As a self proclaimed “sometimes blogger” with a mediocre following, once in a while I receive baffling mails from brands regarding “collaborations.” Amongst actual collaboration emails (you take a little and give a little, win win) there are these gems which entail a brand coming to me with a campaign concept and hashtag, suggesting that I buy their product, photograph and write an article or social post of said product which promotes some BS values (and naturally, their hashtag), all for the CHANCE to be featured on their social media. Once it becomes clear that what they’re “suggesting,” I usually just don’t reply, because I’ve been on the other end of this as a marketing professional (though we would never run a campaign that offered absolutely nothing in return for something), and I know not to take unnecessary offense when it’s clear no harm was meant. However, this particular e-mail really pissed me off because of the nature of the product.

My correspondence with an extremely friendly brand rep.

A lingerie company, Adore Me, sends out a mail to bloggers suggesting we “help them out” by sporting underwear as outerwear in order to promote “comfort and self confidence in women.” All you have to do is buy some of their product, create a thoughtful post with original imagery, use their hashtag, tell them when you’ll be posting so they can plan their editorial calendar, and in return you get the (again) CHANCE to be stripped of the rights to your image and have your semi nude body posted on their medias, along with the privilege of sharing their content with your readers if you like. So in short you will have PAID this company to do an hour or two’s work for them creating the perfect photo of yourself semi nude, and then give them the rights to this imagery so that you can gain maybe a few followers from their tag?

My response to being encouraged to buy intimate products from a brand I’ve never heard of and then share their content and give them user generated content.

This has nothing to do women posting photos of themselves in bikinis or lingerie, free the nip and all the boobie power in the world. This is about brands using words like “self confidence in women” to SELL YOU THEIR PRODUCT, gain free content, then use your body for likes and to syphon off your following. What measure is this brand even taking to make sure that I’m over 18? After all, who has a better body for swimsuit modelling or more time to curate the perfect social media profile than a high school girl?

How much would you PAY a brand to have them repost your image to sell their product?

Brands and bloggers belong together, they’re a perfect match — but not like this. You can choose to collaborate with brands and you can yourself decide what constitutes as enough compensation to use your image and following to do so, whether that’s a lingerie set or certain sum of money. I really hope, though, that when you think about what that value is, you don’t come up “nothing really, but I’ll settle for the chance of a few extra Instagram followers and likes.” Or, you can choose to post bikini/lingerie photos of yourself, simply for the thrill and the confidence boost. But then at least it is for YOU. Not to promote some brand you didn’t even know of before they sent you this audacious mail. This is such clear exploitation of women from a brand that is supposedly “body positive” and “for all.”

Remember also, that what you post on the internet is only very very VAGUELY protected. On Instagram, for example, you are protected to an extent within the app. If a user reposts your image without permission or giving credit then Instagram can remove the image or block the account. But if that same user takes your Instagram image and does anything with it OFF the platform, you are completely on your own. Check out these Instagram screenshots that sold for $90,000 each. This might be realistic for brands suing others for using their images, but for the average girl who changes her mind about that lace bralette post? Not so realistic.

So thanks for the friendly suggestion Adore Me; but no I do not want to purchase your product, promote it, and give you the right to use my semi nude image in exchange for the chance to be featured on your social media. And I REALLY don’t think that it will make me, my readers, or any of your followers feel more self-confident and comfortable. In fact, the whole thing makes me incredibly uncomfortable.