I know it's no secret here that I'm planning on writing full time as a career. This is something I'm completely passionate about, but also something I struggle with as a consumer and analyzer of media. There's a lot I find discouraging about the world of magazines: broadly speaking, how many of them (including those for men) portray unhealthy, unobtainable ideals, subtly encourage self-loathing, and show a very narrow definition of what's "acceptable."
In my wildest dreams, I will be one of the writers out there railing against the system, writing articles about self-love and acceptance and deep, meaningful, truly important topics. In my wildest dreams, I will be one of the people who will change the game and show women that they don't have to settle for mediocre chick rags because they want and deserve more than that-- maybe if some more great, empowering stuff is out there and accessible in the mainstream, it'll change a lot of attitudes. (I'd also love to write for magazines that are targeted more at men, but most of you are women, thus the angle I'm taking here).
It's hard to deny, however, that to become successful in any business, you have to play their game to some extent-- and sometimes that may mean doing things that are contrary to our own morals and/or goals.
If I have to write about "Diet Tips for Sexier Sex!" at some point in my career to get to a point where I have to opportunity to really spread the message I want to spread, would that make me a sell-out? And is it even that bad to be a sell-out? We all need money to put food in our stomachs, clothing on our backs, and roofs over our heads. Sometimes ideals don't make the kind of money we need. And what then? Where do we make the compromises? Where do we stand strong? It's probably different for everyone, but I think it's a very real problem we face: to be able to change the game, we may first have to play it, and what then?*
Many people call that "selling out." But is it so bad?
This is something I've been thinking a lot about, and I decided the best way to bring it up here would be to have a discussion. Last time I did a "Let's Talk" post, it was very successful, and some of you mentioned to me that you'd like to see more discussion-- so here you go! I'm always really thrilled to hear what you have to say. I would love it if everyone could feel comfortable enough to be open about their own beliefs and experiences, so please try to be respectful of each other-- and feel free to be "anonymous" if it helps any. I'll be coming back to discuss (and I hope you'll all check back and chat amongst each other if you have the time) and moderate if necessary.
So what is "selling out" to you? Is there such a thing? Is it ever justified? Where would you draw the line between acceptable and not? Have you ever done something/been asked to do something that you felt was selling out? And if you did, could you tell us why you decided to do it or not? How do you feel about it looking back? Of course, any and all other thoughts related (even tangentially) to this topic are more than welcome.
*I have a friend who once told me she wants to go to law school and sell her soul to a big corporate firm for a few years so that she'll have the money to live while she dedicates her life to charity/volunteer work afterward.