MoJo Columnist: Young feminists should “blog less and work more”

Seriously? I mean…seriously?
Mother Jones blogger and columnist Debra Dickerson, responding to the NYT piece on the future of abortion providers, writes that young feminists should “blog less and work more.” Ya know, because young women don’t actually do anything. (Ahem.)

But you young chicks maybe need to go the Northern Exposure route, sending folks to med school in exchange for a few years running an abortion clinic. That feminist fire in the belly? I gotta say: Pole-dancing, walking around half-naked, posting drunk photos on Facebook, and blogging about your sex lives ain’t exactly what we previous generations thought feminism was. We thought it was about taking it to the streets.

Yeah, taking it to the streets is something young feminists never do.
Dickerson seems to have a penchant for calling young feminists “pole dancers” and “chicks”, so I’m loathe to take her too seriously…but there is something so infuriating about someone with a progressive platform like Mother Jones promoting the most hackneyed stereotypes of young feminists and young women. (Courtney via email has two questions for Debra: How many abortions have you provided? And do you know any young women?)

Harsh, you say? Uninformed? OK. Tell me exactly what today’s feminists are doing for the struggle.

I think maybe we should tell her. Please go comment at MoJo and tell Dickerson what young feminists are really like. (Couldn’t find her email address…)
Related: Elisabeth Garber-Paul at RH Reality Check also weighs in.

and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.

51 Comments

  1. Renee
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Ya know I am getting a little sick of the attack on bloggers. If she actually looked around the feminist blogosphere, she would see the great work that ALL women are doing to advance feminism. Done properly blogging can lead to great conversations between women that would not otherwise converse and it also gives us a chance to share our experiences. I have learned so much from the thoughtful comments on my blog. Some of them have been so thought provoking that they have radically changed my perspective on many issues. Blogging is the new age consciousness raising sessions of the 70′s. An attack on the feminist blogosphere is nothing but an attempt to control how women choose to engage. I am sick of having to validate the speech of women. We have every right to express ourselves in what ever manner that we choose.

  2. AnatomyFightSong
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    Debra Dickerson makes a living as a writer/blogger … and she critizes young women — primarily unpaid — who blog about feminist/humanist issues? How does THAT compute? And what the hell does blogging have to do with pole dancing?

  3. Melinda
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Well, in her defense I’ve sometimes wondered if blogging isn’t a little bit like a glbt pride rally. Those things are about building community, building enthusiasm, building pride, etc., but it’s really not the same as rolling up your sleeves and trying to convince your assemblycritter to vote to get rid of anti-sodomy laws. Both are necessary and there’s a place for both but they’re not the same thing. Blogging strikes me as inward-facing, while what Dickerson was talking about is how to face outward.

  4. pinkpicnic
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    That’s very judicious– and I admire your restraint– but she did just reduce us to the worst of the mainstream’s “empowered” myths. Bill O’Reilly says things like that.

  5. rosmar
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Debra Dickerson is the person who got all that attention a year or so ago for saying that Obama wasn’t black because his ancestors weren’t slaves. She also suggested that she isn’t as feminist as she should be because she doesn’t hate her son.
    Every once in a while she said something smart, but about 2/3 of what I’ve read by her is deeply problematic.

  6. jaja
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    yeah, she strikes me as being unwell many times

  7. Lisa
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Melinda that the issue is something that warrants real discussion in online feminist communities. But as soon as she trotted out the tired stereotypes of young ‘feminists’ all of her credibility went out the window.

  8. Jessica
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    But the thing is, blogs DO have calls for action – like writing letters to representatives, etc. And they do create tangible change. One example.

  9. conductress
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree that the stereotypes in the article are totally uncalled for. But it does raise an interesting issue. Given the current resistance to abortion rights, it makes sense that fewer and fewer doctors would be training in that field. And, as the article states, it’s a low-paying job that takes lots of money and time (in the form of medical school) to become qualified for. It sounds like yet another issue that needs to be taken into account when discussing abortion rights. It’s not just about preserving Roe v Wade, but also about making sure that poor and rural women have access to clinics, making sure doctors and nurses are protected from violent protesters, and making sure there are doctors and nurses in the first place.

