Does Blake Lively contradict herself? Very well, then, she contradicts herself. Lively is not large, not by a long shot, but she contains multitudes. (Thanks to Uncle Walt Whitman for the inspiration there.)
You may recall in 2015 that Blake Lively shuttered her own short-lived — and fairly strange — antebellum-inspired lifestyle blog, Preserve, after only about a year. So we’re kind of enjoying the irony that the actor and mom of two now only deigns to look at mom blogs for “comic relief.”
Say what, Blake? Lively spoke with People this week and shared her thought on mom blogs. “I love thinking about what [the mom’s] house looks like in the image [they’re presenting] and then thinking about what it actually looks like behind that perfect shot,” she laughed.
“They’re one of the greatest brands of humor. It’s just these images of people in their idyllic lives and these worlds that leave me like, ‘I’m just a terrible parent and don’t have it figured out at all.’”
Well, no, dear, you’re probably doing fine as a wealthy actor and wife to Ryan Reynolds. But it’s true Lively doesn’t seem to see the irony of trashing “idyllic” mom blogs — considering she once idealized the aesthetic of the antebellum South (read: slave owner fashion and recipes?!). Interestingly, Preserve’s Instagram account is still up for now, if you want a peek.
But it was Lively’s website (and, it could be argued, “mom blog”) itself that had us wincing. Preserve burst into the atmosphere in 2014 with the bang and swirling dust of a Confederate cannon. Criticism was swift and harsh; take, for example, Gawker’s takedown of Preserve (italic text originally appeared on Preserve; bracketed text added by Gawker):
Georgia peaches, sweet tea, [owning human beings as property,] and the enticement of a smooth twang…we all love a bit of southern charm. These regional mainstays evoke an unparalleled [level of sociopathy,] warmth and authenticity in style and tradition.
The term “Southern Belle” came to fruition during the Antebellum period (prior to the Civil War [in which southern states sought to protect their long tradition of forced labor]), acknowledging women with an inherent social distinction[—being white—]who set the standards for style and appearance. These women epitomized Southern [slaveownership and] hospitality with a cultivation of beauty and grace, but even more with [slaves and] a captivating and magnetic sensibility. While at times depicted as coy, these belles of the ball, in actuality could command [the hundreds of human beings that they owned, and also] attention with the ease of a hummingbird relishing a pastoral bloom.
Like the debutantes of yesteryear, the authenticity and allure still ring true today [much like the many legacies of institutionalized white supremacy]…
You get the idea. But did she get it? Lively’s 2015 explanation for the demise of Preserve was not exactly #woke:
“We have an incredible team of people who do beautiful work, but we launched the site before it was ready, and it never caught up to its original mission: It’s not making a difference in people’s lives, whether superficially or in a meaningful way,” she told Vogue.
“And that’s the whole reason I started this company, not just to fluff myself, like, ‘I’m a celebrity! People will care what I have to say!’ It was so never meant to be that, and that kind of became the crutch because it was already up and already running, and it’s hard to build a brand when you’re running full steam ahead — how do you catch up?
“I’m going to take this hit, and the only way I can prove all the negative reactions wrong is to come back with a plan that will rock people,” Lively said. “And I have that plan. And I’m so excited about it, and that’s what gave me the courage to do this…I’ve asked my assistant to just play ‘Shake It Off’ on a loop — it feels really good to listen to it on a loop!”
We hope Lively will go easy on mom blogs in the future — and work on more, uh, appropriate lifestyle sites of her own. We have total faith in your next project, Blake — as long as you stay far, far away from “Confederate-cute.”