Stop looking up to Danielle Bernstein
Updated: Nov 12, 2020
As influencers continue to dominate social media and our society as a whole, there are those who use their platform for good and those who take advantage of it. One influencer who has been making controversial headlines this year is Danielle Bernstein, a 28-year-old fashion entrepreneur, known for her brand WeWoreWhat.
In the past few years, Danielle has built a multimillion-dollar business and has accumulated over 2.5 million followers on her Instagram (@weworewhat). She is undoubtedly a successful entrepreneur who has established celebrity status. Unfortunately, Danielle continuously exploits small businesses and perpetrates unhealthy beauty standards. In other words, she is neither a role model nor a person people should be looking up to.
With the coronavirus pandemic, small businesses are struggling more than ever. You might think that supporting these small businesses is what influencers are doing; Danielle took advantage of this situation as an opportunity to exploit them. In October 2020, Danielle filed a lawsuit against The Great Eros. This small lingerie brand previously sent Danielle a cease and desist letter, accusing her of stealing their tissue paper design. These accusations were valid; therefore, filing a lawsuit against this small brand was an unnecessary step taken by Danielle. She used her wealth to intimidate the brand, which reflects her poor character as an influencer.
Unfortunately, this was not the first time Danielle has been accused of exploiting a small business. Back in July 2020, Danielle was accused of copying a mask design by Second Wind, a Latina owned small business. According to Diet Prada, a fashion industry watchdog, the mask resemblance was not a coincidence. Danielle was well aware of Second Wind and had even requested a mask from them previously. These examples show how she continuously uses her status as a tool to exploit small businesses and not take accountability for her own actions.
In addition to exploiting small businesses, Danielle continuously perpetuates unhealthy beauty standards. In August 2020, Danielle posted two photos of her posing in two different lights on Instagram. The first photo she identified as “flattering” and the second as not, due to her visible “cellulite.” This post is harmful because Danielle shows her followers how to hide their flaws, leading to the normalization of oppressive beauty standards.
Unfortunately, Danielle is widely known for her heavily photoshopped Instagram photos. There is even an Instagram account called @WePhotoshoppedWhat2 that dedicates to calling her out on it. This account compares the original photo and the photoshopped version that Danielle posts on her Instagram. While posting photoshopped images is not a crime, it is extremely dangerous because it causes low self-esteem and creates unattainable beauty standards. For someone like Danielle that has 2.5 million followers on Instagram, she should be showing her followers how to embrace their flaws and not how to hide them.
Although Danielle has addressed these controversies, her repeated actions show that she never learns from her past mistakes. Her actions are indeed damaging the entire reputation of influencers and normalizing the idea that they can get away with anything.
Influencers like Danielle are the reason why influencer culture becomes toxic to society. We need to remember that society has the power to decide who is given a platform. Influencers only exist because of followers like us, so why are we continuously giving a platform to someone who does not deserve it?
By Nene Fujimoto
Nene is a senior at San Diego State University studying Public Relations. Currently, she is an Entertainment PR intern at ID Public Relations. After graduation, she hopes to work in the field of Entertainment PR or Fashion PR in New York City.