  10. Caton
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, I don’t agree with much of what she said, but there is a point down there somewhere. And I have to say that putting a call to action (usually a request to sign an online petition) is not the activism she is talking about.
    As a years-long member of CodePink and an actual street activist, I get what she is saying. There is a huge difference between a liberal blog sending around a “get out of iraq” petition, and what we anti-war activists do.
    As someone who has been threatened, had stuff thrown at me, screamed at, called names, told that I should be shot in the face (said to my face by an ex-marine), all in person, and all within inches of my face…petition signing? Yeah, great. Thanks. So I get what she’s saying.
    The pole dancing stuff is crap and likely comes from sad but very sporadic cases like those two Jezebel writers who made damned fools out of themselves by laughing off rape and bragging about fucking so fast no one has a chance to rape them. That’s not feminist. However, it is also not representative of young feminists.

  11. Lisa
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    Every generation thinks that the younger generation is going to be the downfall of humanity and yet somehow the world keeps on spinning.
    One thing to consider is that the feminist fight has changed considerably. While there are still plenty of legislative obstacles for feminism to overcome (the continued fight for abortion is one), many of the big issue discriminatory laws have been fought against by the woman’s movement and overturned. But just like racism, the social attitudes still persist which has lead to issues that are more difficult to define. Women are out there fighting, there just may not be one or two central causes that everyone gets behind. Instead, feminist activism is spread amongst a lot of smaller issues which limits the perception of feminists as one, cohesive unit. I think this may be one of the reasons that Dickerson doesn’t see young feminists rallying the way they used to. Not that there is a need to justifying any of this to someone who is willing to spew the same misogynistic garbage that’s been used against feminism for decades.

  12. Marc
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    As if somehow young women voicing their opinions and having the courage to write and speak of the challenges young women face isn’t one of the signs of feminism going strong and well.
    My problem with many progressives and even some feminists is exactly this: they think that young women (and men) aren’t doing enough. Tell that to all the feminists meeting next week in DC for the Feminist Majority Foundation Conference; tell that to the young feminists who took a semester off school to politically organize for Obama; tell that to the women and men who are fighting sexism on campus, running rape hotlines and Take Back the Night rallies. Appparently, women are supposed to be seen working, not voicing their opinions. For all the young feminist women have done, heaven forbid should they have an opinion and actually want to voice it.
    Marc

  13. Jessica
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Sure, I hear what you’re saying – but the internet is the new public space. It is “taking it to the streets,” and it really irks me when folks insinuate that blogging and online activism isn’t as good or radical as “real life” activism.
    FYI, I’ve also been threatened – with rape and murder among other lovely things – as have other feminist bloggers. MANY times. I’ve had people post my address and phone number online, I’ve had pictures of myself photoshopped to look like porn. I’ve been harassed like you wouldn’t believe. So please don’t assume that blogging and writing online doesn’t incur risk as well.

  14. GrowingViolet
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I have to say, I think there’s some validity in many of the criticisms of “slacktivism” that come up – and an element of defensiveness, in the responses, that suggests how close the criticism has hit to home. Blogging is useful for conveying information and for communicating – but it isn’t a substitute for going door-to-door gathering signatures for initiatives and real petitions (e-petitions being notoriously ineffective), organizing real-life sex and contraceptive education sessions for with at-risk groups, maintaining/working toward community resources like shelters, and so on. Granted, blogs are useful for coordinating and disseminating all that, and people can blog about their experiences with those sorts of things, which can be valuable. But it seems to me that a lot of the feminist blogosphere is concerned with academically oriented culture criticism. That has its place, but it isn’t activism. And the best way to counter criticisms that Us Kids Today aren’t doing anything worthwhile isn’t to complain about the allegations. It’s to act to prove people wrong – and to call attention to actual progress made and efforts undertaken.

