This is My Kingdom, No Apologies Here

Sunday, 17 June 2012

What’s this, I hear you ask, two posts in one weekend? Why yes, that’s what happens on this blog: it’s anarchy, no rules! Okay, I’m being a bit silly here, but there is a reason for it. This blog is not structured the way some other blogs are. Any regular features that I do have happen when I feel like posting them, or when I’m compelled to write about them, not through a set and pre-determined schedule. I tried that once with my poetry, trying to post it on Wednesday as a regular feature. This failed miserably, because this blog, and my written content, are rarely things that can be scheduled neatly. They just happen. Do I therefore think my blog is better than blogs that do schedule their content? Absolutely not. Some of the best blog features I like happen regularly, on the dot, on specified days. Is this a critique of blogs that are different from mine? Nope. So why am I talking about this? Here’s the deal ...

I get tons, and I mean tons, of unwanted and unasked for ‘suggestions’ and ‘advice’ from strangers and marketing companies on a regular basis, telling me what I need to do to turn my blog into a ‘popular’ one. While some of these suggestions mean well, the majority are thinly veiled attempts to turn me into a type of ‘brand’ to be exploited, or, when they come from individuals, to make snide remarks about my blog. These are some of the complaints of what’s ‘wrong’ with my blog (things in quotation marks are direct quotes):

: : My content is too “controversial” and I should “tone down the feminism”
: : “Women find smart women intimidating”, I should consider simplifying my language to be more “accessible”
: : My posts are “too long” and I’m “too articulate” (seriously!)
: : I’m too “opinionated”
: : My posts should aim to be “no more than 350-500 words”
: : I shouldn’t say I have a PhD, because that implies “you’re better than everybody” (WTF?)

I could add more, but I’m getting angry again just typing these. Let me answer all of the above in a few simple words: no way, ever, not going to happen. Firstly, the presumption that it’s okay to ‘advise’ me in this manner is wholly condescending, and honestly, I highly doubt a male blogger would get such emails on a regular basis, as if he were some child in need of guidance. Men with opinions are allowed to be smart, serious and articulate, but when women do it they are “intimidating”, threatening and unrelatable. I’ve worked hard for my education, and English is my second language. I am proud of the fact that I have studied, that I can express myself well and that I choose to be serious on matters that are important to me. And if this alienates or intimidates anyone, tough; I can’t control how others respond to me. I will not bend myself to please others on my own blog. I’m not here on this earth to be eternally pleasing to everyone around me, and neither is any other woman.

There is this constant subtext that women mustn’t rock the boat on blogs, that they must represent a ‘mass appeal’ to the public, men, other women and their readers that makes them all feel good about themselves. Guess what? That’s not my function in life, I wasn’t born to serve anyone else. I have my own life to lead, and if I choose to write about the things that matter to me in long and serious prose, anyone who encounters my blog also has a choice to either read it, or not. But they do not have the right to tell me what to do.

I’ve been reading through some of my previous posts today where I’ve addressed some similar emails I’ve received. I cringed at my apologetic tone in some of my replies. And I felt like a hypocrite, because how can I expect other women to stand up for themselves, when I’ve apologised for being myself? So let me say this now: this is my kingdom, you’ll find no apologies here anymore about how I post, what I post, and when I post. But there is another issue here that is bigger than me alone.

This is the issue of what we want blogs to be, in a blogging culture that can often be largely dominated by women. Blogging can be such a wonderful medium for women to voice both their lives and wider concerns. Do we want all blogs to become market-driven, homogeneous ‘brands’, constructed and polished by companies, or are we going to demand diversity in the blogs that are popular? Yes, okay, let’s have mass-driven brand blogs because some women rightfully want to aspire to that. Nothing wrong with that. But let’s also have different blogs alongside them, and let’s not assume everyone likes the same things. This is a topic that I’ve been thinking about after reading this article on lifestyle blogs by Holly Hilgenberg. I also read some of the comments below it, and while I agree with some of the criticism aimed at this article, I also think some of the comments missed the point. To me, this article was not an all-out attack on all lifestyle blogs, or popular bloggers. Rather, it was a way of starting a discussion about the lack of diversity in the blogs that are popular.

