She Should Write

old movie still with caption that reads, She's everything a woman could dare to be!

Over the course of my 6 years (whaaaaat?!) writing for Feministing, I have met a lot of readers of the site. They are almost always young women who are super intelligent, engaged in talking about gender, and excited about making change in the world. Every single burned-out Feministing editor has said it at some point: there is nothing more energizing than meeting, in person, the feminists who read our site.

One time when I was representing Feministing at an event with Miriam, I confessed to her that even though I love meeting readers, I’m never quite sure what to say to them. She replied that she always asks them to write. To post on Feministing’s community site, to start their own blogs, just to put their words out there in the world. She tells them, you can do what we do. Be your own feminist-blog hero.

So of course I stole this idea (thanks, Miriam!), and now I never have an interaction with a Feministing reader without asking her to write.

I’ve written a lot about how I don’t think we can close the byline gap in journalism simply by broadly (ha ha!) encouraging women to write and pitch more. If we want more diversity in media, editors have to actively reach out to non-whitedudes in specific ways. But this solution can feel pretty narrow — after all, most of us are not editors. I’m here to tell you that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.

Ask a woman you know to write something today. Ask her to write a short essay instead of just reblogging some pretty photos on her tumblr. Ask her to spend 20 minutes journaling instead of watching DVR’d episodes of Jersey Shore after work. When she sends you a link to a great article, and it’s something she totally could have written herself, tell her that.

There’s a campaign to fix the gender gap in politics called She Should Run. I like call this personal crusade She Should Write.

Asking women to write is easy for me because I’m an editor. But I think awesome things would happen if we all started thinking like editors (just a little bit! no career changes necessary, people) and asked to hear women’s perspectives on things. This is 2011. You don’t need an anyone’s permission to write something that a lot of people can read. You just need a little encouragement.

I’m thinking about all of this because today I say goodbye Feministing. This site was the first major platform I had for my writing, and my co-editors were the first people to really support me as an opinionated writer. I have since gone on to make my writing a core part of my career.

I’m leaving this warm womb of feminist love because I’ve accepted a new job: I’m now the editor of GOOD, a magazine and website for people who give a damn. People like feminists! You should all add it to your RSS readers, follow on Twitter, and subscribe to the mag. It’s really good now, and it’s about to get a whole lot better.

And so Samhita, Vanessa, Courtney, Perez, Jess — and all of you who read and contribute to Feministing — thanks for pushing me to write. Now go ask another woman to do the same.

Join the Conversation

  • Rachel

    We’re going to miss you! But I’m definitely hoping to subscribe to Good (if funds allow, lol). And thank you for the encouragement to write, I always love it =).

  • Bethany KJ

    This is so inspiring. Thanks, Ann. I wouldn’t be as confident a writer as I am now if it weren’t for other people (women and men) encouraging me too.

  • Hugo Schwyzer

    Thank you, Ann, for all you’ve done, for all you’ve written, and for all you will write. I know your work has resonated and continues to resonate so much with my students, whom I push to do as you suggest. Write. Just write.

  • Kimberly

    Hi Ann. Good luck with your new editing position! I just wanted to share that though I’ve never met any of the Feministing editors, after discovering and being an active follower of Feministing, I was inspired and began writing my own blog (Feminist Lab). Through writing for myself I got to know many members of the feminist community and I’m now a staff writer on Feminists For Choice. The attitudes and open community of Feministing really helped me have the courage and desire to write in a public space. So, thank you.

  • Rachel Duchak

    I already read Good so it will be good, so to speak, to read more feminists at a site I already like. Best of luck with the new platform and audience.

    If Virginia Woolf were here today she would likely say that every woman needs her own blog space in addition to a room of her own. Being able to publish yourself and interact with likeminded others is wonderfully empowering because it just erases all the people who say no and get in your way of writing what you want, what you think, what you feel.

    I’ve been writing for a few months now at my new site and I’m having a great time. Check out my feminist review of a great Japanese food movie _Tampopo_ : )

  • Nick

    Best of luck in your new endeavor. A time of change for this site, it seems. Will you still be writing somewhere?

    Semi-OT: Why is the website hosted on an Icelandic domain? Near as I can tell, the organization has nothing to do with Iceland, and is based in New York and California.

    Also Semi-OT: Never heard of before yesterday, but I poked around the site some and it looks amazing. I’ll definitely be spending some more time reading there – thanks for bringing it to my attention.