  15. Jessica
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    You know, one more thing, because I’m really irritated actually. I know that the example I gave of calls to action was limited, but I just want to put out there that feminist bloggers and writers put themselves on the line in a very public way EVERY DAY. The writers on this blog and others LIVE activism. So I think that creating a hierarchy of activism is not only wrong, it’s insulting.

  16. Dleffy
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    Maybe instead of angrily posting/blogging about every insignificant, inane, anti-feminist outrage — which seems the overwhelming purpose of this blog — you can actually post about something more constructive.
    Seriously, how many times does this blog need to remind me that there are people/things in our world who/that are decidedly not feminist?

  17. Melinda
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Marc, as someone who’s somewhat older (52), the question for me isn’t really about “enough,” but rather that what’s being called “progressive” today looks pretty DLC-ish by contrast to American liberalism a few decades ago. I think the previous commenter was correct in saying that the battlegrounds have changed, but I also can see where a certain tendency towards centrism in younger “progressives” can look like a lack of ambition or something along those lines.
    [As far as I'm concerned, if people like Matthew Yglesias, Ezra Klein, and John Cole can refer to themselves as "progressive" without being hooted out of town, I'm reclaiming "liberal"]

  18. Marc
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    The point is that we are doing all those things, while blogging at the same time. For every feminist blog you read, there are feminist actions also taking place. I am not being defensive, because I already know where I am with my activism, but I dislike the idea of the older generation somehow defining feminism for the younger generation.Doing so, for me, is anti-feminist. In a world in which women’s voices are still suppressed, I think it’s important that their voices are heard. If no one is there blogging, if there aren’t students sitting in women’s studies classrooms talking about their experiences, we wouldn’t know where to begin to make changes.
    The point is that young women – whether privileged or not, should be allowed to voice their opinions without being criticized for not doing enough.
    I’ve seen a lot of instances where older feminists seem to think that all we younger ones care about are sex and talking about our ideas for feminism. The reality, though, is that we are out there busting our butts for feminism. I’d like to think that women (and men)can be activists, and at the same time, still care about their romantic lives, looking good, and anything else they choose to care about. Feminism can be sexy, fun, and effective – and it comes in many prisms. I’d hate to think that all feminism is, is going door to door to talk to people.

  19. Marc
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and while we’re at it, Jessica’s “Real Hot 100″ is proof that feminists can blog, while at the same time, making an impact around the world.

  20. Marc
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    I get it – “stop bitching and start a revolution,” right? Nevermind the fact that feminism is different for everyone, and no one is at the same place as you are. Why don’t you fucking check your privilege and think that, perhaps, for some women, being able to talk about their opinions and concerns is the first step to being fully recognized as human beings, and is also the stepping stone toward the public spheres. Perhaps for you, who have been nurtured to be able to speak your mind. Others have not. If you want to be an activist, go out and fucking be one; but don’t tell women that they’re not feminists by blogging, and then call yourself a feminist.
    That feministing has been an inspiration to many young women to claim feminism and then went out and started being activists is apparently lost on you.

  21. rustyspoons
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

    It comes across as curmudgeonly–even though she’s a woman in my head I hear her quote being read in a sort of a “Hank Hill” voice: “You young feminists with the blogs and the Facebooks and the EMM-TEE-VEE…what’s this world comin’ to I tell yuh whut!”
    Seriously though, how much time a 24 hour day does writing a blog post and visiting Facebook use up? The thing about criticisms like this is that because the blog post is all they see, they assume that’s all these people do. I never looked at Feminsiting and assumed it was the only feminist-related activity consuming any of the writers’ time.

