When are we going to be on our own side?

Something happened last Sunday afternoon; Cosmopolitan UK shared an “article” (read: gif-heavy, typo-laden list-post) entitled; 15 things you should know before dating a girl who blogs.  

What was supposed to be a sarcastic, self-deprecating snigger at the quirks and clichés attached to today’s typical blogger (is there such a thing?) instead came off as a suggestive, resentful side-swipe at an industry on the up. Oops! While bloggers were quick to put the magazine in its place via Twitter (while irritatingly quadrupling the article’s page-views at the same time), a lot of us were left feeling a bit, well, bemused.

Oh!  But it’s okay because it was written by a blogger!  Oh, I get it.  It was supposed to be funny, where’s your sense of humour?  Oh, but not all bloggers are like that – I was only talking to a tiny minority of single, self-obsessed, coffee-swigging, consumerist, social-media junkies.

Right

Well, I have two theories as to what’s going on here:

Theory one surrounds the sad decline of the print industry and glossy mags in particular; when today’s women are more likely to bookmark their own online glossy of trusted fashion, beauty and lifestyle blogs rather than fork out £5 for a magazine full of ads and airbrushed models, then where does that leave the magazine industry?  No wonder it’s choosing to both embrace bloggers and then smack them down when their backs are turned in true Mean Girls-“Oh I love your skirt!/That’s the ugliest effing skirt I’ve ever seen!”-style.  Keep your enemies close, eh?  Nice.

The second, and more realistic, theory is that the female blogging community just has a huge chip on its shoulder.

But is it any wonder?  Bloggers work bloody hard to put themselves out there.  They’re an entire magazine production staff rolled into one single person; editor, writer, photographer, programmer, PR/digital media guru, advertising exec, accountant, designer… the list goes on.  The vast majority hold down full time jobs and full-time lives alongside blogging – while those who are lucky enough to earn an income through blogging alone have to put up with the perception that blogging just isn’t a “real” job, and that a normal day at the office involves slobbing around in PJs, snapping selfies, scoffing egg and avocado, going to “meetings” and waiting for that latest box of “freebies” from such-and-such a company to turn up on their swank doorstep.

As a result a lot of bloggers feel like they’ve got to something prove.  Trying to find your own voice in a community already over-saturated with incredibly talented individuals is – quite frankly – terrifying.

So, when someone takes an insensitive stab and sarcastically suggests that bloggers don’t take what they do seriously, or worse, then they’re just as entitled to hit back as teachers are when some ignorant twonk utters that infuriating phrase, “Those who can: do.  Those who can’t: teach and get six weeks off every summer.” Grrr!

But it’s a million times worse when bloggers actually subscribe to and promote that kind of belief themselves!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bit of self-deprecation and obviously having the ability to laugh at ourselves every now and again is important – but not when it completely undermines our worth and belittles all our hard work.

If we’re not going to be on our own side and hold on to the belief that what we’re doing is important in some way, (even if only in so far as being a bit of laugh on the side), then what’s the point?  We should be proud of our hard work and creativity, not poke fun at it!  Blogging should empower us in the same way that Cosmopolitan empowered us back in the eighties when it stepped out and gave a voice to women who wanted to take control of their careers and their sexuality.  It’s our loud-speaker, our voice. We shouldn’t be ridiculed for using it and for whatever we decide to use it for – whether that’s post after post of lipstick swatches or discourses on what modern feminism looks like – and especially not by the medium that pretty much inspired a lot of us in the first place.

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