Editor’s Note: I stumbled upon Revolutionary In Pink Pumps by happenstance one day on Twitter, but the concept immediately struck me as something unique, bold, brave and beautiful. Ariel, the woman at the helm of Revolutionary In Pink Pumps, is the kind of person who strikes you as wise beyond her years. She tackles issues such as race, body image and culture with poise, guts and deftness. After starting the blog as a hybrid of fashion and social issues, the space has evolved in conjunction with Ariel. Read more about her journey as a writer, goals for the blog and why she calls herself an “accidental feminist.” Meet Ariel.
Location: NJ/ NYC Metro Area
How did you come up with the name Revolutionary in Pink Pumps? What does that name represent for you?
When I started the blog I had two big passions, fashion/style and culture/society. I wanted the blog to stand out from all the fashion blogs so I thought that the title would show that I encompassed both fashion and social commentary. As the blog developed I lost the fashion aspect of it, because I cared so much more about the lifestyle and social commentary aspect. Revolutionary in Pink Pumps has grown to showcase that wanting to be involved in societal discussion doesn’t mean you burn bras and picket MAC counters. The blog tag line is “Glitter, Heels, & Social Revolution” because I can’t imagine my life without all three and I want people to know that they do not have to exist separately. I’ve presented academic papers on Black women in media in gold-heeled DVF pumps.
You tackle topics such as race, body image and culture on your blog. What empowers you to write about these topics in such a powerful way?
The most important thing to when I tackle a topic is that I know what I am talking about. Anything I write is typically based off of experience, or the opinion that I give on a topic is based off of my experience. If something doesn’t move me or relate to me I typically won’t write about it, not because it isn’t important but because I recognize that someone else can probably give it a better voice than I can. I grew up in the midst of an ongoing conversation about race and culture, because I was consistently the only Black face in a lot of my settings so I feel comfortable discussing race and culture. As someone who has battled and overcome an eating disorder, I feel like body image is so important and should be discussed more. People don’t realize that race and body image even cross over into each other. I remember reading teen magazines and wishing that my voice was represented, that my issues were talked about, and they never were; so I write for all the brown girls like me who didn’t have a space growing up. Knowing that what I write relates to someone reading it reminds me that I should keep writing.
What are your upcoming goals for Revolutionary in Pink Pumps?
Right now I think visibility is my biggest goal. I want to increase people’s interest in topics and find my niche, since I hang in the balance of a few niches. Once I’ve got a concrete audience I want to start developing a few series for the blog and maybe expand, I want to know what else people want to know.
Who are some of the bloggers and writers you follow and consider revolutionary?
There are a ton, honestly can’t even keep a list, I typically just add articles I like to my news app and let it do the work for me. I also read a lot of news Black news outlets. I also love to use Instagram to discover new content, it’s like a blog all its own.
You’ve mentioned before that you do not consider yourself a feminist. In what ways has society made it difficult to assert the “feminist” label?
I like to consider myself an “accidental feminist”, I’m in the midst of defining that myself at the moment, via a blog post, but I think that because feminism has always been somewhat of a counterculture, society has made those who align with it very much the ‘other’. Feminism has so many definitions from so many different outlets and lately it’s gone from the “othering” to an everyday word. It’s kind of like love, I don’t think it should be tossed around as loosely as it has been. All of the sudden because someone claimed that Beyonce is a feminist, every girl wants to slap on a t-shirt that says ‘”This is what a feminist looks like.” And while I think it’s great that feminism is gaining a viable visibility, I think it’s really important for people to be educated about what they’re claiming to be. If you can’t tell me anything about bell hooks I feel as if maybe you should tuck your feminist shirt away until you can find the nearest library.
On your blog, you’ve said, “The goal of this blog is not to tell you you’re wrong or change your belief, it is in fact to give you a different perspective.” How do you deal with Internet trolls or people who approach you with comments that are not constructive?
I don’t think that you can be a writer without having tough skin. When you put your opinion out there you’re open to some hurtful stuff and I’ve had a few trolls who really tried to come for my neck. Trolls love confrontation; I don’t. Everything is case-by-case for me but more often than not I’ll respond with facts. I don’t like to drag anything personal into a battle with trolls, because then it becomes a back and forth of “yo mama” proportion. If they’re nasty about my writing or the context of the blog, I simply thank them for taking their time to sit and read it, let them know they’re entitled to their opinion, and if it fits, then I throw in some facts from the piece or the blog to kind of shut down their snark.
What are some of the Revolutionary in Pink Pumps posts that most reflect your brand as a blogger?
What keeps you inspired?
Sometimes I’m convinced that the only ones reading my blog are my friends and relatives and while I love them, I know they already understand a lot of what I’m trying to put out in the air. Sometimes I think it won’t matter if I blog this week or not, but honestly I can’t keep my mouth shut. There are too many things I see happening that I can’t chime in on and bring light to. We miss a lot, because mainstream ignores a lot and even if my post only reaches 10 people, I recognize that it may be 10 people who never would have known about something before the post. When I don’t feel like writing I remember what it felt like to cruise media and not see myself in anything as a young brown girl and remember that I write to try to contribute to the space for faces like mine.
Ariel is a college graduate with a bachelors degree in English/Journalism and Professional Writing and a concentration in African American studies. Her writing experience spans past editorial work in publications and encompasses PR work, administrative writing and social media use. She has experience writing lifestyle, events, food, fashion, beauty, and social/racial commentary, but is most often found on her personal blog Revolutionary In Pink Pumps. Follow Ariel at @RevInPinkPumps.