great life. I don’t mind a nice picture of a nicely decorated room here and there. Or a photo of a nice woman wearing a nice and inspiring dress. The problem is that it has taken overhand so much that it makes it look like “cosuming and buying as much stuff as you possibly can” is what really matters in life, and more important than actually being happy.

    The photos we see on instergram aren’t snapshots, spontaneously taken at a great moment. They are all well thought through and sometimes there have been hundreds of takes before “getting it right”, which makes the moment fake. People don’t seem to every live a moment anymore, there “has” to be a picture of the OOTD or the new fashion haul or holding a pint of beer at a gig, and the moment will only be as good as the photo that comes off it. This has turned into a culture of making other people jealous (or at least trying) of our lives, or their lives, and I personally have long removed myself from all of this. It’s pointless, and it can potentially be very harmful as well, because it’s trying to tell me that I can only be REALLY happy with a wardrobe stacked with all the newest seasons outfits, a massive flat, being skinny, making myself a Chia-Goji Berry-fat free-yogurt-smoothie-in-a-massive-jug every morning, having the perfect boyfriend who hopefully even compliments my looks, etc.

    Money and possessions have never been the key to happieness, it’s all very short lived. And for me, a perfect moment is destroyed as soon as I try to capture those exact feelings and mood in a picture. A photo will never live up to the real thing, and we should start being humble and good people again and enjoying every moment as much as we can, without having to share it with the whole world. Right, that’s my two cents.

  • Interesting. The snapshot moments of “do[ing] absolutely nothing” may be constructed but may also be possible. I have those moments. Not all the time because life happens and work needs to get done, but because I make time for those moments. I minimize my commitments so I have free time to daydream. I minimize my stuff so there is less clutter to clean.

    I also have snapshots in life with dishes to wash, design proposals to submit, work to edit, errands to run, family to care for, etc. I try to include those snapshots as well.

    It’s all life. Everyone’s life is different. If having time to lounge in white is a luxury after hard work rather than a lie cropping out procrastination and debt from refusing to work and buying expensive minimal clothes then KUDOS.

  • Amy Oraftik

    THANK YOU for writing this. I do love reading blogs of this nature written by “MPDGs” as you call them, but it’s nice to know I’m not the only person who feels totally overwhelmed by their beauty/perfection/lack-of-a-9-to-5/everything white/fresh flowers everywhere mystic. Also, I just discovered your blog through friends posting your article on facebook and I love it! I blog about similar stuff actually 🙂

  • Fishy

    1. Ban all advertisements (personal view)
    2. Although I hate advertisements – they are not “specifically designed” to make someone like the author feel bad. They are designed to present an appealing illusory world in order to sell their product. Adding this critique of “oppression” into the mix is unnecessary and muddies the water. It’s really only oppressing to weak-minded, insecure people. These images are a fucking joke, if you’re taking them seriously you’ve already succumbed. In fact the author is in actuality oppressing herself – by viewing the material and letting it into her mind. I loathe advertising, and I simply do not allow it into my brain. This is what everyone should to. Except for the fact that the average consumer LOVES ADVERTISING.

  • raspberrycake

    “Let me tell you what kind of woman I hate,” ugh please don’t.

  • Dian Xiao

    I really enjoyed this article. I hate the MPDG not out of envy but because it’s a facade that people eat up. It’s one thing to Instagram happy moments of your life and another to so carefully stage your public image.

  • Kevin

    This is dumb.

    Some women are effortlessly beautiful, you might even be one of them.

    Doritos are awesome with or without Netflix.

    …maybe it’s her day off, who doesn’t like a cup of tea on their day off.

    You want a baggy button-up? Go to goodwill.

    Who’s the person behind the camera making her smile? Let’s attack him/her. He/she is probaby paying for the apartment.

    If she wants to spend 15 bucks on a magazine, who fuckin cares?!

  • Kai

    hating other girls is always negative and reflects on your own self esteem, just saying.

  • pixiesdreamofdeath

    I busted my ASS painting my open concept living room a light airy blue to make it look as open as the air outside and spent hours upon hours in the hospital/home on bed rest making paper flowers out of old novels for my ridiculous artist loft style wall of flowers. So I guess I’m sorry that my incredibly painful, debilitating, lifelong uncureable disease, my skillset as a photographer, my good taste in accessories and my hand-me-down white leather couch makes my life artistically “perfect.” PS: I’m skinny and don’t eat the food in the photo because I have IBD and a strawberry could send me in for surgery. I do have perfect hair but if it somehow makes you feel better it all fell out the year I had my ostomy bag installed. And maybe taking photos of myself in the serene space I’ve created to try to heal in is all I can do to stay sane while I’m sick.

    Tl;dr: Don’t be a judgemental asshole. Very few people have a perfectly easy life.

