Monday, February 23, 2009

More Blogging Drama

Well, I'm certainly not going to try to create it.

Having drinks with Karthika and Trend last night, as well as our buddy Scott from LGM, I noted an interesting pattern. The drama that's been blowing up the feminist blogosphere for the past week or so has not spilled over almost at all into the larger liberal blogosphere. (At least, in my highly unrepresentative sample of blog-nerds.)

This makes me wonder a few things. First of all, there are a few feminist blogs that are almost always blogrolled at the larger lib blogs--Feministing, Feministe, Pandagon and Bitch, Ph.D. Yeah, they're on our blogroll too, but I've tried to spread the wealth and include feminist bloggers of color, of diverse viewpoints and backgrounds. (Please do read our blogroll.)

But a lot of the drama that's happened in the last couple of weeks seems to devolve fairly quickly from an argument about ideas--you're not really going to make me link that Professor What If post again, are you?--into personality conflict. I'm just wondering what that says about the feminist blogosphere itself.

I decided recently, after having been blogging here for a while now, that I ought to be doing all my work over here. The personal is political and all that, right? Also, there are two competing tendencies I see among feminist blogs. One is to reach out, get bigger, engage, expand, write for external outlets, what have you. I don't see any problem with that--in fact, I do so myself.

The other tendency is to narrow one's focus and one's circle down, to shut out, to disengage. And I can sympathize with that feeling, too. Some days I don't want to explain why something is racist for the hundredth time, or try to argue that yes, this IS a feminist issue, or whatever.

But when I noticed that issues simply are not spreading past a small circle, it makes me wonder. Have we done this to ourselves? Why did I feel for a while that I couldn't or shouldn't post my sparklepony feminist defense of lipstick here at Alterdestiny? It certainly wasn't anything that Erik said to me or did.

It seems that every so often in the femisphere there's a similar sort of blowup. And we do it all over again. We talk about sex and sexuality, and a whole bunch of people feel qualified to pass judgment on a whole bunch of other people. We talk about race, and women of color get told who and what they are by a bunch of white women. (Bonus points there for the erasure of and condescension to transgender women--and men.) We talk about class, and the term "jealous" gets tossed around like it's an answer.

And meanwhile, the world goes on. And even in the larger left-leaning blogosphere, people who aren't intimately involved in the conflicts aren't even aware that they're occurring.

And I wonder why this all happens. Why we have the same circular arguments every few months, and nothing gets solved, and we splinter off into our little factions. Someone will declare that they're not calling themselves feminist anymore, and it makes me sad because I think feminism needs a bigger tent, not a smaller one. I think that we here at Alterdestiny ARE a feminist blog, as well as many other things, I think that you can't call yourself a progressive without embracing feminist principles (as well as anti-racist principles, and in general civil rights principles FOR ALL).

And I want solutions, not the same old conflicts. Yet I have none to offer for this. I don't know why this happens. I choose, at this point, not to get into these arguments on various comment threads, and I haven't really posted about any of this until now. I don't know what the solutions are. And once again I was tempted to post this at my own little space, but I don't think that's the answer. I don't think getting smaller is the answer.

I do know that while one side of the blogosphere was exploding, I was having fabulous conversations about books and music and movies, and most of all about politics and action, over here on this blog. With relatively little drama.

(Also, Shock Doctrine post later today. This sort of grew into a monster. Sorry.)