Thursday, October 12, 2006

This Is How I Do It

To Chris Clarke's excellent blog policy, which I am co-opting in full as of right fucking now and retroactively, I append only one item:

I am not a role model: You'd think people would have wrapped their heads around this back when Charles Barkley first said it, but no. Some people still think that if your audience is large enough, you're a role model regardless of your own wishes in that regard, and you'd better behave in accordance with the bylaws of Rolemodelville, population You.

This blog is small. And something I've realized over the past couple of weeks is that I unconsciously work to keep it small. I do this in one way I can't help and in one way that I can. The way I can't help is, I'm not very good at this. The way I can help is, when my traffic levels get beyond my comfort zone--and that zone is tiny, I mean under 100 visitors a day if you strip out the search engines, because I basically relate to other human beings from a position of terror*--I stop posting. I tell myself I don't have anything to say, even though I usually have TONS of things I'd like to post about at the time, and I just fuck off for a week or two or, as has been rather acidly observed by readers in the past, months.

And I do this because too many people, myself included, have begun to treat the internet like their televisions. I don't care what you want to blame for this; the point is, it happens, and I contribute to it myself. I ripped into a woman blogger on another site recently in a way that I am ashamed of and appalled by. And I did this because I had stopped seeing her as a fallible human being with a weblog and started seeing her as That One Actress (Character?) on That One Show Who Really, Really Pisses Me Off.

That's dehumanizing. It is also unfeminist.

So I write this as much to remind myself as anyone that blogging is not my prime-time drama, or yours, but there is good news: It turns off almost as easily. Do that before you start putting people who write for free on pedestals just for the fun of knocking them off of them whenever they fail to satisfy you. Because if I ever overcome my meager abilities and my fear of being widely read, I can promise you one thing: I will not be a role model. If I have 1000, 10,000, or 100,000 visitors a day, I will not be a role model. And I will have nothing but contempt for anyone who tries to force me into being one.

As usual, this has all been said better already, here and here.


*Feel free to discuss how this vantage point might or might not contribute to my putting off posting my five things feminism has done for me, for example. I am scared that my five things are going to suck all kinds of ass in relation to everyone else's five things. Or I am just lazy. Or both.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

And Lord, there should be room for how everyone does it. There are basics; safety, respect, equality, and then there's the minutiae, and if we get all bunched up over the minutiae, we are reduced to petty bickering. I've spent a lot of time this past two weeks examining my behavior, "Can I call myself a feminist if I wear makeup? What about my loathing of bodily hair? Does this really make me too stupid to comment on what other feminists are saying?" I don't see the point in taking anyone to task who is just sharing their perspective. It's called CONVERSATION, not war. I know I'm fairly new to you (and I don't mean to scare ya) but I like the idea of talking, via the internet, with someone intelligent. Fear not, I will not hold you up as a role model. I'll just keep reading, and, maybe contributing. The fear you express about blogging is the fear I feel daring to comment on some of the bigger blogs. Because I'll be chased out for being "new" or not flashing the correct gang sign, or making the mistake of thinking this was an exchange of ideas, not a pulpit. Then there's the fear that I'll never stop talking...oy vey....gennimcmahon

yami mcmoots said...

Fake trackback! What do you think are the bylaws of Rolemodelville, anyway?

ilyka said...

there should be room for how everyone does it.

Right. The internet is a series of LOTS of tubes. I heard it from a Senator.

The fear you express about blogging is the fear I feel daring to comment on some of the bigger blogs. Because I'll be chased out for being "new" or not flashing the correct gang sign, or making the mistake of thinking this was an exchange of ideas, not a pulpit.

Yeah, I've held back on that account myself. One thing I learned the hard way this last week was "Don't engage commenters on a thread who (1) are already at the boiling point of fury to begin with and (2) with whom you aren't that familiar." That turns out to be a sure recipe for my choking on my own foot every time.

I owe you an email, I just remembered. But I will say publicly that your last email was AWESOME and also hilarious So you don't scare me. Much. :P

Fake trackback!

Hey, wild, I just left you a comment and I hadn't even seen this yet. I think I got to you via Feministe.

Darleen said...

let me say I find some irony in the observation that it is wrong for a woman to base her behavior on seeking the approval of others, then in almost the same breath condemn those that do behave that way.

Role models aside, I find the bickering over lip gloss unserious.

antiprincess said...

your five can't suck worse than mine. go for it.

antiprincess said...

Role models aside, I find the bickering over lip gloss unserious.

it's not really the lip gloss. it's whether or not the application of lip gloss represents gender treason or selling out to the patriarchy...or something.

ilyka said...

I find earnest use of the word "unserious" to be itch-inducing. People, it's English, a very rich language full of marvelous shimmering ADJECTIVES. See: frivolous, trivial, inconsequential, trifling, and others.

There is no need for this creepy Orwellian "unserious" and I condemn it all to hell. To HELL, I say.

Chris Clarke said...

There is no need for this creepy Orwellian "unserious" and I condemn it all to hell. To HELL, I say.

You seem discontent.