What’s your Online Battle Cry…And does anyone care?

In On Writing, On Writing-Publicity by Louisa Leontiades

The other day I was accused of being sexist because I ‘tweeted’ out against female genital mutilation. The pushback was that I should have apparently been non-gender specific because male genital mutilation in the form of circumcision happens to. My boyfriend said

‘Isn’t that like saying “How dare you sponsor a child in Africa? What about all the children in India?”’

I didn’t think it was exactly but didn’t really want to analyse the metaphor since it was 11pm and I was knackered. Fortunately the question was rhetorical and his outrage on my behalf more than compensated for the sting of the insult. I hadn’t considered that the cutting of the foreskin was something I had to be concerned about.  I don’t truly believe that it is equivalent but since I don’t have one, perhaps it doesn’t figure in my everyday consciousness…however I definitely do have a clitoris and think it would be an abomination to cut it off. As outraged as I feel at the hypothetical cutting of my clit, to this abomination I have only ever given one tweet and a blog post. This blog post.

It occurred to me in the aftermath, that we rarely have enough passion or energy to fight more than a few battles, if we are to do them justice. Whilst female and male circumcision may well be battles that must be fought, I choose to fight with focus. I choose to fight about the things where my knowledge and experience can make an impact.

And yet as our accessibility to information grows through the increasing proliferation of technology, ignorance becomes less and less of an excuse which means we must actively choose away what we cannot, or will not support. It’s all there at the click of our fingers (or our mice), atrocities in North Korea, political manipulation in Russia, ill treatment of animals in our own backyard.

Information is easily ignored – so much so that we now even have words to define it like online noise or virtual chatter.  Making yourself heard in the noise has spawned an entire industry of online tools from blogging and SEO to twitter and search engines. As far as I’m concerned it’s all incidental – because you can have the most marvellous strategies and they’ll all fail if you don’t love what you’re talking about.

I’ve read all the articles about how to make your blog successful (doing lists, making the title controversial, asking questions of your audience, including illustrations) but you can only really inspire if you speak from the heart, because in the final analysis no one connects to a robot (unless you’re Agent Smith).

My cause is not children in Africa or maltreated cows, and it’s not that I don’t have compassion for them. But my battle is to repair some of the dysfunction caused by the society and environment I grew up in; sex negativity, maternal narcissism, fluid relationships… and if I am to manage even part way, then it needs to be my primary focus. At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

First published on Technorati, January 2, 2012