Whenever I talk about aspects of lifestyle blogs, my comments get misinterpreted, as if I am suggesting that there is something ‘wrong’ with lifestyle blogs per se. Not at all, this is not about judgement. Each woman (and man) to her own. There is nothing essentially ‘wrong’ with any of those blogs, and some of the smartest women I’ve encountered through blogging run such blogs (who I consider to be my friends). I’m terrible at delivering beautiful lifestyle and fashion content, which is why I leave it to other bloggers. My interests also lie elsewhere, and I think it should be possible to enjoy a variety of blogs without requesting that they all be the same and imitate one another.

The problem as I see it however, is that the majority of ‘advice’ about blogging I read, and conferences on blogging I hear about, seem to imply a general model of blogging for all, where diversity is killed off. And as Holly Hilgenberg notes, the blogs that tend to get imitated on a mass level are those that “reflect the most limiting vision of traditional femininity”. As much as I know that I will probably lose favour and readers by stating this, I agree. But the other side of me finds it hard to critique any female blogger who works hard to create a blog that may support herself and her family, even if I may not agree with her politics. There are no easy answers to this debate, we just have to be real, voice our honest opinions and keep talking about this matter. So by saying I agree, I’m not attacking other women or other blogs, I’m simply asking for more diverse voices to make it to the ‘top’ list of popular bloggers. And I’m also asking that people stop trying to make me fit into a mould that really shouldn’t be placed on women in the first place.


Kelly said...

Oh Hila, thank you for this. It couldn't have come at a better time, as I'm having a bit of blog-content crisis myself the last few days. I love coming over here and reading your long and smart and inspiring posts on so many subjects, feminism included.

As a somewhat new blogger, and a somewhat older (over 40) woman, I've felt a little backed into a corner -- and I've done it to myself, granted. Time to take a step back, stop comparing myself so much to other, more successful blogs and just be myself again. Long posts and all.

Mariella said...

I haven't read the article but I'll do it soon. I suspect though I will agree with you, I wrote a post on the subject not long ago. All I can say for now, is thank you, as always for honestly sharing your opinion with us on such an interesting topic. As far as I am concerned once I have stopped being worried with popularity, I enjoy the much more intimate dimension that writing a small blog gives. The freedom to write how and what you want, to give a different contribute and perspective to the mainstream content delivered by the most popular blogs. And I love hanging out with my very few readers. Catching up with their lives. This makes me feel like every time I read and comment, I am going to visit some friends and have a little chat. Which is why I ignore these silly emails. I don't get many of them fortunately but this imperative to fit into a "blogging" model is just stupid. If we give up our opinions to serve the "masses"or the Internet system or whatever we miss a big opportunity, to share our unique voices and we essentially kill the very essence of blogging.

Fiona said...

Thank you so much for writing this so clearly. I read the article you tweeted, and although I agreed with much of the sentiment in the article, after reading a few of the comments I went away feeling disheartened. You've managed to write this very clearly, without apology (and rightly so), but without a finger pointed at the women who choose to create a 'brand' with their blog which they can then profit out of.

wingeddeer said...

Thank you Hila, and yes please stay yourself and keep your blog the wonderful thing that it is. And never ever tone down the feminism! we need more of it in this world, and especially of your sort - intelligent, articulate, kind and unyielding. It is one of the reasons I love coming to your blog.

Anaïs said...

Waw, that's some pure misogyny you get there. I do find your posts on the long side sometimes, but that's my problem, not yours.
I don't understand why people feel like blogs are there especially for them, and feel like they have a right to command bloggers to write about this or that.

BrigittaR said...

Hi Hila,

I recently went on a blog hunt to find new, interesting and Australian blogs to read. I found yours. You're right, it does stand out. The volume of imitation blogs is astounding, so I really noticed yours.

I have a professional interest in the advice and conferences around blogging, so my opinion is swayed by that. That said, I think that such advice exists to allow women to turn their blogs into (small) businesses. I never teach blogging in a generic "everyone do x" kind of way, rather how can I help build a unique audience, help bloggers/brands find their voice and create the right content (for them). It all sounds a bit la-di-da at times but professional help can be of great assistance to some. And I agree, it's not advice for ALL bloggers.

As blogging has become a professional tool (even a career path) some seem to think that that's what every blogger wants. No so.

I'm shocked by the feedback you get. Rest assured that this new reader has no desire for you to "tone down the feminism", shorten your posts or be less articulate!

Thanks for reading/writing.

Rusty said...

I recently discovered your blog and stuck around for the very reason that it isn't a 'keeping-up-with-the-jones' effort. Thank you for your personal and honest view of the world as you see it. Don't change that for anyone!

Amelia said...

