Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Where is the new feminism?

Laura at Apt 11D asked Where goes Feminism?
When I started blogging ten years ago, I stepped into a vibrant feminist blogosphere. There were raging battles about reproductive rights and motherhood and employment. I wasn’t a full-time feminist blogger, because I was too undisciplined to commit to one type of blogging, but it was certainly a regular theme at Apt. 11D.

Sadly, all those feminist blogs withered. A handful of bloggers went pro, but most just got tired of the whole thing, like most other bloggers. (One advantage to being an undisciplined blogger is that you don’t really get bored.) Now, we have Jezebel, which is more concerned with Lorde and Avril Lavigne than politics. And then the recession hit and the debates about having a fulfilling career seemed pointless. Having a job — any job — was more critical than self fulfillment.

So, what’s the big issue in feminism today?
She thinks it should be girls. I think she's just looking in the wrong places. I see a vibrant, outspoken, wide-ranging feminism online, it's just not on old-style blogs that respond to each other with cross-links and new posts. As I wrote in a comment to her post:
You’re not looking in the right places.

Feminism is partly being subsumed into intersectionality (rightly, in my opinion). Does a black woman suffer more from racism or sexism? The answer is, why are we even asking this question? We have to address both! Likewise gender expression and sexuality bias. And where I see this is not on traditional blogs that converse by alternating posts and cross-links, it’s on tumblr and Dreamwidth and Twitter, and it’s often in the comment sections of those places. It’s in articles about the lack of representation of racial, sexual, gender minorities in popular culture (like movies and comic books) and about reactionary anger of people-with-privilege when oppressive behaviors are called out and punished (like creepers at atheist conferences and science fiction conventions). It’s in online conversations spread across a multitude of platforms about how the old (mostly white male) guard counter-attacks when their sexist, racist, we-were-here-first-and-we’ve-always-done-it-like-this words and behaviors get them tossed out of their professional organizations (like the Science Fiction Writers of America). It’s a head-on conflict between the way things used to be (and since I had a good time impliedly they should stay that way) and the way the rest of us want things to be in the future (which means you can’t keep doing that just because you used to get away with it). And it’s a vibrant, loud, excoriating verbal battle everywhere I look.

It’s women actors speaking directly to the camera about how few good roles there are for women. It’s male authors dressing up and posing the way women are portrayed in comic books to show how absurd it is. It’s John Scalzi talking about “white male” as playing a game on the easiest setting. It’s women writers across the ‘net opening up about the rape and death threats they get, and sometimes it’s even a major forum (The Comic Book Resources Forum) closing itself and reforming because of the threatening writing posted by some of its participants, or a convention banning somebody because they touched a cosplayer without consent.

Feminism is out there and in here, at least in my life.
And then I tried to post some links, but I think that comment is stuck in moderation. Some of the places I read about feminism, intersectionality, racism, fat activism, and kyriarchy are:

Karnythia: Twitter, Tumblr, and Dreamwidth.

K. Tempest Bradford: Twitter and Tumblr.

Jim Hines, who is one of the people who dressed up and posed as book cover and comic book women to show the absurdity, and also generally posts on inclusivity.

John Scalzi's post on how being a straight white male is like playing a game on the easiest setting.

And then I asked some friends for additional links, which I am adding here with their permission. Some of these are personal blogs that only sometimes discuss feminism, being differently-abled, being fat, racism, sexism, etc. while others have one or more specific focus.

If you think feminism has lost its way, do more research. I hope this can be a resource for you.