I’ve been away from this blog for a couple of months, so I’ll start with an apology. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, a lot of adjusting, related to my participation in online communities and how I juggle self-care with all my different online pursuits. I will try to keep posting regularly here, but I would encourage you to follow my Twitter feed and/or Facebook Page if you want very regular updates, as I’ve been updating those during breaks at work.
So now I’m back, and I want to talk a little bit about something that’s going around, namely a critical discussion of feminist blog culture and its participants. I don’t want to call out any particular blogs here, but I do want to talk a little bit about my participation in this culture and how I’m changing it. For a long time, I’ve followed a few big feminist group blogs, and just a couple of individual ones. At times, I’ve noticed things I don’t like on these big blogs–for example, not enough participation from women of color, marginalization of commenters who try to bring up multiple oppressions, etc. But my initial view of large feminist blogs has been that we’re all into intersectionality, diversity, and bringing together all sorts of activist issues under the umbrella of feminism. I saw these missing pieces as an aberration and have felt like I “can’t” remove these big blogs from my Google Reader because that’s where I can get the best feminist content.
My views on this subject have been changing over the past couple of years. I still enjoy some of the bigger blogs, and particular contributors and guest contributors to those blogs. I do appreciate the focus on intersectionality that is often apparent in the selection of guests and in individual posts. But I also see something lacking. Lately, I’ve noticed a disturbing backlash and a tendency to get defensive when someone brings up inclusion issues in the feminist community. It’s starting to look sadly like confrontations I’ve read about in the 1960s, where WOC were left out of both feminist and anti-racism circles, where queer women were shoved to the side. When marginalized feminists want to be included in the conversation, those feminists are often bullied out by a majority of often-white, often-able-bodied, often-middle-class, often-cis-gendered people.
My solution is to expand the reach of my feminist reading, and to give support and my ear to blogs that focus on specific issues that intersect with gender–for example, race, disability, fat activism, class, and immigration. By following a selection of interesting blogs and Twitter feeds that focus on these issues, and are written by feminists that are often marginalized in different ways, I’m getting a more complete picture when it comes to the issues that are important to me as a feminist. I realize that not everyone has the time to do this, but I think the online feminist community could benefit from more of us reading and commenting on these solo blogs, and possibly taking some time off the bigger blogs to do it if that’s the only way we can make time. Feminists can support each other while simultaneously using a critical lens to view each other’s posts, and I’m going to do my best to meet these goals in the years to come.