This blog post will examine Mia Lovheim’s argument to understand blogs that have become ethical spaces for young women in Sweden. I’ve included some Swedish women’s blogs alongside some African American blogs I follow.
As a woman that blogs, this topic stuck out to me. Lovheim’s article takes a look at how new media technologies have provided new avenues for women to have ethical spaces that engage readers and create new social norms. Through a study of some of the most popular Swedish blogs written by women she analyzes the representation, content, and engagement they facilitate.
Through blogs women are taking over the discourse on social norms and cultural ideas. This interactive platform is making women the producers of culture and by using new technology. They are able to shift boundaries and power dynamics in a creative platform once led predominantly by men.
The phenomenon of personal blogging is something that a lot of women pick up. I know that amongst my creative circle most women have their own blog space and they are for the most part women of color. The article hit the nail on the head when it comes to what issues most blogs raise. Why blog? Women who have been voiceless and only seen as domestic partners or workers. Blogs allow women to be empowered and gives them a voice. (Chen, 2012)
I know that before I started blogging I felt that most only saw my stage persona, but missed the person. Blogging allowed me to approach topics that I wouldn’t/couldn’t express in a bigger profound way. But let’s be honest. Men were thought to be the leaders in blogging when it came to topics of ethics, politics, and finance. (Lövheim, 2011) Then women started to explore personal blogging and found the heartbeat of readers. Readers started to engage in this interactive platform by not only reading, but by commenting. Bloggers were giving invitations for confessionals, asking readers to make a statement, and offering space to share in personal experiences. (Lövheim, 2011) Women bloggers were also able to create a space of entrepreneurship. Stay at home moms, women of color, and college women now had an outlet that could also generate income and they could do so from home. Though this article primarily focuses on Swedish blogs it did make me want to examine digital entrepreneurship amongst African American bloggers. There was a study where personal blogs, women digital entrepreneurs, and black female identity were all examined to gain a deeper understanding of how African American bloggers created a one person digital enterprise. (McDowell, 2020)
Similarly, young Singaporean women have used lifestyle blogs to create rich media content that has changed women’s consumerism in Singapore and their expression of citizenship. (Sinanan , Graham, & Zhong 2014) By appealing to popular culture and being brand ambassadors women are shifting cultural trends and norms. It is true that with the many things that blogging brings, some discourse gets lost with product placement. Paid content removes the sense of voice that personal blogs seem to give. For example mommy bloggers that were originally thought to give a voice and camaraderie to hard working moms that want to share and lament could also charge to post product reviews. Canadian mommy bloggers were called out for charging upwards of $2000 for product reviews. (Lindell, 2021)
Overall, personal blogs are here to stay. We are entering into a new era where women’s voices are heard and supported by followings on social media unlike ever before. These bloggers are setting the tone for new ethical spaces and I am excited to see where this could lead us all.
Chen, G. (2012). Why do women write personal blogs? Satisfying needs for self-disclosure and affiliation tell part of the story. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(1),171–180. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2011.08.024
Lindell, D. J. (2021). Brands vs. babies: Paid content and authenticity in Canadian mommy blogs. Journal of Professional Communication, 6(2), 63-85.
Lövheim, M. (2011). YOUNG WOMEN’S BLOGS AS ETHICAL SPACES. Information, Communication & Society, 14(3), 338–354. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2010.542822
McDowell, M. (2020). African American Women Bloggers’ Lived Experiences with Digital Entrepreneurship: A Transcendental Phenomenological Study. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Sinanan, J., Graham, C., & Zhong Jie, K. (2014). Crafted assemblage: young women’s “lifestyle” blogs, consumerism and citizenship in Singapore. Visual Studies (Abingdon, England), 29(2), 201–213. https://doi.org/10.1080/1472586X.2014.887273
Other Blogs of Interest