Feminism on the Internet

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I chose “Feminism on the Internet” as my subject of study this semester after realizing how prevalent the ‘internet’ and ‘feminism’ are in my life, but simultaneously, I rarely read, address or participate in them together.

This week I assigned myself two articles, “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars” by Michelle Goldberg and ““Welcome to the Feminist Cult”: Building a Feminist Community of Practice on Tumblr” by Sarah M. Connelly which discussed feminism on Twitter and feminism on Tumblr, respectively. In “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars,” Goldberg addresses and discusses the harsh realities of conversations between feminists on Twitter and how the majority of the conversation consists of calling out others for ideological offenses. In “”Welcome to the Feminist Cult’: Building a Feminist Community of Practice on Tumblr” Connelly speaks on Tumblr’s positive feminist community: how support, understanding and education are at the forefront.

Before I get into the meat of my post, I want to say that there was a point in Goldberg’s article where her text resonated with me,

“Katherine Cross, a Puerto Rican trans woman working on a PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center, wrote about how often she hesitates to publish articles or blog posts out of fear of inadvertently stepping on an ideological land mind and bringing down the wrath of the online enforcers.”

After I read this I realized exactly why I had never participated in any online feminist discussions: I was afraid. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing – I didn’t want my uneducated ignorance to offend anyone, because I am still learning, growing, changing in many ways and especially as a feminist. So, that is exactly why I am keeping this blog.

Feminism by definition is “The doctrine advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men” and that’s what being a feminist is, being apart of a group that believes and advocates that. The community of feminists are women and men who believe this while accepting, supporting and educating each other. It’s simple, but yet complicated when you bring in different personalities and ideologies, but on the basis, it’s straightforward.

“Online, however, intersectionality is overwhelmingly about chastisement and rooting out individual sin…this comes from academic feminism, steeped as it is in a postmodern culture of critique that emphasizes the power relations embedded in language…An elaborate series of norms and rules has evolved out of that belief, generally unknown to the uninitiated, who are nevertheless hammered if they unwittingly violate them. Often these rules began as useful insights into the way rhetorical power works but, says Cross, “have metamorphosed into something much more rigid and inflexible”” (Goldberg).

These rigid, unbending rules keep people, like myself, from growing and learning and discussing things that need to be discussed, need to be talked about, from all parties. My hope for this blog is to have an educated conversation, where I am consistently growing.

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