  22. Megs
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    The problem that I seem to see is that so many critics do not understand or believe just how far reaching blogs can be.
    Blogging gives the abilty to reach around the world and call people to action. It gives the ability to make an instant protest by merely clicking a link. Blogging gives people ideas of how they can be part of the solution. It allows for feminists every where to help by sending an email. It is a great way to give feminists the information about certain companies and products that have unfeminist or even misogynist tendencies, products, or implications, so that we can choose to spend our money else where. It is also a great support system. It allows for those of us, who live in very feminist unfriendly atmospheres (Alabama…it is that frustrating), to have some place to go that we can rant and know we are not alone or crazy in our realizations that the world has some deep inequalities in the way they treat everyone. I thank all those involved in running and participating at Feministing for giving me a place that I can know that I’m not just a crazy liberal who is too naive to understand that it isn’t going to change, or that the world is that way for a certain reason that makes sense. Thank you to all feminist and activist bloggers.

  23. studentactivism.net
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    Mother Jones ran a weirdly hostile, infantilizing campus activism survey last spring. Dickerson isn’t the only one at MoJo who’s got anti-youth issues.

  24. GrowingViolet
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Another note on the idea of the internet being the “new public space” – Jessica alludes to it in her comment above; the phrase has been floating around, etc. I’m not sure I agree with it. The internet is the new public space for the people with the financial/educational resources, leisure time (apart from the minority for whom it’s a workplace), and inclination to make it “the new public space.” For the vast majority of the population, though, I’d venture to say that it is a technology that facilitates communication or publication, but not at all the same as the “public space” of “real life.” The discrimination, inequality, and violence that cause injustice and suffering almost all happen in the “real world” apart from the internet.
    I find myself being caught in the pickle of avoiding minimizing, on one hand, but also wanting to point out that “our generation” does have it easy. The nastiest of comments or threatening letters isn’t on the same level of being murdered for civil rights advocacy or prosecuted for helping access contraception and abortion – things that most (semi-)professional bloggers, at least in the U.S. contexts with which I’m familiar, don’t have to face but that many others “at home and abroad” still do.
    This isn’t to say that Dickerson doesn’t go too far or get too broad in that article – she does both. But let’s face it: the mostly-older abortion providers (who really AREN’T being replaced adequately, despite some laudable exceptions) have a hell of a lot more to deal with than the mostly-younger pro-choice bloggers-by-trade (whose potentially important role in facilitating communication I don’t rule out).

  25. GREGORYABUTLER
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Well, she was actually RIGHT about Obama.
    He’s NOT African American, because his family didn’t go through the experience of slavery.
    He is a Kenyan-American Black man – but, like most Blacks who are immigrants or the children of immigrants, he is not a part of the African American experience, he only knows it second hand.
    None of his ancestors was sold on an auction block.
    All of my mother’s ancestors were.
    We never had that “streets are paved with gold” immigrant experience that every other American ethnic group (except for the Native Americans) went through.
    America was our concentration camp for the first 200 years, and it was a place of second class citizenship for the next 100 years after that.
    By the time the President’s father arrived in America, the Civil Rights Movement had already happened (hell, that’s the only reason his father was even allowed to enter this country in the first place!)
    So Dickerson was right on the money about that issue

  26. GREGORYABUTLER
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Debra Dickerson made some great points about the importance of young feminists going to med school to become the next generation of abortion providers.
    Unfortunately, she said it in a really offensive way, that pretty much guaranteed that those very women wouldn’t be able to hear her.
    Which is truly unfortunate, because there are so many places that do not have abortion providers – and whole states like Mississippi and South Dakota where there is only one doctor IN THE STATE who performs abortion.

  27. Brandi
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    She made a good point about that one issue, but I think she misses much bigger points. I don’t consider access to abortion to be the number 1 issue facing women today, and as all of us, I have to use my 24 hours a day in the best possible way. I don’t choose to use it to work for increasing the number of abortion providers, but that doesn’t mean I don’t do anything else.

