April 7, 2010
Melissa recently pointed me towards a post titled “The fabulous future of feminism and social media” where the author of the post, Ronak Ghorbani, asks a panel of community-feminist workers about their opinions of feminist blogs and their inclusiveness. Jessica Yee (the executive director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network) hosted the panel, which had of members of the Miss G Project as well as the YMCA Girls’ Council. Ronak asked the panel about their view of feminist blogs and whether they think the blogs are inclusive enough. The panelists did not shy away from expressing their views about the shortfalls of the feminist blogosphere.
Jessica felt that feminist bloggers only speak to the same audience, which is problematic. Laurel Mitchel of the Miss G Project noted the “barriers and privileges” that leads to some blogs being more popular than others.
However, all the opinions were not negative. Jessica also had something positive to say about blogging that she thinks is often overlooked. She said, “often people who read blogs or write blogs are people who do have privilege to do something.” Sheetal Rawal of the Miss G Project shared how finding Feministingthrough Google was integral to her shift into a “new feminist conscience.”
Despite the shortfalls of feminist blogging, it is crucial to remember its benefits. Jessica and Sheetal brought up two important positive aspects that show that feminist social media can and does contribute to social justice. Personally my engagement in feminist blogs have given me amazing insight into many issues of which I was not aware and introduced me to an amazing community of people who are passionate about similar issues.
While most feminist blog readers are most likely feminists, I think it is still important to highlight that not all are. I know current feminists who came to to identify as such because of feminist social media. As a result, they, too, joined the community of people who actively work towards social justice. Working towards social justice can feel like a daunting task, but social media can serve as a form of encouragement through fostering a sense of community.
Social media also is a great tool in generating awareness. It introduces stories and issues often ignored by the mainstream media and offers alternative views. Through expanding the reach of certain topics, more people who have the resources and privileges to make change learn where and how they can put their efforts.
It is unfortunate that feminist blogging excludes those without internet access, but it does help the community online and off. And due to the community engagement that it fosters, I do believe that its power to create change reaches far from the computer screen. So while I don’t know whether feminist blogging is here to stay, I definitely think it can be an important part to the social justice movement for years to come.
Written by: Wagatwe Wanjuki