As an experiment, I’m giving up the feminist blogosphere.
Not feminism, of course. I’m not stupid.
Just the feminist blogosphere. For a while. To see what it’s like.
See, here’s the thing. I’m not a great mover and shaker. Not in the feminist blogosphere. Not in the world. But what I do, the little I do, can sometimes be grueling and heartbreaking. And what I need from my fellow feminists is not much, really. I just need to be able to read what they write, as strangers on the internet, and take it at face value.
That to me, would be and is very refreshing–to assume that what I’m reading is whole in and of itself and that a person’s thoughts and motivations are as transparent as they can be. (It’s the reason I am half-convinced that Renegade Evolution is doing some of the most important feminist work on the internet, modeling a kind of transparency you don’t often see in women.)
I like to be challenged; I appreciate the opportunity to learn from others; and I understand I’m going to read some shit that will piss me off.
But I appreciate feeling like we’re practicing ways of interacting with each other that are different than the shitty ways women normally interact with each other.
And it is a practice. It’s something we have to continually be mindful of and repeat in a mindful way in order to get better at it.
Most likely if someone outside their peer group had proposed the idea, some of them would be leveling these very same criticisms. But this comes out of a mailing list of a couple dozen feminist bloggers that sprang up around the Full Frontal Feminism book, and closed ranks and offered each other comforting shoulder rubs during the criticism of Marcotte’s book cover, and it’s them against the world. [Emphasis mine]
I keep waiting for someone to say something about that, but no one has. Maybe no one else thinks there’s something wrong with this. Maybe there isn’t. But it leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
It’s not the existence of a mailing list, per se–maybe it’s not just a couple dozen feminist bloggers, maybe it’s a couple dozen internet friends who share a common cause in feminism (which is a distinction I’m willing to believe is important)–it’s that there’s the real possibility that it could be a couple dozen feminist bloggers who are organizing to accomplish certain goals within the larger community without disclosing to the larger community that that’s what they’re up to.
This is supposed to be an egalitarian movement. We don’t live in an egalitarian world, so I accept that people are going to have to consolidate power in order to accomplish things. But hording our tiny scraps of power and influence in secret?
How is that any different than what’s going on in the world now?
How are we going to make change in the world if we don’t strive to be different than the dominant pardigm?
And I’m sorry, but I already live in a a world full of women talking about folks behind their backs and making decisions about who’s in the cool crowd and who’s not solely through back channels, where the person up for discussion doesn’t even know she’s up for discussion, let alone given the chance to defend herself.
Shoot, why don’t we just settle the men in the living room with their beers and a football game while we all go into the kitchen and cook, clean, and gossip about the women who aren’t there and take refuge in the moments we have to admit to ourselves and each other how much we hate our lives, while the women who are trapped in the kitchen with us, who don’t agree with us, but don’t want to be rude, look on in horror? You know, what the non-feminists do.
Since there appears to be no difference between us and them anyway.