  28. SarahS
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    I call bullshit on this entire comment. Obama has had to experience the same day in day out racism as an African American as other African Americans whose ancestors were slaves. Its not like the women who crossed the street at night or the cabbies that refused to pick him up interviewed him first to determine his lineage before discriminating against him. Sure, he got the immigrant dream thing but you also never have to worry about people trying to sue the Supreme Court to prove you weren’t really born here. Being an immigrant or the child of an immigrant, even after the Civil Rights movement was no walk in the park and I think that you disrespect ALL the people of color who STILL constantly harassed when you imply that racism magically went ‘poof’ with the signing of the Civil Rights act.

  29. SarahS
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:16 pm | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly. There is no better activism. I do my activism as a librarian in my community and that has made the target of my own fair share of weirdos who can visit me every damn day in my workplace. Street activists and abortion activists are not the only ones who get harassed and the worth of our work as active and engaged young feminists should be celebrated – not torn down with this snooty “my activism is better then yours” bullshit.

  30. SarahS
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    Exactly. Activism is not this zero sum game where you are either fighting for abortion rights or doing nothing. Plenty of young feminists do things in between and in addition. We need to encourage and support young women who want to do abortions or abortion activism.
    I mean, does Dickerson really think that some young feminist is going to read her article and become inspired to do this kinda work? I would much rather see feministing do some article(s) about how to become an abortion doc or how to help abortion rights in different ways. That gets people to act. Not insulting patronizing screeds.

  31. flamingofeminist
    Posted March 13, 2009 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    It’s sad that you are resorting to comparing actions of feminism. If I wanted to, I could list the problems I have with CODEPINK, and the issues many feminists have with the organization. But you know what? I know some people believe in the tactics. I respect that. BUt to say you are somehow doing something more real? I understand that blogging may not be direct-action in the way that we are used to seeing in clips from news shots in the 1960s; however, the 1960s are over. Tactics change as movements change. Can we all respect that? And the work all the feminists, and otherwise identified activists, are doing, online and elsewhere? Or at very least refrain from leaving snarky holier-than-thou comments.

  32. Tiara
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    I wonder how she’d react to me being a burlesque (and occasional pole) dancing, fiercely anti-discrimination and pro-youth feminist who came from a country where blogging pretty much decided the national election. ;)
    Meh. There’s already enough mud-slinging between feminists of all stripes. “You’re not feminist enough! That’s not feminist!” blah. I’d rather not waste energy on trying to defend my identity; I’d rather do what needs to be done.

  33. afb1221
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    but wait…
    wasn’t she only against “blogging about your sex lives” … did she say anything about feminist blogging (not that the two can’t overlap, but you know what I mean)

  34. StephenMoore
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Together with Dickerson’s condecending attitude of presuming that young feminists are “young chicks” who are all about “Pole-dancing, walking around half-naked, posting drunk photos on Facebook, and blogging about your sex lives” is her total exclusion of male feminists and the contibutions they can make.

  35. afb1221
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    well, on second thought, as much as I want to just take the article as a call to do more and do better (I know many of you are doing more and doing better, but I have lots of room for improvement personally) — I guess this line “OK. Tell me exactly what today’s feminists are doing for the struggle.” does ruin it.

  36. baddesignhurts
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 1:24 am | Permalink

    there are times i agree with you, and i get frustrated with this blog. and then i either a)forget about it and go away for a couple of days, or if it’s important to me, i b)comment. the blog isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be perfect to be worthwhile.
    the reason i come here isn’t to inspire any specific feminist activism on my part. quite frankly, as a single mother in her third year of graduate school, activism time is limited for me, and i spend that time doing anti-death penalty activism and volunteering for some of the political candidates in my city. my feminism influences my worldview but is not a specific focus of my (limited) efforts.
    but, yanno, god forbid i use the blog to learn something new from time to time, or get into a (hopefully) polite debate about why i believe a specific way on a issue. god forbid reading blogs “merely” sharpens my mind. suck on that, debra dickerson.

  37. Caton
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    My comments were in no way snarky or holier-than-thou and I couldn’t care less what problems you have with Codepink. Back off.

