In the Blog
Feminist Blogging: The Fear, The Funny and the “WTF?”
Being a feminist blogger on a feminist blog is a fantastic experience. You get to share stories and opinions on the world wide webbernets - always having an outlet and community to turn to when the news headlines leave you shaking your head. Blogging and the interaction with people who read and link to your blog posts makes you feel like you’re part of a greater community- much bigger, and with more supporters, than you may have previously imagined while isolated, alone at your keyboard. Then there’s the emails from parents thanking us, the supportive blog posts and letters that arrive in our mailbox from the girls whose lives we’ve changed for the better, and the people we meet at panels, conferences and book fairs who let us know that Shameless Magazine means a lot to them.
But then there’s the other (sometimes nasty) side of feminist blogging. You know what I’m talking about. Whenever you put your words, thoughts and opinions out into the world you’re bound make yourself vulnerable and on rare occasion we receive commentary that doesn’t fit within our definition of “fostering a safe space.” This usually happens when we’re linked to a site outside the usual networks, much like Feministing’s recent slew of comments when Fox News linked them on their homepage. In fact, today Feministing is opening up its mailbag to expose some of the (more hatfeul and hilarious) responses they’ve received in the recent past.
Here at the Shameless Blog we’ve always found that our site is a bit of a haven, and while we disagree on the issues and the details, in general the site is a safe, friendly space. In the coming year we’ll be making changes to the blog in the hopes of recruiting more readers while making the site more enjoyable for our current audience. (Want to help? Why not donate or subscribe?) The goal is to bring more feminists together on the space, but this also means that we’ll have to deal with the reality that some comments could be offensive or inappropriate. The Shameless Team has had numerous conversations about the development of a fair comments policy, a collective process that is very important to a magazine that is strongly against censorship. We’ll be looking to our readers for input in the future, but I thought I’d put the question out there now in light of a recent blog posting I discovered on Feministe:
…Sudy, of A Womyn’s Ecdysis is a great natural actress. In her new project, Fem Watch 1, she works with some of the most priceless material the progressive and feminist blogosphere has managed to cough up.
Sudy sent out a call for submissions, asking readers to submit some of the more shocking comments on blog posts throughout the progressive blogosphere. She calls it “my investigation into contemporary US feminism, online. After sifting through submissions that illustrate the sexist and homophobia online, I decided to take a journalist’s approach to exposing the dark side of the feminist blogosphere.”
“You’ll see that even on the most progressive sites there’s still some major, major problems,” she says. The video is a really great staring point in considering some of the problems facing bloggers and readers in the democracy that is the internet. Sury sums up the issue really well in the video:
“Now, its not that we all need to agree - part of what makes the internet so facinating is that you can have so many diverse opinions. What makes it not so fun is when there’s a lot of racism and homophobia and all sorts of things that are just bleeding out of these most progressive blogs and sites.”
Food for thought as we move forward, eh?