Young, Taken and Blogging
WEEKENDER | Tue, 08/31/2010 11:50 AM |
It’s a sign of the times as young women find freedom in the blogosphere.
By Sara Veal
Kyla Roma describes herself “a twenty something puppy mama, wife and crafty lady living under the biggest sky I’ve ever seen”. She loves knitting, baking and browsing in antique shops.
Although the Canadian’s tastes may appear old-fashioned, the medium through which she shares her stories and interests is cutting edge: a customized Wordpress blog (kylaroma.com), updated several times a week with appealingly designed posts and skilful digital photography.
Such is Kyla’s dedication that during her honeymoon she enlisted “guest” bloggers to keep her page active. Her blog is at once knitting circle, advice column and lifestyle magazine – a blend that attracts thousands and has opened up many professional and social opportunities for the wedding photographer, graphic designer and now independent business owner.
Kyla belongs to 20sb.net – “20 Something Bloggers – The Bloggers with the Most to Say” – which was founded in 2007 by Lisa Farlow, a mechanical engineer-cum-philosophy student.
“I had been searching the blogosphere for a community where I felt included, and hadn’t really turned up any results. All the networks I found were for mommy bloggers or tech bloggers, and I didn’t really feel like I had a home. So I created my own!” Lisa says.
“Last year I took on a partner and we now split the responsibilities evenly. We also have a large volunteer admin team to help us run events, etc.”
20SB boasts members from 196 countries; 80 percent of them are women, and the average age is 24.5.
Most of the female 20-something bloggers are based in North America. But with Indonesians’ noted adeptness with social media – not a day goes by without Twitter or Facebook making the headlines – there are plenty of Indonesian Kylas too: bloggers who are female 20-somethings in long-term relationships.
The combination of these parameters reflects an increasingly globalized post-feminism. Such young women display technical savvy and ambition, while remaining monogamous. They are not Mary Tyler Moore, Bridget Jones or Carrie Bradshaw, but something else altogether.
They belong to the first generation to grow up with the mass use of the Internet in the mid-1990s.
And while there are of course popular blogs written by single women – and men both single and taken – the blogs by the newlywed and affianced women appear to attract the most hits and enthusiastic followers.
Lisa agrees that there has been a recent rise in married-or-engaged bloggers on 20SB, but remains diplomatic about their prominence within the community.
“I’m not sure that any one type of blog is most popular. Mostly people write about their lives, and therefore people commonly write about things that we go through in our 20s: family, pets, school, grad school, first jobs, unemployment, love, breakups, friendships, marriage, trying to conceive, pregnancies, kids, etc. So in a way, what is popular is just what is common.”
Posted in Indonesia
Anastasya Adi, aka Tasya, has been blogging for more than a year at “Life Around My Closet” (anastasyaadi.blogspot.com), mainly concerning fashion and architecture. The architecture student was inspired by popular Indonesian blogger Andhari (littleinsomniaclolita.blogspot.com).
“I saw that she had fun with her blog, and I thought, hey I can do that too ... my boyfriend helps me with it, with everything. My blog is just my daily babbling and my daily fashion. I’ve had several blogger meetups... several opportunities... I want to meet lots of new friends. That’s my main goal.”
Lalitia Apsari, a writer for ELLE, has been writing for the Internet since she was in junior high. She blogs at lalitia.tumblr.com.
“Last year, I decided to close all my blogs and start a new one on Tumblr. I decided to have no topics in particular, and write anything that came to mind.”
Writing is both Lalitia’s profession and passion. Blogging allows her to explore her interest in creative writing and keep her “mind sharp”.
Catherine Viriya, also an architecture student, began her blog catherineviriya.blogspot.com two years ago. She likens it to Tasya’s, in terms of the fashion focus.
“Before I was just blogwalking, admiring the other fashion blogs ... and I’ve always enjoyed dressing up ... and I thought, each day, I dress up for myself ... why not start a blog and post pictures? At first I did it with my friends, but they were doing it solo, so I did too.”
However, her boyfriend is uncomfortable with her blog.
“He asked why I was putting my pictures on the Internet and letting them see me. He thought if I wanted to be a model I should just go to a model agency, so it would be on purpose.”
She managed to reassure him by promising not to post “revealing” pictures of herself.