  38. Melinda
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I’ve been trying to figure out what in this comment bugged me, and I think it’s the assertion that the internet is the new public square. It’s really not, and I think failure to consider the problems around access and how they’re tied to class, urban vs. rural, race, etc. is kind-of what bothered me. People who blog are already talking to people who agree with them, or occasionally to trolls, but mostly to people who already agree with them. This may or may not lead to other people going out and doing legwork, but that legwork is at least one level of indirection removed from the actual blogging.
    As I said, I think they’re more like gay pride rallies, and as the veteran of a lot of those I certainly see the value in it. Building confidence and enthusiasm and, yeah, pride is critical. Serving as an informational resource for the community is critical. But there are an awful lot of pieces to making change happen, and some of them – some which are necessary – involve actually hitting the streets and talking to people one-to-one.

  39. Caton
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I really didn’t assume that at all. I am cognizant of how feminists are treated online. Even on something as seemingly silly as a political message board, the “debate tactics” of right wing men range from “I bet you are fat” to “shut the fuck up cunt”.
    I know you have been threatened. I’m not demeaning online activism at all.
    I just feel that she made an interesting point, that is open to discussion. And could actually open up some interesting and worthwhile discussions. In some ways, this probably comes right down to the fact that pretty much all human activity is now taking place more in cyberspace. And what are the ramifications of this? It isn’t just feminism, or even just political activism.
    Sometimes though, the posters here are so defensive, that it’s very difficult to discuss anything. Nearly impossible actually, and I should have known better than to try. So, sorry.

  40. Caton
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Very defensive. I in no way meant that my, or anyone’s activism was better than yours.
    However, in my own experiences as a street activist, I have learned that the overwhelming majority of Americans who were against the war, did as little as possible about it. If they signed an online petition, or beeped their horn and flashed a peace sign at a demonstration, they I guess felt they had done their part.
    But they hadn’t. If all of the people who beeped at me and gave me thumbs up and peace signs when I was demonstrating, had pulled over and gotten out of their cars and demonstrated with me, the war might have ended. If they had even called their congressperson, every American against the war? It would have overwhelmed the system. It would have had results.
    Instead, some of them signed a petition. Is that enough? No. In my opinion, no. It’s not about holier than thou, or better than you, it’s about what works. What is effective. It’s a conversation worth having, but you can’t have it in the Feministing community. That has just been made very obvious.

  41. jaja
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    same foolish argument made by alan keyes. there is more than one experiencee to being black or african american. his father may rightly be said to know the african american experience second hand but not obama, or kids of immigrants. you were never a slave even though your ancestors may have been. your experience is likewise second hand

  42. Caton
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Jessica, you took me the wrong way.
    I am a writer. No one famous. But I am a writer. I wrote something for Buzzflash of all places, that Rush Limbaugh of all people, and I swear this is true, read on air, and mocked me over. I only knew because my aunt called to tell me that I had been on Rush Limbaugh that day. Imagine how I felt finding out that my aunt listened to Rush Limbaugh. Then I googled his show and foudn out that it had been picked up by right wing radio across the country, with WOMEN calling in to ingratiate themselves to male sexists by trilling that I “sounded like she doesn’t wear a bra, if you know what I mean, he he he”. I have had my photo put up on aol advertising me as a hooker. And I’m not the tiniest bit well-known. So I do have some idea of what you must go through and of the hate that a politically active woman engenders.
    But the larger point that I think is worth discussing, is getting lost here. I still believe that the internet is claustrophobic in many ways, and it feeds on itself, and there is a real danger of a lot of what is real, getting lost there.
    How to have this debate when the person originally briging it up included stupid sexual stereotypes, and the people it’s directed at can’t seem to brook any debate on the subject without so personalizing it? I dont’ know. That’s all.

