The world has never been as patriarchal as it is today. I’m not claiming that individual societies don’t treat their women better than they did previously, but in the globalised, interconnected world we live in, we can no longer consider issues in an isolated fashion. So as we now consider the situation of women everywhere, from FGM in African and Arab society to sexual exploitation of women in the west to sexism on wikipedia to the modern day witch hunt, the full scope of women’s oppression is more visible, and daunting, than ever.
Seen from a global perspective, where oppressions intertwine and augment, there is a pressing need to expand female consciousness. One of the ways to raise consciousness is by documenting and discussing a broad range of women’s stories online through blogging. Blogging’s ability to impact mainstream discourse has “never been greater” according to the Harvard Business Review, which also reports that if you want to have an impact, you should be setting the agenda by blogging your ideas.
For African women, whose stories are obscure from mainstream media, these advantages are especially important. We need to boost intellectual discussions, especially those that tackle sexism, repressive traditions and racist stereotypes and that empower us to make sense of our diverse journeys.
African women need to be encouraged to write, and to perceive that our ideas matter. It is up to us to end the tyranny of patriarchy, no one else will do it for us. It is up to us to challenge negative stereotypes about Africans, nobody else will do this for us. Blogging is one way to contribute to thought leadership by documenting our stories and ideas, in so doing slowly reinstating the stories that continue to be erased, censored and/or distorted.
There’s a lot of advice about how to start a blog but I’d suggest aspiring bloggers forget about most of it and focus on getting into the habit of writing regularly. Regularly could be once a day or week or maybe, maybe month, but don’t put in the effort of setting up a blog if you cant maintain a certain pace. It’s your regular presence that makes an impact. Only skip your pattern if you really must, or if you are Lauryn Hill.
Your blog does not need to be a feminist one (although I could not encourage this more) but please don’t be put off by the idea that women’s issues are “soft” issues. If that was the case major publications would not keep slapping them on their covers. Be confident that your writing has all the gravitas necessary to those who seek insights in your words.
If that doesn’t encourage you, think about this; to author a blog is to own a space, however humble or significant, in the most revolutionary medium since the printing press was established.
Furthermore, it is to continue a legacy of female writing, an écriture féminine of sorts, championed by Audre Lorde, Anne Frank, Mary McLeod, Adelaide Casely-Hayford, Virginia Woolf, Nuha al-Radi, Anaïs Nin and other women who could be seen as some of the first “bloggers”.
It’s worth mentioning that blogging about African society can be a risk, there is a lot of sexism in the “afrosphere” like everywhere else. But the more African women blog, the more we motivate each other, the more our presence makes an impact.
As Nawal El Saadawi says, “I do not separate between writing and fighting”.
What do you think? Do you write a blog? What do you see as most challenging or rewarding about blogging?
I offer workshops and consultations on blogging, if you or your organisation would like to hire me please drop me a line.