On Self-Censorship

June 26, 2014 § 5 Comments

On Self-Censorship

It is perhaps ironic that I start my blog with a post on self-censorship, but self-censorship is the reason I am only now starting a blog. There are many things I would like to talk about, but have felt that I can’t, for fear of provoking rage, vitriol, threats, and derision – in the best case scenario.

It took me three days to pick the ‘theme’ for this blog, because there were so many factors to take into account. There was, actually, another theme that I liked better, but it involved pastel ochre and terracotta shades, and it had some very nice, vaguely geometric-shaped flowers. But I’m a woman, and if I picked something with flowers, entirely subconsciously almost everyone seeing it – both men and women – would file me under the category of girly, and fluffy, with fluffy, girly thoughts.

I can almost hear you all being outraged and crying out “No, I wouldn’t!”. But you would. And it wouldn’t be your fault. That’s what you’ve been taught, usually by people not even realising that that’s what they’ve been teaching you.

In any case, I knew I wanted to talk about important things, which also often happen to be controversial things, so I needed to choose something that wouldn’t immediately and subconsciously trigger in readers the conditioning that pastel, girly things (because flowers are considered girly things) are invariably the product of fluffy, shallow thoughts. I did not want to be dismissed because there were pastel colours and flowers on my blog’s theme.

I am absolutely certain that there are still some of you who are thinking that that is absurd. That it would never happen. That they would never be affected that way by the mere existence of pastel ochre colours and flowers. I don’t know how else to convince you that it would, except by saying that it would affect me exactly the same way had I seen it on someone else’s blog; only I am aware of it and would try to rationalise my reaction away. But it would affect me. It is the same assumptions and judgements that we make every day based on another person’s personal appearance. We do not have the other person’s personal appearance to go by here. The nearest thing we have is the personalised appearance of their blog. So I couldn’t ‘wear’ flowers and pastel ochre colours, if I hoped to be taken seriously. I had to wear something plain and no-nonsense. Preferably something that men would likely choose when deciding what their blogs would ‘wear’. Because men are serious and no-nonsense, as we all know, and it is only men that have serious, well-thought-out, well-substantiated opinions. Don’t flee just yet, dear reader. I’m not attacking men. I’m only saying that in our society we still take those things considered manly to be serious and deep, and those things considered feminine to be shallow and fluffy. It is so, though it is sad that it is still so.

So, really, what this blog needed to wear was a suit. But it also had to please me, and I’m not a man. So the suit had to be a nice, vaguely feminine, monochrome trouser suit. Without flowers. Or too many accessories (girly fonts). Hence the process took three days.

The great irony is that there is hardly a flower to be seen in my real-life wardrobe and not a single instance of pastel colours. Not because I feel I shouldn’t wear these things. Only because I have different preferences. But I’d have liked this blog to wear those nice ochre and terracotta flowers. Still, this is, I feel, a pretty good compromise. What do you think of my suit?

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§ 5 Responses to On Self-Censorship

  • Eleftheria Chaldeou says:

    Ha! I finally found the comment box! Not your fault, I’m just awfully tired! Well, I find the blog theme sort of ‘academic like’ or, as a friend would put it in Greek, ‘δωρικό’! However, I happen to like this style in everything, so I like it here as well! This preference has nothing to do with girly or manly “suits”, I’m just a person who likes to wear solid colors 🙂 . By the way, did you want to say “a pretty good compromise” near the end?
    Well, I wish you a good start my friend and I hope the book(s) and the blog are a big success! Καλή επιτυχία!

    • Why yes, I did mean ‘a pretty good compromise’. It is now corrected to actually say that, too. Thanks for spotting it! 🙂

      As for the rest, yes, I like this theme too. I also like the idea of it being “Doric”. Austere. Could even say “Spartan”? 😉 And I do also like plain things, and you know me well, I’m not exactly known for colourful flowery things! Just saying that out loud is actually funny. I feel, though, that I must point out that the other theme in question was actually very restrained, with solid colours, and really very discreet flowers. And yet… And yet… I had to pause, and think.

      In any case, thank you for the very kind words and even kinder wishes, dear friend!

  • This is the kind of theme I should have, but I’m too obsessed with sticking pictures everywhere. Maybe it’s a subliminal attempt to detract from the words in the post. Your white page draws the eye with no distractions. Like it and admire your courage 🙂

    • Oh, very glad you like it, Jane! As for courage, we’ll see how that goes. 😉

      And I think it’d take more than a picture or two to distract or detract from your words. Your posts are always interesting, meaningful, and wonderfully written.

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