Interviewed and Edited: Lara Whittaker
Maz is a student blogger who focuses on women and Black and ethnic identity. Here she talks a bit more about what drives her passion for writing. She is currently running a project ‘Womanization’ which explores the place of women in society.
What made you want to start blogging?
I really wanted to start blogging this summer because I saw a lot of things in the news and thought I had to say something about it. I’m a really opinionated person, so blogging is a good way to express myself and my views on current social issues that are in western and developing countries.
Are there key topics/themes which influence the content of your blog?
I started my blog because of the burkini ban in France; when a woman was persecuted by policemen on the beach because she was veiled. She was just sat with her children and it was just not making sense because she wasn’t doing anything bad, she wasn’t wearing anything bad. In France the burka is not allowed at all, but it wasn’t a burka at all it was just a veil. After this event a lot of people started talking including the politicians and media, most of the time it was just men of influence. I was just wondering why everyone has his say, but this woman didn’t have a say. Do I want my place in this world to be defined by a male or someone else, not me? Do I have limits to who I want to be or can I be more than what society wants me to be. Then I was like ok I want to make a blog about it because I really want to know what other women think about their place in society. I really want to know how I can improve my place in society as a woman, so if one day I have a daughter, my daughter can as well have a good example.
How would you describe your blogging style?
I started blogging in August 2016 and stopped in December because of my dissertation and final year project. My idea was to talk to women from my group of friends, talk to others at conferences, even strangers in the street. However it can be really hard as you don’t know the outcomes of the conversations with new people, thinking of questions based on the first impressions of that person. I think I’ve done it pretty well since I’ve started blogging, but yes, my blogging style is interviews most of the time. I got inspired by Adwoa Aboah, who is a model and started a series on YouTube called Gurls talk. After seeing this I never realised that women were so oppressed. I am the only girl and have 5 other siblings, so I’ve always been a fighter and have fought for my place. I wasn’t raised as a girl, so I didn’t have the need to grow as a woman. Another inspiration is Style By You, this mum and daughter created a YouTube channel and interview influential women. In the interviews the women take an item of clothing off after saying something about themselves and it gets more and more personal. They talk about different subjects like self-acceptance, abuse, about being a women, mum, daughter, or girlfriend. It was really inspiring and I was just like yes, I want to be someone important. I know I want to be someone important, in the sense that I really want to change things in the world, but changing things for women, acting like a woman, fighting for women’s rights and fighting for other women who can’t fight. I feel like it’s such a blessing and I’m really grateful for this blessing to be in society and be the woman that am with the origins that I have. I’m originally from Congo but I grew up in France, so even if I change the world a little bit, it’s going to be a lot for other people.
Who would you say is your ideal reader?
The girl who doesn’t know about girl things. It’s a girl who is always on Facebook and social media, always trying to get all the likes. Who is restricted by society rules but she never realises, so she just goes on with it. I would love for this girl to find my blog and be like ‘Oh this is so interesting’, ‘that is true!’, ‘I saw that before but didn’t know what it meant’. For them to agree with the idea. For them to want to write a blog themselves, join a women society, a women community, and break the boundaries of womanhood.
How active are you on your blog, how frequent do you post?
I used to post every 2 weeks, then my dissertation came up and I don’t post as often as I would like to. I want to write more this summer and inspire more girls. When I started this it really inspired me and I want to be the best woman I can, no one is perfect.
In the future, where do you hope your blog will take you?
I don’t know where I want my blog to take me. I want to do my blog on the side of doing a masters next year. I would really like to do a research based project on this blog. Doing this blog has really pushed me to do more and shown me that people care, which is really heart-warming and encouraging. I just hope people can access it and to give confidence to girls, women, men as well.
What advice would you give to individuals who are thinking about starting a blog?
I think that everyone should start a blog because it’s really nice to free your mind from everything and put it on a platform where some people will read it. If you don’t want anyone to read it you can use Tumblr to put a password your blog. It makes you really proud, it’s an achievement. I know in my student life it’s really easy to settle and just do nothing, just going on with life without growing up, without achieving anything, apart from university, obviously. I think it would be just a great idea to start a blog, it’s just great and freeing. You feel good, and people around you feel good and proud of you, so I think that’s really nice as well. You can give something to people and people can give you things back because if I hadn’t started this blog, I wouldn’t had met the people I have or started these conversations. You don’t have to write every day and it can still be interesting.
Check out the blog for interesting articles celebrating women https://millenialmemory.wordpress.com/