The Personal and The Political: How Much of Your Beliefs Should You Share Online?


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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11 Responses

  1. Lena Nozizwe

    My background is broadcast news, so when I ran into the Prop 8/DOMA rally in West Hollywood, my thought was why not take photos? I showed them to someone who is very conservative. His response was, “they are all good looking.” I had a commission to do a documentary about housing for LGBT seniors. I met up with one of my interview subjects there and ended up taking photos of her, and also shot some photos that ended up on my blog. My blog covers “style without boundaries.” So where I go, so goes the blog. I have seen such great street style, from all over Africa, to the audience at the collections in Paris for a Givenchy show. So I feel I am making more of a style statement than one of a political view. As a journalist I have routinely interviewed people who I did not agree with. My objective has been to understand people with different points of views. With my blog, it goes back to documenting street style “without boundaries.”

  2. Jennifer Novello

    Really interesting and very timely for me because today I am struggling as I write a post about the serious international issues surrounding the garment industry; such as child labor and unsafe working environments. I felt the need to start my post off with “I don’t usually bring up politics but…” I am still unsure of whether to publish this post, because I feel like my readers are going to think I am being to serious, too much of a downer and too political. But I have something that I feels needs to be said and it is very relative to the fashion blogging world. There is a fine balance between preaching and blogging. I hope I find it and my post can go live this weekend.

  3. Krystal

    I am also struggling with this in terms of the DOMA issue and Prop 8. Yesterday, I said I didn’t want to comment on the issue via my blog, because I didn’t want my readers in the LGBT community to think I was just covering it for SEO purposes and not being genuine. Today I struggle with it because I don’t want to alienate any of my readers. But, the more I think about it the less I care about repercussions and the back lash.
    I really want to show my support to my community. But its also a personal thing. I don’t talk about my sexuality on the blog because its not relevant, but I am not ashamed of it. I just have to come at this article from a cautious angle where I’m only sharing the thoughts I’m comfortable with sharing. This will be quite difficult.

  4. Lara

    A good q is that will those topics alienate readers.
    Otherwise, if your interests contain politics, religious things etä, IMO it’s totally ok to talk about those. I have never been turned off by those topics in a blog even if the writer has different views than I.
    I work for a political organization and I have naturally mentioned about my views several times – but I don’t say things in the name of politics, I just tell my opinions about society topics without mentioning my party.
    I have also mentioned my religious views without putting down those who think otherwise.
    I don’t know why these things should be some sorta tabu, usually people can have a civilizated convo even if they disagree.
    This was a good topic to write about.

  5. Catching Flight

    This is really interesting. I follow BR and Gap on Instagram and they got so much backlash on the posts they made about marriage equality. I was actually really surprised to see all the arguing going on in the comments.

    It just goes to show that political opinions will undoubtedly cause controversy. I think Gap can handle the “backlash” it as a big corporation but as blogger, you’ll probably end up alienating readers.

  6. CynthiaCM

    It depends on the topic. I retweeted DOMA/Prop 8 and even welcomed the US to the 21st century (I’m from Canada, where gay marriage has been official/legal nationally for some nine years), but some things that are even more controversial will likely NOT be tweeted. I won’t tell you how I voted, for example, nor would I tell you which candidate/political party I support. And if designers (or chefs/restaurant owners) have certain causes, I will definitely write about it too.

  7. Başak Çelik

    I am a makup blogger and may be some of you would know, we have been “resisting” in Turkey for the past month. It started to save “a couple of trees in Gezi Park” and then turned out to “resisting for our rights” after the police disproportionate intervension with cannon water and tear gas. Although I am a makeup blogger, I am a Turkish citizen as well, who cares about politics and believes to “make a statement” for the right. For the first week, I did not post in blog and used the “resistance” banner. After things started to calm down, I started posting, but I include a very brief and “kind of unbiased” summary of what happened that day at the beginning of every post. So far, I only had positive comments. I noticed I lost almost 5 followers; but gained much more, neither case was an issue for me, because I thought I should write about that.

    We keep resisting, and I keep including summaries to my posts. This is how I feel comfortable -both as a blogger and as a person.

    Best wishes…

    • Ashley "Ashe" Robison

      Just a quick sending love and thoughts your way, Basak! I’ve been trying to keep up with what has been going on in Turkey, and you all have my thoughts and prayers.

  8. Anastazja Oppenheim

    I mentioned gay marriage in a post about wedding gowns, and I’ve just written a post about Wendy Davis’ sneakers (and speech.) I often write about feminism, or workers’ rights, or other political and social issues in the context of fashion. Or the other way round, perhaps?
    Anyway, my readers know where I stand, and my worldview forms part of my blog’s identity. I try to keep it lighthearted, though, and make sure it’s always relevant.

  9. Ellegentsia

    If you’re afraid your readership can’t handle a little provocation, you’re swimming in shallow waters.

    Which has its place, but may be finite in long term engagement. There are only so many “OMG I love this” posts one can stomach.

  10. Margot

    I think that it’s complicated and messy and for the most part, your blog post, FB post or tweets are probably not going to sway anyone’s firmly held opinions. That said, as a mother of a thoughtful, smart, serious 15 year old daughter , I feel that by taking a stand and speaking out about the things that matter deeply to me I am showing her that she doesn’t have to be afraid to do the same. Making ourselves smaller to please others is a losing proposition. After all, women get enough of that already, don’t we? Still, you can express yourself in a thoughtful, compassionate and mindful way. If you’re just posting vitriol and snark, it’s not serving you or your readers. Though I have a DIY Fashion blog, I am far more than that and sometimes I feel compelled to post about issues that go beyond those topics.

    I have managed to have some very thoughtful exchanges about the recent US political events with people of vastly differing views and we’ve all walked away the better for it. No, we didn’t change our minds, but we did get some insight into a divergent views. That’s the point of the internet, isn’t it? Takeaway, engagement, connection?

    If you have to write it, write it out on your desktop. Walk away from it. Return with fresh eyes and make edits. If you still feel you need to share it, share it when you feel it makes a clear point without being a diatribe. Then you’re on to something powerful!