Reader Survey results, Part 2

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So first, how about some more cold hard facts from the 2010 reader survey?

  • Y'all are social media geeks! 40% of you have a blog and 40% of you use twitter. 20% of you use our Facebook fan page to follow Offbeat Bride updates, and 20% of you use RSS.
  • You're mostly urban, with two thirds of you identifying as living in a large or small city.
  • Y'all are faithful: 50% of you said there were no other wedding websites you read as frequently as Offbeat Bride. Aww. That made me feel all warm and snuggly inside
  • Working with indie businesses is important to almost 70% of you, which is AWESOME — although don't lie, girls: I know a ton of you buy your dresses at that chain that rhymes with Cravid's Fidal. 😉
  • Some of y'all have long engagements planned:

My very favorite question on the survey was “Do you identify with any offbeat subcultures?” With my illustrious undergraduate degree in Sociology, I make no secret of the fact that Offbeat Bride is in part a way for me to have a steady stream of subcultural stimulation. Metalhead! LARPer! Fanfic author! Lolita! Rollerderby girl! Rivethead! Straight edge! I am NONE of these things, but am obsessed with all of them.

I encouraged y'all to check as many cultural identity boxes as you felt applied, and here's how Offbeat Bride readers identify:

Unsurprisingly to me (but perhaps shocking to y'all) 50% of you identify as “Offbeat LITE,” which I defined as “a little quirky, but not really into any subcultures.” OBB LITEs, I love you, and here's why: I love that y'all are getting so much inspiration from the freakier side of wedding planning. There are lots of people who find folks “weirder” than them intimidating, and I really appreciate how many offbeat bride readers are able to say “Huh — a cosplay wedding isn't really MY thing, but I still read Offbeat Bride.” The world needs more tolerant awesomes like y'all!

In terms of subcultures, the most popular were DIY/Crafts, Geek, Retro, Gamer (yay nerds!), Hippie, Punk, Rockabilly, Fantasy, Goth, and Steampunk. But predictably, a huge chunk of you opted to write in your own desciptors and lordy ladies, that was AWESOME!

Let's go down the offbeat alphabet, shall we? We've got academics and artists, bohemians and burlesque dancers, comic book fans and circus freaks, drama queens and eco-nuts, lots of feminists and a few fandom folks, glam and gothic lolitas, hardcore and homesteaders, indies and jugglers, kink/BDSM and librarians, nerds and pagans, queers and rockers, sci-fi fans and surfers, theater geeks and tree huggers, vegans, vikings, and lots of vintage. WHEW! Lots of you also said things like “I'm just me,” which is awesome. I'm all for eschewing labels. But oh man. The sociologist/demographer in me LOVES LABELS. I love all of you freaks, and look forward to learning more about your corners of culture through your beautiful weddings.

The final question I asked y'all was what Offbeat site we should think about launching next. In a landslide victory, y'all said OFFBEAT HOME. This is interesting to me, because it means basically following theknot's template of wedding planning, homemaking, and babies. I love all three of these things, and am totally stoked about the idea of Offbeat Home and indeed am already scheming about it…but.

BUT! I can't deny that the feminine trinity of wedding, home, family feels uncomfortably traditional. I mean, I guess that's what Offbeat is all about: women find their ways through life transitions that are heavy with expectations and traditions. But I feel a little weird about the idea of a trio of Offbeat sites dedicated to the stereotypical path that young women have been force fed for centuries: get married, make a home, and start a family. Sure, I encourage y'all to do it in your own ways … but having a trio of website dedicated to those topics feels like an odd encouragement for women to keep doing the same things we've always been encouraged to do.

Maybe there's nothing wrong with that, but I can't deny it makes me a little uncomfortable to follow the knot/nest/bump template. I'm still scheming how awesome Offbeat Home would be, but I wanted to get my concerns off my chest…

Anyhoo, I could go on and on and on about the feedback we got from y'all … but this post is already too long. Mostly, thanks to each of you who took the time to share your opinions with me. It means so much to me that the website means so much to all of you.

Comments on Reader Survey results, Part 2

  1. but we're all so inundated with knot/nest/bump-type information that we need an alternative! i already got married, i'm not having babies… where's the offbeat site for me? offbeat marriages/relationships/lifestyle/etc would be delightful.

  2. Wow! That's pretty amazing! I always thought of "offbeat home" as more of a genderless site because everyone kind has to live in a space, right? I think even if I wasn't married/getting married, I'd check out offbeat home for decorating ideas and whatnot 🙂

    • I agree. I would imagine that "Offbeat Home" would be for stylish people who live somewhere. Woah! That's like, a lotta people! You can be young, old, single, married, LGBT or whatever and still live somewhere and be stylish. I think a "home" site would be the least traditional. Getting married and having babies come from traditional expectations of the female gender role. Living somewhere and wanting to decorate is not something I see as traditional, I see it as a basic need. Let's do it up!

      • This is actually a great point that I hadn't considered at all — while Offbeat Bride and Offbeat Mama are very much tied to RELATIONSHIPS, Offbeat Home isn't at all. And indeed isn't even tied to gender.

        I think you just convinced me!! 🙂

        • That's the thing I DON'T like about it though. While Offbeat Bride and Offbeat Mama are about relationships, people, and life choices, I can see a home site being mostly about decorating, products, etc – materialistic, in other words. And this is something I would hate to see happen.

