BlogHer Day Two: Feminism BOF

Jan Marie, Edelman. Strategy, new media.
Logan Levkoff – Sexologist – Myspace campaign to get young women to talk about sexuality. Give a voice to women, empowered to speak.
Brittney – feminist videoblogs, Hollaback Boston
Suzanne – facilitator of online communities. One day saw something about waxing or shaving, an ad on the subway. Started CUSS, Campaign for Unshaved Snatch and
other rants
. Feminist things that bother me. Personal stories, random things. I’m the contributing editor for Feminism and gender at the BlogHer website.

Melinda: One of them! (laughs)

Suzanne. Right, co-editor – whoops!

Skye: From Austin TX, personal blog, group blog about tx politics. Also one on feminist and anti-racist analysis of action movies!

Carrie – Lonestar – Also blog for href=>Texas NOW. Goal to get younger women invovled in grass roots activism. This is my first blog event.

Amy Anderson . Sheri and I blog at mamazine…. literary webzine for mothers. We’re 35, we came of age asfeminists, very pro-choice. We got married, had kids, we still feel the same but we look like we have minivans, etc sometimes it felt as if the world was closing in. We
want our external world to match up with our feminist selves.

Sheri – it’s important to talk about motherhood and pregnancy – goal is to get that out there on mamazine.

Candace – [This breaks my browser in Firefox b/c of Flash - Liz] Went back to school, women’s studies, single mom. Feminist action groups, Actiongirls in Toronto – I help them with technology.

Melinda, Personal blog: Sour Duck. Also one of the Contributing Editors for Feminism & Gender for the BlogHer website. Hoping to talk about 2 things in the feminist blogosphere recently: the schism
between the women of color and white feminists. And the recent so-called “blowjob wars”, which were a joke, because they got a lot of coverage and were used by anti-feminists to make feminism look
ridiculous. We’ve got a white group here, correct me if I’m wrong (looking around at group)…

I don’t know if others want to discuss anything else but I thought I’d put that out there.

Ayse – Arse Poetica. Personal blog. Rants on politics.

Jan Marie says there weren’t many sisters [of color] in the early feminist movement… she’s from (somewhere in Africa) and considers herself half black… freckles count.

[Okay: a big editorial WTF. Can I just say right here that I consider Jan Marie's statements to be incredibly messed up. She is wrong about feminist history and women of color, number one. And I strongly object to her calling herself half black because she lived in Africa and has freckles. Freckles. You heard me. It was truly embarrassing. So, one thing I came out of this discussion with, is the question of why I didn't say anything directly, right then. I had no idea how to explain why it is so wrong. That is something I need to practice. I did not want to be rude to Jan Marie, but I would rather be rude to Jan Marie than to be rude to every black woman not in the room, which is the effect of silence. - Liz ]

Liz – We could use chronology of what’s getting talked about in the feminist blogospheres. Anyway, crucial to make sure your info feed is not all white. Start out with reading some LJ ap_racism, sex_and_race. Add people of color to your blogroll. [Try Black Bloggin as a starting point.] Read.

Mamazine – most of our submissions are from white middle class women… the ones we want to hear from [don't send stuff].

Someone else – Avoiding condecension. but, what about the digital divide. Videoblogging empowering. But if you’re struggling to survive… how are you going to be concerned with videoblogging.

Someone else – Not that we’re assuming all people of color are poor, here.

Liz – one thing people said on ap_racism – find an organization run by people of color and find out what help you can provide and not making a lot of noise about it. That is a good way to be an ally.

Carrie – my role was to sit my white ass down and listen. I’m trying to get around the problem of speaking for others. Asking if it’s okay to share personal stories. I do have access to all this privilege,
what I can do is use that access to share what I’ve learned in organizing spaces.

Skye – yeah I made an effort last year after Blogher when i realized everybody on my blogroll was white… and so i tried to make my reading habits more diverse. What I’ve noticed, a lot of times I have
to just shut up. Read the piece, think about it, sit with it, not necessary respond right away. I notice I don’t blog it as much as other things, it’s difficult for me. I don’t spend as much time
blogging about articles I read at blackademic that make me really think, it’s just harder, i’m still thinking through it. Doing the links doing the increased visibility. Hmmm.

Carrie – I did the same thing, with my LJ and rss feed, etc. and i honestly think it will help. and my readers who are mostly my same demographic so “it’s just the default for us so we dont’ have to think
about it. so we have to make an effort to think about it.” whack that consciousness into some white people, pay attention to some people who aren’t just like you. That is something to take away from this…

Melinda: blow job wars. It exposes feminism to ridicule.

Someone: Women of color just being like “why are you wasting your time talking about this?”

Carrie: Mad about blow job wars. Denigrating for someone to judge my loving relationship with my sweet feminist boy… in my bedroom! It’s personally hurtful.

Liz: Twisty was pushing it to an extreme… [Liz becomes a twisty faster apologist] It’s actually important to talk about. People’s extreme defensive reactions show there’s something interesting going on that we need to talk about. A hard conversation. It does get personal. Andrea Dworkin… [Monique Wittig]… issues of sex when there is huge power inequality. Hard to look at that. But productive. Sit with it, try not to be defensive personally and do the political analysis

Logan: When I talk with teenage girls, they’re all giving blow jobs but it’s not reciprocal and they don’t masturbate, they think that masturbating is disgusting. That’s just wrong. The culture of it *is*
about subservience, and service to men. This girl said to me, I have a lot of control and power when I’m giving a blow job. This particular 16 year old girl had no power and control in her actual
life situation. . .

Jan Marie: The girls, from the waist down, it’s like they don’t exist.

Suzanne: Men… do they wax their balls? prettified, de-smelled, whatever.

Carrie: Producing the Vagina Monologue for V-day. It starts the conversation.

Jan Marie: What is feminism?

Liz: Well, feminisms, trend is to talk a bunch about how there are different kinds of feminisms…

- More on the digital divide

- [I think I said something about the importance of learning how to stop men from hijacking discussions]
[There was lots more but I stopped taking notes]

[I was especially happy to meet Carrie and Skye from Texas. And I'm a big admirer of Hollaback.... Wow! I think it's a great thing. Later in the pool I talked more with Candace about Actiongirls Toronto and
was telling her about Sarah Dyer's comic book "Action Girl". . . she was super interesting to talk with... and I also thought Logan's research/activism in Myspace sounded great. ]

[We didn't go super deep in this discussion but we started a few threads going. And we also mentioned at some point how it was important just that we all see each other in the same room, i.e. being aware that we were all interested in identifying ourselves as feminists. For future conversations.]

[I wished for a whiteboard (as I did so often in the entire Blogher conference) so we could put up brainstormed points for discussion, which I think is crucial. The introduce-around is also good but doesn't pull out diverse entry points to conversation.]

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3 Responses to “BlogHer Day Two: Feminism BOF”

  1. e

    badg, when i was teaching art camp this summer i carried around in my pack a litle 9X12 whiteboard with a dryerase pen clipped onto it that i bought at office despot for about 5bucks. it’s small, but for a group of 12-15, it was just the thing for putting up points like “palimpsest” and stuff.

  2. katia

    Good to see this discussion. Thanks.

  3. Candace

    Hi Liz,
    Thanks for posting this – I was trying to find some of the blogs written by the women at this session.
    As a freckled person I agree with you that freckles hardly make one a person of colour! I also regret not saying something at the time.
    btw, my blog is “fem”ilicious, not “mama” – no flash on my site!

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