I read the article and the comments. I felt very sad when I read how angry women are that other women are living this seemingly perfect life (in the comments). I personally thought that the article was well written and thought provoking and it made me google mormon blogs.

I got so angry when I read that list of suggestions. It really made my blood boil.

Chuck said...

Seriously, what?? So many questions. How can they think that? And, if they think that, why do they feel the need to email you about it? How do they feel entitled to tell you how to run your blog? Why do they think blog readers are morons? Why can't women be educated or feminist or wordy? (How is English your second language?? Yours is one of the most most well written blogs I read - wow!). Don't apologise, your kingdom is awesome. X

Petra said...

great post, even though in a way you shouldn't even be writing this. this is your personal space, and it's like walking into someone's home, your home, and telling you how to run your household. you have no commercial agenda either. not that this would give anyone the right to voice their opinion unasked.

I often wonder where this tendency is coming from, that everyone is having a public(!) opinion on everything, regardless if they have any qualifications to do so. I'm not denying anyone the right to think whatever they want, but unless I have some idea about the subject I'd be damn careful to make it public. but then again, who gives a f*** about education these days... or putting any effort into achieving their goals. instant gratification and success, please...

it's the anonymity of the internet. I doubt people would be so forthcoming with their critique if they had to do it in person and defend their arguments.

as to lifestyle blogs, I haven't read the hilenberg article but will do so next. generally I think to each their own. I tried the lifestyle, design and decoration route, but like you it's just not working for me. I admit, I'd love to have a blog that would make me some money. and I hugely enjoy some of the very successful ones. but aside from not having it in me to be cheerful and happy all of the time I also don't like the rampant consumerism that is promoted by most of them. it's insane. we, all of us, are facing huge problems, the lifestyle of the western world is anything but sustainable, so talking about yet another idea of how to decorate for a summer party, generating even more garbage while wasting more and more resources seems grossly negligent...

oh, I better stop here...

Maša said...

Thanks for reminding me to stay true to myself! You have to be somehow different to become visible in the blogosphere, so it's actually counterproductive if you're trying to fit in a specific mold. As a (former) people pleaser I have to constantly remind myself that I don't have to follow the rules of a popular blog.

I was surprised to read that you receive tons of "advice", especially of this kind. Your blog is amazing, even more so because of the things you "shouldn't" do. I don't know how many readers you have, but I have an impression that you inspire many individuals, who appreciate what you do. I wish more bloggers would pure their hearts out instead of writing another "things I have to buy" post.

hungryandfrozen said...

Brilliant post, Hila. The fact that you receive such unsolicited, condescending "advice" is in itself pretty heinous, but the content of it - the idea that women's writing should be unintimidating and so on and so forth - ugh! Good on you for speaking out, and I appreciate that you do so in a way that doesn't condemn any other writers (not that I was expecting you to.)

Interesting that you mention your older posts having an apologetic tone- sometimes I read through my older posts and cringe at the things I said - but then it's nice to know I"ve learned a lot along the way too.

Danielle P. said...

I’ve worked hard for my education, and English is my second language. I am proud of the fact that I have studied, that I can express myself well and that I choose to be serious on matters that are important to me.

I have my own life to lead, and if I choose to write about the things that matter to me in long and serious prose, anyone who encounters my blog also has a choice to either read it, or not. But they do not have the right to tell me what to do.

These are the two passages that prompted me to punch the air and say "yessss" (in my head, of course). You are intelligent and articulate, and this is your blog. That really should be all there is to it. I cannot understand how anyone could think it acceptable to comment on the topics you write about and the way in which you express yourself. Kudos to you for ignoring those meddlesome people and following your own path!

Miche said...


Miche said...


Kathleen said...

I love your blog for it's content. I follow several blogs for several reasons, some are eye candy, some are political, cultural, and so on. I am not a one dimensional person and therefore love variety. Do you what you think best, however; I love your blog for being your blog.

Karenina said...

Wow, I can't believe people leave comments of that nature. Good for you to openly challenge them and show them you will do as you please! F@ck the haters.

Keep up the great intelligent, passionate blogging!

Sarah Rooftops said...

Oh, for heaven's sake - suggesting you have to run a lifestyle blog because that's what all the cool kids are doing is like suggesting that all books should be chick lit or all films should be romcoms or all chocolate should be heart shaped because that's what's popular with the mass market these days. The best of culture is when somebody finds a new approach or a new angle; it might not be the most popular creation, but it will be unique and somehow special. I'm so glad you're not backing down on this one.

