If you frequent sex education/review sites or follow us on Twitter, you have probably come across the term “blogsquad” (or “squad”, for short) before.
If you have, there’s a good chance that you haven’t been entirely certain what this term means, who it refers to, or how you can be part of it. You’re in luck! This piece is going to look into each of these things as well as discuss the origin sory of this designation.
This post is written from the perspective of someone who has felt like both an outsider and an insider, and who will probably always feel like both at various points in time. It’s written to every blogger who ever feels like they may not belong (though everyone is welcome to read the post no matter who they are).
The Origins and the Perception
I wasn’t around for this, but the story, as it was told to me, goes like this:
Back in 2015, several sex bloggers attended the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. Bloggers are, as a whole, an anxious bunch and thus often travel in packs rather than on their own. Because of this, one of the employees of Smitten Kitten jokingly called them “the Blog Squad” and the name stuck.
There really isn’t much written about what the blogsquad is, though the word is thrown around frequently by folks within the industry from bloggers to companies to ad campaigns (SheVibe even makes “BlogSquad” shirts, pillows, and phone cases).
When I first started my site two years ago, I saw this term on sites and in tweets and wasn’t sure what was meant by it. I tried googling it but couldn’t find any answers and so I assumed it was in reference to a core group of Elite Educators. I wasn’t sure what made these people “the Blogsquad” but chalked it up to their length of time blogging, notoriety, and reputation. I thought it was a core group of people.
I thought that MAYBE I could join if I went to a conference with these people or traveled with them or something? But I didn’t know if I could could be included, let alone how.
I assumed this was a static group of people – a group that could not change, a group I could aspire to be like, but could never be one of.
A year later, I ended up on a roadtrip with Bex, Kate, and Caitlin. Partway through the trip I realized that, by my assumptions, this might mean I was now a member of the Inner Group! When I asked the three I was traveling with if I now counted as blogsquad, I was met with a confused “Yeah, of course you do”. They ended up explaining how the term came to be and what it’s supposed to mean, reassuring me that yes, I was a part of it, and I apparently had been for a while. It was simply meant to describe any sexuality blogger who cares about feminism, body-safe toys, and creating better industry standards.
Why Didn’t I Simply Ask What it Meant Sometime in my First Year of Work?
So many reasons!
- I’m an anxious enby who is easily talked out of pursuing goals by “you will not ___” statements and I didn’t want to hear I wouldn’t be blogsquad and use that as a reason to give up
- Imposter syndrome
- Anxiety over approaching any of the folks within the perceived “Inner Circle”
- Not wanting to express my anxieties out loud and thus make them real
- Google didn’t tell me anything, so why would a blogger?
- Etc, etc
I could have asked. Had I asked, I would have saved myself a lot of worry about if I fit in or not (but who am I kidding, my brain would have found another reason to worry). Had I asked, I would have been welcomed.
But I didn’t.
And there was nothing I could find on my own to help me learn that my assumptions were wrong.
Spirit of the Word
Are you a sex blogger? Are you passionate about toy safety, about feminism, about ethical businesses? Then you’re part of the squad (if you want to be).
Do you wish members of the squad would talk to or support you more? Message someone! We may not immediately learn who you are and become friends right away, but every interaction helps us know your name, what you’re about, and your site – which is really the most important thing. People are busy or stressed and don’t have time to read everyone’s work, but we try to promote folks’ work when we see it come across our feed.
Introduce yourself to me if you’re a new blogger or if you just want to know more folks in the industry! I always want to promote other people’s work (such as in my monthly Spotlight feature – are you a blogger under a year old? Let me promote you!), and this can only happen if I’ve seen you around or if you contact me directly.
Honestly, even now that I know I “count” as part of the squad (hint: we all can, if we want!), I sometimes have trouble remembering that, because I have anxiety and bi polar, my brain likes to fuck with me, and I’m used to feeling as though I do not yet belong. My brain is always quick to supply me with reasons why I’m not as much as or as good as other people. It will always be able to whisper in my ear and tell me that I haven’t been blogging as long as Epiphora or I don’t post as often as Kate or that Sarah gets more advertisers than I do (and we’ve been blogging the same length of time!), or I’ll feel hurt when I see I’m not on someone’s list of “favourite blogs” 1, or I’ll see subtweets or gossip about shitty things bloggers do and wonder if it’s about me, or…But that’s on me. That’s my brain being a jerk and trying to cut me down. And it will use any chance it can get – even ones that are out of my control or I’m not actually bothered by – it’s just my brain looking for an excuse to sabotage me. I feel as though I’m a part of the community, but I feel uneasy with my inclusion in “the squad” itself. How much of that is leftover anxiety from my first year blogging, I don’t know.
But trust me when I say that you are just as much a part as I am – that you and your work are valid and an important contribution to the industry. People want you to be comfortable and feel secure in the community (though obviously not everyone will get along, as is the case with any group of people).
I have a strong personality, but inside I feel small, awkward, nervous, and word-vomit-y, trying desperately to put people at ease. My social anxiety typically manifests as me seeming extra outgoing, which can make me seem like an even stronger personality and even intimidating. Rest assured that, while yes, my personality is a lot, most of what’s intimidating is just a manifestation of my anxiety – I want to know you and am not trying to scare you off!
If you are for inclusive and upfront sex positivity, for feminism, for ethical business practices, and for affordable body-safe toys, you belong.
The blogsquad is not a club; you do not need an invite to be a part of it. All you need to do is be dedicated to the values I’ve talked about in the post and want to make connections with other folk.
This post has been a lot of rainbows and butterflies “you can be a part of the Blogsquad if you want to be, no matter what!”. But what about the very real experience of being or feeling excluded?
There have been some very real cases in which the blogsquad wasn’t as welcoming as it should have been. The blogsquad has hurt people, they/we have messed up and caused harm. There are some relationships that probably can’t be repaired, and this really bothers me a lot.
I’m really, really sorry that you weren’t treated better. I am absolutely not trying to gaslight you or make you feel like you aren’t heard. The point of this post is to share my experience as an insider who occupies that space critically and with a degree of discomfort. It’s meant to hopefully help new folk avoid feeling as I, and others, have.
For those who have been excluded in the past or currently, it’s meant to tell you that I see you. To say that I feel your hurt and frustration. The people in the blogsquad (myself included) don’t always respond the way that we should to conflict or to being called out. We aren’t always as welcoming as we could and should be. It takes a lot of effort to try and join a community that already has strong friendships. To start a new hobby or career. To attend events where you won’t know many people is really daunting. And if the initial reception isn’t a welcoming one, it can be hard to feel included in the future. Your hurt and/or anger is completely valid and legitimate; we, as a community, should do better. And I’m sorry that we’ve let you down before.
I want to include you, if you wish to be included. I want to be your friend, if you’re looking for friends. If neither of these things is what you want, reach out and let me know what you want and need. Let me know how I have messed up or where I can do better (or how the squad has messed up and can do better).
I want to do my best to foster an environment in which more people feel supported, welcomed, and included. And I want to do everything in my power to stop others from being hurt, shut out, and lonely in the future.
Let me know what you need or what needs fixing in the comments below, privately via Twitter DM, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- I have made a blogroll so many times and never end up posting them for this reason. Of course everyone is allowed favourites and those favourites won’t include all sites, but it can still hurt to go to the sites you love and not see yourself on their lists; even if you know they read your site or that they probably haven’t updated in a while or their list is quite short. I don’t want to make people feel excluded because they haven’t made “the list”. ↩