Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Blogging and vulnerability

I read with interest the post "“The Vulnerable Video Blogger: Promoting Social Change through Intimacy,” which is a brilliant use of video activism. I picked up on the word "vulnerability" and in particular Rox's decision to wear a bikini on her video whilst discussing serious issues. The point I want to raise here is the "risk" and "vulnerability" element when we as bloggers (using, text, audio or video) expose our intimate selves particularly those of us who do not blog anonymously (admittedly at least in my case,a choice I freely made). I recently chose to write a piece on violence against women (VAW) on my blog. Initially I wanted to simply link to another blog that was created solely to highlight VAW called VAW: Do Something. Somehow or other (I am not sure how) I ended up drawn into revealing my own experience of domestic and sexual violence. I believed it was important as the blog VAW: Do Something, challenged us all to speak out. I could not ask or expect others to speak out unless I too spoke out. But in doing so I felt extremely vulnerable. Somewhere deep inside a series of very disturbing unpleasant feelings of having exposed myself to the point of stripping naked in front of the whole world. In short I almost feel as if I violated myself in revealing my own experiences and worse because these experiences have not been acknowledged.

So how far do we as blogging feminists and activists go? How much of a tight rope do we walk before we fall off and when we land who is there but ourselves to pick up the emotional pieces. Blogging is very much a solo activity - we may have partners, family, friends who support us in our daily non blogging or even blogging lives. But it in cases like this - it is really only the blogging community that can really understand landing on your head and ending up with an almighty headache that wont go away very easily.

On the other hand the point of the post was to speak out against the silence and normalisation that exists around VAW - but the point is if we as women are going to do this then we need to have the support of the community of feminists - women and men behind us because otherwise we end up in a place of self made violation which is not where any of us want to be.


Patricia Lange said...

Your post brings up some important issues with regard to vulnerability. Perhaps it can never be eliminated completely but your suggestion about having community support might be one way to reduce that vulnerability. The question is, what specific measures could be taken in the community to support bloggers and the issues they raise?

At the very least fellow bloggers and others can acknowledge people's experiences and the risks they take in sharing them with other people.

Anonymous said...

These suggestions have been made before but one thing three years of blogging has taught me is that building communities is a lost cause. I have tried and tried, I have put my heart and soul into trying to build community through creating spaces, supporting other bloggers, encouraging people to blog and have achieved very little - in fact the more I continue the more marginalised I feel as the blogosphere is taken over by mindless bloggers who lived in a world of apathy. Yes there is much cynicism on my part but it is borne out of my experience of posting almost daily for 36 months sometimes twice daily and being employed to review blogs initially on a daily basis but now on a weekly basis.

If I had to start again I would come back anonymous because revealing my identity has probably been my biggest mistake.