Siubhan said...

I think you might be my hero, Hila. Reading that list made me so cross. Their rudeness aside, I wonder why on earth anyone would assume that a PhD and an intelligent outlook would be alienating and intimidating. That's both insulting to you and to readers of blogs everywhere. I so enjoy reading your words and hearing your opinions and I very much admire your refusal to be influenced by such nonsense.

I've read that article twice now since you posted it on twitter, and found it so interesting. I find the 'blogging conference'-style attempts to homogenise blogs into a 'popular' mould very strange, as diversity is surely massively important when we have this open platform on which to express ourselves. I also see it as very short-sighted actually, as what is 'popular' now rarely stays that way for long, and I often wonder what the focus and the readership of the 'popular' blogs will be in 10 years' time, say.

Anyway, I second Chuck: your kingdom is awesome already.

Ana said...

I really like your blog BECAUSE is different, and I like that I have something to read that is longer than 3 lines. Also, I can't believe English is not your firs language! Hopefully I'll be able to write so articulately some time soon.

Keep on doing whatever you feel like! :)

Olive said...

and this is why I read your blog!

Carolina said...

Hi Hila,

I was actually talking to my partner the other day about how much I appreciate when your posts pop up in my reader feed. It is such a refreshing part of my blog reading, because so many of the other blogs in my feed fit that stereotyped lifestyle format. As I'm reading through the link you shared, I feel relieved that other people are putting out there the thoughts and feelings I've been having the last 5ish years. I even took an Indie Business online workshop with Elsie of A Beautiful Mess, mentioned in the shared article, several years ago.

I found it so disheartening. It seemed to me that everything was more about posting about fashion, homemaking, and crafting rather than about the actual products people wanted in their Etsy stores. While I was wanting to have a photography shop I kept being advised to write content that would encourage other bloggers to "Sponsor" my blog (i.e. buy advertisement space on my sidebar). By the end of the online workshop I actually felt depressed and confused. Sponsors hunting and gathering like that seems so counterintuitive to running an indie business, in my opinion, as the whole point of indie is to be different from corporate. I've been struggling a lot since that workshop to try and figure out what to share on my blog, sometimes giving in and cycling through posts akin to what was touted in the workshop.

The amount of gratitude I feel towards you for writing the way you do and about what you do can't be correctly expressed in my limited experience with written expression. When I come to your space on the internet I feel like I, the reader, am spoken to as an equal intelligent human being. I feel inspired to continue learning about so many things. I think the influence your writing has had on me even touched on deciding my college emphasis when I was able to go back to school the beginning of this year. Anthropology is not something for the faint of heart. I feel like you helped me realize again how much potential I have and to do something I love and that challenges me, not something mainstream society thinks I should do as a woman.

So thank you,


Karolina said...

The "problems" some people find problems with your blog are precisely the reasons I read it. Great post - keep on writing the way that suits you!

It's so sad that anything over 350-500 words is nowadays considered too long. What's wrong with our modern attention span? The fact that your articles are longer makes them memorable.

Iren said...

Hi Hila

put it that way: these people with such comments are just testing you. In the end, unconsciously, they make you stronger in what you are... GREAT!

Best, iren

rooth said...

Hila, you very appropriately brought up that people use blogs to accomplish different objectives. And it's up to you and only you to determine what the objective is. You obviously know how to stay strong to yourself and your message so you don't need me to tell you to keep it up but I always appreciate that you encourage others as well. The blogosphere can be such a positive, inspiration and encouraging place and I visit your blog for that exactly

Olga Bennett said...

Hila, thank you for being who you are and for you courage to talk about this so openly. Thank you for writing your blog the way you do and not following the advice you are given. I really enjoyed reading that article and your post.

I have noticed that I tend to unsubscribe from any blogs that tend to work on a schedule, like it's the first sign that it's going in the direction I am probably not going to enjoy... And I don't think a single blog I read could be classified as lifestyle...

I only wish I had more time to read your posts and write thoughtful comments, rather then quick ones like I'm writing now. Please know that what you do is extremely valuable to me and I bet many others. But I'm sure you already know this.

I think a lot of people out there would like to have a possibility to use your incredible writing skills to promote their values and products, to make more money, and it infuriates them that they can't.

I would not be offended if you decide not to post this comment on your blog, it's your kingdom. :)

Hila said...

