Proudly afflicting the comfortable [and collecting shiny things] since March 2003

Send Magpie an email!

RSS Feeds
Click button to subscribe.

Subscribe to Magpie via Feedburner  Magpie's RSS feed via Bloglines
Add to Netvibes

Need a password?
Click the button!

Bypass 'free' registration!

Cost of the Iraq War [US$]
(JavaScript Error)
[Find out more here]

Hooded Liberty

Alas, a Blog
Back to Iraq
Baghdad Burning
Bitch Ph.D.
blac (k) ademic
Blog Report
Blogs by Women
Burnt Orange Report
Confined Space
Daily Kos
Dangereuse trilingue
Echidne of the Snakes
Effect Measure
Eschaton (Atrios)
Follow Me Here
The Housing Bubble New!
I Blame the Patriarchy
Juan Cole/Informed Comment
Kicking Ass
The King's Blog
The Krile Files
Left Coaster
Loaded Orygun
Making Light
Marian's Blog
Muslim Wake Up! Blog
My Left Wing
The NewsHoggers
Null Device
Pacific Views
The Panda's Thumb
Peking Duck
Pinko Feminist Hellcat
Political Animal
Reality-Based Community
Riba Rambles
The Rittenhouse Review
Road to Surfdom
The Sideshow
The Silence of Our Friends New!
Sisyphus Shrugged
Suburban Guerrilla
Talk Left
Talking Points Memo
This Modern World
The Unapologetic Mexican New!
War and Piece
wood s lot

Body and Soul
General Glut's Globlog
Respectful of Otters

Image by Propaganda Remix Project. Click to see more.

Magpie is a former journalist, attempted historian [No, you can't ask how her thesis is going], and full-time corvid of the lesbian persuasion. She keeps herself in birdseed by writing those bad computer manuals that you toss out without bothering to read them. She also blogs too much when she's not on deadline, both here and at Pacific Views.

Magpie roosts in Portland, Oregon, where she annoys her housemates (as well as her cats Medea, Whiskers, and Jane Doe) by attempting to play Irish music on the fiddle and concertina.

If you like, you can send Magpie an email!

Ask Technorati.
Or ask WhoLinksToMe.

Politics Blog Top Sites

Progressive Women's Blog Ring

Join | List |
Previous | Next | Random |
Previous 5 | Next 5 |
Skip Previous | Skip Next

Powered by RingSurf

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

Check to open links in new windows. Uncheck to see comments.

Saturday, April 1, 2006

More on feminist blogging.

Friday's UK Guardian article on feminist blogging [see this earlier post] is, as you might imagine, generating comments on feminist blogs. I thought that Echidne's response to the piece was dead-on:

The question the article asks is whether feminist blogs might be just playthings for the rich and the educated. Then it goes on trying to strike some sparks between the second wave feminists (those whose work was supposed to have been done in the seventies) and the third wave feminists (those whose work is supposed to be done right now but might be all about sex-positivity and girliness).

My lack of forgiveness isn't because of the assertion that blogs are playthings for the wealthy and educated (and for those who blog in their parents' basements). They are, at least in the global arena. So is most anything else not having to do with what is required for basic survival, and feminist blogs are no different in this sense from any other types of blogs or from the general access to computers. But blogs, including feminist ones, do have a democratizing effect on the public discourse. Starting a blog can cost nothing, and the computer skills needed are also fairly minimal. All we need to change is the availability of the internet in poor areas. That, my friends, is not a specifically feminist problem.

When I read Kira Cochrane's Guardian article for the first time, I couldn't shake the feeling that there was something wrong with that question of whether feminist blogs are just a 'plaything for the rich and well-educated' — even though I couldn't dispute the fact that these women definitely have easier access to the internet and more time to blog. But after reading Echidne's post, that light over my head went off and I went running to my copy of Joanna Russ' How to Suppress Women's Writing — her early 1980s book about how writing by women has been ignored, discredited, dismissed, and otherwise made invisible. Sure enough, some of the suppression methods identified by Russ seem to apply here:

Russ: She wrote it, but look what she wrote about.
Cochrane: There has also typically been a suspicion that if younger women are interested in feminism it's of a specific variety: what's sometimes called "girlie" feminism. The mainstream media tends to highlight young feminists whose outlook is "sexy". Those, for instance, who frame pole dancing as a feminist act.

