Just after I started blogging, a large parenting website asked to feature one of my posts. I was more than happy to say yes, and because I was new to everything, I just assumed they’d republish the post exactly as it appeared on my blog. Well, how bloody naïve of me. They basically took my post, rolled it over, held it down, and assaulted it- but should I word it like that?? Am I offending people?? Should I censor my thoughts, my personality, my humour??
They changed the title, and made what was a humorous post, into something that sounded really patronising. They also put a really stupid picture with it too, that before I’d even looked at the new title, I’d already thought would get people complaining. That, coupled with the title, and the reshuffled content, equalled the miserable trolls coming out in force.
As a fairly fresh faced writer at that point, and someone who is also way too oversensitive, I was devastated at the comments. A few months later, somebody said to me that they felt my writing had changed-that it felt a lot more cautious. She told me ‘you say certain things that could be deemed outrageous, but then it’s like you’re afraid people will take it all too seriously, and you seem to be adding disclaimers afterwards-what’s happened to make you add a censor??’ I hadn’t even noticed I was doing it, but having that happen to me, had subconsciously made me question every single thing I wrote.
So lets go back to what I wrote above: ‘They basically took my post, rolled it over, held it down, and assaulted it.’ There are people who will offended by that, but it’s how I talk, and it’s something that if I saw written somewhere, I’d laugh at it. It’s contextual. One of my favourite films is The Wolf Of Wall Street. I could watch it every night and not get bored, because Leonardo DiCaprio is just 50 shades of fucking awesome in it, and it makes me laugh from start to finish. It totally uplifts me. I was going to write something about it, but remembered that it had come under fire by animal cruelty groups, for certain scenes-to be honest, these weren’t things that I had actually noticed while I watching it. But I thought that I better not mention I liked the film, in case I was accused of inciting poking fun at animal cruelty , which of course, I don’t condone at all. But again, everything is contextual.
Helen from Just Saying Mum said recently that she has ‘the fear’ before publishing anything. I completely get this-I spend a lot of time agonising over the bits of my posts that people are likely to take the wrong way. The thing is, you could end up never publishing anything if that were the case, because someone will always find something to complain about, in the most harmless of posts. I shouldn’t have to censor the things I like, or water down the things I want to say. I shouldn’t have to second guess what someone might not find PC, because it’s a really fine line, and what enrages someone, will not enrage someone else. What someone finds hysterical, will be distasteful to another.
So, there’s no pleasing everyone, and as long as it’s not inciting hatred, or anything illegal, I don’t think anyone should be censoring what they say, just for the benefit of pleasing others-that is a no win situation all around. I know I’ll still have ‘the fear’ when I publish something, but the best thing for me, and everyone who writes, is to say what I want to say, how I want to say it, and f**k the fear.