This is the second post about American Blogger I've written. The first one never made it onto my blog because it was promptly deleted shortly after I finished it. Not because I didn't stand by what I had written, but because sometimes it's easier to be quiet. It's certainly much safer. However, after some serious thought, I realized that some times contrary viewpoints need to be shared and things need to be shaken up and challenged. Because without a challenge, or at the very least, a conversation, there can be no change.
In case you weren't aware, earlier this month, the blogosphere erupted into a firestorm when the preview for the upcoming documentary, American Blogger, was released. There was a lot of nastiness and no shortage of opinions about the documentary. On the flipside, there has also been an overwhelming amount of support and a lack of understanding as to why some people are a bit upset about this film. For those of you who have yet to see the trailer, take a moment to view it:
The first time I watched the trailer, I was admittedly angry. The second time, I was incredulous. Was this really suppose to reflect the blogging community I know? The third time, I tried to listen to the voices of the bloggers that were suppose to be representing me, but it was hard. And it's not about being petty or jealous, my dislike of this particular film, and the millions others like it, is simply because these types of films continue to perpetuate the lie that beauty only comes in one shade and only certain stories are worthy of being told.
We often blame the media, saying that they're only catering to the needs of the masses--it's not personal. But then finally, we are presented with an opportunity by one of our own to empower us by showing a diversity of voices, and it still falls short. Why? Why, in 2014, are we still doing this to ourselves?
My disappointment is not about or because of the bloggers in this film specifically, it's about the bloggers that I didn't see. It's about the fact that we live in one of the most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations in the world and yet 98% of the bloggers featured in the upcoming documentary looked the same. It's a bit disappointing to say the least.
There have been explanations of course. But the explanations are even more troubling that the film itself. Because what does it say about us if 98% of our friends look exactly like us? The irony is I've read a lot of posts in defense of American Blogger, and what I find to be most telling is that each of these bloggers who defending the lack of diversity are the very same ones who have 50+ people listed on their blogrolls, and every single one of them looks just like them.
That being said, although I may have my reservations and opinions about the film itself, I absolutely refuse to participate in tearing down the bloggers who were featured. I have seen a lot of that nastiness circulating on social media. We can do better y'all. These women may have immaculately cleaned homes, or perfectly tousled hair or whatever other insults people have been hurling at them, but at the end of the day, these are real women, with real emotions, who cry real tears. To insult them for cleaning their homes, or putting on their "Sunday's best" in anticipation of filming their scenes is just wrong.
So, it's like this: what I saw in the trailer and on the website is not a reflection of what I know to be true of blogging or America in general. That is not us. We are so much more diverse, and complicated, and sometimes we're a bit more unconventional and off the beaten path. We're more than just a tight-knit group of friends. And we span every corner and crevice of this country. Through the wealthy neighborhoods and the not so wealthy ones. And each of us have amazing stories. I think the filmmaker now realizes the err of his ways. Probably. Hopefully
Maybe some lessons were learned from this. Maybe not. I don't wish the filmmaker or his wife any ill will. What's done is done. I just hope that should an opportunity present itself for second documentary, they try a bit harder to capture the diversity of cultures, styles and voices in this crazy place that we call home.
What are your thoughts about American Blogger? Have you watched it yet? Do you plan to?