Russ: She wrote it, but 'it' isn't really serious.
Cochrane: But is it all just sound and fury? The blogs reflect second-wave ideas of consciousness raising and the personal as political (many women write about their experiences of rape and sexual assault), but there's a question mark over how this feeds into grass-roots activism.

Russ: She wrote it, but there are very few of her.
Cochrane: As with second-wave feminism, this online movement is open to the accusation that it simply represents privileged white women. "Blogging is still somewhat limited, of course," says Georgia Gaden, a postgraduate researcher who has studied feminist blogs, "because although we take our access for granted, many women, globally, don't have that luxury."

I should make myself clear, here: I don't think that Cochrane should have written an uncritical puff piece about feminist blogs. All of her points I've listed here are based in reality and are, in fact, matters of discussion and disagreement among feminists — even the non-blogging sort. But put together, the way in which Cochrane uses her rhetorical questions makes her story come across as a put-down of the enterprise of feminist blogging itself — which is especially sad given that she was probably writing what she believed to be a positive story.

The negative case in which the Guardian story puts feminist blogging is emphasized by its headline:

Feminist blogs are booming. But are they globalising emancipation — or just playthings for the rich and well educated?

That headline probably isn't Cochrane's fault — the blame almost certainly lays at the feet of some Guardian editor. But the headline certainly undermines the positive parts of the article, making feminist bloggers look as though they are operating in some cloud-cuckoo-land, disconnected from women at large, from other feminists, and [possibly] from the 'real world.'

Which is really too bad.

A bit more: While writing this post, I was happy to see that How to Suppress Women's Writing is still in print. A US edition is available from the University of Texas Press. The UK edition from The Women's Press also appears to be in print. Used copies are easy to find, as this list from shows.

This magpie recommends Russ' book highly. Everything she said in the early 1980s still goes.

| | Posted by Magpie at 3:08 AM | Get permalink

Liar, liar, pants on fire!


Mail & Guardian [S. Africa]
BBC News
CBC News
Agence France Presse
Associated Press
Inter Press Service
Watching America
International Herald Tribune
Guardian (UK)
Independent (UK)
USA Today
NY Times (US)
Washington Post (US)
McClatchy Washington Bureau (US)
Boston Globe (US)
LA Times (US)
Globe & Mail (Canada)
Toronto Star (Canada)
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
Al-Ahram (Egypt)
Daily Star (Lebanon)
Haaretz (Israel)
Hindustan Times (India)
Japan Times (Japan)
Asia Times (Hong Kong)
New Scientist News
Paper Chase

Molly Ivins
CJR Daily
Women's eNews
Raw Story
The Gadflyer
Working for Change
Common Dreams
Democracy Now!
American Microphone
The Revealer
Editor & Publisher
Economic Policy Institute
Center for American Progress
The Memory Hole

Irish-American fiddler Liz Carroll

Céilí House (RTE Radio)
The Irish Fiddle
Fiddler Magazine
Concertina Library
A Guide to the Irish Flute
Chiff & Fipple
Irtrad-l Archives
Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann
BBC Virtual Session
JC's ABC Tune Finder

Propaganda Remix Project
Ask a Ninja
Boiling Point
Cat and Girl
Dykes to Watch Out For
Library of Congress
American Heritage Dictionary
Dictonary of Newfoundland English
American's Guide to Canada
Digital History of the San Fernando Valley
Blithe House Quarterly
Astronomy Pic of the Day
Earth Science Picture of the Day
Asia Grace
Gaelic Curse Engine
Old Dinosaur Books