Each of us, no matter the category, has our own private real estate on the web: our blog – a place we can call our own and develop at our own pace. It’s something we should each be proud of because it takes guts.
But, what happens when our content is deemed offensive?
Yes, I said it. Offensive. What happens when a reader who crosses paths with your content considers it distasteful?
I know it sounds crazy but it can happen.
In fact, it happened to me and I was not prepared.
The day it happened, I followed my Thursday social media routine – posting a throwback photo from my blog to drive traffic to an old post. I have to admit, it was one of my favorite outfits. Last year, when I had a china bang, I draped my scarf around my head in an Audrey Hepburn fashion.
Yet, despite my love for the style icon, the look was reminiscent (to me) of hijab fashion, a religious and cultural fashion style that I personally enjoyed. So, in my innocent excitement, I gave my picture the caption ‘My version of hijab fashion.’ I thought it was genius! Maybe it would grab the attention of those who loved that style and cross cultural boundaries! Well, a day into its lifetime, I realized my genuine enthusiasm was misplaced.
I won’t really go into specifics but suffice to say, I was called out on my outfit and caption. Funny thing is, I received the notification while out catching up with a dear friend. It was very random. In fact, it was the day after I had initially posted it. Nevertheless, the result was mind-blowing. My outfit, the one I loved so dearly, was deemed offensive.
Pausing to fully grasp the situation, I read the comment multiple times. Yes, it hurt. I’m not a robot. I loved this look! And most of all, I didn’t intend for it to be offensive. I actually wanted it to be liberating. But no, I had actually managed to accomplish the opposite. I had insulted a culture and a religion. It was like a slap in the face! I had entered that strange realm of offense – a place where my influence and perspective could be misconstrued and my heart misunderstood.
Needless to say, I followed my gut and apologized for the mistake I’d made both in response to the comment and in a private message. However, the occurrence sparked a deep thought process. Maybe I’m new to this whole thing but I truly had no idea how to handle such a comment. To tell you the truth, I recovered from the comment much quicker than I’d imagined but when I returned to my notifications and saw that it was shared with an invitation to critique my brazen caption, I inwardly panicked. What if they were right and this affected my readership? What if?
It’s some scary ish being put on blast like that. I don’t think even the bravest souls relish that kind of exposure. But anyway, like Pope would say, “It’s handled.” However, I’m curious.
How would you have handled a similar comment? Do you think it’s appropriate for bloggers to apologize for their content?