Taylor first asked me to write this blog post for them after a conversation we had one day. We had spent the afternoon drinking coffee in the park and catching up. At some point the conversation turned to blogging and the sex blogging community.
Admittedly, I’m not the most active blogger, but the reasons why are precisely the reason Taylor ask me to write this. Sex blogging, and blogging in general, isn’t as accessible as it seems. Blogging is supposed to be this equalizing force that gives voice to voices that used to be unheard. Yet that’s not how blogging communities tend to work.
In order to fix a problem, we have to identify what the problem is. So why is it so difficult for people of colour, and especially disabled people of colour, to actually make it into the blogging community? It’s not like there aren’t plenty of voices or bloggers that exist. Once you see the issues, the answers to them start to fall right into place.
The only way that you can include POC is if you actively support them. As I’ll get into later, POC have a harder time getting taken seriously. And it’s more difficult to get taken seriously because our narratives have been written by other people for so long. So the worst thing you can do is use a racial issue for your own content. Just because you know something is an issue, and just because you have an audience, doesn’t give you the license to write on it. It does however give you the opportunity to include a POC’s voice.
If you have a friend of colour on your news feed that you see speaking passionately on the topic, reach out to them. Give them the platform. Even if they don’t have a blog, or a fan following, or a portfolio. If they do, then just share their posts on the subject. You don’t have to add your opinion, you don’t have to mention that you are giving space to POC. Regularly link back to other POC blogs. For every issue with a white perspective, there’s also a POC perspective. Find them and link back to them. Give them your platform. This is something that anyone could do, whether you’re a blogger or not. If you’ve got social media, you have the ability to give POC a platform.
And if you have questions and/or if you’ve read an opposing point of view from another POC, engage with us. Don’t hide in order to save your reputation as infallible ally. Don’t forget that internet success is measured by those engagements. It doesn’t help your friend to PM them a question about their blog, leave it in the comments instead.
Our Voices – Respect Them, Don’t Speak Over Them
Privilege. There it is. A word often thrown around in the community, but it’s such a contentious point. It’s easy to see when you don’t have it, but who likes knowing we’ve gotten someplace because of it? That’s exactly what you’re gonna have to do if you want to see more Black and Brown voices being represented. The big elephant in the room when it comes to blogging, is that privilege still matters.
No one likes to admit it, but there’s a truth that POC already know: people are more likely to believe a white person. The truth of the matter is that when it comes to blogging, we’re held to different standards. When speaking on racial issues, POC (and especially Black and Indigenous folks) are always asked to bring up facts, statistics, proof. And their lived experiences don’t count. Have you ever had someone in the same room as you parrot something you just said but still get the credit for it? I know I have. I also know that I’ve been thanked for “eloquently explaining” a concept that I am just repeating from Black women in the same conversation.
If you want more POC voices, you have to start listening to them. You have to take their word for it, and you have to respect that they have a different perspective on every part of life. You also have to respect that each POC is still just one person and don’t define every experience. My experiences as a brown transmasculine person is going to be very different than the experiences of a Black trans woman. And if you see a friend, a fan, a family member, another white stranger, question that responsibility, you have to act on it.
It’s a sad fact but when a white voice supports a POC, other white people are more willing to listen.
Blogging isn’t exactly a lucrative income source, especially when it comes to sex blogging. As many sex bloggers know, it’s not easy to get advertising, forget advertising that jives with you ethically. POC shouldn’t have to spend their time researching for a blog that doesn’t make them money to prove that their opinions are of worth. If you add disability to the play, it makes it an even bigger hurdle.
We can’t always spend the time we need to on the aspects of blogging that make you successful because we can’t afford to spend time on unpaid work. If the payout isn’t by the time rent is due, we could be using that time for something that will. If you’re disabled there are even fewer working hours available to you, for your side hustle, and your day job. So things like self-promotion and editing tend to fall by the wayside.
If you want to show that you support for people of colour, then you’re going to have to put your money where your mouth is. If you want a guest post, pay for it (like I’m currently being paid for this post). You want to include more POC in your featured photos? Pay your models. And if you can’t pay us, then help us find someone who can. Recommend their work to your editors, point potential sponsors in their direction, do whatever you can to help POC survive.
It shouldn’t be up to each individual POC to insert themselves into “inclusive” communities and create diversity. That responsibility should fall on the shoulders of every member of the community – including the ones who created the community to start with. From the Internet Famous to the grey-faced commenter, it is everyone’s responsibility to be as inclusive as we claim. If you want to call the sex-positive movement intersectional, then you have to prove your allyship again and again.
Mari Ramsawakh is a freelance writer, podcast producer, and angry disabled nonbinary queer. They have been published on The Establishment, xoJane, Daily Xtra, Leafly, the Varsity, and more. They also have just started a podcast called Sick Sad World to explore true crime from an intersectional lens. You can see more of their work at www.IndivisibleWriting.com.