Things that Greatly Irritate The Manolo

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, people who do not give credit were credit is due.

The Manolo has just noticed the following post at Jezebel: How to Accept a Compliment.

Kate Harding points out a skill that often escapes even the most accomplished women: accepting compliments without self-deprecation. So how to acknowledge your awesomeness without being an ass?

Naturally, the Manolo’s interest was piqued by this post and the link to Kate Harding’s site, for the Manolo knows that his own Miss Plumcake covered this very topic early last week, with her post, Five Great Lessons from Finishing School: Pt 2 Merci Mercy Me (ugh).

For some reason we are just not taught how to respond graciously to a compliment.





I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve told a girlfriend she looked fantastic only to have her automatically touch her hair or make a face and respond “No, I look awful.”

It takes all my generations of breeding and counting to ten not to snatch her bald and say “Listen, I’ve got better taste than you do. I’ve ALWAYS had better taste than you do, so when I say you look nice, shut up and say ‘thank you’ because people pay me a LOT of money for my approval and it doesn’t come easily.”

And while I understand women are conditioned to deflect any compliment because GOD FORBID a woman think highly of herself (or worse, actually be BETTER than someone else) denying a honestly-paid compliment is one thing and one thing only:


Okay two things: rude and stupid.

Wait, three: rude and stupid and annoying.

When you fail to accept a compliment graciously, it’s an insult to the person who paid it.

And yet, nowhere was our brilliant Miss Plumcake mentioned by either the Jezebel people (excusable as they are not part of the so-called Fatosphere) or by Kate Harding (not excusable, for she is supposedly the great champion of the Fatosphere).

Common courtesy and blogger etiquette of long-standing says we must always acknowledge our debts to other bloggers. Thus, it is ironic, is it not, that the blogger blogging about etiquette would so egregiously ignore it?

Update 4/28/10: Kate Harding has explained the circumstances to the satisfaction of the Manolo, followed by apologies from all parties involved, and the return of mutual comity.


21 Responses to “Things that Greatly Irritate The Manolo”

  1. Emm Says:

    This is not very nice, but certainly not out of character for Kate Harding.

  2. Lesley Says:

    Trouble accepting compliments is a long-favored topic of feminist bloggers, one that has been discussed for literal years prior to Plumcake’s post. Admittedly, considering neither this nor Plumcake’s blog are part of the feminist blogosphere, it’s understandable that y’all would have no idea that was the case. But truly, the idea that Plumcake’s post was the first to ever take note of this phenomenon and was also the first to give advice on overcoming it is, frankly, laughable.

    Secondly, Kate Harding has been clear about stepping back from the “Fatosphere” (lord, I hate that word) for many months now. Thirdly, I am pretty hip to “fatosphere” goings on but I don’t really consider Manolo for the Big Girl to be part of said fatosphere as that blog is kind of explicitly non-political. I don’t read it, for example, and SFAIK it’s not on the widely-read “fatosphere” aggregate feed.

    My point being, I suspect this is simply a coincidence.

  3. The Rotund Says:

    Aw, man, I thought *I* was the great champion of the Fatosphere (actually, we are legion). *laugh*

    There is certainly overlap there but one thing I have noticed in three years of fat blogging is that certain topics are cyclic (I’ve blogged on accepting compliments a number of times myself) and they often crop up in multiple places at the same time. Compliments and the acceptance of them is one of those topics (I’ve posted on it several times myself and was actually pondering another post about it because it is just about that time).

    I am kind of curious why you jumped instantly to the problem of crediting other blog posts, however. It feels like there is something personal going on at some level.

  4. jelodi97 Says:

    Please alert the Jezzie commenters to this Manolo. If there is one group of folks who do not put up with these shenanigans, it is the Jezebel/Gawker comment crowd.

  5. Julia Says:

    It’s too bad that Ms. Harding did not acknowledge people who have influenced her. I’ve noticed she has a tendency to act as if her ideas appeared fully born, like Athena, as opposed to resulting from discussion and influence of other people.

    Although if we are speaking of influences, surely we must also pay homage to the glorious Miss Manners?

  6. Manolo the Shoeblogger Says:

    @Lesley Ordinarily, the Manolo would be willing to accept your assertion that this was the mere coincidence (indeed this was the Manolo’s first assumption before reading the piece), however, in this case, it does not seem likely. Not only was this post widely followed, tweeted, and linked to, but also, Manolo for the Big Girl, is the not insubstantial blog, being read by tens of thousands of people each week.

    @jelodi97 The Manolo has sent the note to Anna North, the author of the Jezebel piece, but as yet, she has not replied.

    @Julia Certainly, all of us owe the debt of gratitude to Miss Manners.

  7. Lesley Says:

    @Manolo My apologies if I came across as suggesting that Manolo for the Big Girl does not have a substantial following. I believe it does! I am simply making the point that the following of Manolo for the Big Girl and the following of Kate’s blog may not have as much overlap as you’d think. (I could be wrong, not having access to stats for both sites to compare, but this is my impression.)

    Obviously we can agree to disagree on this, but my experience — and no disrespect intended to either Kate or Plumcake — is that this is an oft-written-about beaten-to-death subject even when neither of these bloggers are covering it, so I am inclined to believe it’s coincidental and not a conscious or malicious failure to cite Plumcake’s post.

  8. Manolo the Shoeblogger Says:

    @Lesley Thank you for your kind reply. It is greatly appreciated.