    • Andy Nihilate

      Do you think this article was specifically written about you?

  • Derek_V

    Relevant to this discussion:

  • bleh

    meditate is actually good advice

  • This is a summary of Instagram as a whole! There is really nothing wrong with people who have time to curate perfectly beautiful images of their lives (or pretend lives) online. More power to them!
    But I prefer to just follow my friends and coworkers- real life people that I can relate to. They already know who I am, so there is no need for a putting on of airs online, and that feels great.

  • Cherine V.d.Merwe

    I think its all about perspective. I personally perceive that sort of surroundings to be boring…. Effortless! Effortless indeed. White, white and more white, just make everything white. No sense of imagination or style. to me it appears to be more the “empty canvas” scenario meant to depict someone who hasn’t yet any direction, not having it all figured out yet. Not being able decide on which colour to paint the walls or what curtains or bedding, is playing it safe. Not having the boldness or courage to express yourself, for fear of making a mistake. Thats sad.

  • PSC

    I generally take a photograph on the web or in a magazine as what it is — a reflection of a split second in time within a very narrow frame of reference. No one knows what’s off camera — is the floor littered with dirty clothes? No one knows what happens in the next moment — does the cat chase the dog across her lap (the norm in my apartment) and spill the tea? Does a two-year-old with jammy hands run up for touch time with Mommy? Anything could be about to happen. Those images are intended to be calming, not pejorative, and I think all of this reflects more on the psychology of the people taking offense than upon the images.

  • mishka

    I agree that those pics lack life, ‘real’ life and heart… and that they’re dreamy probably because of it… I don’t know. All I know is that after years of living in a tiny shoebox apartment, I finally moved into a newly renovated (decently-sized) apartment with a decent amount of sunshine, with white furniture and silver touches I carefully selected, including a white chandelier and white fluffy carpets, and I LOVE every moment of it. Ever since my early 20s I’ve had white bedrooms as growing up in cloudy skies makes me fall in love with natural light, and their transformative power to become something completely different by adding one colorful piece inspires me to be creative all the time. Add to that my perfectly white cat who’s been my best friend for over 10 years, and I’ve got my dream little sanctuary. Maybe this, plus the fact of being blonde, might place me as a ‘minimalist pixie dream girl’, who enjoys bubble baths, candles, and dancing around my apartment as I listen to my favorite music on my record player with tiny powerful speakers, but I worked veryyy hard to get where I am. I’m constantly inspired by life, and my a big part of my job is to inspire others as well. You’re always welcome to pay a visit, and I’ll make you some rose-flavored tea with a teaspoon of brown sugar as you enjoy reading my ($19.99) Wired magazines on the latest trends in the business. I’ll do my best to make your visit as pleasant as possible, because I pay attention to small details. Who knows? Maybe I’m a dream pixie girl, or maybe I’m just an ambitious dreamer.

  • The Something New

    Yes. 100x over.

    Here I sat jealous of these types of publications- but then you reminded me of something pretty important- they’re never actually doing anything!

    Thank you!

    • mamavalveeta03

      Back in the day when I was a kid, the prevailing “aspirational” image was of hippie chicks with long, straight hair parted down the middle, in flowing antique lace dresses running through the meadow, presumably for hours, only to collapse in said field with their hair splayed about them perfectly on the ground. Probably for a shampoo ad or something. I remember thinking, “Oh that looks cool!,” and so I tried it in the field behind our house, only to get bored after about 10 minutes.
      Real life, it ain’t!

  • Guest

    Stop looking at their blogs then. Leave garbage all over your house. Don’t give a fuck. No body is stopping you but yourself.

  • dawnrenee

    Stop looking at their blogs then. Leave garbage all over your house. Don’t brush your hair. Eat to your hearts’ content. Don’t give a fuck. Nobody is stopping you but yourself.

  • MimiBambino

    Everything about this website is what the author claims she hates.

  • Nicole Gibson

    “Eating an entire bag of Doritos in a fugue state while watching House of Cards” is my best life.

    • mamavalveeta03

      Make that Cheetos and “Game of Thrones”….on my white couch, in my white room, with my oversized cashmere sweater, in my underwear. Cat next to me.

      • compassionforanimals

        Cheetos and a white couch is a deadly combo.

