30 September 2007

Graphic Blogging

There's a recent discussion in the moho blog world about how appropriate it is to post pictures of half-naked men to get your point across. The bulk of the discussion I'm aware of is on Keep Changing, an entry titled Showing Skin. As you can read there, some bloggers are concerned because they would like to continue reading blogs, but they don't feel safe because some moho blogs contain images which, to be blunt, turn them on and trigger them to continue looking for provocative images. Because of this discussion, I decided to finally post some thoughts I've been having.

I posted what some have described as a somewhat graphic description of a locker room experience in Nobody's Bulletproof. Actually, that was toned down from what I might have written. I didn't see a need to be outright graphic because my intended audience didn't need that, and it wasn't the main thrust of the entry. I wanted to describe the experience accurately without pretending it wasn't as charged as it was, but I didn't need to be pornographic. Even so, a couple of friends have described that entry as reading like soft erotic fiction (though those same people also indicated how much they enjoyed reading it). *grin and shrug* What can you do? I thought about putting a disclaimer at the beginning of that post for those who are easily triggered to consider skipping it, but two factors stopped me from doing that:

1) I don't want to make myself out to be a babysitter and like to think that people are perfectly capable of deciding not to read further if they perceive something potentially triggering in what is to come, which I think I gave my reader ample opportunity to do.

2) I don't want other visitors to my blog to read such a disclaimer and suppose that most of us are compulsively out of control in our behaviors and incapable of speaking openly and maturely on certain subjects without it leading us to "act out".

However, I do try to be sensitive to this very thing. When posting about true beauty, I posted a picture of a pair of very attractive Abercrombie Models. I found a picture I think is indicative of their brand of attractiveness but edited it to make it a little less "charged". Then I contrasted it with a picture of President Hinckley and his brand of attractiveness. So though I did show a couple of hot guys, I think the context defused most any homoerotic charge. And believe me, in searching for Abercrombie models, there were a couple of pictures I thought about using which showed more skin and illustrated the message, but in the end, I found the one I used to be just as effective but without the flesh.

I try to consider my audience and try not to alienate that audience and to be aware of sensitivities. I also simply have to consider whether I am part of another blogger's audience. I have decided that some authors' blogs are not for me. They don't "speak to me" and seem relatively out of line with what I believe and value, so I'm just not part of their audience, and they can go on posting whatever they want unbeknownst to me. I've tried to learn to make those calls for myself, while showing sensitivity to my readers as well.


-L- said...

That post will probably dog me til the day I die. Oh well. That's what I get.

Truth is, I have crossed some blogs firmly off my list, and I wouldn't dream of asking their authors to think of me in anything they write. In some cases, I think they'd be delighted to find out they had contributed to my discomfort, because, well, some people hate me.

Unfortunately, there are bloggers I've grown quite fond of (of all ages and points of view) that I really don't want to force myself not to visit. If I didn't care about them and they didn't care about me, this would all be easy. But, I think there is a community of a sort here, beyond just several similarly situated strangers talking about an interesting issue.

Original Mohomie said...

L, thanks for the input. I really am not a very "personal" blogger, even though I do personally know a few bloggers. I tend towards "cold" analysis. Sorry if I get frustrating sometimes, spouting off my "objective critiques" in ignorance of the more personal dilemas going on. I just find it helpful to remember certain principles, and sometimes I write them down to share them with others. :-)