So, last week I got to Skype lecture a friend’s gender studies class about feminist blogging. While it was SUPER awkward that they could see and hear me but I could neither see nor hear them (stupid technology), the experience was really fun.
Even better, it forced me to think about a lot of my goals, aims, and values as a feminist blogger. I figured I’d take my notes from the presentation and write up a post on my process and concerns; I’d love feedback and advice from more experienced bloggers (and non-bloggers)!
Saying “the process” makes me feel much more fancy than I actually am! It starts, as many things do, with a Pinterest board; any time I read something on a topic that I find interesting, that I’ve seen discussed before, or that I think is worth investigating, I pin it to save it.
There are a few ways that I’m then inspired to write on a particular topic. Sometimes I’ll see an essay or article on a topic I’m already interested in, and that will be the final push for me to write about it. That’s how I wrote my post on celebrities who don’t identify as feminist.
And sometimes they’re inspired by something that’s happened in my life, like the sexist postcard I received in the mail my recent post on my hair straightening. If nothing’s jumping out at me to be written about, I’ll go through the Pinterest board and see what topics appear over and over, or if there are any I can connect to current events.
Balancing clicks and content
It’s hard to gauge how a topic is going to resonate with readers. For instance, I put a lot of time and effort into my post on STD and HIV testing, but it didn’t get many clicks and got almost no feedback. Then, I thought that the post on school dress codes would be kind of boring, but several of my former high school students commented on it with their perspectives, and said they could totally relate to it.
I’m still working on striking a balance between topics that will be interesting to read about even for someone who’s not totally into feminism, and making sure I write about those topics in a feminist, inclusive way. I’m noticing that what I think is valuable, important content isn’t always going to get clicks, and that’s a tough realization to come to. I want to address serious topics that I think are important, but I also want to be writing a blog that people will want to read.
I try not to tell people what to think; if I’m coming down on a particular side of a topic, I will give my opinion, but I’ll do my best to avoid prescribing the “feminist” point of view, as that’s silly and there are obviously a lot of different feminist points of view on different topics. The downside to this approach is that nothing I say is ever going to be terribly controversial.
Plus, as much as I’m very snarky in real life, I don’t like when feminist writers are snarky in a way that potentially undermines their points – like making a sexist joke “ironically” – it might make my writing more fun to read for a certain audience, but I think that kind of writing is problematic. Controversy definitely drives traffic, so it’s a bit of a choice I have to make.
Being aware that the last thing the world needs is another white, cis, straight feminist blogger
One of the things I struggle with is making sure that my posts are inclusive. For instance, when I was writing my post on the Golden Globes and women in movies, I realized that a lot of what I was saying about women’s representation in films also holds true for people of color or LGBT people. When I went to include those points in the essay, it began to feel like I was being too self-consciously “politically correct,” especially because one of the things I thought was powerful about the original article was the statistics on women in film and women in powerful positions and it seemed like I was just including other categories for the sake of inclusion. To try to remedy that, I began to look for similar statistics on people of color or LGBT people to make similar parallels, but quickly realized that that would have turned the post into practically a dissertation. Then I felt crappy talking about how crowd scenes in film should be half men, half women, because that was ignoring people who identify as genderqueer or non-binary. I ended up feeling disappointed in myself for not addressing every issue. In these instances, if I feel that I can’t effectively include as much inclusive language as I’d like, I try to at least make sure I’m not using exclusive language.
Pissing people off
Also, I’m really worried about pissing people off. I know that I shouldn’t be worried that much about what other people think, but if I’m writing for an audience, I kind of DO have to think about what other people think. And given that there has been a lot written recently about the threats and harassment that feminist bloggers face, I’m a little nervous about angering people.
So what do you think? Do you blog / tweet / write from a feminist perspective? What challenges have you faced?