Thursday, July 5, 2012

Blogging to Solve Problems vs. Blogging For Emotional Support

I have been reading Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus and something stood out for me that I can relate to my reasons for writing and reading blogs. The book basically highlights that:

  • A. Men in general (not all) work on their problems alone and only talk about their problems with others to seek advice or if the listener can actually help with their problem. If an outsider can't help, the man doesn't want advice, or doesn't believe the person can give good advice then he doesn't share because it would not help him to solve the problem. 
  • B. Women in general (not all) share their problems because it feels good to say the problem to someone who will show them concern and caring. It is a way of showing another woman they are trusted to know the problem and the listener can show their caring. The woman feels good by sharing and usually isn't seeking advice or solutions only to be listened to without judgement.
When I first started blogging I had a personal blog in a blog community. I wrote about personal issues and was given support (sometimes advice) and I did the same for other members of the community. I formed "blogger friendships" online that supported me when my offline friends were far away or busy. I read posts about personal problems, offered supportive words, and wrote about my problems/frustrations/rants, and received emotional support in return. It was reciprocal and I actually cared what others thought of me. Now I reserve purpose B conversations for my offline friends who come from similar backgrounds and can understand my thinking.

However, nowadays my online writing and reading is primarily for purpose A, to find advice/instruction that will help me achieve my goals or writing to help me achieve my goals. For example, when I first went natural I read natural hair blogs because they provided instruction I did not have about caring for my hair, inspiration to stay on my journey by posting photos of gorgeous hair, and motivation to keep going by dispelling natural hair myths and fears. My problem was that I wanted gorgeous natural hair and the internet provided the instruction, inspiration, and motivation I needed. Now that I have achieved that goal I don't read them much anymore. I am doing the same thing with my goal to become the ultimate feminine woman by seeking instruction regarding feminine behaviour, appearance, and values; inspiration from feminine women and photos of role models; and motivation to stay on track from other women with the same goal. Reading blogs for purpose A improves my mood because I feel happy that my goals will soon be achieved and they are not impossible. All of my offline reading is for the same purpose of helping me with a goal (e.g., dating, cooking, improving my career, educational etc.). 

Unfortunately when I read many popular, non-personal Black blogs there are too many posts with purpose B, to allow the writer to vent about a problem/frustration, find support from people who have the same problem/opinion that something is a problem, and for others to vent about the issue in the comments. Sometimes someone offers solutions (that are often ignored, ridiculed, or dismissed), the problem is so big there isn't much an individual can do about it without vast resources and motivation, and the readers (if they are honest) aren't planning to do anything and are waiting for someone else to solve the problem (e.g, the government or the media). So basically it's a depressing or angry story that brings down my mood, provides no solutions, and my listening to the problem will not be reciprocated because I'm not interested in personal blogging and blog friends anymore (I'm focusing on making friends offline who I can spend time with and have reciprocal relationships with). 

Reading such blogs doesn't fulfill my A purposes but instead arouses negative emotions for no good reason! In the past when I was stressed and frustrated maybe I was so used to the feelings that I didn't mind dwelling on those feelings when expressed by others (but it wasn't good for me). It's so true that people who are unhappy with their own lives are often the ones arguing online and dwelling on negative things like some sort of groupthink (seriously read this description because Black groupthink it rampant)! Now, because I'm in such a positive mood and goal oriented I feel immense irritation when those posts "ruin my buzz"! I feel happy so I only want to be surrounded by things that maintain and enhance those feelings and I'm hyper-sensitive to the negativity that others may not perceive as negative at all! This is why I'm not into watching many drama films and instead watch films that won't make me sad. These purpose B posts all seem like "Negative Nancy" posts to me because I'm in such a good mood all the time and not seeing the value of purpose B articles on non-personal blogs (everybody has problems). There is something about venting on large-readership, issue-based blogs that doesn't appeal to me or make sense. This is also why blog posts by others of purpose B seem so overblown, negative, self-defeating, and unhealthy to me. Are these posts really helpful to the large audiences that read them or are they just a temporary fix that is actually helping the audience stay in a negative, depressed, oppressed, and helpless state of mind? In contrast, when news sites report on terrible things I definitely don't get the same feelings because the reporter is detached, not asking the reader to do something, or never implying that they are a bad person for not being alarmed by the issue. 

So what this reveals to me is that my reasons for blogging/reading blogs may be incompatible with many posts on some Black blogs, I need to find sites oriented towards my goals, read more of the positive articles instead of skipping them (out of strange fear that they will be boring lol), read current event on news sites instead of emotion-arousing blogs, read entertaining instead of controversial posts, and just read more books offline. 


  1. Thank you for your last few posts. I'm on the same journey.

    You have to unplug yourself from "the group". It's not an easy thing to do and some people will be upset with you for trying. Tune them out. Those people wallow in negative emotion anyway. It has nothing to do with you.

    You might be better off reading blogs, websites, etc that are not necessarily "black" focused. Sometimes, the added race focus implies discussion and reflection on the negative aspects of the black experience. It's hard for some of us to not reflect on it because we deal with it everyday (at least in the U.S. we do).

    Maybe you need to change your RESEARCH focus from "black women" to "women of the world" (or something like that). I noticed that you have done that somewhat already. I really enjoyed your blog and video links regarding the girly cupcake blogger in the U.K. and the baby doll makeup trends from Japan.

    When I first read your blog, I thought is was so cool because it was unique. Not a lot of info is out there that totally flies in the face of the "independent black woman" stereotype. The idea of us being girly and femme without a sexual connotation or anything similarly degrading added on is like...unheard of.

    Could it be that you're not finding the type of research material that you need because you're proposing something new? I'm not saying that there aren't black women throughout history who have celebrated and cultivated their femininity. I'm saying maybe no one else has really taken the time to document it. I'm saying maybe issues of femininity had to take the back burner to other things like social, political and economic issues within the black community. Maybe no one thought is was important enough to document and that's why you can't find it.

    I just realized that this post is way long and now...I'm embarrassed :-/

    But anyway...yeah, maybe you can be a trailblazer in this area and put something out there that's totally free of the emotional baggage you referred to in your post. Maybe history and circumstances didn't really allow for it in the past and that's why you're having a hard time finding it now.

  2. Wow Anonymous thank you so much for this comment! It has given me so much to think about and probably write about too!

    This blog is sort of like a study of femininity and to me it only makes sense to look at how traditional femininity is expressed by many cultures in order to get a broad perspective but that just doesn't sit well with some people. Since femininity is a social construct (maybe some genetics behind it) then different societies should be looked at.

    I think I do have to look hard for more information about Black femininity and maybe read books because you are right, it's hard to find things online. I think there may be only 2 Tumblr sites devoted to the topic and the rest are about the modern, independent Black woman. It is really a niche you are right. I have noticed though that other femininity bloggers have been ridiculed too!

    If anyone gets some help or enjoyment out of this blog that is fantastic! I agree that my searches should be less restricted to race because they are loaded with emotion and controversy.

    Please don't be embarrassed by your comment because I appreciated it so much and it really made my day!

    Thanks for your visit :)

  3. Great post!! I have came across so many different blogs lately and I find to personally be drawn to the ones that I find I can relate to. I blog about me, my family and my life only. I use it as a memory keepsake for me and my family. I do have to agree with Anonymous's post above as well. I say keep doing blog hops and you will come across the type of blogs you are looking for. I'm new to your blog and thus far I have been enjoying it.