Blogging with Authenticity

Blog series, blog hops, and blogging challenges have been good ways for me to get back into blogging after a dry spell. This month I want to invite other bloggers to join me in a #30PostsHathSept Blog Challenge designed for anyone who wants to give their blogging a kickstart for the fall.

Click here for details and a button where you can add links to your posts. I hope you will join me! The rules are fairly simple and the pacing flexible—all you need to do is commit to publishing 20 to 30 blog posts during the month of September.

Photo credit: madamepsychosis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
See bottom of post for photo credit.

Let the blogging begin!

Blogging with Authenticity

We blog for many reasons, but one of the most important can to use the constraints of tight deadlines—leaving little time for overthinking and second-guessing—to write and perhaps even live with greater authenticity.

The news article “‘Covering’ to fit in and get ahead,” from Harvard’s School of Public Health, features work by legal scholar and New York University School of Law professor Kenji Yoshino, who studies “the ways people ‘cover’ or downplay those aspects of their identities that are based on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, in an effort to ‘fit in’ and get ahead professionally and personally.”

According to Yoshino, we can “cover” in many ways:

Appearance – steering clear of grooming, mannerisms, or attire that could be identified with their group. For example, an African American woman might choose to straighten her hair to downplay her race.

Affiliation – avoiding behaviors that might be identified with their group. For example, a woman who has small children may downplay that she is a mother and take on night or weekend work to show that she is committed to her job.

Advocacy – avoiding activities such as demonstrating or speaking out that could be seen as advocating for their group.

Association – avoiding spending too much time with individuals who are also members of their group. A gay person might choose not to bring his same-sex partner to a work function so as to not appear ‘too gay,’ Yoshino said.” [bold emphasis added]

The article has caused me to think a lot about the quest for authenticity and whether it is easier or harder not only to be oneself but to know oneself in the 21st century. Social media, for example, offers a broad and diverse range of voices, friends, and followers, but for someone who is overly intent on pleasing others or suffering from social anxiety, the fear of offending might lead to more rather than less authenticity.

While Yoshino focuses on race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, we can think about how we downplay our identifies for other reasons, as well, and we can remember that disabilities are often invisible even to close family members and friends. Those whose work is primarily creative and solitary might be sacrificing authenticity by overcommitting socially to avoid being thought of as a loner, even when they would rather be creating. A writer or visual artist may “cover” by not writing about topics and questions of gender, religion, or other issues important to him or her, for fear of what friends or family may think.

A Culture of Authenticity

From the article: “[H]elping members of a work or school community understand the ways in which so many people in all groups are engaged in ‘covering’ behaviors and encouraging a culture of authenticity is one route to breaking down barriers between groups….”

  • How do you “cover” in your writing or creative life?
  • How can we encourage a culture of authenticity and help others to be more authentic in our presence?

Photo credit: madamepsychosis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

1 thought on “Blogging with Authenticity

  1. Lisa, I love your point about how blogging can help us write with more authenticity. The deadlines & constraints of a blog challenge definitely help me overcome my perfectionism and procrastination, but I hadn’t thought of it in terms of authenticity. I sometimes worry that my blog doesn’t have a particular theme or focus on a specific subject. Over the years, I have enjoyed reading subject-specific blogs on various topics. And yet, for me right now, it feels authentic to continue to blog about the variety of subjects or experiences that matter to me. Perhaps that will change in the future, but for now it’s where I am.

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