Hey guys, I just wanted to say: thanks so much for your kind words and support. I do want to reiterate one point, so that it's absolutely clear: I am in no way suggesting that my type of blog is better than anyone else's, and I would really hate this post to be interpreted as an attack on a specific kind of blog or bloggers. What I'm advocating here is greater diversity in the blogs that are picked up and promoted on a mass scale by the media and the public, not a 'competition' of 'what blog is better', or finger-pointing, and the like. That's not my intention at all.

I think, regardless of whether you happen to enjoy a particular woman's blog, we should not knock each other down. BUT, it should also be possible to talk about how things like race, sexuality, gender and family-economic status influence blogging culture, alongside celebrating the success of female bloggers who do 'make it'. I hope that all comes through in this post.

I was just worried that this post would be interpreted as me advocating a polarising approach to blogging, which I definitely don't. I'm not in a position to judge anyone. I am however in a position to know what works for me.

I will of course respond to your comments individually when I have the time :) In the meantime, thanks again!!

heather said...

I really appreciate your response to this topic because even though I do enjoy a good "lifestyle blog," the sameness and the edge it creates for comparison and branding troubles me. I have been a part of the blog world for a while, but that lifestyle niche is not something I fit into at all. Your journal is refreshing because of your honesty and your thoughtful content paired together. I ended up feeling like my voice would just add to the noise of the blog world, so I made a creative writing story blog to ease a bit of the noise and give a bit of that refreshment your blog also gives. So thank you!

Nit said...

I didn't know you got so much condescending advice! When I get it, it gets me all ironic and cinic and I always want to answer with my most droll tone that of course I'll do as they say because they know better than little me... to, of course, keep on doing things my way.
Seriously? Education in a woman threatens? WTF?
For my part, I love to read your intelligent posts, so this one wont actually put me off, on the contrary, it's made me a more faithful reader.

Kate said...

Hila, I hope these thoughtful and supportive comments show you that your kingdom is a welcome refuge for many of us. I'm not a reader of the big 'lifestyle blogs' because the content tends not to resonate with me. I don't mind that they exist and are enjoyed. But I appreciate the same acceptance in reverse. An acceptance that women are diverse in their views and passions and choices. That some of us value long posts, long words, debate. The interwebs is a big space; it should be big enough for all the variety and contradictions that we as women contain - shouldn't it?

Craig said...


I like your blog and it's far from offensive. The links to pictures and real events are appropriate and add something special to the words, like the kind of book that catches your eye in a bookshop. It's an interesting question how much of the tone and content of any blog is cultivated for a particular effect. I imagine this will range from personal reflections to attention-seeking blogs that aim to generate hits for advertising revenue. For anyone that writes because they like the feel and human connection of words, a blog, journal or post is something to drink up and enjoy for what it is. If both the author and reader can lose themselves in that experience, or see some new truth that would otherwise have passed them by, then it will transcend the medium, just as a good book can. Thank you for creating and sharing.

Sally said...

It continues to be hard for me to fathom that there are people who go around policing blogs, that they believe that's a worthy use of time, as if they don't know the whole point of blogs is personal expression...

I echo everyone's sentiments in that we stand behind you, and obviously those marketers don't know what they're on about when your blog strikes a chord with so many. (And for what it's worth, your blog seems quite popular to me!).

I'm so sorry you get the annoying, unbelievable offensive emails; I have a hard enough time blogging honestly even without such overt judgy-ness!

Bethany said...

I find myself so absolutely enraged by those complaints, Hila. You're supposed to hide your PhD? And "women find smart women intimidating"?! That is so immature and insecure. These comments are an insult to women everywhere... and I'm curious, were these complaints made by other women? I wouldn't be surprised if so.

[Okay, I'm done raging now.]

I have struggled with this idea, too, of fitting the mold of "successful" bloggers. I try to do things like keep my word length to 700 or less and create sleek formatting so that it's easy to read and digest in that regard, but I've been inspired by blogs like yours that stand firmly outside the "norm" of lifestyle blogging. I appreciate your voice. I appreciate your perspective. And I've let it challenge me to be more deep and authentic with my own blog, and not follow the mold like so many bloggers are prone to do. So keep up the good work, Hila. And thanks for being bold enough to say no to their ridiculous criticism.

Anonymous said...

I read your blog because I love your passion for things outside house and family. It is like running into an old friend and finding out what is on their mind at that moment. If passion bacomes wordy, that is the way it sometimes is. Excitement can be contagious. Keep up the great work.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

With blogs and all else, we are best when we let our true selves shine. You are so correct in saying this is your kingdom. I applaud you for doing precisely what you please.

