We’ve all heard the saying, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, but is it really? Lately, I’ve been having some issues with this concept and I’m at a crossroads as to what to do about it.
Without going into super-specific details, recently a few incidents have been brought to my attention. I’ve noticed someone who is a “reader” of my blog who frequently models their posts, ideas and even relationships with other bloggers after mine. Things they never did before and said they would never do, are all of a sudden being done after me. These things are not coincidences, which is what bothers me.
Yes, I realize that as bloggers, we all write about similar things. For example, one of my favorite bloggers, Stephanie of Twenty Something Blog, recently wrote about leather fashion on a budget, while the week earlier I wrote about leather skirts and did an outfit post on my budget leather jacket. Quite frankly, we’re both girls who blog about fashion- this is a great part of blogging that I enjoy. Stephanie and I share a love of leather and she was so kind to give me a shout-out in her post. And yes, during Christmas we will all blog about our favorite holiday gifts, and during summer we will all post about our favorite bathing suits. That’s bound to happen and that’s normal. This situation I’m speaking of isn’t to be confused with those types of things.
In the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve also noticed one direct rip-off of my content. As in, someone took an entire paragraph of 6 or so sentences and re-posted it (they changed a few words around, but it was similar enough for me to catch it by using a website that catches copyright violators). I didn’t do anything about it and I brushed it off, but it upset me. I worked hard on that, and to see someone else using it just upset me. Then this incident I mentioned in the above paragraph happened, which led me to rant in this post.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been bothered when people copy me. It’s a weird thing, I know, but it’s just who I am. In junior high, I remember this one girl would always buy the same clothes as me. At first I thought it was a weird coincidence, but then it started to become a regular occurrence. I’d debut my new Aeropostale top (that was the cool place to shop back in the day) and a week or so later, she would magically have it and start wearing it. I knew this wasn’t a coincidence since these clothes were never seen on her before until I started wearing them. My friends all noticed, too and started making inside jokes about my “evil twin”.
Another lame example was back in middle school, when a girl who sat at my table during art started copying all my paintings. The art teacher realized this and told me not to worry because “she admires your work and this is her way of showing it”. “I don’t care if she admires my art, she should come up with her own!”, I thought.
I think the reason this bothers me so much is that I consider myself a creative and smart person. For a while now, I’ve had original ideas, an artistic flair, an opinionated mouth and the ability to like things before they are considered “trendy” or “cool”. I work hard on everything I do- whether it’s an article I wrote, a picture I drew, a Halloween costume idea, or a major life choice. To see someone take your personal form of expression and claim it as their own just upsets me to no end. It doesn’t matter that they aren’t claiming it as their own and are only basing their idea off of mine- it still hurts.
In my opinion, those who copy or imitate others have an underlying issue. Insecurity is the first thing that comes to mind. If you are secure and confident enough with yourself and your ideas, thoughts and personality, you wouldn’t need to copy others. Copying others is also a sign of jealousy. People who don’t have a certain look, talent or idea will be so jealous of others that they take other’s successes and try to make them their own. It’s pathetic, upsetting and unfortunate, but it’s something that is hard to control.
I know the best thing in these situations is to take the high road and take these situations as a compliment. People always tell me, “You should be flattered someone wants to be like you so much that they are copying you” or “They obviously aren’t as [insert positive adjective here] as you, so this is how they deal with it”. While those may sometimes be true, they don’t always help me feel much better.
I’m no beauty queen, rocket scientist or award-winning author. I don’t think that my shit doesn’t stink. I don’t think I’m amazing and that people worship me. That’s not what this is about. This is about working hard on things, only to see others trying to steal your identity.
So my question to all of you is, what would you do in my situation? Has this happened to you before? Whether it’s something silly like someone copying your haircut a day after you get it or serious like someone copying your writing (which is against the law people!), I’d love to hear it in the comments below.