Thoughts on Feminist Blogging

There’s another huge uproar in the feminist blogosphere. This one’s actually interesting because all sides have good points, instead of it just being a case of someone being an asshole and everyone else either rushing to condemn or defend. But I find myself caring less an less about that stuff. Maybe it would be different if I had ever been a more popular feminist blogger–my desire to keep my popularity might prolong my need to stake my side in these arguments.

But not only don’t I think you give a shit what I think about it, I don’t give a shit about having definitive feelings about it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the end of BitchPhD and how it was an important place for a lot of feminists while also being incredibly terrible for a lot of feminists. And the thing is, I really want to say that, yeah, that’s exactly right and really, though we should work for better,this is the obvious end result.

Feminism isn’t a monolithic movement. People are going to drop the ball and not give a shit about picking it up and that’s going to suck. And that doesn’t mean that they also aren’t influential and important to other people and that doesn’t mean those other people are endorsing every thing about the ball dropper.

But the thing that bugs me is that I can’t tell if I think that because of privilege–if part of being a white, somewhat educated woman is that, in exchange for a lot of bullshit I’ve had to put up with, I’ve come to expect we all kind of turn away from each other’s unpleasant parts.

But then I think, no, actually, that’s exactly what I’m getting at. A mechanism my small group has developed in order to make our space a little safer for each other does, in fact, make our space a little safer for each other. AND it probably is complete bullshit when exported into other groups and situations.

I keep thinking that I’m pushing 40. Oh god. And the feminist voices I would like to hear from are the women who are at this point, who are figuring out what’s beyond the great doctrinal arguments (though, I don’t mean to be flip about them. I think they’re crucial as well, just a young person’s game, most of the time) and into “how do I negotiate space for myself as a whole person if I’m the one who has to take care of my asshole dad?” or “I want my kid’s teacher to stop calling him a pussy, but I don’t want to cause trouble for my kid” or whatever.

And I feel like the women who are doing those things and who could best write about them don’t write about them because they are busy doing them.

And that makes me sad.

I understand it, but it makes me sad.

4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Feminist Blogging

  1. I’m 37 and often feel “aged out” of the feminist blogosphere. I also feel “classed” out and “educationed” out. I’d love to see online feminism step outside its white, twenty-something, middle-class, college-educated contingent because a lot us in conservative parts of the country, or with limited resources, depend on the feminist blogosphere. The insularity and cliquishness keeps me on the periphery. I guess that’s to be expected anywhere — online and off — but online feminism has such a “with us or against us” attitude at times there’s little room for nuanced discussion. And that’s pretty sad.

    But the thing that bugs me is that I can’t tell if I think that because of privilege–if part of being a white, somewhat educated woman is that, in exchange for a lot of bullshit I’ve had to put up with, I’ve come to expect we all kind of turn away from each other’s unpleasant parts.

    Another blogger I respect brought this up recently: the privilege to just walk away and not engage. I think there’s a flip side to this: the privilege to think, nay, know, you have the right to be part of the conversation in the first place. To be honest, I think it’s okay to turn away. Maybe it’s self-protection on my part, but I’d rather stay on the periphery and keep some sense of balance than feel I have to pick a side.

  2. The class part is the part that keeps banging me upside the head. I think of myself as middle-class and then middle-class women start to talking and I realize I have no fucking idea about those experiences.

    And yes, I hear you about being in a conservative part of the country. It makes a big difference to know there are other feminists out here.

    But I do think some of it is really age. When I was younger, I really needed blogs where they talked about big, sweeping national issues. Those blogs blew my mind (and some continue to blow my mind) in important ways.

    But now, I wonder about and worry over local things. I mean, I’m worried about my neighbor’s house getting broken into. I’m worried about whether I have a false sense of security because I think my younger brother is around the house a lot and would kick the butt of anyone who tried to get in here to harm me.

    I could be all theoretical about it, but it’s not theory for me. I do worry that we should be taking more safety precautions but we’re both relying on a bullshit notion of masculinity that might not be true.

    So, yeah, I guess I feel like, I have the theory, now I’d like to know how people are putting it into practice and not so that I can judge, but so that I can learn from it.

  3. But the thing that bugs me is that I can’t tell if I think that because of privilege–if part of being a white, somewhat educated woman is that, in exchange for a lot of bullshit I’ve had to put up with, I’ve come to expect we all kind of turn away from each other’s unpleasant parts.

    I just think it’s a really unhealthy exercise to catalog one another’s unpleasant parts to drag out every time the unpleasant party is mentioned, now and forever, amen.

    And yes, I do think some of this is related to maturity (and some is righteous and just, don’t get me wrong) in that we eventually learn that even our idols are imperfect and have human flaws that contradict their soundest theories. I publicly wrestled with my feelings about Derrick Jensen, who is an amazing thinker and author, and also kind of a sniveling not-me kind of guy when it came to the revolutions he desperately vied for on the written page. His writings on feminism and ecological revolutions were still really quite important to my figuring out how environmentalist movements fit into my worldview, but I’m supposed to forget that because he got some details wrong on an unrelated topic? Seems rash.

  4. Yeah, I guess what bugs me most about the feminist push to catalog and rehash other feminist’s shortcomings is that, though I understand it as a human activity (and often necessary. I don’t for instance, expect we don’t rehash Joe Francis’s ridiculousness when necessary), is that we supposedly are feminists because we think women cannot live lives in the ways men can because of systemic oppression.

    I think Twisty gets at this sometimes, but people don’t like to hear it–there is no way to be a woman in this arrangement and not be fucked up by it (men, too, obviously), deeply fucked up by it.

    So, I get the anger and I think being angry is good, but the way people act as if they’ve been betrayed?

    Our whole movement is premised on the belief that the system is damaging and then we act shocked and hurt and betrayed when we discover a feminist is damaged in ways that hurt herself and others.

    Well, do we not believe things are as bad as we say or what?

    It’s not surprising fucked up people hurt each other. What’s surprising is that we don’t do it more often. That, I think, is a testament to something very good in the online feminist community and makes me feel hopeful.

    We can learn to be better to each other and ourselves.

    And we are learning.

Comments are closed.