Seeing a black man blogging about a topic(s) that they are passionate about or sharing their everyday is such a rare sight in modern society.
From the naked eye it’s clear to see that blogging is female-dominated, with certain social media accounts, pages and movements even being dedicated to supporting and empowering female bloggers. It stems from certain societal norms such as men being discouraged from expressing themselves. Moreover, coming from an Afro-Caribbean background is a further setback, since blogging is not perceived to be a traditional hobby or line of work in comparison to sports, music, engineering and medicine.
Throughout my upbringing and beyond I have been exposed to female dominated environments, so the blogging community is familiar to me. Being around the opposite gender as opposed to my own is not foreign to me.
I’m sometimes guilty of getting after thoughts when I’m on social media like “Am I not supported as much because I’m a guy” and feel isolated when I’m involved in a social media follow or blog comment thread on twitter and find that I’m the only black male blogger engaging.
There’s always that boundary you can’t cross with female bloggers so I find that the situation pushes me to be more professional with the way I come across and try not to seem like that I’m hitting on them. There are female bloggers that are attractive but it’s not in my interest to pursue anything with them and mix business with pleasure. The very last thing I would want as a minority is to do something that can potentially make me feel more isolated than I sometimes feel. You never know of course, if something that goes beyond blogging happens then it happens.
In the end I simply keep it moving and embrace the fact that I’m one of few male bloggers and focus on letting writing and passion I have for travelling do the talking in my blog posts. The abundant amount of support I get from other bloggers is always reassuring and sometimes even overwhelming. I never find shortage in engagement either, everyone’s interacting whether that be via promoting your blog in blogging groups on Facebook, commenting and using hashtags on pics on Instagram or talking on blogger chats on Twitter. There’s always space for new bloggers, whether you’re black, white, asian, hispanic or oriental – or male or female or transgender. If anything being one of few black male travel bloggers I believe can be a unique selling point when it comes to approaching brands and sponsors.
Writing is an art. With classic art it comes in many forms whether it’s a painting, collage, diagram or drawing and it draws in so many different minds together and connects them to the point where you can tap into your emotions. I see blogging as a form of the art writing conveys. To use music to hone in on my point a lot of artists (pun unintended) for example produce mixtapes, albums, singles as their body of work.
There’s nothing physically stopping black men from creating an online blog and just typing up about the things that they can talk and debate nonstop about the most, nor is there any shame or loss of pride in it. We can do it when we’re in conversation or on podcasts with our friends but not on a blog? The blogging community can benefit from having more male perspectives in popular blogging niches like lifestyle, fashion and obviously travel. Blogging is a universal activity. It doesn’t have the word “woman” or “white” or any other race or gender, nor can you spell blogging with those words.
I feel men, black men especially in my opinion, are missing a trick with blogging. There are more financial, endorsement and career opportunities available in the creative industry than there ever has been. Influencers are at least taking one step away from the work culture, seeing their worth and potential and taking ownership of themselves and their content.
By John Aiwone