Mizfit invited me to do a guest post (MizFit note: Thats a lie. I *begged.*), and I was honoured, because she’s awesome (but you knew that already). I asked her for topic suggestions, because A) nothing was jumping into my head immediately B) I think I secretly didn’t want to disappoint her. She suggested something from a male perspective – turns out, I’m qualified. Here goes nothing…
Hi! My name is Axel, I am a male caucasian heterosexual yet I am a minority.
Well, when it comes to blogging (in the health/wellness space), it’s a woman’s world. I don’t point this out to complain or even ask for change, I just find it puts me in a funny position sometimes.
Every blogger is different, so I don’t want to say my experience is representative of every male blogger, but here are some things I’ve noticed on my blogging journey:
- If it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t bother me: Bras, breast-feeding, the effect of bike saddles on woman parts are only a few things that I could come across when reading blogs. I don’t know how much of the blog-reading audience are bloggers themselves, but I’d bet it’s a significant portion if not the majority. When female bloggers write about these types of things, I assume they’re comfortable with anyone (including men) reading it since it’s out there in the wild of the internet. I’m not squeamish about it, yet I’ll admit I’ll usually just gloss over or skip it due to lack of interest.
- A Father is a Type of Parent: I’ve often said being a father is my favourite thing about myself; it’s the most fundamental part of my identity. I take the role seriously and do all the things the modern parent does, including learning whatever I can to be a better parent, especially on the internet. All too often, I’ll see a great post/article addressed to ‘Moms’. Excuse me? Unless it’s about the effects of childbirth on the body or breast-feeding, there’s no reason to assume you’re only talking to moms. My own mother has often commented how me, my brother and all our peers are so much more involved in their kids’ lives than any previous generation. Yet, the popular stereotype in people’s consciousness is more like Homer Simpson. And if you know a Homer Simpson-like dad, he’s not going to step his game up when the stereotype makes immaturity and irresponsibility seem ‘normal’, so please stop perpetuating it.
- It’s Hard Out Here for a Male Blogger: Glam, Mamavation, PopSugar, SheKnows, Babble, BlogHer… blogger networks are most often either explicitly or implicitly built for female content providers. I’m sure that makes a lot of sense, since blogging seems to be dominated by women on both the reading and writing side of the equation, but why is that? A few thoughts:
**Strong Silent Type: I’ve often seen the advice that blogs engage better based on authenticity, and that means not withholding truths even if they are negative, scary or embarrassing. Still, I’d argue that even the most open, vulnerable bloggers have a line of privacy they won’t cross – we all do, it just varies where that line happens to be. So for a guy like me, that means excluding a certain amount of my life from the blog. While factors like my family life are a big influence on who I am, how I spend my time and my writing ‘voice’, there’s only so far I’m willing to expose them to the big bad Internet.
**MEN NO LIKE TALK FEELINGS: Pardon me while I chew on this Brontosaurus drumstick; don’t worry, it’s Paleo. Not every emotion, moment bears microscopic scrutiny, at least not according to the male rulebook – something which can hurt your word count… especially when you’ve had a pretty mundane, average day or week.
**You’re so vain, I bet you think this song is about you: Some of the trends in Social Media like selfies, tweeting pics of your food and generally documenting the moment of your everyday are getting maligned for being (among other things) too self-involved. I don’t think the criticism is warranted, and I do all those things in varying degrees, but there’s something very… non-macho about a lot of them. Even in the 21st century, if it seems like preening or fussing it’s frowned upon, so some social media participation and promotion becomes another reindeer game that’s hard to join in.
**Not so different: It’s easy to get insecure at the gym. I can worry about how I look (silly? weak? flabby? badly dressed)? I can get bothered about the fact that I can’t lift as much as him (or her!) or a hundred other things. I don’t. It’s a waste of precious time and brain power. Everyone is on their own fitness journey and you should only spend your time and energy on yours. I just read in a book:
“Never worry what other people think of you because no one ever thinks of you.”
Which is a weird sentiment, but can apply when working out: those that are actually doing good work in the gym/box/dojo/studio (or on the road/track/trail) are focussed on their own journey, not yours – we should do the same.
I started blogging because I enjoyed the writing first, but of some of the other benefits I’ve found are being more engaged with my hobby (triathlon), communicating and exchanging ideas and opinions and of course connecting with a supportive community.
The blogs I read feed my mind, and inspire me to try new things, so being the odd man out – or better yet, the odd man in the community suits me fine.
You might say it even makes me a misfit…