Teresa said...

I find it amazing (and so insulting for you) to be receiving such unwanted and completely wrong advice. I can completely understand how you would feel angry about it.

I have nothing against lifestyle bloggers. They're happy doing what they're doing and when it comes down to it. Isn't that what's blogging about? If you're trying to blog to become just like another blogger than there really isn't much point.

Keep doing what you do! I love reading your lengthy and thought provoking posts. They're a breathe of fresh air in amongst a world of sameness.

Anonymous said...

Hi Hila - I started off fuming at those ridiculous comments people presumed to write to you, and I'm still mad at them, but when I got to the bit where you said English is your second language, I started to think that those people are actually kind of hilarious. Your gift of self-expression is wonderful, and the fact that what you write on this blog is perhaps not always expressed in the language that comes most naturally to you verges on ridiculous; I'm a fan of yours, and I'm envious! I wish that stupid people and what they have to say could be brushed away like little insects but I know they can't, so please take some comfort in the knowledge that you have a rare gift, and even though morons seem to have a greater sense of duty to dispense advice than others, what they say is about them, not about you.

I'm posting this anonymously because I don't want to embarrass you, but I'm a long-time reader, frequent commenter, and a big fan of "intimidating", "articulate" women, even if they do have PhDs. Dear lord.

Alia et Libris said...

Hi Hila,

I absolutely loved this post. There are so many lovely blogs out there but there does seem to be a lot of duplication and I find myself gradually being drawn into trying to do the same thing with my little blog. But I can't. I'm not a great photographer, I'm not that into fashion or craft or have masses of artistic talent. I just want to write about how I feel about my life and the people and things and experiences in it. I have a bit more courage to do so after reading your post. You write beautifully and intelligently and I really enjoy the way you express yourself. Women can be so supportive of each other but on the other hand they can be so brutal to each other. We are all individual people, we express ourselves differently. If one is able to have a wildly popular blog and make money out of it then fabulous, go for it. If one just wants some space to express themselves in their own way, away from the majority of the crowd, then that should be fine to. My blog will never make any money or become wildly popular, I have one follower, but that means that there is at least one person who enjoys reading what I write. A blog no matter how big or small in stature has value because the person who writes it has value. It's an encouragement to me to see that you won't be swayed by those who mean well but don't respect the freedom that exists for you to express your self in your own individual way. And yes, what on earth is "too articulate" xx

Nina said...

All those things some advise you to change are exactly the reasons why I enjoy your blog so much and why it stands out amongst a sea of blogs with just "pretty" content. For me those blogs are a form of light entertainment - that I enjoy but that mostly doesn't leave a very big impression. Your blog on the other hand makes me think.
Never "dumb" yourself down to make someone else feel better about themselves - otherwise we'll all live in an "idiocracy" (great film btw) some day.

Anonymous said...

Spot on Hila! I have little tolerance for people who give advice on how someone should run their blog when it is not asked for. Just as you said, they do not have to continue reading if they do not like it! Your elaborate discussions and fine language are some of the reasons why I (and I suspect others too) love your blog.
x Lovisa

Jo said...

I actually cannot believe people have said such ridiculous things to you. And please never tone down your content or be less of a feminist. That's who you are. That's why I love your blog. And take it from this smart woman, I am not intimidated by other smart women, but instead feel an instant kinship with them and respect for them. Congrats on taking a stand, Hila. You and your blog are what you want it to be, so carry on your merry way and ignore any negativity thrown your way.

Heidi said...

Hi Hila,
keep up the good work. I don't feel intimidated by your content, on the contrary it's your choice of topic and the great writing which I'm attracted to. And isn't that the great thing about the internet, that you choose what interests you and thereby what you read, so I don't understand why people are complaining all the time about content. Why don't they go and find something to their liking. Here is to diversity!

Glen said...

Annnnnd this is exactly why I read your blog (all the way from NYC)! I find it's very difficult to ask for diversity in anything without someone assuming that diversity = value judgement. We are complex, multifaceted people, why can't blogs reflect the same?

Hila said...

Kelly: you can always 'un-back' yourself from a corner :) It's your blog and no-one else's, so maybe that corner doesn't even exist. Do what makes you happy!

Mariella: I agree, but I also think 'the masses' are underestimated, or generally treated like idiots. I hate that too.

