Sunday, April 02, 2006

Feminism and blogging

The horrors of Internet and copyright law persist but the week was brightened a little when I read Kira Cochrane’s article in G2 about feminist bloggers. It mentioned many of the fantastic blogs that greatly deserve the recognition given to them. It also addressed the often mentioned issues surrounding the privileged, predominantly white nature of the blogosphere. My own privilege is something I am aware of but don’t necessarily feel confident or competent enough to write about. Mindthegap recently discussed the concept of white guilt very astutely and it is something that seems to be the focus of many posts that I have come across. And thus I come to the purpose behind this post, which is really the impact the Internet in general and blogs in particular have had on me.

I have always enjoyed being part of online communities. For me it began with music. Fansites were a revelation and I joined up to message boards, learned about gigs I would never otherwise have heard of, spoke to members of the bands, and made friends. Needless to say I met a few strange individuals along the way and it was partly for this reason that I stopped writing a personal livejournal a few years ago. It is difficult to strike a balance between what you want other people to know about you and what you want to say in order to express yourself. The private and the public can easily get conflated on the internet and I’m cautious about placing too much in the public domain. I also became disillusioned with the emptiness of what I was discussing. There seemed little or no purpose behind the words I was putting on the page so my livejournal days came to an end.

Around the same time I was approaching the final year of my degree. I concentrated on writing my essays, reading course books, and really burned out towards the end. It took me about a month before I read another book after my final exam – which was a strange feeling for someone who consumes several novels a week. I began to work at a library and the job was not everything I had hoped it would be. Easy and regular access to the Internet helped long slow days pass by, and I discovered thefword. This was the resource that enabled me to branch out and gradually realise the extent of the feminist online community. It was a revelation and suddenly something that had always been portrayed as predominantly theoretical in nature, a tool for analysing the work in front of me, became alive and relevant.
The feminist blogosphere has introduced me to new ideas and alternative perspectives. It has encouraged me to question the way in which my white, western worldview impacts upon my opinions in a much more direct way than has ever occurred to me before. I have learned about issues and events around the world that would be glossed over, or perhaps never even mentioned in the newspapers that I read. I have been reassured to find that I am not the only person in the world who gets incensed about images of women that others around me seem not to notice at all. I have found that radical attitudes have enabled me to analyse the extent to which my liberalism may sometimes be more akin to inactivity. I have rediscovered my love of writing, and more importantly I gain genuine pleasure every day when I read the beautiful prose (and sometimes poetry), the passionate debate, and the informed opinion that make up the feminist online movement.


At 11:15 pm, Blogger TP said...

The feminist blogosphere has taught me more about feminsm that I ever learned in study, and it;s given me to get-up-and-go needed to strat my own active movement - Subtext magazine :o)

At 8:47 am, Blogger la somnambule said...

Now that's what I'm talking about!

At 9:53 pm, Blogger v said...

hey, ive just found you via mindthegap. your blog is brilliant.

At 10:36 pm, Blogger la somnambule said...

Ah thank you!


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