Photography: Kaye Ford | Words: Zoe London
It took me by surprise this week when I was thanked for using my voice.
I think it’s always been quite an obvious given that part of the appeal and basis of blogging, and therefore being a ‘blogger’ as such – is having your own little soapbox in which to shout your opinion from. At first, you’re that person on the street corner shouting at the passers by, but as time goes on your crowd gathers, and gathers. It’s really then up to you how you continue to use your voice, and while the majority of blogging is lighthearted escapism, sometimes it’s important to remember your blog is your voice entirely. It is your outlet, your output and your window to the world.
I would never pressure anyone to change their blog or use their platform in a certain way. Never. Actually I think going about it like that is totally wrong, and defeats the point. But what I do think is a good reminder is that everything you put out there, is everything that will define you. If you wish to be purely defined by beauty, you will be known to your random follower in Brazil as a beauty blogger. I think of Temptalia, and I think of swatches, of makeup and of reviews. I don’t know anything about Christine herself, is she married? Where does she live? What does she think about Trump? I have no idea – because Christine of Temptalia wanted it that way. That’s more than cool – that’s her voice.
If you’re always putting out content that isn’t necessarily authentically you, is that how you would want to be perceived? If you constantly send negative tweets, would you want people to perceive you that way? For me, I’ve always wanted to be able to communicate messages about things that are important to me. One day it might be purely fashion and lipstick, but the next day it might be about an important social or political issue. That’s just how I want to run things around here. That’s my voice. I’ve always wanted my voice to be heard, and I’m aware that with a large platform comes some responsibility. Of course we’ve all learned lessons along the way, and I’ve curbed my negative tweeting into more of a positive outlet, with my opinions on politics, life and other social issues at the forefront. I was very surprised to see an abundance of DMs saying thank you to me for using my voice about the Repeal The 8th in Ireland this week – a very important vote that if you live in Ireland or are Irish, should consider. To me, this was the most obvious thing to talk about whilst in Ireland myself, and I was surprised at the outpouring I had thanking me for doing so. It really got me thinking about how our blogs, videos and social media platforms really are our voice, and how important it is to get that just right for us.
I like to be very mindful of those reading my posts, and try to consider every possible outcome. I try to not gender makeup or clothes, or not assume genders, preferences or home life situations. I try to consider about how those in countries I’ve never been to might feel when reading my articles, and I’m very mindful of how people will feel. I see a lot of blog posts that seem to be aimed at particular bloggers, throwing shade at them or commenting on how they choose to live their life. I’m surprised that others would want their voice on the internet to be heard in that way, to have an output but to use it like that. I think even when talking about your own situation or feelings, and comparing it to others in a negative way, or commenting on their blogging style/how they run in their circles with their blogging friends can be hurtful for them to read, and I do think sometimes we need reminding that from an outside perspective – that’s the voice people who don’t know you, will assign to you.
Before YouTube came along, we had no way of knowing what bloggers even sounded like – what their real voices were like. Their words were their power, their identity. While now it’s even quite normal to watch them chilling in their homes on Instagram live, I think the power of the written word isn’t ever going to go anywhere. Your blogging voice may not necessarily totally define you like it did pre- YouTube days, but it’s still resonating with people all over the world. I love that everyone chooses to use theirs how they wish, and I read a lot of blogs and wonder what that person is like in real life / would love to meet them. I think if you feel so, you should speak up about things that mean something to you. It might be veganism, it might be cruelty free makeup, it might be politics, it might be Brexit… it could be anything. I don’t think those who do speak up for those things should be penalised, and I don’t think there should be a witch hunt against those who don’t, either. What I *do* think is that it’s too easy to get swept up in thinking a blog is a diary, not read by anyone. When you publish something out there, you publish it for the entire world to see. I wonder should we be more mindful to think – when publishing this, could someone’s feelings possibly be hurt by this? Could this be singling out a certain group of people? Is this specifically targeting a blogger perhaps we don’t like? Or is it adding to a conversation valid in the wider community? Our blogs are our voices, and they should never be silenced. But as I’ve said before and I’ll say again – you absolutely never know where your words might end up, or who might be reading them.
I was so surprised to learn people out there who had only just started following me didn’t know I’m all for using my voice where possible. I want to make more of a conscious effort to share articles of importance, to talk about social issues and to try and encourage others to do the same. Even the smallest voice can make the largest sound, and while you have this chance to let it be heard – be heard.