Fiona: I'm definitely not finger pointing here, that would be incredibly pretentious and mean. I don't think the article I linked was finger pointing either, I think it was just interrogative, and this is often interpreted as 'negativity', which is a shame.

wingeddeer: thank you! I think we need more feminism too.

Anais: yep, misogyny plain and simple.

BrigittaR: I'm not even against turning my own blog into a career one day, but I don't think I need to change who I am, or fit into a mould to do so. At this moment, I really have no idea what I want this blog to be, other ahan an outlet for my writing and the things I care about. I understand that there are people like you offering good advice to bloggers, and I don't mean to make you feel bad at all. I guess I'm talking about the bigger trends, and the 'advice' I've received myself, some of which is appalling.

Rusty: thanks!

Amelia: I thought the article was well-written too, and quite reasonable. The comments left me a bit disheartened though.

Chuck: good questions! Care to be my assistant? :) I don't know sometimes, I really hope some emails are just trolling exercises, or jokes.

Petra: oh yes, that part about me needing to 'hide' my education, like it's something to be ashamed of, made me want to weep for humanity. Seriously? Some people would kill to have the chance to study. We should be so freaking grateful in the western world that we have access to it. And we should also be damn proud of educational achievement.

Masa: Thanks! I just don't see why these 'rules' are always necessary.

hungryandfrozen: ha, there's always the temptation for me to go back to my older posts and press 'delete', but maybe we need to own our cringe-worthy moments!

Danielle: A punch in the air right back at you :)

Miche: thank you!

Hila said...

Kathleen: exactly, we're not one-dimensional, so that's why variety is needed in blogs that are considered 'popular'.

Karenina: One day I'll compose a psychology course from the emails I get ;)

Sarah Rooftops: I just find the whole concept of dishing out this 'advice' so strange.

Siubhan: thanks! I thought that too - that my readers, and blogs readers in general were being insulted. I mean, what, are bloggers supposed to assume their readers are insecure morons who can't handle an educated woman? That's not only sexist, it's condescending.

Ana: thanks so much!

Olive: :)

Carolina: My parents own an independent business, created from my mum's art, so I know how hard it is to create a business model that is at once personal, as well as successful enough to make a living from. I really do think most bloggers who offer advice on this mean well, and sometimes their model will work for others, and sometimes it won't. But I hate to hear you feeling disheartened. But hearing that I contributed in some small way in your decision to further your education makes me thrilled. Good luck, I do believe in people's potential.

Karolina: I think we're perfectly capable of reading things longer that 350-500 words, we just get told otherwise.

Iren: I hope I get no more 'advice' tests then! ;)

rooth: I agree with every word :)

Olga: the funny thing is, I do actually write for other companies and organisations, that's part of my freelance writing work. So the 'advice' is really pointless. And don't worry Olga, I know people are busy and don't always have time to read my posts and leave a comment. That's totally fine. There's a big difference though between that and going out of their way to say what I 'should' do. And I always publish your comments!

Hila said...

heather: a creative writing story blog sounds so lovely, I really wish a blog like that would make it to a 'top 10' list one day - wishful thinking?

Nit: "Seriously? Education in a woman threatens? WTF?" Exactly! Ugh.

Kate: it should absolutely be so. I'm worried though that female bloggers are being painted with the same brush, which defeats the work of feminism, in my opinion. And yes, I find the comments here so supportive and warm, I'm so grateful for them all.

Craig: I agree with every word. There is so much potential in blogging, we should appreciate the differences, rather than seek to kill them off.

Sally: compared to other blogs, mine is 'small fry', but that's cool :)

Bethany: When I started blogging, I worried about the same thing too. It didn't last very long though because I just couldn't make myself shorten my posts and adhere to a certain format, just for the sake of it. I'm happy now that I've stopped caring, and stopped apologising for it all.

Gilly: And a lot of my own passion comes from other great blogs, so it's all connected. That's why I worry when women are given 'rules' they should follow.

Denise: thanks :)

Teresa: I tried not to feel angry, but that didn't work! I have nothing against lifestyle blogs either, I just don't run one. Each to their own.

Anon: You're not embarrassing me at all, and now I'm curious who you are :) Ah yes, women with PhDs are the new 'F' word - oh the horror, smart women!! Run and flee! So silly and sexist.

Alia et Libris: good question, what on earth is 'too articulate'? They might as well have said: 'you're a woman, act like a bimbo so you can be popular.' Sigh, I give up sometimes. But thanks :)

Nina: Thanks Nina, there will be no "idiocracy" in my kingdom ;)

Lovisa: thanks so much!

