In a series of posts summarizing the year in online feminism, we’ve already detailed the most heavily trafficked posts on Feministing in 2012, and highlighted some of our favorite posts that may not have gotten the most pageviews but still warmed the cockles of our feminist hearts. Now it’s time to give others some shine. Without further ado, our favorite feminist posts published elsewhere on the Interwebs in 2012:
I’ve loved Andrea Grimes’s “Hitched” column at The Frisky so much that I sort of wish her engagement had lasted longer. I particularly enjoyed her piece about wedding registries and the sense that you’re being rewarded for getting married:
“I am a little mystified, because I don’t totally understand why couples nowadays even make wedding registries, especially when many already live together and clearly are not moving directly from their parents’ homes into their married lives. I don’t need a $160 cast-iron skillet just because there’s a marriage license out there with my name on it.
It seems bizarre to further reward people who’ve already been blessed by capricious Fate. You found someone you like enough to marry? Who also wants to marry you? And now you want some fucking towels as a bonus prize, are you kidding me?”
Anne-Marie Slaughter said that she hoped her controversial piece on “having it all” would be “the next step towards equality.” And it certainly sparked a vibrant and productive conversation about what that next step looks like–and how best to get there. Among a host of smart feminist responses, one of my favorites was Flavia’s at Tiger Beatdown, in which she calls for a “feminism of utopias and imagination”:
“We no longer present an alternative. We want full participation in what already is. And again, I say bullshit to that. I want my feminism to be a feminism of daydreaming. I want my feminism to believe in the transformative power of imagining the impossible. I want my feminism to stop chasing this faux equality that puts us on the race to be better managers of exclusion and, instead, gives us the possibility of re-thinking a future where we no longer have underclasses within the underclass. I do not want any more of this reactive feminism that is devoted to creating opportunities for the few that are allowed in detriment of the millions whose only role is to cheer other women’s success in the name of sisterhood. I want a feminism of utopias and imagination.”
Jessica Luther is one of my favorite internet feminists. I think she’s a model for all feminists of how to be willing to learn in public; her writing always leaves space open for new ideas, and she’s constantly adding additional notes to pieces she’s written based on other folks’ input. A lot of public feminists have roundly ignored critiques that the reproductive rights movement excludes the health needs of trans and gender non-conforming folks. Jessica took the critique, modeled how easily it can be incorporated into one’s politics, and has stood by that position. Of course, all of that was my cheaterly way of highlighting more of Jessica’s writing, because my pick for favorite post of 2012 is her piece “Serena Williams Is Not a Costume.” The world of tennis clearly has some issues with racism it needs to deal with: Jessica nailed a problem a lot of folks refused to acknowledge.
I have no idea if this was meant to be an explicitly “feminist” piece but I got a ton of satisfaction from Sarah Nicole Prickett’s Aaron Sorkin takedown interview in the Globe and Mail. You may remember the backdrop: after referring to her as “Internet girl” and implying if she had to watch the The Newsroom pilot more than once because “she didn’t understand it the first time” during their interview, Sorkin high-fived Prickett six times (“Let me manhandle you”) before telling her to “write something nice.” The resulting piece was anything but:
“…a certain kind of man is now freaking out over the loss of his greatness…Really, all that’s happening is that feminism has achieved some of its purposes and pluralism has taken root. Systems are tenuous; forces of change are multiplying; the great-(white)-man theory will not hold.
Sorkin, though, is winningly upholding it. The colonel, the president, the genius, the baseball coach, the anchorman, and next – as he’s recently confirmed – no less than Steve Jobs: His subjects are masculine iconoclasts with traditional top-down power, who strive, in Graham Greene-type ways, to use it for good.
But on “real” TV news, these heroes are dying, and to mourn them is also to mourn a paternalistic notion of truth as something you should but cannot handle, when for the powerless vast majority it’s so gossamer it just slips through our fingers. With one look into the steel arrogance behind Sorkin’s eyes, I am sure he considers his life’s tragedy that, in 50 years, there will be no Sorkin to write about him.”
Ouch. Perhaps one of the best things about this piece was that it was written with enough well-reasoned vitriol (think Pete Wells on Guy Fieri levels of criticism with a sprinkle of anti-sexism) to turn some serious mainstream media heads. By speaking her truth as a young up-and-coming writer encountering Old White Guy Sexism of the most common kind, Prickett was able to extend feminism a new audience, at least for one news cycle.
Andy Marra’s beyond beautiful essay on meeting her biological mother in South Korea and how her love and acceptance helped Andy begin to transition. The piece details deep political, cultural, racial, and gender divides — and how love renders them all meaningless.
Exploring the intersections of fatness and sexuality through the myth that fat women give better blow jobs. Very insightful and relevant.
I still have a crush on n+1’s article on gender in contemporary magazines, despite the uncomfortable lack of critical self-reflection. I’m still sort of baffled that the Atlantic gets away with the anti-feminist BS that it masquerades as “honest” progressivism, and n+1’s diagnosis is just brilliant: “Gently, like a good friend, the Atlantic tells women they can stop pretending to be feminists now.”
Lindy West’s “How to Make a Rape Joke” looked at the important difference between rape jokes that perpetuate rape culture and rape jokes that challenge it.
I’m with Alexandra, n+1’s editor’s note on the state of gender in publication and the innerwebs was just so deliciously wry and on point. But I <3 Jill’s write up on Naomi Wolf’s latest tome to the amazing technicolor vagina, primarily because the GIF gives me and all my homies, so much LIFE. How can we make GIF a t-shirt? No. Seriously. How can we make this a t-shirt? I’m a small.
I’m still a die-hard Jessica Valenti fan. Her piece “She Who Dies With the Most ‘Likes’ Wins?” was one of my favorites this year. Jessica has this great way of refreshing her reader’s sense of righteous anger and for me, personally, always makes me walk away from her writing with a renewed rebellious spirit. In this piece, she dissects gender inequality when it comes to “likeability” both on a personal and professional level. One of my favorite lines: “Wanting to be liked means being a supporting character in your own life, using the cues of the actors around you to determine your next line rather than your own script. It means that your self-worth will always be tied to what someone else thinks about you, forever out of your control.” It’s a piece I will definitely go back to and read again and again.
Ed note: This is the third in a series of posts summarizing the year in online feminism. Keep checking back through the New Year for more end-of-the-year content.