Today, I received an email from a reader who raised concerns about armchair philosophy and me not taking any action to further the cause of feminism. From the outset, I would like to say that I have since addressed the issues that this individual had and we have worked towards a resolution, so this is in no way an attack on this individual. I simply wanted to express my inspiration for this post.
The question I want to address is: is blogging an act of feminist activism?
Of course the blogging in question would have to be feminist in nature; not all blogging could be considered a form of feminist activism (just too at Antimisandry.com, more on this later). (Note: feminist in nature does not necessarily mean specifically about feminism, just with a feminist leaning.)
I think that there is a general conception that feminist activism is all about marches and "taking to the streets." In the 70s, that's what got people's attention. "Sisterhood" was strong and radical things needed to happen (not that radical things don't need to happen today). Today, in the third wave, we are all about individual freedom and choice (I know I am generalizing, which is usually not a good thing, but the purpose of this generalization is to show the difference in activism between the 70s and today).
Today, activism can take many forms. Activism, to me at least, is all about enacting change in any way that you can. This can be done through volunteering, participating in activist organizations, writing letters or otherwise contacting elected officials, companies with sexist practices, etc. with your concerns, and anything else that you think can make some sort of change. And yes, activism still involved protesting, but it is not the only part!
For me, part of feminism is making sure that everyone's voice is heard, especially the voices of people who are usually silenced by society. I see blogging as a great way for these voices to be heard. Anyone can start a blog, therefore anyone's voice can be heard.
Feminist blogs are a great addition to the conversation that is going on in the blogosphere (I must admit that I am a little biased, obviously). And because of this, the voices of the people who write feminist blogs (and comment on them) are being heard. While this may not seem like a lot, feminist blogs raise awareness about feminist issues, therefore are enacting a form of change. Raising awareness about feminist issues is an important part of activism and that is preciesly what feminist blogs do!
I do not want this post to seem like some form of excuse of a guilty conscious for not participating in other forms of activism. I started this blog as a compliment to other forms of activism. As the reader who emailed me correctly said:
any attemt to change must surely be active - it must involve a discourse between yourself and others, between culture and the individual, and through this active self sacrifice and imposition of a different 'narrative' the forms and connexions of power may shift in a way that you consider favourable.
Activism has to be active, has to be about conversation, and ultimately comes down to some form of self-sacrifice.
I see blogging as active because you are doing something about you personal beliefs in feminism rather than just sitting there wallowing in your anger over the state of the world. But if you are going to enact change, there has to be more than blogging. You have to partake in other forms of activism (as I talked about above) to enact change. This is not to say that feminist blogging is not adequate activism (because I would not completely negate all that I just said). Feminist blogging is just one aspect of feminist activism that is used to raise awareness of feminist issues and enact change. So to all the feminist bloggers out there: keep doing what you are doing and be proud of the change that you are enacting through raising awareness about these very serious and important issues!