  • sinead

    This is casting weirdly negative overtones onto ‘minimalist pixie girls’ for absolutely no reason. If you feel like an ‘inadequate, sweatpant-clad loser,’ then that’s your problem, not the problem of someone who is definitely not ‘living their best life,’ but more so creating images in order to sustain an image for their social media. Everyone knows that those girls’ lives aren’t actually like that.
    – Calling ‘effortless beauty’ a ‘lie’ makes yourself sound hopelessly jealous. Might be hard for you to accept, but some people are actually ridiculously good-looking with minimal effort, and that’s not something which should be looked down upon.
    – Nor should weight. So what if minimalist pixie girls are “thin,” “whisper-thin” and “not gaining weight?” Okay then, all girls on social media that are thin should start gaining weight to make overweight people feel better about themselves. Maybe then you wouldn’t feel the need to write poorly veiled insults aimed at girls who are either genetically thin, or who make the effort to be. This is stating the obvious, but being thin is not a crime, contrary to what embittered fat people publish online.
    – “She is never actually doing anything, of course” – no, just making a killing from her social media while you try to think of more petty articles to write.
    – “And she is bad for mental health.” Says who? Boy, you sound like a real expert. I’m more inclined to think that what’s bad for mental health is the continual glorification of “watching House of Cards in a fugue state” and passively attacking other girls who don’t affect you or harm you in the least. If you don’t like seeing their accounts, then don’t go on them. Nobody is forcing you to follow them, so if you’re so fragilely sensitive that seeing their aesthetically pleasing feed causes you some type of great mental distress, don’t look at it.
    -Girls hating on other girls is getting so outdated and is literally the most pointless and counterproductive thing ever. You’re not making yourself sound cool, or edgy, by trying to point out that what these girls project is unrealistic. It’s a hell of a lot more realistic than those Kardashian-type accounts with Range Rovers/million dollar LA houses/plastic surgery/etc. Young girls on Instagram might see the latter and think, “oh shit, my life will never be like that, I wish I had all that stuff, now I feel like shit.” But then they might find a MPG account and start thinking “I actually like this stuff better, I’m going to start ~taking care of myself~ and get into more simplistic things.” And that can only ever be a good thing. Because it’s letting girls know that they don’t have to be preoccupied with luxurious materialism, and that it’s completely fine to be “clad in her loose button-down and boyfriend jeans,” if that’s what she’s genuinely into.

  • wow i just love this. i don’t think i’ve seen this pointed out yet, other than in this article. you’re right, it does cause a certain amount of insecurity and jealousy. feelings of “less than.” i know i follow a lot of feeds that feature this type of minimalist dream life/girl. and it gets me down! my life is messy and topsy turvy and it takes all of my effort just to sweep the floor sometimes! bc i’ve got real life shit to do! i currently have a blanket half over my head, need to put on deodorant, and my side table is covered in old coffee cups that i just haven’t thought to wash yet. i mean, real life, even if you do create pretty content, is not about having a perfect home with that top bun and tiny dog who apparently doesn’t shed or poop or drool or get muddy paws! thanks for writing this. i think you just freed me from caring about this genre. you’re great.

  • mamavalveeta03

    Damn, girl! Right on!

  • Erin

    ENC, you’re missing the point. This article isn’t for you to give ‘the rest of us’ clarity. Its for ‘the rest of us’ to have a laugh and roll our eyes at these ridiculous photo shoots/instagrams/magazines. This article is hilarious and true. Amen sister!

  • DorothyP

    So art directors are in a plot to make women feel bad? Welcome to mass media and advertising. But, ” imperfect color schemes”–you’re in control of your own furnishings.

  • Thank you for writing this! I do appreciate the escapist nature of lifestyle blogs, sometimes I like flipping through them like a magazine, but their sheer absorption of blogging in general does lead to a feeling of ennui, boredom and “why is my house so freaking cluttered and disgusting and why does my bun either look too tight or like I’ve been through a wind tunnel and never that sweet spot in between?! (Because the messy bun is probably styled for hours on end!). I’m a new blogger and it does all feel like another universe frankly. But I don’t worry about it much more than I would trying to approximate Zooey Deschanel’s eyeliner, I can enjoy them but not necessarily relate. They’re obviously popular for a reason, I think as long as there are still bogs out there trying to be less than perfect I can deal with them in my periphery.

  • Guest

    Ha! I love this a lot. And as someone who loves General Lifestyle porn, I can’t say you’ve lied. Those useless beauty tips were spot-on – the amount of times I was told to drink water, oh god. Or the number of times the whole “She believed she could, so she did,” popped up on my Instagram feed… sure, nice quote, but after a while it’s hard *not* to mock it.

    Anyway, it IS possible to be critical of something you like (in my case). I’m kinda rolling my eyes at the amount of people preaching “LOVE TO EVERYONE” in the comments, but I’ve also come to expect this with General Lifestyle anything. 😉 Good article.

  • JR

    I think perhaps she was commenting on the pedestal that this type of life has been elevated to; she was not, in my opinion, criticizing an actual woman who may herself achieve this type of lifestyle. It is the message that we should all be some way, or that our own way is wrong, that Ms. Fagan is criticizing. She further seems to be addressing the disconnect between this particular ideal and many people’s (perhaps her own) reality. This disconnect worsens the blow of not meeting the ideal. So, this isn’t necessarily a statement that one type of woman is bad, but rather, a statement that elevating one type of woman to the degradation of others by idealizing her is a practice we should stop. More power to you if you can achieve the all white apartment! Lord knows I haven’t managed to do so.

