Sticks and stones may break my bones…

But internet views will never hurt me.

Ok, I think this is my first official bandwagon post—you know, when a topic takes blogland by storm and for a week or so everyone’s covering the same theme? Well, in last couple of days the Sewaholic and the Slapdash Sewist, among others, have covered that ever-present internet boogie-man (bogey-man? ;) ), the creepy-picture-viewer. And, well, aside from opening my big mouth in various comments, I guess I’m feeling the need to throw my opinion out there “officially”.

In short form, my opinion is this: I refuse to let the existence of pervs out there control my behaviour, whether in real life or on the internet.

To expound a bit, any time we put any bit of our life out there—by posting on the internet, or even by leaving our houses—we are exposing some aspect of ourselves to other people, some of whom may, in fact, be thinking things that would, if we knew it, make us uncomfortable.

This tends to come up in the context of Flickr, where (unlike our regular blog posts) we

may actually find out if a creep is perusing our photos, typically when said creep favourites them. Doubtless the exact same thing is happening with our regular blog photos on the hardrives of pervs (or just horny young men) around the world, but since we have no way of knowing that, we can remain blissfully ignorant.

My central thesis, I guess, is that while I have no control at all over what the creeps of the internet do, I do have control over my own actions. In this case, over whether (and what) photos I will post, but also in how I choose to react to the fact that the nasties are, in fact, out there. I wrestled with this a lot when I was first creating online personas—I even toyed with the notion, at the beginning of this blog, of keeping it head-free. That lasted all of about three posts.

Because here’s the thing. What they are doing doesn’t affect me unless I let it. Like a kid calling you a name in grade school, it only hurts if you allow that person to have some power over you. Even less so, because most of these creepies I will never even know about. And I would much rather create an open, authentic blog, that shares my life—the sewing parts of it, anyway—honestly. Because I value the connection I have with you, my readers, the ones who participate, comment, and put up your own blog posts in turn—far more than I dread the occasional creep using my photos for his own personal gratification. None of the photos on this blog are anything I would hesitate to own up to in real life—even my vagueness about my name and location have more to do with fending off google searches from my regular “career” than a desire to keep you guys in the dark. Nothing here is an embarrassment to me. (Well, except perhaps some of those sewing disasters…). I want my blog to have the features that I look for in other blogs, and openness, honesty, and, yes, faces, are some of the things I look for.

Actual "creep-favourited" photo

This is not to say I don’t take basic precautions. My comments are moderated (though I don’t think I’ve ever had a really nasty one, just spammers),  I keep tabs on my flickr stream (and always have) and don’t hesitate to block the odd creep. I like how nice and safe and friendly the sewing-blogland is, and I certainly want my content to reflect this. Because that’s what’s real, in that that’s what forms my experience. The phantoms of nastiness may exist, but they don’t form part of the regular give and take that is the blog community. And as long as what I’m posting is content I’m happy to own, what someone else might do with it is something I’m not going to waste my time worrying about. I have sewing to do, damn it!

(Naturally, your mileage may vary, just as your tolerance for that kid calling you names in third grade may have been different than mine. Everyone should, of course, take the route that makes them comfortable—much as I enjoy reading others’ blogs, the fact is that blogs are ultimately by and for the writers, and you need to do what’s right for you and permits you peace of mind.)

Cuff mock-up

Speaking of sewing, I did manage to make a mock-up of the inverted-box-pleat cuff for my springy coat. And I think I’m happy with it. I’m thinking I will edgestitch the pleats to keep them sharp, although not in a contrasting colour in the final project (but the red was still in my machine from the jean jacket).

A better view of the pleat.

In Me-Made March news,

MMM day 30

gee, where have you seen these items before? I keep planning to wear something fancy, and then wimping out. I’ll doll up tomorrow, I promise…

Cowl top
skinny jeans

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28 Comments

Filed under Sewing

28 responses to “Sticks and stones may break my bones…

  1. Hear hear!

    (So far, my photos have been head-less, but for reasons that have nothing to do with the potential for creepers getting their grubby hands on my photos. I’m thinking of making the change to include my face, but the jury is still out.)

  2. Kimbersew

    “In short form, my opinion is this: I refuse to let the existence of pervs out there control my behaviour, whether in real life or on the internet.”
    Bravo!! and thank you for your honesty, bravery, and radiant beauty (and for letting us see it)!

  3. I would just be extremely careful that no one can trace your kids through your blog. They are the ones at real danger here. I would say that keeping your city/town private would be very important. Also names of streets, etc. anything that could give someone a clue to your whereabouts.

