I first found Gala Darling in around 2008, when I was a junior at NYU. I loved her sparkly attitude and style, and she had really resonant words about self-love and happiness that I needed to hear at that time in my life. She has a very attractive writing style, and in those days, she showed a vulnerable side that allowed the everyday person to connect to her.
Gala has really blown up in the past few years — she makes a very tidy living off her blog and her other projects, which range from a self-love e-newsletter to a global workshop about blogging for success. She caters to women of the upper-middle class who have an eye for design, optimism and pampering themselves.
I used to really like her messages, and I even purchased her Radical Self Love e-book, because it genuinely spoke to me. However, as I grow up and I realize there is more to life than rewarding yourself with beautiful lingerie, I seem to be falling out of Gala’s intended audience bracket. Maybe it comes from my background living with very sustainability-minded, local-happy communities in the Bay Area, but I just don’t see the worth of the lifestyle Gala Darling advocates. Yes we need to find our happiness and follow our bliss, but as I travel the world and learn more about the injustices that lie below the surface of our ultraconsumerist society, I creep closer to believing that my bliss is about living on a small scale and nurturing a select few relationships, rather than buying in to the mass-marketed advice so rampant on the internet these days.
For instance, see the above video. In it, Gala Darling gives a very charismatic monologue to her vast numbers of followers, counseling them on how to get over the Valentine’s Day hype and just be happy. I can appreciate the sentiment, but here are a few reasons why I don’t like it, and why my dislike of it makes me quite sure I am simply not who she is talking to:
- Her argument about being unattached on Valentine’s Day doesn’t seem cohesive, because of one major contradiction I caught. First, she says that we should be ok with being alone, that it’s an important skill we don’t practice in our hyper-connected world nowadays. But several minutes later, she gives the offhand advice for single people to go do something with their friends on Valentine’s Day, because “who wants to be alone on Valentine’s day?” I couldn’t tell if that question was sarcastic on her part or not.
- She has a great opportunity to highlight the evils of mass media and consumerism, which are the entities that feed us the Valentine’s Day nonsense in the first place, but she very much glosses over that. In fact, she gives lots of materialistic or otherwise money-dependent advice for having a good time in lieu of buying in to the specific Valentine’s Day commercial scheme, without realizing that Valentine’s Day consumerism and everyday consumerism are all one and the same.
- I think this lack of attention to the harm of hyped-up capitalism reflects her own very consumerist lifestyle: not only does she have lots of purchase power because of her success; but that power bleeds into her work, in the form of sponsored blog content. Today, she wrote a post about tattoo art that did absolutely nothing for me; it had nothing to say about self-love and was more a set of eye-candy photos than anything really substantial. I think Gala Darling is better than that.
Basically, I think she is selling out, and I no longer feel inspired to support her by buying her original content or products. (She has a jewelry line now, for goodness’ sake.) I want to continue following her, because I know she has that relatable side and good intentions behind all the bells and whistles; I just hope she goes back to a more grounded style, even if it means losing money by paring down her audience. Money-hungry people are ruining our society and government already; I don’t need to see someone I once respected as an equal human being do the same thing.