Influencers Uncensored: with Invincible Woman On Wheels
Updated: Sep 22
We have said goodbye to our popular Bloggers Uncensored series to make room for the new and improved Influencers Uncensored! You're probably wondering what the difference between the two is outside of changing the name slightly and how it's "new and improved". Well, in this new series we've expanded it beyond just the blogging community to involve all social media influencers and youtubers! We'll also be diving deeper into the life of an influencer, racism, mental health, feminism, LGBTQ+ and so much more! Have you ever wondered what your favourite influencers really think about the topics that matter? Well now you'll find out in this raw and uncensored interview series!
Excited? Good! Because it's time to introduce today's Influencer...
Everyone meet Emma, here's a little about her:
"I'm Emma, a 23-year-old Cognitive Neuroscience student. I live in Birmingham. I'm also a wheelchair user with cerebral palsy and blog about realistic life with a disability. I love music, Mixed Martial Arts and coffee."
Life as an Influencer...
What initially made you get into blogging?
It was initially from the experience of going on a Sicilian road trip with a couple friends of mine a few years back. We ended up calling ourselves the Invincible Women from that trip onwards because of the amount of inaccessibility issues and other issues we'd had to work around. The girls told me they'd learned a lot from our experiences with inaccessibility on that trip and encouraged me to share more about my life as a disabled person. As a result a travel blog of that trip became my first blog post and the blog name itself actually stemmed from that Invincible Women group name!
What is your experience of societies perception about pursuing blogging as a career path?
Whilst I'm not blogging as my career yet myself, I've heard a fair bit about blogging not being considered a "real" job or being seen as people just "messing around" on social media. But I think that's completely ridiculous because, even just from blogging as my side hustle, I can already see that so much hard work is involved.
What are the pros and cons to being an Influencer in 2020?
I think the pros are being in control of your own schedule and being your own boss and also knowing that blogging and being an Influencer in your particular niche is a passion led project rather than something you do because you HAVE TO earn money. So it's a pro to be able to control what you do and when and know you're doing it for the love of what you're doing. But at the same time I think it's a bit of con to be in control of your own schedule as it can be difficult to know when to stop working (case in point: I'm writing this post at gone midnight). There's also dealing with the reactions of other people in terms of potential trolling and being an influencer not being viewed as a "real job". I think there's also the problem of an unstable income, particularly at the start of a blogging career, as you don't get a specific monthly salary, it depends more on when the next affiliate sale happens or the next collaboration payment.
What difficulties have you faced during your time as a blogger?
I think my biggest difficulty is managing time to run, plan, write and promote the blog alongside doing my degrees (starting with my undergraduate degree and now into my Masters). I also struggle with figuring out what's enough promotion to actually cultivate interest in the blog without appearing spamming, and also what are the most effective promotion channels and platforms.
The Influencer community is huge, who are your favourites to follow right now?
My favourites at the moment would be Shona Louise from Shona Louise Blog, Youtuber Jessica Kellgren Fozard, Jennie from Wheelie Good Life, Aly from Psychotraveller & Imani Barbarin. I'll leave links for their accounts on the platform I know them all best from.
Let's get deep...
Recently the Black Lives Matter movement got the world's attention. Racism is finally being talked about openly, and white privilege is being acknowledged. What is your opinion on the BLM movement?
I think it is something that should be supported. Black people need equality and to not have to fear for their lives just for doing the most mundane things like walking somewhere or sleeping in their own bed in their own home. I think it would also be slightly hypocritical of me to fight for my rights as a member of minority groups (being both disabled and a member of the LGBT community) without acknowledging both others needs to fight for their rights and my own privilege as a white person.
Although the protests have mostly stopped for the time being, what can you and others do to make sure the movement and black lives continue to be supported?
I think the biggest things are to work on unlearning our own biases, admitting to past mistakes and problematic behaviour, and calling out racist behaviour when we hear or see it. I think it is also important to listen to black people about their own experiences when it comes to racism.
What does the word "Feminist" mean to you?
Feminist means someone who fights for equality regardless of gender and equality for anyone who identifies as female, in line with what anyone who identified as male or outside of the binary would receive. And I particularly say "anyone who identifies as female" to include trans women as well, because I know that's been a source of debate recently and I'll just say this: IF YOUR FEMINISM DOESN'T INCLUDE TRANS WOMEN THEN IT AINT FEMINISM AS FAR AS I SEE IT.
In 2020, how important do you think the feminist movement is?
I think it's still very important as there is still equality to be achieved, such as closing the gender pay gap. I will also say this AGAIN: feminism needs to include all who identify as women, including trans women!
There has always been such a stigma surrounding mental health, how do you feel mental illness is being portrayed in today's society?
