Todays guest poster is Liz, who is generally a Lurker. Liz asked us “Would you be willing to throw a few questions to the readers of Hoyden About Town for me?”, so Liz’s questions are now this post.
I’m wondering if you could help me out here? I’m doing a write-up on feminist blogs and online communities for this year’s edition of the university’s women’s magazine which includes listing and profiling some blogs/sites. I’m also putting in a section on why feminist and women’s only spaces are relevant and valuable.
- What do consider to be a “feminist blog”? Does it have to be predominately about women’s issues or can it simply be feminist-friendly? Do sites devoted to things like fat activism count?
- Why do you read feminist blogs? What do you get out of them and why do you consider them valuable?
- Do you perceive any deficiencies in online feminist communities?
- And the fun part: recommend me some sites! I read about 15-20 feminist/feminist-friendly blogs on a daily basis but a need more, and a more diverse range of sites to profile. I’d like to be able to list a couple of blogs representing: women and technology (inc. geek culture), women and pop culture, gay activism, racial equality (particularly indigenous Australians), disability activism, fat activism, women-centered news sites, religion and atheism and especially Australian blogs.
Categories: gender & feminism
1. What do consider to be a “feminist blog”? any blog written or read by feminists or feminist-lovers. Fat activism counts.
2. Why do you read feminist blogs? I read them to see if people are thinking about stuff the same way I am. I read them to get new ideas to deal with sexism (feminism is the antidote to sexism – right) I read them to feel like I’m not the only feminist on the planet as I live in East Texas where feminist is a dirty word though I sport it proudly. I read them to get a broader perspective of what women are really experiencing underneath all the “I’m fines” and “We’re just busy” and “work is okay.”
3. Do you perceive any deficiencies in online feminist communities? I think everyone is a feminist. But I think some who call themselves feminists want to put a box around the word and claim it. I’ve read stuff like “you can’t be pro-porn and be feminist” and I say – says who? I also hear a lot of complaints from SAHMS that they feel excluded and I think you can be a SAHM and a feminist. We should be inclusive. We should understand that there are different ways to see a topic or issue.
4. And the fun part: recommend me some sites! I’ll recommend my own first Empowering Girls: So Sioux Me at http://www.sosiouxme.com for mothers to empower their daughters. Also you can find me discussing feminist and political issues at Blog Fabulous, http://www.blogfabulous.com .
Since you mentioned fat activism you might be into Body Impolitic at http://www.bodyimpolitic.com.
What do consider to be a “feminist blog”? Does it have to be predominately about women’s issues or can it simply be feminist-friendly? Do sites devoted to things like fat activism count?
My Google Reader is sorted into political blogs, religious, feminist, and personal (friends, etc.)
I find that blogs that are mainly pop/political, but which still have woman-focused and explicitly feminist content, go in the “feminist” folder.
There are other sites which are feminist-friendly, for the most part, but which still don’t really feel “feminist”: usually sites written by men who are writing to the conventional white-male-upper-class politically informed demographic.
Fat blogs are definitely “feminist” to me, as are other blogs that focus on issues beyond the white, upper class Western woman’s experience — disability, race, trans issues.
I could separate all those out into different folders, but they all feel connected in a broader sense, sharing a common space on the internet.
Why do you read feminist blogs? What do you get out of them and why do you consider them valuable?
Oh, God. Feminist blogs have been one of the two catalysts in my “converting” from a self-loathing conservative-leaning uber-sheltered evangelical girl. My (non-feminist-identifying) husband is the other. But over the past several years, they have helped instill in me a confidence that I don’t think I would have without them. They give me food for the mind and an opportunity to learn and expand my world, but most importantly they give me an opportunity to participate in small-scale activism, giving me a purpose — just to make life better for the people around me, in whatever small way, by maybe sharing with them a little bit of that confidence I’ve been gifted.
Do you perceive any deficiencies in online feminist communities?
Most certainly; the recent stirring-up of the white feminist community over race is something that remains forefront in many minds, I think. There is a focus, like it or not, on that white, upper-class, het, abled, cis, etc. woman’s experience, and it is generalized outward to represent the whole of womanhood. The fallacy in this should be rather obvious.
Besides that, really it’s a matter of taste. I don’t watch reality tv and I can’t stand pop/celebrity culture, but I still read everything at Shakesville because there is so much good content there besides that, and it is a safe and welcoming community. But that strikes me no different than skipping the basketball posts at Matt Yglesias, really.
Recommend: (most of these can be Googled, I’m too lazy to link them up)
Big Fat Deal
I Blame The Patriarchy
There are others I find myself reading frequently but sometimes it takes a while for me to actually go and add them to my feed reader, which (unfortunately) makes them easy to forget when trying to list everything out…
I totally don’t have the time or patience right now to do the rest of this (it’s not you, it’s me), but I did want to say that in terms of women and pop culture, the blogger I’ve ever come across on the topic is Pop Feminist. I don’t always agree with her, and often debate her, but she really gets you thinking and has gotten me to examine all kinds of things I’ve never previous considered and to look at lots of things in whole new ways. And I’m not just saying this because we’re Beatles fan twins.
AND THANKS FOR THE RECOMMENDATION AMANDAW!
