Feministing Year in Review: Chloe’s top picks

I totally cheated. I’m a big old cheater. When I was asked to list my two favourite posts from this year, one was not so much a post as it was an event, and the other wasn’t a Feministing post at all. Like I said, I’m a big old cheater.  But it’s cheating for a good cause, I promise, because my top picks this year aren’t just about Feministing – they’re about feminist activism, and about the role of feminist blogging in that activism and in the feminist movement more broadly. So, here we go:

Lori co-organizes the protest of the NYC “rape cop” verdict

In May of this year, as I’m sure you remember, two New York City police officers were acquitted of raping a woman after helping her back to her apartment while she was drunk. Despite the fact that a few days after the incident, one of the cops reassured the woman that he had worn a condom, there was no “guilty” verdict. The two officers were convicted of three counts of official misconduct, but the rape charges did not stick. In response to the verdict, Lori and a number of other feminist organizations pulled together a protest the following day that drew several hundred people.

Like I said, I cheated.

But I’m still so proud of Lori – that’s her in the video leading a chant of “We won’t be silenced! We must stop violence!” – and of the way the New York feminist community was able to mobilize in reaction to the verdict. And, I was glad to see, at SlutWalk NYC a few months later, that people made the connection between the May verdict and the SlutWalk action: several people had signs about the NYPD, and there were a number of less than flattering chants about the NYPD on the day.

New York magazine explores the lady blogosphere

Emily Nussbaum’s story in the October 30 issue of New York magazine explored the origins, evolution and importance of the feminist blogosphere, placing it within the historical context of the larger women’s rights movement and explaining some of the successes and failures of lady blog land in the last few years. The article quoted a number of friends of Feministing, like Sady, Amanda, Latoya, Shelby, and Akiba, listed Feministing as one of the top feminist blogs around, and included a photo of our own Executive Editor, Samhita.

If you haven’t read the whole thing, you really should, but here’s an excerpt:

Perhaps most strikingly, there was a freewheeling fascination with celebrity culture and ­reality ­television, even on the most radical sites. Instead of viewing pop culture as toxic propaganda, bloggers embraced it as a shared language, a complex code to be solved together, and not coincidentally, something fun. In an age of search engines, it was a powerful magnet: Again and again, bloggers described pop-­culture posts to me as a “gateway drug” for young women—an isolated teenager in rural Mississippi would Google “Beyoncé” or “Real Housewives,” then get drawn into threads about abortion. Some of the best memes out there are the least categorizable, like Feminist Ryan Gosling, a blog that features the adorable star of Drive “citing” poststructuralist philosopher ­Judith Butler. Is it a joke? A turn-on? A sly carrier for theory? It doesn’t really matter, because it’s the perfect viral pass-around.

In answer to Nussbaum’s questions, Feminist Ryan Gosling IS a turn-on, a huge one. But that’s not really the point. I’m a proponent of stealth feminism and of using pop culture as a gateway drug to feminism – after all, I study rom coms, for god’s sake. And I was relieved to see feminist discussions of pop culture recognized as signs that we are meeting young women where they are rather than proof that feminists are no longer “serious.”

We are serious. Despite the snark and the cursing, and despite the fact that we write about pop culture in addition to politics and other important matters, we are serious. We are deadly, completely serious. Especially when it comes to Ryan Gosling.

Happy holidays, everyone! Thanks for making this year such a great one here at Feministing, and here’s to an even better 2012. See you all in the new year!

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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