Talking about controversial topics on a blog is really emotionally exhausting. When I write about feminism or being pagan or my thoughts birth control, it honestly takes a couple of weeks to build up my nerve to actually publish the posts. I read over them again and again, agonizing that they might drive away readers or that I am not clearly enough stating my position.
I think it’s really fantastic that big internet personalities like Zoella have paved the way to talk about mental health issues like anxiety and depression. I have no words for how much that does to normalize the experiences many people go through and how it’s turned it into an open dialogue, something you don’t need to be ashamed of.
Yet why is it that I’m ashamed to talk about my spirituality or my ethical beliefs? I’m afraid that I might make people uncomfortable or isolate my readers. It’s one thing for me to talk about dessert recipes or beauty DIY projects, but heaven forbid I talk about something that actually makes an impact.
Part of the issue is unless you’re part of a blog niche that talks about race or other “uncomfortable topics,” we kind of expect blogs to not get into controversial issues. Most people don’t come to blog-land to think about contentious subjects, they come here to escape and indulge in pretty things like fashion photos. And I definitely think that there’s nothing wrong with enjoying something simple like that.
The problem is, to a certain degree, we expect to build a relationship with the bloggers we read. But how much can we actually know them if we don’t talk about things that actually matter and make us feel emotional? I love A Beautiful Mess – but all I know about them are shallow things like their favorite shoe styles, not the things that make them feel angry or excited or passionate when they’re talking with friends.
I also think that as someone who has the opportunity to share my views with others, I have a certain responsibility to the causes I feel passionately about to share my experiences with and views on those topics. One of the first blog posts I wrote was on the problem with the pit bull bias (forgive the terrible photos). I have done a lot of research to back up why breed specific legislation is complete BS and why pit bulls are unfairly targeted. If my research and my views can get even five people thinking more about an issue, than I have done something to improve the world.
But talking about breed specific legislation or animal rescues are both relatively safe topics here. Feminism or abortion is far more dividing, but maybe that makes it more important to discuss. Even though I can be sensitive to negative blowback (okay, VERY sensitive to negative blowback), I am working on having a thicker skin and being brave and speaking up for what I believe in. Because the blog posts that make people think – those are the ones that really matter.
Do you discuss controversial topics on your blog? How do you feel about the blogs you read discussing controversial topics (even if you disagree with them sometimes)?