Michelle: My Little….Clothes Horse: by Ewkak (Eva Koziol) on Instagram.com

Michelle: My Little….Clothes Horse: by Ewkak (Eva Koziol) on Instagram.com

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“Mommyblogging” is controversial enough: look at the reasons why Heather Armstrong – one of the first and most famous –  quit blogging: primarily because of the demands of the corporate sponsors and their desire to involve her children in product promotion. As she says in the linked interview:

“Armstrong says for her, the breaking point on blogging for a living came when one of her two daughters refused to go on an outing that was part of a sponsored post plan. There were tears, and with her child pleading with her, Armstrong decided she could no longer bear the invasive requests of the advertisers. “I did it for as long as I could, until I was like, I cannot be that person any more,” she says, simply.

Asked who “that person” was, Armstrong pointed out that her personal brand as a blogger involved a kind of irreverence (to this day, her Twitter profile reads: “I exploit my children for millions and millions of dollars on my mommyblog”), but many brands weren’t comfortable with her tone. “I really had to dial that part of me back, when that part of me wanted to come out and dance,” she said.

“Back then, we talked about everything, about all of it. We opened it up and we examined it. And I just don’t see that going on anywhere anymore.”

It’s true. A quick perusal of most of the more successful parenting blogs will reveal beautiful homes stocked with artisanal toys and spotless outfits.”(Michelle Dean for theguardian.com)

…..and this is where the Instagram blog with the images above, created by Michelle’s mother, Ewa comes in: a perfect example of a slightly different genre, but linked, the “baby fashionista” – where the child is the whole point. There are hundreds, and they’re expanding by the minute. If you google the term you get innumerable hits of sites listing their “Top Ten” or whatever: usually all completely different. Try clicking on this this link for a Vietnamese site that has five pages of image links to a number of them – including Harper Beckham, a girl with two dads, and a boy with just one arm. They aren’t mommy blogs slipping in some corporate promotions: every shot, every outfit, every accessory, is marketing  – but you can see by the almost two thousand “likes” for the post below, that as an advertising ploy it works:

….these are very involved Instagrammers in the perfect demographic for the promoter: young mothers with a daughter about the same age – often leaving comments, and a lot clearly linking to the products that Michelle is wearing, carrying, or playing with.

The problem obviously is to what extent the child is on board with this. I’ve read a lot of remarks by more typical girl fashion models – the ones who visit the photographer’s studio, do shoots in various locations, travel to other countries for runway events – and they emphasise the friendships they’ve built up with other models (often from the same agency in the same city), the fun aspects of studio work, and the educational advantages they get from travelling and meeting new (often foreign) people. They are also usually older girls, and have built up a knowledge of the business. Michelle is only 5/6, and although you can see some from other locations, she seems to be shot mainly in the family’s house and garden (that tree turns up an awful lot) – and while inside her she could well be enjoying every second, the poor tot hardly ever smiles. This is rather typical:

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As someone living thousands of miles away (I get the impression they live in Canada), and only seeing what is put on the Instagram feed and blog, I’m not really in a position to criticise or speculate too much: the only impression I’ve got is that Ewa/Eva (while she shares one Facebook account with a friend (Anna) who has a modelling son (Max) about the same age as Michelle, she’s also got a Facebook page – with only a couple of pictures of Michelle – under the name “Eva Koziol Photography”: and she is an excellent photographer) is probably of Eastern European origin – some of Michelle’s shots have her with the extremely elaborate hair creations beloved by Eastern European mothers.

So my rather laboured combining of “My Little Pony” and “clothes horse” in the title isn’t necessarily a suggestion that Michelle should only be playing with toys instead of changing outfits and posing for cameras all the time: but Ewa has to remember that although she may well maintain that she enjoys it, she didn’t decide to do it – and a mother or any parent has to be incredibly sensitive to the time when/if the child has had enough, like Heather Armstrong was: despite the fans, sponsors, improved lifestyle, fame, everything….

Anyway, here’s a sweet image showing the two of them together: is it possible her mother was once a model as well….?

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