Miscellaneous

The fabulous future of feminism and social media

By: Ronak Ghorbani

As part of my final-year online journalism project on feminism and social media, I live-streamed the event and took the chance to ask the panel about their views of feminist blogs. Here is a brief transcript of their answers but if you would like to hear it for yourself, fast forward the video to 01:07:03

Inspired by Tyra Banks and Maury-like talk shows, on March 11, Jessica Yee, a First Nations rights activist/feminist hosted, “The Fabulous Future of Feminism” at Ryerson University with a panel of community-feminist workers. Members of the Miss G_ Project(which is working on getting women’s and gender studies into Ontario high schools) and the YWCA Girls’s Council were part of the panel.

Ronak:

In light of my research about social media and feminism I’m going to take this chance to ask the panelists: I just want to know what are your opinions about feminist blogs? Do you read them are they inclusive enough?

Jessica Yee (Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network):

I think that blogging is problematic because I still think that it only speaks to one audience, the same audience. But the good thing about blogging I think not a lot of people talk about is that often people who read blogs or write blogs are people who do have privilege to do something. I know that the stuff I’m writing about particularly in my community people may in my own community may not read it ever. But if ppl who are reading are those who have the power and the privilege to do something about it and also are, they can decide if they are going to do I think that’s a huge benefit to it.

I started blogging and writing, I’ve never taken a writer’s course in my life, I started writing because I felt like there was always a third party reporting about the issues I cared about, not within the community. So I said I better start writing. It was more like ranting and people were like “oh I’ll publish it.”

(Jessica currently blogs for Racalicious and has for Shameless and is a columnist for rabble.ca)

Janice (The YWCA Girls’ Council):

I personally don’t blog and I don’t Tweet.

Jessica Yee (Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network):

You can still be an amazing feminist though.

Janice (The YWCA Girls’ Council):

No doubt you definitely can be an amazing feminist but in terms of Ronak’s question I don’t blog or tweet about feminist issues but I think that a better way to get your word out…I do volunteering with youth and one-on-one interaction and I think that’s a more productive way to get our messages out there by working one-on-one with communities more than a certain amount of people who have privilege who have access to the internet.

Jessica Yee (Executive Director of the Native Youth Sexual Health Network):

I also blog for myself but if I feel like if I’ve done more blogging or more performing at conferences – I say performing because sometimes that’s what it feels like – than I have physically been in a community with the people I say I am from and represent, I do check myself because I feel like I’m wrecking myself. I feel like an entire week I’ve spent indoors talking to people, not being in communities I don’t think that makes me the feminist I want to be. And I will make sure that I am in a community just as much or the next week, spend a whole week in a community.
The things I blog about or Facebook about are public things. I don’t Facebook or blog or post things that are going on in the community because I don’t have their permission and it’s confidential. Often times I will say I’m xyz but I don’t say what’s going on because there is also that issue: sure you can blog about it but does everyone in that community want their business on the street? By business on the street I mean just got back from northern Labrador last Friday, just across the street from Greenland, and ain’t nobody reading the blog there.

Sheetal Rawal (Miss G_ Project):

About five years ago right before we started the Miss G_ Project I was coming into a new feminist consciousness and I remember Googling the word feminist and I remember Feministing came up, so I started reading it. Back then it was really good for me. At the time it got a lot of ideas going and helped me feel oh there are other people like me out there, I don’t read it as much anymore…Yes they were important to me at a time and no I’m not so into blogs right now.

Laurel Mitchell (Miss G_ Project):

I think there’s definitely a mode of importance of blogs to open up certain discussions…They are reaching a similar audience traditional media is reaching but at the same time it’s a lot more accessible in terms of who’s writing it – there’s a lot more people writing. It is a little bit easier getting your voice out there on a blog. Obviously there are certain privileges and barriers in whose blog gets a million hits a day and whose blog nobody reads.

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