“Right now I enjoy how I blog ... I don’t have the sense that I have to post or upload everyday ... it’s my personal thing, so I can do whatever I want.”
Why They Blog
Freedom is the key for the bloggers. Tempo journalist Nalia Rifka aka Fika (narilurvedyep.blogspot.com) describes blogging as a “sweet escape”, the name of her main blog.
“I started blogging when I was doing my undergraduate thesis and I thought, I want to do something else. Basically it’s about fashion, sometimes about movies, and I have a couple blog, with me and my boyfriend, actually fiancé now. Since I started work as a journalist, I don’t have much time, but I am keeping it up, as I’ve met so many friends.”
She previously used her blog to advertise her online custom-made shoe shop, but with her busy schedule, the shop has been put on indefinite hold.
A blogger since 2004, photographer Noran Bakrie uses her blog (www.noranbakrie.com) to save time in giving information to the many people she encounters about her life. “I told people if they wanted to know about me, they should read my blog.”
However, the frank content on her romantic relationship has proven controversial.
“It’s not really pornographic, it’s personal, it’s me and my boyfriend ... what else we would we do? We just live in a very conventional country. I’ve had complaints from women in Aceh who say I’m exposing people,” she says.
Tasya says Noran’s blog is “more like art”. “I love her language ... it’s different to me, the way she talks, the way she explains everything.”
“For me, the modern woman is one who thinks they’re not the resident of just one country, as they will have a broad mind, and the wisdom to accept what they can’t understand,” says Noran, who has lived in various places across the world, including the US and eastern Africa, due to her architect father’s scholarship and her desire for new experiences.
Lalitia describes her mother, with whom she has run a batik clothing line for two years, as a thoroughly modern woman.
“She’s on Facebook, she likes surfing the web, but she does her housework herself, with no maid ... she’s kind of Superwoman, she can do anything.”
For Tasya, women like Lalitia – “one of my seniors on campus” – embody modern femininity.
“And the Social House PR [manager] is a woman, she’s 22, she’s married and has a child, and is PR for a hip place in Jakarta ... In an interview, she was asked why she married so young. She replied, ‘I dared myself to accept my boyfriend’s proposal at 18, I’m not married by accident’.”
It’s this sense of adventure that Tasya identifies as key to the modern woman.
“My friend was invited to Peru and Dubai, as long as she put it on her blog. She’s 15, and she had to travel so far. She dared herself to do it.”
Catherine sees the modern woman as one who knows exactly what she wants.
“Like Tasya says, the modern woman dares to take chances that come to her, in a good way but she is still able to control herself ... as we know these days, there are many bad things that can happen.”
Fika believes the modern woman masters both the professional and the domestic circles, adding the same applies to men: “My father does most of the cooking!”
On Relationships and Romance
Although long-term relationships are something the young women have in common, their attitudes and experiences are diverse – and illuminating.
While Noran feels close to her partner of two years, she remains undecided about marriage.
“I’m not against marriage, I’m just tired of people asking me! People act as if marriage is big and epic, once in a lifetime ... but people get married and divorced, that’s just how life goes.”
“I want a family, but not necessarily marriage,” Lalitia says.
Marriage is also far from Catherine’s mind. She met her Turkish boyfriend while on holiday in Bali and is battling the multiple obstacles of cultural and religious difference (he’s Muslim, she’s Catholic) and long-distance love, as he was first based in Thailand and now in the Maldives.
“He keeps saying that we will get married when I finish university and get a job, he’s planning everything ... but I think that I met him too young, I was just 18 ... but I’m thankful that I found him.”
Tasya has found friendship to be the perfect foundation for romance, stating that her boyfriend was and is her best friend.
“When we started going out, I already knew everything about him, so we decided we had been going out for four years, which is how long we had known each other. There was nothing different except the physical. We agreed that marriage comes after we have a car, a house, a job. We don’t want our children to suffer because we can’t afford them.”
The architecture student and her boyfriend have found an unusual way to keep things fresh.
“Every month, we have a week pretending we are single. It’s our friend time. After a week, it creates closeness, I miss him. My friends think it’s silly, they say ‘you will lose him someday’, but I’m not worried. He thinks no one else wants to be with me, and I think the same thing about him.”
While wedding bells may be a way off for the others, Fika will be married within a year, to her fiancé of eight years.
And of course, she’ll be blogging all about it.