    @The Rotund The Manolo has focused on the problem of bloggers properly attributing their sources because it is not only the most basic common courtesy, it is the fundamental glue that binds the blogosphere together. The attention of readers is what we all seek, and links are the currency by which we exchange it. To not acknowledge our sources is to cheat those who have provided us with something of importance.

  9. Mimi Says:

    I’ll be curious to see if Kate responds to this post. My fist introduction to her was on a thread on the Pretty Pear about ON taking the plus sized clothing online only. That site is not political at all and yet she was clearly a regular reader at that point two years ago. I think MFBG is more widely read than that site was so I wouldn’t be surprised if she follows it also.

  10. BrieCS Says:

    I do not wish to disagree with the great Manolo, but, a few months ago Kate Harding announced that she was stepping away from the Fatosphere and would instead be focusing on feminist blogging, so she may have been unaware of the recent posting.

  11. Gleenn Says:

    I am yet to orient myself thoroughly about this subject regarding the posts on question, but yes, I am with you Manolo for the point that links for the sources [quotes etc.] is the only currency that bloggers can pay for whoever is due.

    btw, I am very honored to have the my post “How to wear animal print” included on your list. Really, I am so flattered.

  12. Julia Says:

    Based on previous experiences with Kate, she will either completely ignore the issue publicly, or post a sarcastic, huffy and defensive response at her blog which mocks the idea she was influenced by Plumcake. Quite possibly with her whining about how she never asked for the responsibility of being a well known blogger and that it’s not fair to hold her to a standard.

    A simple gracious apology or even a polite “the topic was coincidental but to avoid giving the appearance of plagiarism here are is a link to MFBG” would do wonders. Given her history of defensiveness and dislike of giving even the appearance of having been wrong, those response are sadly unlikely to happen.

    I would also like to thank The Manolo for his wit and grace in a situation that could easily have resulted in a post filled with intemperate words.

  13. wildflower Says:

    Kate Harding has a long list of virtues, to be sure, but being kind, fair, or gracious are not among them. This is definitely a borderline case that could either be coincidence or not, but–

    –okay something weird just happened with the server and the page spontaneously reloaded, and I see that Julia has simultaneously been writing what I wanted to write, but with much more eloquence, so I’ll leave it at that. :) Thanks, Julia.

  14. Lisa Says:

    As a veteran of feminist blogging and scholarship, I echo that this topic is a hardy perennial. One of Plumcake’s special talents, however, is breathing new life into these types of topics with the force and brio of her prose and voice. Given that MFBG gets tens of thousands and visitors, I hardly think the slight, if it is intentional, really matters all that much, even if it is bad form rather than coinkiydink.

    However, I do find it very charming that the Manolo goes to bat for his writers in the most chivalrous of manners.

    However, I disagree with the almost charming Pucci shoes above. I love the Pucci as does the Manolo, but I am getting over the shoes that seem to think I have nothing to do all day but buckle them.

  15. The Rotund Says:

    @The Manolo – I totally agree that our traffic is our currency, so to speak. Attribution is not just courtesy – I think it’s fundamental to building online communities that support each other. I think there is also call, in support of that community building, for maybe not immediately moving to the worst possible conclusion (which in this case would be that she had read it and decided not to cite the post).

    Manolo for the Big Girl, as a blog that is not explicitly political, does have a large readership that the more explicitly political blogs don’t – I’ve always been interested in the way the overlap is smaller than I would have expected (but then I think fashion is very political). Plumcake has also recently declared that the Fatosphere can suck it (in a post titled Suck It Fatosphere), which means there may be even less overlap and some outright avoiding no matter how widely tweeted her new article was. Maybe that is part of why it seems personal?

  16. raincoaster Says:

    I am with the Manolo. The Katelings, if not Kate herself, have recently been all OVER the Big Girl blog, and not in a supportive way.

    This is most ironic in light of Gawker’s recent “plagiarism” incident, in which they took Marina Hyde to task for publishing an article suspiciously similar to their own.

  17. Lisa Says:

    @ raincoaster I don’t your way of characterizing the discussion on that topic is really accurate or fair. Let’s be real here: if you are going to title posts “suck it, fatosphere”…you can’t really expect people who are part of the fatosphere or who have it as part of their identity to go “yay” I think people raised legitimate concerns about what was a vague if well-intentioned (and, as always, eloquently penned) rant. I don’t know that professional writers like Plumcake are necessarily entitled to uncritical support the way voluntary or otherwise vulnerable bloggers are.

  18. KK Says:

    Ah I had noticed this when the Jezebel post came out – I read both blogs and at first I was confused and thought Kate Harding was Plumcake, then I went back and realized they were different. I had assumed she was “inspired” by Manolo for the Big Girl but then noticed she didn’t mention Plumcake at all so was confused…

  19. KK Says:

    Also, working in academia where people often steal each other’s research ideas to remain relevant, I don’t believe in coincidences.

  20. raincoaster Says:

    So…is Lisa saying that Kate and/or the Katelings ARE in fact supportive of that post? My point was that they were not. It’s not that difficult to follow, is it?

  21. Fausta Says:

    Two cents’ worth:

    One cent:
    How to accept a compliment gracefully:
    1. Smile warmly
    2. Say “thank you.”

    Another cent:
    If you blog, always, always, link to your sources. It’s not simply a matter of courtesy, it’s also a matter of credibility.

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