Today marks my last day officially editing at Feministing. I’m not planning to leave cold turkey–I’ll always be part of the Feministing family, contributing posts from time to time, steering great new voices this way, doing whatever I can to support the ones that are already here, and working behind the scenes on a Big Idea I’ve been incubating regarding the future of feminism and online work (stay tuned for more on that).
To mark my leave, I thought I’d write a bit about some of what I’ve learned along the way, and then leave you all with some of the questions that still keep me up at night regarding this space and others like it. First, for some of the lessons:
Learn in public. Even though it can hurt to process criticism, particularly online when you feel as if you’ve been turned into a symbol of something, don’t cut yourself off. Stay open. Be humble. Listen. The blogosphere can be a harsh teacher, but it is a teacher nonetheless.
Related, be uncomfortable. I deeply believe that we don’t grow, and social change doesn’t happen, unless we tolerate some discomfort in various forms–particularly for those of us who are privileged and processing what that means and how we can change our own behaviors to contribute to a more equal world.
Sometimes, serenity is necessary. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath, realize that you’ve done your best, stretched to capacity, and you can’t take it all so personally. Then you should probably surround yourself with friends on a dance floor.
Feminism is most certainly not dead. Duh. I’ve met the most incredible feminists through my work here–offline and on. It continues to give me deep, indestructible hope about the future.
Humor matters. We’ve built an important feminist outlet largely based on that fact that we know when to laugh. Turns out humor is a revolutionary strategy.
Creativity matters, too. Some of my best days writing on this blog have included really creative responses to a misogynistic world so lacking in genuinely fresh and original ideas.
Plain old hating is rarely productive and usually not as satisfying as you might think. We fall into it from time to time here at Feministing, but it’s always my least favorite kind of writing. The good kind changes hearts and minds, which means having empathy and respect for the people we disagree with the most. It’s not easy, but to my mind, it’s necessary.
Take yourself seriously and the rest of the world will follow. I’ve learned this over and over again in my writing career and Feministing may just be the best example of it yet. A couple of women decided to take their own analysis seriously, and look what became of it…
And now, for some of my lingering questions:
- How can we bridge intergenerational, class, race etc. gaps online and off?
- How can we use our energy in the most strategic ways?
- When is it time to go off line?
- How can we make feminism more proactive and less reactive?
- How can we create bonafide sustainability in online feminist work?
The first and last one have really been keeping me up at night as I’ve reflected on leaving my regular editing role here and I’ll be devoting some time to innovating in that regard. If you’ve got ideas, please shoot them my way. You can find me on Twitter @courtwrites and keep track of my latest writing on my site.
Finally, of course, I have to give a massive metaphorical group hug to my homies in this proverbial space. Jessica and Vanessa, thank you for creating this crazy home for so many of my rants and reviews. Without yous, there would be no us. Ann, Samhita, and Perez, thanks for making the Original Recipe so undeniably spicy and fresh; I love all three of you. New Class, holy shit, you’re awesome. You make me excited about, well, life in general, but especially life here at Feministing. Future is so bright…