I think there is more openness in admitting when you're struggling, particularly with depression and anxiety, but we still need to get rid of some of the stigmas around mental health issues. I also feel like we need to work on understanding some of the less well-known mental health issues (such as schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder) better and remove the severe stigmas attached to those issues. Overall, I feel there needs to be improved representation of mental health issues that doesn't just focus on representations based on stereotypes.
What can we, the government and society do to progress mental health services and end the stigma surrounding it?
The major thing is funding, like actually FUND the services! Speak to those struggling with these issues and, if they are comfortable, have them break down some of the myths around these issues so we can decrease the stigma. Oh and stop linking all terrible thoughts and actions to mental health issues (like saying "oh this person says this horribly racist/sexist/ableist thing, they must have mental health issues") it isn't always like that, sometimes people say horrible things that make them look like a horrible prick simply because they are just a horrible prick.
As an influencer you have to spend a lot of time on social media. Do you get affected by online trolling; whether it be directly or indirectly?
Thankfully I've not been directly trolled as yet, but I see what those I follow post from instances of them being trolled and I'll be honest, it enrages me. I purely don't understand why you'd troll someone; the purpose seems to be just to upset people, and I don't understand why you'd waste your time and energy doing that. It's also difficult to see those online, who I consider friends, upset by trolling.
Do you think social networks are doing enough to combat online trolling? If not, what can they do?
No, I think they could improve by actually following their own guidelines, as I see some very obvious instances of trolling which get reported and are then not reviewed or the troll account reprimanded in any way. I would hope there's a way to stop troll accounts being used at all, but I don't know if that's entirely possible.
Do you believe we are all individually responsible in stopping online trolls? What can we as the users do to help stop them and protect others?
I think we have an individual responsibility not to be a troll ourselves and to help stop trolls, although I don't think we can entirely stop trolls by ourselves. We can help by reporting trolls and supporting the person who is being trolled, letting them know how loved they are to drown out the trolls.
How much acceptance do the LGTBQ+ community receive in your country?
Same sex marriage is legal in all sections of the UK as far as I'm aware, and those in the LGBT+ community can still work and things like that, so it's probably not the worst in terms of level of acceptance. However, I still hear of attacks on LGBT+ people and anti LGBT+ comments being made, the comments are something I experience specifically as a bisexual woman. So I think there is definitely still work to do in terms of acceptance of the LGBT+ community.
Are we, as a society, making enough progress?
No, I don't think we are. I only see a response, in terms of arrests and punishments, to those anti LGBT+ attacks which come to the attention of the media, the attacks on my friends that I've heard of tend to lead to no punishment or repercussions for the attackers. There are also stereotypes and myths about the LGBT+ community that still need to be broken down; these are stereotypes I particularly hear as a bisexual woman.
In your opinion, why in 2020 do you think some people, cultures and countries still have a strong dislike or disdain towards the community?
I think it's to do with a closed-minded view and still referring to old myths and stereotypes, like the whole idea with gay men and HIV/AIDS. There's this idea that those of older generation just have their old ways, old mindsets and old ideologies and that's the way it is and we just have to accept it that way. Now if you'll pardon my language, I think that's absolute bullshit, you're never too old to unlearn biases and stereotypes!
In your opinion, what is the biggest issue we as a world are facing?
I mean other than the obvious COVID 19, I think it's the fights for the rights of several groups. Like helllooooooooo it's 2020, why are there still so many people fighting to exist on an equal level to everyone else. We've mentioned Black Lives Matter, the LGBT+ community and the feminist movement in the course of this interview, and then we have to think of those people who are the intersection of several of those groups and are fighting for their right to exist on an equal level to everyone else on several fronts. STILL. IN 2020.
What does freedom mean to you?
I think it means having the choice, ability and resources to do as you choose. I particularly focus on the resources section here because it's all good saying the choice is there to do something but if someone cannot afford to do something then they don't have the freedom to do that thing. And most of the time it's not their fault they don't have the resources to do something, the way things are set up is structured to make some things unattainable to some people regardless of what they do.
What else do you feel passionate about?
My big passion is disability rights and the rights of disabled people. Obviously this is a pretty big part of my life AS a disabled person. I think it is important to stress that disabled people still aren't seen as equal to abled people, even though legislation such as Disability Discrimination Act (now replaced by the Equality Act 2010) and the Americans with Disabilities Act may make it seem like we are equal.
Let's end this with some fun 'This or That' Questions:
Tea or coffee?
Text or call?
Summer or winter?
Love or money?
Book or movie?
Sex or pizza?
Meat or veggies?
TikTok or Youtube?
Fame or quiet life?
Night in or night out?
. . .
There's a new Influencer every Monday and Sunday at 6pm GMT, see you there!
If you're a blogger, influencer, youtuber or content creator and would like to be interviewed for the Influencers Uncensored series then please email me at - firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me on Instagram.
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