When you write about appearance and beauty, it might seem like pure frivolity, and sometimes it is. But when you are touching on people’s bodies, on their hair and skin and shape, you are actually treading on something that’s powerful because of its intimacy. Writing about books or TV shows can be the same way: people are attached. It’s personal. It’s not a pass to take your eye off the ball. In a lot of ways, it’s the opposite.
And it’s not just beauty, either, and it’s not just things that touch on race or other aspects of identity. Any time you shift your focus from what’s far away and unfamiliar to what’s close-up and knowable to more people, on the one hand, you may have to do less explaining, less application of conventional expertise.
But on points of analysis — which trend pieces are, to the point they are ever worth a flicker of brain activity — it actually calls for more care, if anything. When you get into people’s houses, whether it’s the music they listen to, the clothes they wear, the way they talk to their kids, the food they eat, that’s when blind spots and wrong directions can actually make people feel the most like you don’t hear them or know they’re there.
Linda Holmes “The Importance of What’s Close: Beauty and Being Careful" | NPR Monkey See