Among the many dubious gifts, Facebook and Instagram have given us is the idea of “image-crafting.” Post pictures of yourself that make you look like a jet-setting dandy without a care in the world. Have a bad day? Too stressed or depressed to leave the house? Mmm … don’t post those pics. Just share the ones that make you look cool, skinny and perfect.
It’s easy to feel like your boring life doesn’t measure up to that of an Instalebrity. Is life even worth living if you’re not tanning in Bali with six-pack abs alongside Kylie Jenner? “Social media envy” is a newer phenomenon, taking heat from psychologists for an alarming rise of mental illness, especially among teenage girls.
Is it any wonder, then, that Memphis Mandy Sue is a breath of fresh air? Memphismandysue.com presents itself as a style blog like many others. There are sections on beauty and fashion, weddings and “Shop My Style.”
You don’t have to dig too deep, however, to find a very different voice. Mandy Sue is sincerely grateful for her growing fan base but makes it clear, in the nicest way possible, that she doesn’t need us. She has a job, a husband, a house in the suburbs and a life full of hobbies — one of which just happens to include blogging and Insta-posting pictures of herself in cute outfits to over 10,000 followers.
Mandy Sue’s ethic is subversive in its own way — why shouldn’t we be happy with a low-key lifestyle that allows us to pay our bills and enjoy simple pleasures like dressing up cute for the camera? Bali may be perfect for some people, but not for all of us. There’s nothing wrong either way. The suburbanites among us shouldn’t be shamed for it.
Mandy Sue started blogging in 2009 when she was in her twenties and single, fretting online about dating, workplace drama and learning how to “adult.” When she got married and found the kind of inner peace that awaits many of us somewhere on the other side of our 30th birthday, she relaunched and rebranded her blog to focus more on fashion and less on wearing her heart on her sleeve.
The real Mandy Sue hasn’t gone anywhere, though. Her blog is peppered with disarmingly frank, uplifting ruminations on life. On her 35th birthday, she reflected ruefully on how insecure and self-involved she was in her twenties and how refreshing it was to let all of that go as she settled into her thirties.
Sometimes pigeonholed as a “plus-sized model,” Mandy Sue isn’t having it. Bigger and curvier than many fashion bloggers, she nevertheless rejects the idea that her body should define her. Her inspirations come from all sizes. She arguably does more for body positivity by not making a big deal out of her shape.
The biggest takeaway from Memphis Mandy Sue is the magnetic appeal of a person being herself and living her best life.
She may also be interested in: On Christopher Street: Transgender Portraits by Mark Seliger