What’s this, I hear you ask, two posts in one weekend? Why yes, that’s what happens on this blog: it’s anarchy, no rules! Okay, I’m being a bit silly here, but there is a reason for it. This blog is not structured the way some other blogs are. Any regular features that I do have happen when I feel like posting them, or when I’m compelled to write about them, not through a set and pre-determined schedule. I tried that once with my poetry, trying to post it on Wednesday as a regular feature. This failed miserably, because this blog, and my written content, are rarely things that can be scheduled neatly. They just happen. Do I therefore think my blog is better than blogs that do schedule their content? Absolutely not. Some of the best blog features I like happen regularly, on the dot, on specified days. Is this a critique of blogs that are different from mine? Nope. So why am I talking about this? Here’s the deal …
I get tons, and I mean tons, of unwanted and unasked for ‘suggestions’ and ‘advice’ from strangers and marketing companies on a regular basis, telling me what I need to do to turn my blog into a ‘popular’ one. While some of these suggestions mean well, the majority are thinly veiled attempts to turn me into a type of ‘brand’ to be exploited, or, when they come from individuals, to make snide remarks about my blog. These are some of the complaints of what’s ‘wrong’ with my blog (things in quotation marks are direct quotes):
: : My content is too “controversial” and I should “tone down the feminism”
: : “Women find smart women intimidating”, I should consider simplifying my language to be more “accessible”
: : My posts are “too long” and I’m “too articulate” (seriously!)
: : I’m too “opinionated”
: : My posts should aim to be “no more than 350-500 words”
: : I shouldn’t say I have a PhD, because that implies “you’re better than everybody” (WTF?)
I could add more, but I’m getting angry again just typing these. Let me answer all of the above in a few simple words: no way, ever, not going to happen. Firstly, the presumption that it’s okay to ‘advise’ me in this manner is wholly condescending, and honestly, I highly doubt a male blogger would get such emails on a regular basis, as if he were some child in need of guidance. Men with opinions are allowed to be smart, serious and articulate, but when women do it they are “intimidating”, threatening and unrelatable. I’ve worked hard for my education, and English is my second language. I am proud of the fact that I have studied, that I can express myself well and that I choose to be serious on matters that are important to me. And if this alienates or intimidates anyone, tough; I can’t control how others respond to me. I will not bend myself to please others on my own blog. I’m not here on this earth to be eternally pleasing to everyone around me, and neither is any other woman.
There is this constant subtext that women mustn’t rock the boat on blogs, that they must represent a ‘mass appeal’ to the public, men, other women and their readers that makes them all feel good about themselves. Guess what? That’s not my function in life, I wasn’t born to serve anyone else. I have my own life to lead, and if I choose to write about the things that matter to me in long and serious prose, anyone who encounters my blog also has a choice to either read it, or not. But they do not have the right to tell me what to do.
I’ve been reading through some of my previous posts today where I’ve addressed some similar emails I’ve received. I cringed at my apologetic tone in some of my replies. And I felt like a hypocrite, because how can I expect other women to stand up for themselves, when I’ve apologised for being myself? So let me say this now: this is my kingdom, you’ll find no apologies here anymore about how I post, what I post, and when I post. But there is another issue here that is bigger than me alone.
-the rest is here.