  43. GrowingViolet
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I’ve been trying to figure out what in this comment bugged me, and I think it’s the assertion that the internet is the new public square. It’s really not, and I think failure to consider the problems around access and how they’re tied to class, urban vs. rural, race, etc. is kind-of what bothered me.
    I agree completely. For the overwhelming majority of people, the internet is an electronic enhancement of newspapers and personal communications. The new public square is the old public square – the same one where people face violence, lack of access to education and opportunities, etc.

  44. GrowingViolet
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    The point is that we are doing all those things, while blogging at the same time.
    I hope I made clear that I think this is a good thing – blogs are a good way to communicate, educate, and learn about all this. However, far too many of the well-known feminist blogs don’t seem to me to be very connected to this.
    For every feminist blog you read, there are feminist actions also taking place.
    Perhaps so. But the two aren’t always as connected as they should be, IMO. I feel like the first issue that should arise in these situations is “Are we really doing as much as we can? How can we do better?” or “let’s prove this person wrong!” or even “this is so patently absurd it doesn’t even bear comment” rather than “Let’s leave comments on her blog to prove that our blog is important.”

  45. pull_rank
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t call writing for Mother Jones exactly ‘outward facing’ either, though.

  46. plasticrose
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Uh, Obama is African-American because he’s an American of African descent. Slavery doesn’t make a person’s ethnicity.

  47. plasticrose
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really see the point in refuting Debra Dickerson’s argument. She’s a feminist blogger complaining about feminists who spend all their time blogging. That kind of nullifies everything she said anyway.

  48. Merk
    Posted March 14, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

    I’m a guy and can attest to the power/usefulness of blogging. Before I read feministing, I was basically ambivalent about women’s rights and gender issues — I probably would have said “well duh women deserve equal pay and suffrage” but beyond that I would have sat on the fence on issues like abortion, birth control, date rape, trans-sexuality, harassment, etc. Now I commit to those issues in a stronger, more positive way. I identify as a feminist. I may not agree with everything I read, but I can definitely say my views overall have changed. And it’s due to this website and the talented authors who supply it. My mom is a novelist, so I’ve seen first-hand how much work goes into high-quality writing. So please continue writing, it does make a difference!

  49. Napalm Nacey
    Posted March 15, 2009 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Any sort of divisiveness is wrong. We’re a big team, we need to stick together, work together and heal together. What this woman is doing? That ain’t it.

  50. MomTFH
    Posted March 15, 2009 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Here is my reply, posted on the MoJo article and on my own site:
    Here is the reply:
    Blogging and activism are not mutually exclusive. In fact, I blog, I joined Facebook because my medical school class had a group on there, and I am a member of Medical Students for Choice. I am one of those future abortion providers you want so badly. I am also a young (well, not so young, but still…) feminist.
    I think the problem with convincing people to become abortion providers is a lack of dialogue on the subject, which makes it easier for medical students (and the rest of the public with whom they interact) to dehumanize women who get abortions. Women most certainly do not talk about it in person, if you haven’t noticed. Do you know the most effective way I get involved in changing the dialogue about abortion? Through blogging and on message boards. I can talk to one medical student at a time, one person at a time face to face. I get hundreds of hits a day on my blog right now.
    I agree with your cause. I don’t agree with your methods. Slut-shaming young feminists is not going to create future abortion providers. What are you doing to support MY future as an abortion provider? I am lucky to have my in laws pay for my younger son’s day care, and my mother pays my car bills, and we still struggle for me to stay in medical school. And this is with me taking out the maximum in loans. I will be graduating with about $300,000 in debt. This is not even considering the money I will have to pay in malpractice in ob/gyn on top of my loan payments.
    And where is the money come to pay for abortion services? Are YOU fighting for reimbursement of abortion and contraception by insurance and Medicaid? Do you know how I stay informed and fight for issues such as that? On (gasp!) blogs!
    Please, find a better way to help me out.

Feministing In Your Inbox

Sign up for our Newsletter to stay in touch with Feministing
and receive regular updates and exclusive content.

235 queries. 1.923 seconds