Bloggers Day of Silence

While I appreciate any heartfelt effort to bring relief to people in need, I am not participating in the Blogger’s Day of Silence.  Why?  

1) I earn money from this site, money that makes it possible for me to purchase the baubles that I love and give generously to charity every month.  So it doesn’t make sense to give up that money to make a wholly symbolic gesture of support by staying mum.

2) I was originally going to participate, but then I realized that I would just be using the Day of Silence as an excuse not to post.  And while I would love to have a break (Yesterday was March Madness and St. Paddy’s after all.), it’s pretty selfish to use a tragic natural disaster and the ensuing chaos as a reason to have an extra Stella Artois and watch basketball into the wee hours.

3) Thanks to my co-worker Virginia, I realized that shutting up for a day doesn’t bring awareness to the need in Japan.  You’d have to be living under a rock not to know what is going on in the Land of the Rising Sun.  All a day of silence does is cheat a lot of loyal readers out of a day of content and use charitable giving as a justification.

So while I think the hosts are very well-intentioned, I’m just not interested in shuttering my blog for the day because, really, who does that help?  Not me, not my readers and certainly not the people of Japan.  But if you’re looking for a way to give back to the Japanese, I have some suggestions for you.

First off, don’t you hate it when retailers, who mark up their products 50-70 percent, offer you a sweet deal like “For every $100 you spend, we will donate $5 to charity.”  How generous! (Insert eye roll here.)  So I was really glad to see that two of my favorite designers were offering a real donation opportunity for people who want to give while they shop.

Rebecca Minkoff will donate $100 for every red handbag sold on her site.  That means she’s donating between 20 and 33-percent of the purchase price.  Buy a fabulous bag (may I suggest the Beloved Mini?) and support a good cause at the same time.

If you love silver jewelry, this simple and beautiful Joan Horing wave pendant is $60.80.  The price is symbolic of the tragedy (the wave traveled six miles inland after starting 80 miles off of the coast), and the full purchase price will go to Japan relief.  

Love to cook?  Or just love Eric Ripert?  You can purchase any of his cookbooks from the Le Bernadin online store and 100-percent of the cost will go to Japan relief.

If you don’t want anything for yourself and would prefer to donate straight to charity, our friends at Bergdorf Goodman have a wealth of ideas posted on their Facebook page.  From there you can donate to the Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders or Shelterbox USA.  I got together with a few friends and bought a shelter box ($1,000) that contains a tent and supplies to provide a temporary source of clean water and the means to prepare food.  You can also learn how to donate via text message and via your iTunes account on this page.

So if you’re so inclined, donate a few dollars to the people of Japan.  You’ll never regret it.

Update: A Twitter follower mentioned that Forever21 is planning to donate 100% of the profits they make from online purchases today to Japan.  There are locations at Pentagon City Mall in Arlington and Metro Center in D.C.



  1. ack says:

    This is an amazing post. Thank you for being thoughtful and honest and helpful!

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  2. Megan R. says:

    Thank you, Belle, for choosing substance over symbolism. And please, everyone, consider giving what you can. The real horror in Japan is just beginning as unimaginable numbers of people are left without shelter, medical care, sanitation and clean drinking water.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  3. EG says:

    Everyone's probably seen it by now, but Living Social is doing a 100% match on $5 donations.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  4. Lindsay says:

    Also, if you donate $5 to the American Red Cross, LivingSocial will match your donation 100%.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  5. Meg says:

    Great post and great suggestions for us all to use in helping out.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  6. Megan says:

    Agree completely. But I would go a step further & encourage folks to donate the sum of their coveted RM bag. There's no reason we should go home with $300 handbags and be content with the $100 that would go to Japan.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  7. Belle says:

    Megan-It's really more for people who were going to buy the bag anyway. And if you notice below, I did mention there were other ways to donate. I don't like to judge people's charitable intentions, everyone is allowed to give in their own way.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  8. diane @ a spot of whimsy says:

    really great post, belle! i obviously saw a lot of my favorite blogs were participating, and i was feeling guilty for not taking part, but after reading your post i feel much better. i agree that silence does not bring awareness.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  9. Lindsey says:

    I'm sorry Belle, but I have to disagree. I love your blog and have been reading for a long time but this post really upset me. I am participating in the Day of Silence, so obviously we disagree over its effectiveness. I think you're missing the point when you say that it is meant to “raise awareness” about the situation in Japan. Clearly, that isn't necessary. The point was to raise money for the Shelter Box organization, since the bloggers who participated also donated to that organization, and the silence is to honor the victims, similar to the way you'd have a moment of silence to reflect on any tragedy. For me, I actually like blogging… I don't see it as a chore, so I gave up something that I love and I am passionate about in order to participate. It strikes me as extremely tacky for you to say that you don't want to participate because you're going to miss out on one day of making money from your blog. That said, I realize that not everyone has to participate if they don't want to, and I have no issues with you choosing not to do so. But you should've kept those reasons to yourself and simply started this post with, “If you're looking to give back to the Japanese, I have some suggestions for you.” I think it's pretty hypocritical for you to say in the comments that you don't like to judge people's charitable intentions, because by taking a dig at all the Day of Silence bloggers, that's exactly what you did.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  10. Sarah says:

    Totally agree with you, Lindsey.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  11. K says:

    Belle, I understand your perspective and would feel the same way if I was a blogger.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  12. Dana says:

    I also agree with Lindsey's sentiments. When I read this post, I was aghast at the dismissive, disdainful tone of others' charitable feelings and efforts. Clearly Belle feels there IS something wrong with not participating in the Day of Silence, or she would not have passionately tried to justify her refusal to do so. I also think that listing “giving up my income from one day of posts” as Reason #1 was quite tacky. The uppity, judge-y tone of this blog has been getting worse by the week, and I'm sure I'm not the only reader who is getting ready to unsubscribe if it continues.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  13. Belle says:

    Lindsey-I hadn't thought of it from your perspective, so I'm glad you shared it. Your reasons are your own, and it sounds like for you this was a genuine way to show support. But for me, and for other bloggers I've talked to, it wasn't the best way. I'm not looking down on your choice, I simply don't share it.

    Dana-If other blogger choose not to post, I'm not judging their motives. I do think the participants and the founders were very well intentioned, and if this is the way they choose to be charitable then so be it. I chose not to participate for my own reasons, but mostly because my participation would have been less about Japan and more about getting a day off.

    As for the money part, I am only able to donate the amount of money that I give to charity this month because I do make money off of this blog. I don't have a lot of wiggle room in my budget and at least half of the proceeds from this blog go to charity because I like to be generous with windfalls.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  14. Belle says:

    Also, I think the other bloggers who are participating are doing it for the right reason. Some of the folks participating, the ladies at Wit and Whimsy for example, are good friends and I now Andrea and Meghan would never do this if they didn't believe in it. BUT that's not why I would have been doing it, and I felt deeply uncomfortable using a charitable bent to mask my desire for a day off.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  15. Megan R. says:

    Dana: Don't let the door hit you on the way out. I'm with Belle, and as someone with friends living in Japan, I'll go her one better: Does participating in this Day of Silence help one single person whose life has just been demolished? Does it improve their situation in the slightest if you spend one day not blogging? Does you spending the day “reflecting” do one single useful thing for anyone in Japan – except to make you feel good about yourself for being so sensitive and caring?

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  16. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    I agree with not being silent. And, for those of you in the Clarendon area, the Silk salon and day spa is having a day coming up when all their proceeds will go towards charity work in Japan. If you haven't been there and want to help, give them a call and ask what day they are planning to do it. I wish I knew what day it was, but I don't. Last time I was there they said there were going to email details.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  17. prosecutordc says:

    Megan R.: While I don't disagree with Belle's choice not to participate (and she donated a shelter box anyway)…you should probably get your facts right. The day of silence no only honors Japan but the “For Japan with Love” organization that has sponsored it has raised $22,000 for shelters in Japan. So symbolism and fundraising–seems like a worthy enough mission to me.

    Belle: It seems to me you could have framed your first reason a bit differently. I know you make money from the site and the fact you donate much of it is admirable. I still would have said I'm choosing not to participate and instead donating the money from today to Japan…in addition to the amount I already donate. This would make it seem less like you just didn't want to miss out the money (for you and your causes) for today. I don't really have a problem with your choice but I think framing the issue a bit better would have helped.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  18. Belle says:

    Prosecutor-I agree, I didn't describe it very well. The bottom line is that until I monetized this site, I couldn't give much money to charity at all. And I've found that if I don't post for one day, it ripples into fewer visits for many days and I didn't want to wind up with less to donate than my usual because I went silent since I depend on this money to make the donations possible.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  19. Allie says:

    I am not silent today on my blog. I think it's a wonderful act and I am so glad that shelterbox has received so many donations (including one from me) and I think it's amazing that a couple bloggers thought of this idea.

    One of the many reasons I have chosen to not participate is because I feel that some bloggers are doing it just for the “cool kids are doing it” factor. I see bloggers who completely ignored Tweets about the tsunami last Friday, writing about runway collections and their new shoes and kissing the asses of Modcloth and ASOS now going silent today (but not silent on Twitter and Facebook). It's like wearing a Livestrong bracelet – my husband had testicular cancer at the time those bracelets came out; our friends, family and I all wore one in solidarity. Next thing you know, it became a weird fashion piece with folks not even understanding the reason behind it. I have seen bloggers use For Japan With Love as a way to increase their Klout score and it disgusts me.

    That doesn't mean all are that way, I know MOST are participating for honest, selfless reasons. I love the community of bloggers and how they will rally together to support an important cause. And I will support, but I will not let peer pressure force me to participate in a way that doesn't feel right to me.

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  20. SWill says:

    FYI – The Forever21 promotion is for online purchases only — it states it plainly on their homepage. There seems to be some confusion about that all around!

    March 18, 2011/Reply
  21. Mary says:

    @Belle “I don't like to judge people's charitable intentions.” That's weird – because that's exactly what you did in this post.

    March 19, 2011/Reply
  22. Belle says:

    Mary-As I said in the post, I do believe that the creators and participants are in it for the right reasons. However, it wasn't right for me.

    March 19, 2011/Reply