Saturday, December 26, 2015

None Taken

I’ve been mulling over this wordy Jezebel article trying to think of something to write that hasn’t already been written numerous times before in this “year of outrage.” I used to be a commenter at Jez, back in ‘09 or ‘10 when it was still a relatively new entity. A lot has changed, but Jezebel is only a symptom of that. As was common in online spaces, the commentariat was closed (you had to “audition” is I remember correctly) and it gave its members, and writers, more space for ideological imperfection. I recall founder Anna Holmes saying in a interview a few years ago that she hadn’t intended Jezebel to be so overtly feminist, but as the community grew it was pushed it in that direction. Not a bad thing given the lack of real world feminism, but to pretend that Jezebel doesn’t have a singular vision is false. Its writers still are young, educated, mostly white, middle class, and politically progressive. This IS the face of online feminism, and why many women, myself included, feel alienated from it.

I wrote for a “ladyblog” many years ago before social media became a tool for activism. When Twitter was, quite literally, where you went to find out what your friend had for lunch. We were diverse, or tried to be at the time, with a mix of ages and races and ideologies. Still, there was the expectation that it should be, at the very least, feminist-friendly, and those who didn’t fit the template found themselves without an audience. The problem with trying to define feminism, who is one, who isn't, is not at all new and not something I expect will go away anytime soon. What I want to see are more opportunities for women who write outside of feminism, rather than attempts to expand the definition to the degree that it's meaningless.