I’m not writing this with the intention of telling anyone that the way they do something is wrong, I’m writing this so we can understand that whilst we do all have different approaches they are actually all pretty fucking valid.
The recent divide, and I hate to call it that because we as sex bloggers are all working towards the same ideals, has been hard to deal with. It’s taken a space that has always felt like a sanctuary to me (twitter – where I have carefully created a newsfeed for myself that is full of acceptance, full of kindness, full of wonderful voices) and turned it into one where arguments develop quickly, exploding way out of all proportion.
It makes me uncomfortable but I get why it’s happening. I myself caused my own bit of drama and disruption recently because of my problems with self-doubt and anxiety. Something was said (unintentionally) that amplified the voice inside me that tells me I’m not good enough and I was so upset that I resulted to writing (as I always do), airing my hurt on twitter. Whilst I got some things off my chest that I stand by, like how damaging it can be for ANYONE with dyslexia or writing anxiety who sees another person making a snipe or a joke about bad grammar/spelling, I do feel bad for contributing to this negativity and disgruntled vibe between bloggers.
I think a lot of people have realised now that whether it’s directed at us or not comments about lack of writing quality can cut like a knife, often because WE ALREADY BELIEVE THAT ABOUT OURSELVES, we ALREADY think we are unworthy. That said, all is completely forgiven on my behalf because I really don’t think it was meant with the malice that I originally saw in it and the last thing I want is more arguments to start on my behalf. I feel terrible that I added to the divide between bloggers, however unintentional it was on my part.
Now that’s out of the way (I’ve been meaning to say something but tweeting about it again felt like a bad idea) I want to talk about our approach to companies because ultimately I think this is where the biggest fracture in our community has stemmed from.
It’s clear to anyone that sex bloggers all want the same thing from companies. We want them to be inclusive, we want them to be socially aware, WE WANT THEM TO NOT BE SHITHEADS! Our main difference seems to be the approach to calling those companies out and whether we should give them second chances.
Personally I think that our approaches should depend on the nature of the offence and (for lesser offences) whether the company is a repeat offender. For the record I totally agree with calling companies out, I admire the bloggers who take it upon themselves to fight on behalf of everyone, who fight for our right to not have to fucking put up with shitty/racist/sexist behaviour from sex toy companies.
When the offence is not clear cut is it right to grab the pitch forks and get stuck in? I don’t know the answer. But I do feel like we need to give companies a chance to put things right, to learn from their mistakes (if the offense is minor). However, we also need to realise that most of us haven’t been around as long as other bloggers – bloggers who have grown fucking tired of these companies, bloggers who’ve SEEN them make these same mistakes a hundred times before in the past, before we even came along. We need to respect how much work they’ve already put into making this community safe – they know what’s up!
Personally I’m not sure on the no holds barred, pitch forks at noon approach. Perhaps that’s just because I’m from Britain and admittedly we aren’t particularly great at confrontation but I do have valid(ish) reasons for believing there might be a better way.
From experience when you yell at people that they are wrong, they DON’T listen. So when all of us jump on a company for a ‘minor’ first time offence we run the risk of them going underground with their shitty-ness. They shut bloggers out, we’ve seen it happen, we know it’s true. It’s certainly not right but they do it, they get scared and they hide. But they don’t stop, they carry on and now they’ve blocked the blogging mob, they can go unchecked, spewing more shitty-ness to unaware customers and THAT, that is what scares me.
Surely talking to the companies by email or DM, explaining why it’s unacceptable and why they owe it to their customers to change (without having to fit it into 140 characters) could be the more beneficial approach if we want the company to actually change in the long run?
Being loud and open has its positives too though, it shows other companies what we expect from them and they learn what NOT TO FUCKING DO. Like don’t body-shame people, don’t be fucking racist/sexist/homophobic/trans-phobic, basically remove your head from your ass and get real!. We will not put up with this shit and it IS important to make that very clear. It’s also paramount that we are able to warn unassuming customers where potential harm may come to them from a product or from a companies practices.
I guess the point I am trying to make is that whilst we have different approaches, for us bloggers the end goal is the same; we want an open, inclusive, positive, shame-free community for ourselves and our followers. I think both approaches are valid and we could probably benefit from learning from each other. We have lots to learn this side of the pond about standing up for ourselves and I really hope we can learn that from our American friends. You do it so well and you should be hella proud of it.
It’s my personal belief that once a company has shown its true colours, if it’s clear they are a lost cause and won’t ever change or they’ve done something that is simply dangerous/unforgivable then YES, absolutely, we should tear them to fucking shreds. We should be loud and bold and unleash a never ending torrent that leaves them quaking in their thigh high boots. We SHOULD do everything we can to make sure EVERYONE knows to avoid them, we should cast them out, we should make them pariahs. We are bloggers, we are MIGHTY and this is our calling!
Together we make one balanced community, some will roar loudly on twitter like a lioness protecting their cubs and some will work behind the scenes to try to spread some awareness and understanding to companies. Neither approach is inherently wrong or un-justified.
One last note on blogger cliques. Bloggers make friends (honestly) and some friendships are ultimately going to be stronger than others. We shouldn’t demonise each other for that but we should be aware of how sometimes that can come across as exclusionary, even though it’s not meant that way. Nobody is entitled to your time but where we can reach out (and when we have the spoons) we should.
I still feel left out, unwanted, looked down on, so many of us do, but I think we need to be real about weather this is REALLY true or whether it’s something that comes from inside us. Something born of our anxiety. Don’t we often feel excluded without ever reaching out in the first place? Can we really blame that all on other bloggers or are we our own worst enemies? There are two sides to each coin, lets remember that.
I say we go to the blogs that inspired us (but we never felt confident enough to interact with) and comment on those posts that fundamentally changed something in us for the better. Let’s go to those start-up blogs and look around, give advice, feedback and support. Today, this week, whenever you get the chance just go and leave a comment on another blog, show the love, show the support, lets unify ourselves once again.
*I am more than happy to have a discussion here as to weather you agree with me or weather you think I’m way outta line in what I’ve said today.*