Live Blogging at WAM! Battling Backlash: Strategies for Fighting Back, Rising Above and Making Progress

Our lovely editors Jessica and Miriam are on this panel, along with the fantastic Carmen from Racialicious, who is also (in case y’all didn’t know) the co-founder and President of New Demographic, and Patti Binder, an amazing leader and advocate of girls’ programming in NYC and board chair of Girls Write Now.
Patti discusses her experience within girls’ programming, and how people generally make the assumption that there shouldn’t be a need for girls’ leadership organizations because there’s a woman running for president. And all of the girls’ organizations that exist aren’t recognized nearly enough, not to mention the difficulty in trying to get the same funding (since so little are funded) when they’re all on the same side. She also touches on how the “boys’ crisis” has effected their ability to get funding on top of that. And amidst all of these forces working against them, the organizations focus on pushing their message through to convince people that girls’ and women’s issues, well, exist.
Miriam talks about Radical Doula and as someone who is a part of the birthing movement, how she feels that it’s important to identify herself not only as a birth activist, but as someone who supports abortion, and tries to bring the conversation into the movement. Hence, “Radical Doula.” So for herself and the way she identifies, the push back she deals with is the doulas and midwives who stigmatize or judge her for being a supporter of abortion. Another form of back lash she’s experienced, referencing to her work with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, is a general misconception that Latina women are all blatantly anti-choice. Yet the Latina Institute works with and helps Latina women who support abortion and those who don’t necessarily support it but are accepting of the organization regardless and are pro-birth control and support a number of other aspects of reproductive health.
Carmen divulges her experience with Racialicious, where in the beginning there was no moderation for comments but came to a point when moderation was definitely necessary. She talks about the general “rules” that they ask their readers to abide by, which includes to not make generalizations about race or any other group of people or person, which is something that they deal with on a consistent basis. She also discusses how to figure out what’s “ban-able,” and some strategies that the editors have talked about to handle particular comments that have been problematic for the productivity of the site.
Jessica makes a point that – after listening to the speakers – how different blogs’ backlash can be, and how disruptive comments are usually (and obviously) not appropriate in public spaces which is why commenters use anonymity to speak their ignorance. (Because they wouldn’t do it in person.)
Somehow the suggestion that chicken and beef’s hybrid would be spam also came into the conversation, but that’s a whole other conversation. (And no, I’m totally not joking.)

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