I was following a blog discussion in an open thread on a mainstream cultural magazine's website when two commenters began talking about their negative experiences with a specific feminist blog. That criticism soon was expanded to cover "the problem with feminist blogs" as if all feminist blogs are the same.It was written by What Tami Said and I recommend you hop on over to read the rest. I haven't read any "feminist" blogs for the last month or so to be honest. When a particular post on Jezebel catches my attention, I find myself quickly reading and leaving the blog now. But as much as I might might need my space from all the "outrage," I am still really glad these blogs exist. To say they're all the same is completely wrong.
But how can all feminist blogs be the same? All feminists are not the same. We may agree that feminism is a movement to end sexist oppression. But we often disagree about what sexist oppression is and what gender equality might look like. We are passionate about a variety of feminist issues--reproductive rights, political power, preventing violence against women, workplace equality. Some of us are men. Many of us who blog don't write about feminist issues in the common sense; we write about politics or sex or film or fashion or history or sexuality or gaming or race with a feminist sensibility. Some of us don't even call ourselves feminists.
Worse, the criticism of feminist blogs in this discussion seemed so typically sexist, dismissive of feminist thought and reflective of stereotypes about certain types of women. Feminist blogs paint women as victims and men as predators. Mean ole feminist blogs won't educate folks on feminism 101. Feminist blogs are humorless and one-note. Moderators at feminist blogs are strident, aggressive, argumentative and quick to ban or shun commenters who won't follow the party line. Feminists look to take offense at everything. Feminists use annoying academic-y language like "heteronormative" and "patriarchy."
Here is the thing, some of these "criticisms" are true, but for good reason. One could argue that "movement speak" makes communication with those on the outside harder, but what's the problem with using words like "patriarchy" within a space devoted to feminism? Many feminist blogs reject having 101 discussions, because demanding to be educated is one way that privileged folks use to derail real conversation. Most of the other criticisms are indeed true of many feminist blogs only in that they are true of many blogs, period. But, I think the world we live in dictates that Gawker will never be read as strident, but Jezebel will.