Feminism in the blogosphere
Last week, Newsweek ran an article titled From Barricades to Blogs, asking about the state of feminism in the 21st century. The article treads familiar (to my mind, tired) ground, questioning whether young women are taking up the torch of feminism, or whether they (we) are letting the flame die.
What interested me about the article was that the main proof younger women pointed to in defense of their feminist commitment is the blogosphere and the rich feminist conversation and community found there. They pointed out that what happens on blogs isn’t only virtual, but gets people out onto the street, too – to rallies, protests, and in support of clinics, for example.
The writer of the article is clearly skeptical. She quotes older feminists who argue that “a blog is not the same thing as a unified social movement” and she concludes the article by saying, “But even if blogging can translate into real-world activism, will it be enough to hold a movement together?”
I’m not sure what I think about this. I find the feminist blogosphere energizing – it’s amazing to see the high quality and quantity of feminist output on the web these days (check out our blog roll to the right to see some examples). But I also appreciate the emotional resonance of “traditional” arenas for collective action. The experience of standing at a demonstration with a million other people is powerful in a way that reading my favorite feminist blogs is not. (Though I do realize that for people who can’t get to the sites of major rallies and for whom feminist community is generally lacking, being able to find like-minded people online is revolutionary.)
Maybe the answer is that both are necessary. Or that my transition from the old to new paradigm for feminist activism is not yet complete. What do you think, readers? Is the blogosphere where feminism fires are burning these days?