Compassion, Sustainability, Diversity and Friendship: Feministing.

(Most of) The Feministing Crew 2010
When Jessica first asked me to start blogging at Feministing in 2005, I posted one thing every Sunday, because I had a full time job. Back then, we felt that it was really important to have at least one post up per day and for me, I was thrilled if I got two comments. Oh my how times have changed. I didn’t realize that after three years we would be writing eight posts a day and be one of the most important spaces for the changing face of feminism online and be part of a vibrant community of feminist blogs that work tirelessly to contest the boundaries of identity, activism and theory. And I certainly didn’t ever think that after five years I would have the honor of being the face of Feministing.
Recognizing this huge network of bloggers, activists, thinkers and writers that have been integral in carving out the space for feminist voices online, I accepted the executive editor role with gratitude for the opportunity to potentially shape the direction of our community. It signals that we are learning from the past and pushing ourselves in our commitment to centralizing disenfranchised voices. My co-bloggers have given me a tremendous opportunity to not only boost my own profile, but the profile of the site and the profile of the issues that I am committed to, issues that I have consistently written about for 5 years.

Feministing is a collective, as can be seen by the diversity of names on the homepage. Behind the scenes, all members of Feministing contribute in profound and important ways, committing their lives to much more than putting up blog posts. Each editor has leadership over several key pieces of our work and collaborates on that work, carving time out of her personal life and often doing much more than is expected. If it were not for Vanessa we would not have such a vibrant local community of folks that get together for our parties, not to mention her consistency in blogging on hard-hitting issues, while constantly picking up little pieces of invisible work that make the site run. As many of you may know, Miriam is “the business” and has been integral to moving us forward with her strategic mindset, allowing us to implement policies that are the core of how we operate. Jessica has taken the helm on moving our technology forward (more to come on that later!) and it was her consistent hard work and high standards that made Feministing what it is today — not to mention her humility in stepping back after all that hard work so other people can step up. Ann‘s impeccable eye to edits, advice on organizational structures and ability to make shit happen has been central in making Feministing so powerful. And Courtney‘s support, facilitation, relationship-building with the greater feminist community and ability to be compassionate in the most difficult of situations has helped boost our morale and commitment in new ways. Feministing has run on the backs of our other jobs, in the in-between spaces of lunch breaks and meetings. It has been a project run on passion and the tireless work of myself, Vanessa, Miriam, Courtney, Ann and Jessica. More importantly, we have all stayed friends or become friends through this process which has been the most cohesive element of the group.
And at our retreats and on editor conference calls we have talked about issues of privilege and how they effect our power dynamics internally, recognizing how external perceptions of us as individuals affect our group — that is, after all, how oppression functions. Within our editorial collective, we have worked hard to make these moments of hidden privilege visible, sharing privilege when possible. But attempting to reflect that externally has been a completely different challenge. My acceptance of this role is a concrete way to push back against dominant ideas of leadership in feminism and a recognition that power and privilege impact who is considered an authority. In order to fight these imbalances we have to be strategic and definitive in how we see leadership and who we identify as leaders. And not just as a tokenizing gesture, but as an intentional decision to fight against prescribed ideas of leadership within feminism itself.
Externally, my commitment to you, our community, is to continue the quality and diversity of the content of this site. Marginalized issues in feminism are still marginalized, and the constant work of teasing out the tensions hidden in the erasures of a mythical monolithic “feminism” lies in the conversations and unique moments of activism that make Feministing what it is and what make the feminist blogosphere such an important place.
Internally, I am committed to sustainability. The hard work of activism, how we run our collective, and the impact Feministing has on feminists worldwide is both emotionally, psychologically and spiritually satisfying and, at the same time, a huge responsibility. So while I am committed to diversity and being the strongest feminist online resource we can possibly be, I do not think that is possible without a crew of folks that feel healthy, balanced and excited about the work. This reality is more so important with the addition of new members to our team who we are so so excited about (and would be the new faces in that picture up top!). I realize this can’t be all the time. The work is hard, things will get us down, we can be (and often are) overwhelmed. But I want to push us to really try and institute a culture of sustainability — the one thing I find lacking in so many activist-oriented intentions, so we can continue to be such an important part of feminism online.

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