When you’re a publisher known for silly content, during a serious time

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Photoshopped groomsmen of quality support women of equality.

Today on Offbeat Bride, we published a post about your wedding as a political act. As you might expect, the post has brought out some conservative followers on Facebook who are like “BOO does everything have to be political? This is tacky! Ridiculous! Angry face emoji!” which is totally fine.

Eventually, I’m sure some more progressive followers will also complain about the post: Is it problematic? Written from a privileged perspective? An insult to intersectionality? Probably yes to all these things.

This Offbeat Bride post comes a week after I wrote a post for Offbeat Home & Life about sleep hygiene during an information war.

I’ve written in the past about why the Offbeat Empire usually avoids current events, but the current geopolitical climate is way more than “current events.” It’s one of those worldwide shifts that simply cannot be ignored… even Teen Vogue has been radicalized!

As a publisher, I’ve wrestled with how to respond to current events going down. I’m not a political writer or publisher, and while I vote in every single election (even the random mid-year ones!), it’s not like I’m an activist. I mean, before the Women’s March, the last time I’d protested was the WTO in 1999! So there’s part of me that’s like, who am I to say anything? I’m no expert — I’m just some middle-aged white lady nerd in Seattle who publishes mostly-fluffy women’s lifestyle content!

But the more I sat with it, the more I was like… I MUST talk about happening in the USA right now. I’m a publisher with a million readers a month! How can I NOT use that platform to talk about the situation that’s affecting all our lives? Yeah, it’s going to be a bit clumsy at times. I am 100% confident I’m going to make terrible mistakes with the best of intentions, and I’m sorry in advance about that. (There’s still so much for me to learn!) I’m also confident that I’m going to lose a few readers who find my politics offensive, and I’m not sorry about that. Glennon Doyle (a Christian mommy blogger who recently came out as a lesbian) actually had some really interesting thoughts on the issue when some of her followers were like “Stoppit with the politics, stick to parenting!”

I’m also trying to use my business and its revenue to more directly support the causes I believe in. Of course I have monthly donations set up to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU… but I’m also trying to follow Kindra’s lead here and use my business to actively support women- and LGBT-owned businesses. I mean, the majority of Offbeat Bride’s sponsors are independent, women-owned businesses (since women tend to dominate the wedding industry) but I’m trying to go above and beyond by being more generous with my free promotions for Seattle women-owned micro-businesses, too. This is a bit scary (I’m basically shooting my business in the foot by giving away free placement at times), but it feels like a small way to support women during a time when things may be rough for us, politically.

Moral of the story here? I have to try. It’s not like the Empire is suddenly going to go all hard-hitting news and opinion — I mean, bridesbros in pussy hats is hardly the stuff of The Economist. I’ll leave the investigative journalism to the NYTimes (paying subscriber, here!) and Washington Post. But I have to try to do little bits, in the little ways I can. I’ll probably fail many times in many spectacular ways, but I have to try.

Comments on When you’re a publisher known for silly content, during a serious time

  1. I love this post, and the OBB one. I think you’re absolutely right that saying nothing is just not really an option right now – even from all the way over here in the Netherlands!

  2. Go for it, Ariel! It is your business and your convictions: fuck ’em if they don’t like it. IMO, with the political situation we are in right now, everyone MUST pay attention and speak up when they feel their civil rights, and their country’s principles, are being threatened. Otherwise, we are doomed!

  3. I love it that you’re doing this, and I think the Offbeat Empire has always done a good job being thoughtful and progressive while still being a business (and fun and not overly preachy). And yes, sometimes that has meant you failed and you will again–just like each of us as individuals (especially if we have privilege) who are trying to make a difference. Playing it safe and trying to make everyone happy would fail in a much more fundamental way.

  4. I saw the comments on Facebook and honestly feel like the people complaining about mentioning politics were “drive-bys”, people who were unfamiliar with the OBE. They probably never even read the actual post. It’s hard to imagine any of your actual followers will be surprised by these type of posts.
    I don’t think you’re ever going to regret becoming “political” here, Ariel!
    Also, believe it or not, there are conservatives out there who are appalled by the current administration. After the election, amid all the cries that liberals were living in an echo chamber, I doubled-down on the conservative newspapers I read. It took awhile, but I found some conservatives who don’t support Trump. (Pro tip: if you want to do the same, save yourself a bunch of time and just give FoxNews a pass. Every article there ends in a Klan meeting. Focus on things like the WSJ or chase down obscure bloggers. ) Unfortunately I haven’t found any that also voted for Trump. But it’s early days.

  5. So much love to you Ariel! (And your sleep hygiene post was excellent and came at a much needed time<3)

  6. OMG I have allllll the feels for you. I’m in the same boat as editor-in-chief of a movie review site (not a biz, s’thing friends I & do for fun but we publish 5x a week for 3 years & have a big following). Politics is not under the mission of my site, but we’ve always discussed feminism, race, & class issues as they pertain to movies so now that feels super-duper relevant. And we’ve pointed this out & we’ve gotten a little flack, but also a lot of readers have engaged in thoughtful discussion. It showed me that many ppl are trying to navigate these complicated times & wonder how the political environment effects all aspects of our lives, whether movies, home, weddings, you name it. If we can provide outlets that are something other than just screaming news bullet points, it’s a good thing.

  7. Yay! So glad to read this. Good for you. It’s a time that is going to be hard for all genders in all kinds of ways.

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