1. What do consider to be a “feminist blog”?
Any blog that focuses on women’s issues, with a view to the idea that patriarchal social structures are harmful to women and must be overcome. These can be generic in focus, or they can be more specific– fat acceptance, motherhood, GLBTI issues, etc. I would say that these issues on their own don’t make a blog feminist (after all, it’s possible to approach any of them in a misogynist way), but many bloggers do approach these matters from a feminist perspective, and that makes them feminist bloggers.
2. Why do you read feminist blogs?
To learn, and to keep myself aware not only of issues that affect my life, but issues that affect women around the world. And also, importantly, for a sense of community with feminist women.
3. Do you perceive any deficiencies in online feminist communities?
Well, I agree with everything amandaw said– although I confess that without these recent conflicts, I probably wouldn’t have been able to see past my own privilege at all to see that it was an issue.
I think that another problem is that sometimes the blogs with the best sense of community can be hard to get into for women who are just coming to feminism, and have not yet questioned many of their assumptions about the world. The problem is, of course, it can be difficult to distinguish these people from concern trolls, even when they are not, it does sidetrack the discussion, while potentially leaving the feminist newbie feeling dismissed and left out. Of course, Tigtog has done a great job with Feminist 101 Blog, and for younger feminists there is the All Girl Army, and both these spaces can address these issues, but I worry that new/naive feminists simply won’t look further if they have a bad experience at a blog that deals with more advanced feminism. But at the same time, I do see the need to sit on genuine trolls quickly and sharply, so I’m not sure exactly how this one can be addressed.
Also, while I don’t see this as much of an issue as it once was (which may say more about me than the blogs themselves), I think there’s the need for a respectful discourse between feminists who disagree with each other, particularly over issues like pornography, because I think that would help find common ground from which to work from– for instance, I think most of us can agree that the mainstream porn industry harms women in many ways. And then once we have that starting point, it’s easier to open up discourse, without being overly dismissive of the people you disagree with (something that I have been terribly guilty of doing in the past).
And the fun part: recommend me some sites!
At the moment, I only read this blog and Shakesville with any regularity. I follow links to other blogs where recommended, a lot of the time, but at the moment, I don’t read widely enough to do this question justice.
Just going for this bit for the minute:
I’m guessing you’ve had a good look through our blogroll? I’d like to hear about which blogs you’re already reading, too – it might make it easier to fill in any “gaps”.
Meanwhile, for a bit of variety (and trying not to repeat what others have said), have a look at Girls Read Comics (And They’re Pissed), Burning Words, She Who Stumbles, stephiepenguin, The Hathor Legacy, Pam’s House Blend, The Gimp Parade, Mormon Feminist Housewives, Racealicious, Feminist SF – The Blog!, Hell On Hairy Legs, Blue Milk, personal political, Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony.
What do you consider to be a “feminist blog”?
What Beppie said …
There are some personal blogs by female bloggers that I view as feminist even though they are not explicitly feminist blogs. The feminism is ‘embedded’ as it is probably embedded in the life and the beliefs of the bloggers.
Why do you read feminist blogs?
To learn, to think, to reflect and for the pleasure of hearing female voices when they are so often shouted down ITRW.
I feel like feminism has become almost an underground activity in the last decade or so and (even though I’m ‘out’ as a feminist) the feminist blogosphere often feels like a secret garden where I can go to keep myself sane through those ‘it’s like feminism never happened’ moments, when I’m depressed by the misogyny around me.
Speaking of real life, it’s horribly easy to get locked in your own little world. Feminist blogs have broadened my horizons and allowed me to hear the voices of women with experiences different to mine (white, middle-class, western etc). I’m extremely grateful to those bloggers who share their experiences and allow me into their worlds. I appreciate getting to hear the voices of young feminists and feminist mothers too.
Do you perceive any deficiencies in online feminist communities?
Would second amandaw about “a focus … on that white, upper-class, het, abled, cis, etc. woman’s experience”. On the other hand, the recent conflicts certainly taught me a thing or two, especially some nuances that (as an Australian) I may not have learned in other ways.
I’d also add that many of the big feminist blogs are very US-centric and often reflect a belief that ‘the west’=USA. While this is understandable (Americans writing about their society and all) I particularly treasure the growing Australian/ New Zealand feminist blogosphere.
And the fun part: recommend me some sites!
Most of my faves have already been mentioned, but a few besides:
In a strange land
Also, just to clarify– I don’t mean to imply by my comment there that respectful discourses between disagreeing feminists don’t exist– they do exist.
I think I was wrong, perhaps, in listing that as a “deficiency”– more appropriately, I wanted to stress the importance of developing these discourses as an ongoing project, because if it isn’t ongoing, then those dialogues can be shut off very quickly. And of course, women who blog (and participate in blog discussion) from a position of privilege need to be particularly careful about doing this, because unexamined discourses so often function to silence unprivileged groups.
Still stuck in the spaminator.. HALP! (Too many links, I think. 😉 )
Two more personal blogs: Chicks Dig Me (Joan Kelly) and My Perspective (Justicewalks).
Helen, I couldn’t find you in the spaminator when I just checked. Sorry.
Mainly everything everyone else said, though I’m not up on the feminism/racism issues.
My 1 cent: The reason I read feminist blogs? Comfort Food.
Do I write a feminist blog? I don’t know. I was a feminist before I started to write it, so maybe it is one by default. Is a feminist blog determined by subject matter? Or political orientation of the writer? Good question.
Emmas last blog post..I need you Jane Austin.