Blog Review: My Ecdysis

September 19, 2009

My Ecdysis is a somewhat rarely updated blog, but the posts are worth the wait. Lisa, the writer, has been blogging for three years, and she’s grown and shifted through those years in really interesting ways. For me, one of the best qualities of Lisa’s blogging is the way she doesn’t just talk about the ways our personal lives have larger political and social meaning—in fact, she rarely explicitly mentions it. Instead, she talks about her life, the the radical nature of that is just taken for granted.

Lisa gets major credit for introducing the word “kyriarchy” to a broader audience of feminist bloggers. If it hadn’t been for her popularization of this concept, which came out of an obscure theologian (as a theologian, I can tell you that hardly anyone pays attention to theologians except other theologians), a lot of really important discussions would never have happened in the feminist blogosphere. Her blog also gives a particularly subtle and interesting take on spirituality and feminism, a subject close to my own heart. Her contributions on that subject are well worth pondering.

Overall, My Ecdysis is definitely worth checking out.

A few great posts at My Ecdysis:
My Nicaraguan Father: Reflections on Feminism, Letters, and Digital Media
No Country for Men and Fathers?
No Person is “Born to Rape”

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Blog Review: Shakesville

August 30, 2009

Shakesville is the biggest of the feminist blogs. It’s kind of the Daily Kos of the feminist blogosphere (If the Daily Kos weren’t full of sanctimonious dudebros who can’t grasp the concept of identity-based oppression).

Shakesville, which started out as the individual blog of Melissa McEwan but has expanded to include a whole posse of writers, has somehow managed to avoid any major feminist deathmatches in its five years of existence. Sure, there are disagreements and whatnot, but no explosions that leave feminist intestines strewn about the blogosphere. If you know anything about feminists and/or bloggers, you know that this is one hell of an achievement.

Part of the reason for Shakesville’s success in this department is a heavy comment moderation hand and a clear and consistently articulated commitment to not having any oppressive bullshit in that space. I like being able to visit the space trusting that if someone says something hurtful, it’ll be taken seriously and dealt with. And over time, a lot of people have found a community at Shakesville because of that same trust.

The Shakesville crew also shows a general lack of interest in tearing down those who disagree with them. To be sure, if someone goes into that space throwing around slurs or oppressive tropes, they’ll get their ass handed to them. But debate between people with a shared commitment to ending oppression is just fine. Case in point: even though Melissa supported Clinton during the 2008 primaries, unlike some others on both sides, she maintained respect for those who disagreed with her. She never said that Obama supporters were brainwashed robots, or started in with the Oppression Olympics. As an Obama supporter, I still felt comfortable checking out Shakesville. There is room for respectful disagreement there.

As for content, Shakesville is basically an all-purpose progressive website that includes feminism in its vision of progressivism (unlike sites like Kos, HuffPo, TPM, etc., where so-called “women’s issues” are relegated to the occasional brief mention). General news and politics are discussed, along with commentary on various expressions of misogyny, racism, heterosexism, ableism, and fat hate. Shakesville also facilitates a community of commenters with regular open threads (in fact, the community has developed to the point where it has a culture all its own), and bubble gum intertubes entertainment like random pictures of cute cats grace the page daily.

Shakesville has an excellent set of 101 posts, which answer common annoying anti-feminist memes. I regularly direct people to it, and it saves me hours of tedium.

Since Shakesville is updated quite regularly, it’s my go-to website for procrastination and relief from work-related boredom. Overall, I highly recommend checking it out!

A few Shakesville classics:
Feminism 101: “Feminists Look for Stuff to Get Mad About”
Feminism 101: “Sexism is a Matter of Opinion”
The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck

Brownfemipower, the force behind Flip Flopping Joy, is, quite simply, totally fuckin’ rad.

Jess, another blogger who sometimes posts there, is also totally fuckin’ rad.

Together, they have created a blog that is… totally fuckin’ rad.

Of all of the many bloggers I can think of, brownfemipower and Jess probably have the most thorough and integrated understanding of intersectionality that I’ve seen. Much better than mine! They write with an understanding not only of the complex connections between oppressions and the ways that those with different identities experience oppressions differently, but with the ways our day-to-day lives are deeply influenced by systemic oppression, and the revolutionary nature of things like healing, community building, and art.

They’re also both real live activists who do real live stuff that helps real live people. I always trust the liberation theory developed by such people about 250% more than I do the stuff done by academics or armchair activists.

Flip Flopping Joy is a daily read for me, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you, too.

A few of my favorite FFJ posts:
Messy but Necessary
I Am Learning To Respect
“Radical Love”: What Is That?

Blog Review: The Curvature

August 22, 2009

I am consistently impressed by the writing of Cara at The Curvature (Cara also writes for Feministe—one of the “big blogs” of feminism). Her writing is clear, her arguments are strong, and she frequently catches important news stories that go ignored by commentators in the mainstream media.

The Curvature usually focuses on current events and feminist news, with an occasional indulgence of Cara’s obsession with The Beatles. Cara is a particularly strong advocate on issues of sexual violence, and her posts on the topic are usually excellent.

Recently, Cara and some other feminist bloggers were called out on work that marginalized transgendered people. In my opinion, Cara responded well. She addressed the problem without defensiveness, and I believe that her actions on the follow up have shown a real commitment to challenge her own privilege as a cis woman. Of course, everyone will need to decide for themselves how they feel about all this. For my part, I believe that she is making an honest and demonstrable effort to do better.

Some good posts from The Curvature:
What Does It Take?
Cis Supremacy: Feminism and Women’s Shelters
A Quick Note on Misogynistic Beauty Standards