Monday, 17 April 2017

Is blogging a popularity contest?

One of the best things I learned when I started blogging was that social media is key to growing your audience. Not only is it an incredible way to see what other content is out there, we bloggers are constantly learning as we go along, nobody knows 'everything' and that's where other people come in - we help each other out and build each other up.

But there's another side to this - one not everybody addresses but most likely all know - and its that blogging is sort of a popularity contest. Now, hear me out - I know for a fact that there are some incredible bloggers out there who are challenging the status quo, addressing the realities of mental health, body image and race. So this isn't me completely disregarding these amazing people - let's make that clear.

Though I do think that it's important to discuss how trivialised blogging has started to become. I remember furiously typing away at my keyboard from the age of 16 on a blog long forgotten, discussing things which inspired me, scared me, angered me. Essentially, it was and always will remain a platform where the most honest of thoughts can be projected for an unlimited audience to see. 

And yet, if you're active on the Twitter blogosphere you'll be aware that people are using their platform as a way to manipulate others into 'buying into' their brand. And it sucks. It effing sucks and it's not fair that so many people who are trying to use their platform for something beneficial are being cast aside by those who are doing things through the backdoor.

Blogging is an international industry now. To be honest, that's pretty incredible - but to see it being used in a way to benefit materially isn't. For me, I always felt pressured into fitting into that mould, the more pronounced this type of 'blogging' became. And I'm talking about the kind of blogging that is dead inside, just words on a page without any real passion for what's behind it. The kind of behaviour I've been seeing in the blogging industry lately is reminiscent of a childhood popularity contest in the playground, and while the bloggers challenging stereotypes are becoming more pronounced, it's still clear that there's much work to be done to challenge this blogger's status quo.

Let's be honest, these problems are hardly new and every so often there will be another sparked debate about how wrong it is, there needs to be a point where this issue stays at the forefront of our minds instead of going away into our Twitter archive to die.

What are your thoughts on the blogging industry?

Keep it real,

Zahra D 


Monday, 20 March 2017

My hijab is not an accessory.

It wasn't until I was around 17 and spent my first time working in a real City office that I realised: 'I'm the only one in a hijab here.'

Since then, despite growing up in East London and being surrounded by people like me, my friends and family and teachers being people 'like me' - I've had plenty of moments when I thought 'I'm the only one in a hijab here'. But over time, I've grown used to it.

But ever since hearing about the recent ruling in the European Court of Justice last Tuesday, I've somehow managed to feel like more of a stranger in my home country than ever. It's not just that the current climate is one which is tense for Muslims living in the West, but it feels as though the rejection of my beliefs are being validated in the most dangerous way.

My hijab doesn't compromise who I am, or my abilities - so why the hell should it matter if I wear it? The people who are so opposed to it are the ones who refuse to learn anything about it, it is driven by ignorance, fear and the desire to preserve what is 'normal'. Who defines what normal is?

My family have always taught me that there is a strength in my headscarf, and I've managed to see it as my armour in life, it empowers me. Some people see it as a 'piece of cloth' preventing me from 'integrating'. Newsflash: My hijab is not an accessory that can be removed: it's a part of me.

© Diary of a Deera

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