If you live in America, there have been a lot of political issues in the news lately, everything from DOMA to Prop 8 to SB5 to the Voting Rights Act, and so on (and that's not even counting what's going on in Brazil, Syria, and China right now!). Here at IFB, most of us are fashion bloggers, not political bloggers or news bloggers, but many of these issues still overlap with and impact our “real” lives. So the question is…is there ever a time when it's appropriate to share your political, religious, or cultural beliefs on your blog?
Obviously, this is a complex question and there's no one right answer that applies to everyone. How much you choose to share will involve factors like your comfort level, your readership, and your personal stake in the topic, but here are some things to consider.
- Are your political beliefs a significant part of your blog's identity? To illustrate, if you're an out LGBTQ fashion blogger (or an ally), it may be perfectly natural for you to talk about what happened in the Supreme Court yesterday in some way. Your readers may even be expecting it. Or, to use another recent example, if you're a plus sized blogger who's affected by the AMA's recent decision on obesity, you may decide to talk about that on your site. Fashion blogging doesn't have to be just outfit posts and trend reports; it's totally a legit lens to talk about these bigger social issues, especially if they affect you or your readers.
- Will sharing your political beliefs alienate your readers or potential advertisers, and do you care? Of the two, that second question is the most important one. Honestly, if you don't care about the potential consequences (or if the potential consequences are worth saying what you have to say) then you've got free reign. But if you're concerned about backlash, in either direction, then sharing your political beliefs may not be a good move. That said, not all blog benefits can be measured in visitors or dollars; there's something to be said for taking a stand and having an opinion. Just be prepared for the fallout.
- Whatever you choose, be consistent. Don't be completely for something one week, and totally against it the next. Being ‘wishy-washy' makes you appear inconsistent and like you're just trying to go after what's popular (i.e. chasing pageviews). Needless to say, that can completely destroy your credibility. If you have strong feelings about a topic, but aren't 100% sure or you don't have enough information to support your feelings, it's totally okay to wait until you're more sure or until you have more information before sharing on your blog.
I want to wrap up with something I heard from Elisa Camahort Page of BlogHer at last week's Blogging While Brown (paraphrased), “Everything you share should be true, but you don't have to share everything.” When it comes to your politics and your blog, you should only say what you believe, but that doesn't mean you have to say everything you believe.
What do you think about the intersection of politics and fashion blogging? Is it ever appropriate to share your political views on your blog? Have you done so before, and if so, how did it turn out? Let's get a conversation going in the comments!
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