Feminism and the digital divide

The Women’s Media Center recently posted a (brief) opinion piece calling for old-guard feminist groups to get with it already and beef up their web presence.

Let’s be real. The Internet, with all of its possibilities for connection, still does not a movement make. Women have to make the connections. Those who would expand and solidify the feminist movement in this new century need to draw on the grassroots activism that built and sustained the movement in the last. And to keep moving forward, organizers can use what technology offers: social networks, blogs, email and all the tools of the Internet.

True that it’s probably a bad idea to ignore traditional grassroots activism. But I hate hearing older feminists complain that younger feminists are not as active or aware because we aren’t showing up to monthly meetings and pickets. We may not be taking to the streets every week, but we’re definitely not disengaged. We’re waging web-based protests of things like the Forbes “career girls” article, and meeting with ex-presidents, and supporting pro-woman political candidates, and calling attention to a whole slew of feminist issues. And we know how to use the web to promote plenty of real-life feminist events.
I don’t want to hate on the feminist establishment, but the article makes a good point. Where is the Feminist Majority’s MySpace page? What’s up with NOW’s site design? Why are the Ms. Magazine blogs always down and never updated? The feminist generation gap isn’t going to be bridged with some fancy HTML. But a bit more web-savvy certainly wouldn’t hurt.

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