My ex said lifestyle writing is from the Carrie Bradshaw school of journalism, all fluff and no substance.
But he’s missing the point.
In fact, he’s short-sighted, as misguided as someone looking for foie gras in a Tesco Express.
True, it isn’t hard news – that rolling diet of it’s just happened, or is about to happen, so it must be important and relevant.
To the unenlightened, our stories, lifestyle stories, are free-floating helium balloons.
But take it from someone who knows, they are anchored down, recording real human experience, however absurd or mundane.
Take ‘Lucy goes Dating’.
This blog about the digital adventures of a woman in her late thirties looking for love which, as a 21-year-old, I can still relate to – having been ghosted, aired and orbited (some of the horrors of modern dating trends) as many times as I’ve had hot dinners.
When reading Lucy’s posts I forget about the messages left without replies in my cursed Bumble inbox and plunge headfirst into someone else’s reality inhabited with new characters, but the same problems.
These pieces were therapy to me long before I knew what therapy was, serving both as a bible and a best friend.
This type of confessional created a safe space for women’s voices before the contemporary meaning existed.
Lifestyle journalists plucked ideas of radical self-love from the pages of bell hooks and gender performance from feminist philosopher Judith Butler and delivered them to the mainstream alongside glossy, contradictory adverts for clutch bags and colour-safe conditioner.
Pages where we debated whether or not to have abortions, or if we could have it all.
Magazines where we could take up as much space as we wanted without being snickered at for being materialistic or vain.
In a world of exacting standards for women we were able to ask who set them and changed a rhetoric about not being good enough to being worthy of love – such is the power of discussion.
The sheer range of lifestyle bloggers and YouTube stars on the world-wide-web mean we have opened up this discussion – giving everyone a platform, rather than just the privileged few.
Being bombarded with unrelenting news of another atrocity, natural disaster or government scandal can, paradoxically, dull your senses and make you numb.
Lifestyle pieces, on the other hand, reach out and help us reconnect with others about what it is to be human – to be flawed, to be embarrassing.
There’s nothing more comforting than when, at the moment you’re stewing in your own guilt and regret after doing something stupid, you find out that someone else has been there – and they’ve written a story about it, too.
A story we can relate to and, hopefully, let its essence sink into our subconscious so we move forward, a little more informed, a little more caring, a little more empathetic and a little bit braver.
So, I say the Carrie Bradshaw school of journalism is fluff with balls – and trust issues.