    • In what way are they in more danger than they would be walking to school, or walking to the store? If they (or I) am in any real danger, it’s from people who are already in our community—not random strangers on the internet who are more than likely on the other side of the world. I don’t give out my street or my address (or even my city, mostly). I’m not saying there aren’t nasty people out there, but I don’t see how a blog photo adds to the danger in any significant way. I could, of course, get on my soap-box about how overprotective we are as parents these days, but that’s a whole nother topic ;).

  4. I completely agree with you. Sure, it felt a bit weird to post photos of myself in bloomers, but after all, it’s nothing I would hide to my friends or family. I already had some dirty comments from terrible guys in the street when I dressed at my cutest as well as when I didn’t think highly of my looks. It always made me angry, but I know the problem is not me, it’s them. I guess the same would go with internet, should it happen to me.

  5. Jilly Be

    I’m so with you on this one. For many reasons; not the least of which stems from the first time I Googled myself – years ago – and 10 pages came up. Not on people who shared my name. Me. After the shock wore off, I realized I had no internet privacy. I let that in & decided not to fret over it, & it’s now just another aspect of life in this electronic age, & really, no different than walking down the street.

    There are experiences, and lessons to be learned, everywhere you look, everywhere you go. The only constant in life is that you ALWAYS have a choice about how you react to those experiences. :) May we all choose kindness, love, & compassion, a little more often than anger, revenge, or fear :)

  6. I lived in the hood of Saskatoon. That was way more creepy than some idiot in the UK or whereever creeping on me. The real thing I worry about online is the eventuality of my kids “chatting” online. I’ll be doing everything I can to protect my kids when that starts.

  7. Sing it, sister. I feel the exact same way. People do what they’re going to do. If I’m wank-worthy, so be it.

  8. I take basic precautions like you – however, NZ is a very small place and there’s really not much you can do in the way of hiding your identity. Knowing what’s right for the Internet is something every blogger needs to think about carefully. Some people do post things that may be better suited to a less public forum: details of divorce and custody battles, for example. My rule of thumb is, “would I go up to a complete stranger in the street and tell them that?” It’s a good way of thinking of the Internet. However, not every person who reads your blog is a complete stranger – by reading their blog and knowing they read yours, you are in a funny way creating some kind of connection.

  9. a topic that must have been on the minds of all people alike! thanks for expressing your opinion, I enjoyed reading about it, not so much thinking about it!:))

  10. As I said in my post, I’m with you. I know those people are out there and if they want to make an extra effort to save my photos, fine. No reason to make it easy on them, though. I also obscure my real name for professional reasons. The next time I’m job hunting I don’t want sewing to drown out my professional accomplishments when (not if) I’m googled.

    • Yeah—I guess I’m not responding so much to what you actually said as the knee-jerk “OMG there are creeps!?!” reactions I was seeing some other places… Which I can understand if one hadn’t thought about it before, but we do need to remember that these people only affect us to the extent that we let them. And they certainly don’t deserve to have any effect on us. :)

  11. I totally agree – I won’t waste my thoughts on such people, nor adjust my behaviour because of them. If they save my photo for non-sewing-related-reasons, then I just feel sorry they have such a sad life.
    I don’t put anything online that I wouldn’t share in public (except maybe I wouldn’t go out in public with a big arrow pointing out the bust point!), and you can just as easily have someone leering at your bustline or legs out on the street.
    I’m shy so felt uncomfortable showing my face at first, but I decided a head to toe shot is really important to show garment proportions. Plus, there is nothing like a smiling face to add personality to a blog – think of yours, Peter’s, Tasia’s, Debi’s, Patty’s, and many more which make my days happier!

  12. Good for you. I don’t bother with the creeps either. I built up immunity shortly after appropriating my blogosphere name, Gorgeous Things. Needless to say, the pervs in the audience interpreted it far differently than I did (I got it from the “Doorknob” episode of Absolutely Fabulous). When they couldn’t get a rise out of me, and when my posts proved to be too mundane to bother with, they moved on to more fertile ground. I do moderate comments, which also discourages general nastiness.

  13. Great post! I think it’s important to be aware of the creeps out there, but not to dwell on it.

  14. The way I see it, its not different than getting a cat-call on the street — so I agree with you, pervs are out there, and so be it. Why give them any sway over our lives?

  15. It has almost always been the case in my life that I have more to fear from people I know than from strangers.

    That said, I wasn’t thrilled to find my MMM pictures a part of someone’s apron collection on flickr. So I blocked them.

