Many months ago, a personal finance blogger wrote a post that included a caricature of a woman that I found to be sexist, racist, classist, and ableist*. Being a good Canadian, I usually have nothing but sweet and polite things to say on people's blogs; however, I was so offended by the post that I couldn't not say something about it. So as politely and constructively as possible, I expressed my thoughts on the post.
It didn't go well. I got the distinct impression that the blogger took zero time to reflect on what I said before attacking me and calling me a racist, because I had assumed the racial background of the person based on the caricature. This was followed immediately by many other people commenting on how I was too "politically correct" and should just "shut my pie hole". It was actually a really upsetting experience for me, because I really like when people like me, and I hadn't intended my comment to be an attack. And it also seemed to have accomplished nothing.
And yet, I would do it again. Because I think we as bloggers have a responsibility to not post sexist/racist/classist/ableist/misogynistic/xenophobic/homophobic/transphobic shit on our blogs. This particular blogger has a big audience and therefore the ability to influence the thoughts and beliefs of a lot of people, and I think that influence shouldn't be used to reinforce outdated and damaging stereotypes.
I was reminded of this event today, when I came across a statement that I found offensive while reading an otherwise really good blog post. The post was talking about someone who was saving money by getting her boyfriend to do repairs around the house, and the writer stated: "I’m guessing she is paying for it in some way..."
Maybe I'm overreacting? But I kind of hate the implication that a woman trades her sexuality for home repairs.
So I called the blogger out on it. The blogger accepted my comment, but hasn't responded, so I'm interested to see how this plays out. Hopefully the blogger will know that my comment was only meant to provoke some self reflection, not to diminish or attack what was otherwise a really good post.
How about you? How do you respond when you read something you find offensive on a blog?
*I'm not going to link to any particular bloggers in this post, because this isn't about publicly criticizing/shaming any particular person, but rather reflecting on what our role is as readers and bloggers. Also, I don't need any pissed off bloggers labeling me a "Nasty woman" and trolling my blog.