          • I don't know, I like the idea of Offbeat Home because a home is so much more than just buying things – it's about DIY, learning to live with a roommate or partner, and going through a lot of lifestyle changes abruptly, not unlike a wedding! And also not unlike weddings, discussing home choices can quickly turn to materialism, but that's why Offbeat Bride is so cool. It gives an alternative to all this. 🙂

    • That's just what I was going to say. Most *people* live somewhere and want to make their space their own. I don't think of it as traditional feminine domesticity. Same with getting married and having babies, really. It's just part of the human life cycle. Isn't that the point of feminism – just doing what you want to do without asking whether it's a traditional female role or not?

    • I totally would, too! I've been obsessed with offbeat home decor since I was young, way before I was even dating, let alone married. I've always loved seeing how other people decorate their spaces, but most decor magazines & blogs are all kinda boring and homogeneous to me. I want to see the person's (or people's) essence in the space, not just a room that could have been staged by a designer, you know?

      • I've always been obsessed with decorating, but haven't been able to really exercise my own style yet: I went from my parents' house, to a dorm, and back to my parents' house. What about something for pesonalizing living spaces that aren't necessarily your own.

    • I agree. The best thing about OBB and OBM is that they don't presume that participants are women, or that alternatives weren't used. For example, while OBM might include one mother's story about her water-bath birth, it could also feature a wonderful story of a gay couple's adoption. Similarly, OBH would include LGBT and alternative relationship households. I forsee lots of awesome decorating ideas, tips to living in small spaces, features of fantastic homes (rammed earth anyone?), techy home features and lots of DIY. I'd recommend relegating relationship advice to a small column, rather than making it the bulk of the site.

      Ultimately, the thing is that we all feel that there is no better person to create a site that adequately covers a plethora of alternative lifestyles with an upbeat attitude built on dignity and respect for the people who lead these lives.

  3. I think it would be awesome to have the trinity of offbeatness, however, I understand that you’d have reservations. I think what I like most about the “offbeat” corner of the web is that it’s doing traditional things – marriage, home, children – in non traditional ways. And that’s okay! It kind of makes me excited to know that so many creative, awesome, free thinking people want the same things I do in life – home & family. And want to celebrate the weird and eccentric ways in which we pursue and care for those things.

    Just my two cents.

  4. I think the trinity doesn't have to be seen as traditional. The way I see it, a lot of offbeat boys and girls want marriage, children and a home just like everyone else- they just want to do it in their own way. And need help. And that's where the Offbeat Empire comes in!

    • And some offbeat peeps want two (or one) of the three – a wedding and a home, for example, without kids, or kids and a home without a wedding just yet. Having the choice of any of the three websites makes it that much more applicable to offbeat lives. 😀

  5. I love the idea of Offbeat Home, because it is somewhere we could turn when all the other sites reject us or vice versa. It is super traditional to follow that format, but at the same time, it is practical, it would be great to seek solutions in the home from like minded women. Everyone has a home in some way, offbeat or not 😀

  6. I understand your reluctance, but I for one would really, really love a non-bride non-baby site run by OBB. Now that my wedding is over, I find myself missing the time I spent brainstorming, comiserating and just making friends with people on OBT. I'd love to have a forum for that to continue, without feeling like the weird already married girl hanging around the boards

  7. When I think of OffBeat home I think of recipes, DIY decor, organization/cleaning tips. These are things everyone does. i've never been on the nest but yea…also relationship advice. Make it a place for all co-habitating couples (or jsut singles). Maybe roommate advice. Stuff like that.

    • I agree — Offbeat Home would include a much larger set of people, and it doesn't have to be set in the trio as a This Goes With This sort of way. You can love offbeat Home without being an offbeat bride, or without wanting to get married at all, for example!

  8. I agree with the above comments, and wanted to say that I think the yearning for Offbeat Home stems from the fact that lots of OBT-ers — myself included — love expressing their sense of style/design and talking about strong relationships, and we want a way to keep doing that after the wedding… particularly those of us who have no interest in having children.

    If you really wanted to buck the trend & make sure that different viewpoints are respected, I know I'd love to see a (respectfully done) Childfree section of Offbeat Home… I would love it if one day having a Childfree Lifestyle wasn't met with all the "you'll see"s and looks of horror. No disrespect to Offbeat Mamas intended, it's just another choice, and having choices is awesome.

  9. When I took the survey I was a little bugged that there wasn't an option for how long I've been married. I'm not engaged, I'm not a newlywed, I've been married for YEARS. I just like your blog. The offbeat weddings are fun to see. I'm not here because of my own wedding and the survey didn't see that as a possible option, so I went with whichever option was for married folks. Maybe think about that in the future – not all your readers are here because they have something to do with weddings. Some of us just plain ol' like your blog!

  10. do it do it! There are a LOT of us who are between marriage and baby (or not ever heading for baby ever ever ever) and where are we supposed to go to see peoples' cool spaces? Apt therapy? I'd like to see how all of these lovely subcultures does their kitchens! (think of it–rollerderby kitchen. oh, man…)
    Also, I agree with the others, these things aren't traditionally feminine so much as they are normal parts of everyone's lives. The alternatives are Offbeat Career, Offbeat Travel, and Offbeat Hobbies, which are cool, but probably wouldn't draw in the lurkers in quite the same way.

    • Hear hear on the alternatives. I do think OB Career, Travel, Hobbies etc. could be offered as subsections of OB Home. Add Offbeat school to that and I would feel fully represented!

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