    There’s probably some line between the two ends of the spectrum: head-less photos or telling myself I am not going to have my actions dictated by creepy people I don’t know. Fact of the matter is, I do keep the creepy types in mind and watch what I post. Unrestrained purity of heart and action (that is, just doing things the way you’re going to do them without worry) attracts creeps like flies to sh*t.

    Every time I post pictures of my daughter I struggle with it. She’s so utterly precious to me. She photographs so sweet and vulnerable, sometimes I have to take thirty photos to get one that lacks that intimacy so I can post it.

    Thought provoking post, even if I don’t necessarily agree 100%. Might just be the different lives we lead.

  16. I agree with you about the Internet. When you put yourself out there you open yourself up to creeps. That being said, the benefits of blogging as part of the sewing community outweighs the creepy downside. At least it does for me up to this point.
    And it is up to each person to decide for themselves.
    I love your blog and pics. Wish I had your grace and style! Keep it up!

  17. i thought abou tit and dismissed the internetz creepz the same way…they’re not much more harmful than the looks and comments i get walking to work each day. my blogger pseudo-anonymity is totally to protect my future job prospects (who wants a future PI seeing them in their handmade jammies or undies? not to mention the pinup pics!)

    the hell with the creeps!

  18. Kat

    Thanks for posting this. FWIW, I agree. I don’t present any more or less information on my blog than when I’m wandering the streets, and in reality my neighbours and colleagues know far more about me than my blog gives away!

    That said, I censor myself a little – but again, not much more than I would at work. I don’t give away surnames, addresses, who I work for, and I wouldn’t post photos of me that show too much skin. Though that last one is more because I don’t want to melt peoples eyeballs – nobody wants to see that much of me :-D

  19. I am a pretty naive person, an I never really worried so far… However, I have just read the posts you linked, and I, curiously checked my flickr account. I was thinking “Oh, I don’t use it a lot, I don’t get a lot of views either, so I am sure that there will be no perves…” Sill me, five minutes ago, I have actually blocked 2 people…
    As Mad-Eye would say : “Constant vigilance”.

  20. *Applauds wildly*

    I am particularly in agreement in your viewpoint about protecting children. I am the same way, I take what precautions I can. But those ‘creeps’ have always been there. There is no extra danger now than there was before the internet started. Now we’re just more aware that they exist. As you said, if you’ve never thought of it before it can be a bit of a shock.

    And I’ve been on the internet for years and years before people really began thinking about online persona and personal protections. Now I have to consider my employers may try to “google” me. IF they find my sewing blog, well, I can just say “hey, its a hobby”. I DO NOT talk about my job or work online, or at least not anything more than passing mention. More than that could lead to termination.

  21. Lucy

    I’ve no doubt that the sewing aspect of my blog would be more successful if people could put a face to me (oh, and I posted more often ;-)), but it’s just my instinct to be cautious. I suppose I opted go the other way – I do write under my real first name and I do talk about the city in the UK in which I live, albeit a city of 2 million people where there are probably hundreds if not thousands of Lucys, so if I posted my face as well then that’d be getting too much.

    Everyone has to decide it for themselves, don’t they. I love Darci’s comment – “If I’m wank-worthy, so be it.”

  22. So far, I’m a headless blogger. The biggest single reason is probably simple self-consciousness coupled with a complete lack of interest in doing my hair and face for photos.

    In real life, it’s fairly easy to keep work and social life separate (unless you’re in a small community), but the internet tends to make all info available to everyone. I’m vague about occupation, location and last name because I want to keep those spheres separate: my work tends to be very conservative, and some of my hobbies might seem a little out there. Random pervs are not on my radar.

  23. Great post! I agree. Totally. Thanks for posting this! :-)

  24. I’m with you on not panicking over who’s looking at what. I don’t know, I suppose I’m more relaxed about the prospect of pictures being favorited for, er, scandalous reasons in part because I’ve had years to get used to being leered at, catcalled, and generally objectified. An impressive bosom has that effect. Frankly, someone keeping a picture handy without bothering me about it is less of a concern to me that someone trying to chat me up in a parking lot.

    There’s really only so much effort I’m willing to put into hiding from danger – especially since random people favoriting images of satin linings or what-have-you are almost certainly totally harmless, in my estimation. And, really, the “ew-ew-ew-grosssss those nasty perverts” reaction throughout the linked posts and their comments, disconcerts me more than the potential threat of creepiness. It just seems….unnecessary.

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