  • danny_livewire

    it is called marketing

  • Brittney Salone

    I never look at the girl, i look at the background and think wow if my house were to ever look that clean and empty i would have to get rid of at least 60% of everything i own.

    • Livia Lepi

      Maybe you should look into minimalism, then!

  • 1and1makes6

    It’s why I stopped all my home and garden magazine subscriptions, rarely go shopping and took 5 years to hop on the Pinterest train. (Use it mostly for recipes now) I have a couple of bloggers I follow that I am debating whether it’s time to break up with because I often end up feeling inadequate after reading all their lifestyle and what to wear and how to eat posts.

  • brad

    got that tom brady sweater tho. amirite?

  • Soupée

    This is literally heyclaire.
    ETA they’re a lot of bloggers that fit this trope but definite culprits are heyclaire & milkbubbletea

  • gattita

    I feel disappointed that while most posts on this site have 0 to 7 comments on them, this one has 156. I understand that commenting anonymously or semi-anonymously can be a way to vent, but it makes me sad that most people seem to use the more interactive elements of blogging/the internet at large as a way to unleash (in my opinion) unwarranted vitriol. I appreciate the snarky, jokey attitude of the original article, and it is nice to see someone acknowledge the absurd amount of money and free time it takes to achieve the all white, minimalist loft with pets. But surely the negative feelings stirred up by these profiles of impossibly perfect ladies could be channelled into something more positive…maybe if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you can put yourself out there in your imperfect state? Start your own blog, post pics on Instagram of what your room looks like, etc. and own it. That’s one of my favorite things about this blog – that the authors are so honest about what life is really like for them and how they still manage to find beauty in that reality. And if you can’t make your feelings of guilt into something positive…maybe just click away somewhere else?

  • Marion Tanis

    I’m a male version of this person, and my girlfriend is just like this. We shop at Muji and farmer’s markets. We listen to NPR and own an aero-press. We make our own sushi and hand wash our clothes…. but I feel bad for you honey. If you are eating an entire bag of Doritos and binge watching Netflix (more than once a week), you are probably not the most qualified person to be attacking anyone’s lifestyle. It is easy to live minimally, eat healthy, and enjoy life. The sensation over this type of woman is simply a fad, and if you are buying into it, then you will buy into the next one too. Get over your “against the grain” mentality, the image of perfection has long plagued the female form, and you attacking it in this manner, doesn’t level the playing field. You are picking on the wrong person.

  • N/A

    Maybe you should just learn to love yourself and stop beating down other people and their life choices. This post screams “insecure” to me and it’s kind of disgusting. Saying you “hate” her is already bad enough.

  • Ford_Prefect313

    Effing GAWD..

    I’m DYING and choking on my cheap ass muffin from a box store.

    Your article made my lower class trash day….

    You forgot Pixie Chick never owns pets. Those just mobile filth machines…

  • Vera R

    Okay, but if minimalism brings her joy, who are you to judge? You are excited by doritos, she is excited by white walls. You are enamored with sweatpants and she with potted plants. It doesn’t make a difference; if you believe that you are living the way you love, then don’t criticize anyone who is trying to do the same.

  • I am so glad that I am not the person who wrote this. I know I will never have so little stuff that I could pack it all in a backpack but, thats ok. I don’t try to be someone else because I will never be I am good at being me and that is all that matters. I have cut off a ton of people in my life so, unless your my husband or my kids then you are pretty much cut off. I have friends on social media but, I don’t go visit and they don’t come to see me either. I have a few people who have known me since middle school which I speak to but, I can count them on one hand. I hate drama and won’t put up with people trying to bring me down. I try to be honest and I want the same in return. I like to spend time with my family and I like doing crafts and as long as my bills are paid and I have enough craft stuff to keep me busy then I am good.

  • zeze

    MPDG .It’s IVANKA ! “MPDG is there to convince you that if you only stop trying so hard, your life will suddenly be perfect, aesthetically pleasing, and entirely white without a single stain.” That’s what her book is all about.

  • Kelly

    What I find amusing is that Chlesea’s Instagram represents this for me. (That kitchen aesthetic!) We all hate the MPDG, but that doesn’t stop any of us from spending so long getting the perfect shot of our dinner that it’s cold by the time we get to eat it or including a book you’ve never actually read in picture of your tea as if you didn’t realize it was visible. As much as we don’t want to, as much as we hate the idea of it, we all use the internet to curate a life that’s much more polished than our life actually is.