Jo: "I am not intimidated by other smart women, but instead feel an instant kinship with them and respect for them" I absolutely agree.

Heidi: I think the feminist content of my blog makes it easy to pick on - feminism is demonised so much. There are people who think it's their moral obligation to 'correct' a poor 'misguided' woman, ugh.

Glen: hello from NYC! I'm so jealous, I'd love to live there. I absolutely agree with you, and I wish that popularity would go hand in hand with diversity.

ailsa said...

hila, your blog is a ray of light and one of the few that i read religiously. please never, ever change. thank you.

inkandgardenia said...

Hi Hila!
I love this post! I'll stick around and read some more, but I wanted to comment first.
I love "lifestyle" blogs. I work in such a creativity-limiting environment that scrolling through my feed and reading about families, day-to-day adventures, recipes and seeing a bunch of beautiful images makes me happy. I'm getting married next year. I want to eventually have babies and be happy with my husband and wear clothes that make me smile.
I'm educated. I have a degree with first class honours. I'm in the middle of a Masters degree and I'm contemplating applying for a PhD soon. I WANT to read about what other educated, outspoken women (and men) have to say. I'm a 25-year old woman and I think for myself. I work hard on my relationship, on paying off my mortgage, on developing a life outside of work, on being there for my friends and family, and on learning new things.
I agree with your sentiments about the cookie-cutter mentality of some of these blogs. But I still love them for what they are. I read those blogs, and I read blogs like yours. My own blog is a stumbling, rather dull (to outsiders, at least) outlet, but it makes me happy. Isn't that what matters?

Michal said...

Thanks Hila, for blogging intelligent, thought-out content, and for not apologizing for it. This is what has kept me coming back since I first stumbled upon Le Projet D'amour. Your blog is one of the few that I still find interesting and it's an inspiration to me.

Amy said...

Here here! Please keep being your self Hila, since no one else can.

TC said...

I really like your blog and appreciate because it is different, intelligent,thought-provoking,inspirational and diverse in aspects you write about.

Joanna said...

Hear, hear! Good for you for standing up for yourself and your right to fashion your blogging kingdom into whatever form you want it to be. For what it's worth, I quite like the form it's in now.

Hila said...

ailsa: thanks for that :)

inkandgardenia: absolutely! I like to probe things, I like to know how our culture works, that why I talk about these things. It's not to finger point, or to suggest I have all the answers, but to keep asking questions and not be complacent. I like my eye-candy blogs too, it's just that I balance this appreciation with more difficult questions.

Michal: and thank you for reading!

Amy, TC and Joanna: thanks :)

caferennais said...

Dear Hila,

Thanks for this candid post about writing what is true to you. I visit your blog frequently because I love your content; about how you talk about your love for the Romantics, art, ballet, and movies. I receive so much inspiration and knowledge from what you share because I rarely find that in some blogs on the net.

I'm not saying this to make you feel you are superior (and like you said, you don't mean to give off that feeling), but your posts are of value to a loyal reader like me. I enjoy your posts on the exploring of the concept of "femininity" and of artists exploring their own creativity.

Great job to sticking to what is true and fulfilling for you. Keep on writing Sweetie! :)

Hila said...

caferennais: thank you! And I really appreciate that you understood I definitely wasn't suggesting any sense of superiority. I really am surprised that anyone reads this blog at all!

Maura said...

Thank you for refusing to apologize, for maintaining your own style, and for having a beautiful kingdom in this blog. Don't change it one bit, please. I love the fact that you are a strong, opinionated, well-educated, articulate woman. We need more people like you in the world, not less.

I'm so glad you choose to share your insight with all of us who choose to take the time and read more than 350-500 words.

Rambling Tart said...

Dearest Hila :-) I've been sick as blazes for the past two weeks and how I've missed reading your posts. I love that I get to come back to this one. :-) YOU GO GIRL!!! I too receive such things ranging from "don't write about personal stuff because nobody cares" to "you must hate God because you don't write about him on your blog." Wow. :-) People can be such funny creatures. I'm SO glad you're sticking to your guns and being brave and being YOU! We love you just the way you are: thoughtful, insightful, deep, clever, real, and smart as all get out. :-)

Hila said...

Maura: Thanks, much appreciated! It can be so disheartening sometimes.

Rambling Tart: wow, seriously? What strange comments you get! Glad to know I'm not the only one, people can be strange indeed. I'm sorry to hear you've been sick, I hope you're feeling much better now.