2011 was an exciting year for feminist blogs, with more fresh feminist faces, productive dialogue and crucial reporting than ever before. Feministing was no exception, and while we lost the regular contributions of a few irreplaceable feminist friends of mine, I’m really excited about the new voices that joined the mix this year. It was really hard to choose, but two of my favorite posts from the year centered on false fatherhood and forced motherhood:
Jos deconstructs political paternalism
In my opinion, Jos has never written anything that’s not utterly brilliant. She has a way of presenting heady concepts like paternalism or gender as simple and straightforward, bringing the reader around to her way of seeing things without so much as a strain or a doubt. In “The Daughter Test of Paternalistic Pundits”, she doesn’t disappoint, making the case against using knee-jerk paternalistic impulses to justify public policy decisions. It’s classic Jos: intelligent, compact, timely, and definitive.
She writes of paternalism:
Sadly this line of reasoning is so prevalent Mika Brzezinski managed to not think it was a derail while interviewing Jessica about SlutWalks on Morning Joe (hint: it was).
I suppose it’s a useful explanation for why I disagree so strongly with folks like Douthat on pretty much everything. He thinks he knows better, is better than other people, and that policies should be imposed to protect them from themselves. He’d like to see government as the benevolent father teaching its kids right and wrong (yeah you can see how religious ideology falls into political views so easily here). I’d like to see government provide for the welfare of its people – you know, make sure we don’t go hungry or homeless – not keep us from getting laid.
Of course it’s also plenty of sexism – we’re talking about the “daughter test” not the “son test” – because daughters are to be protected, sons raised to be strong and kill the dinner themselves. Sorry, hard not to fall into some old school “state of nature” hyperbole in such an absurd theory conversation. And of course we focus on shielding lady persons from the specters of sex work and drug use.
Look, I get it. I have super overprotective feelings about my baby sister (who is 22 so even the “baby sister” thing is problematic). But I know that doesn’t mean she needs to be protected by me just cause I feel that way. And more importantly, intense protective feelings about a close relative you care about enough to impact your rationality aren’t exactly the best basis for public policy.
Yah. What she said!
Miriam helps spur pro-choice anti-racist action
While I feel strongly that feminist blogging is valuable in itself, I’m always extra excited when blog posts translate into other kinds of real-life action or activism, as Miriam’s post on the racist anti-choice billboards helped to do earlier this year. You may remember back in February when billboards popped up in Soho that said “The most dangerous place for an African-American child is in the womb.” Grrrr. Ridiculous, race-baiting, hate-mongering messages planted right in my local neighborhood. They were offensive, wrong-headed, and inescapable. Thankfully, Miriam was on it, posting one of the first comprehensive accounts and posting updated information on how to bring the billboards down. Joined by reproductive justice advocates like Sistersong and the Trust Black Women Partnership, Miriam helped bring the billboards down within 24 hours of being posted. Later, Miriam stayed on the case when the racist trope was expanded to include Latinas in another set of billboard campaigns. I’m thankful for her sharp eye and quick action to take down these disturbing community health hazards, and proud of the community that rallied so quickly around this issue.
Here’s to tons more thought leadership, grassroots activism, and general kick-assery in 2012!