There is a guestpost up at Professor What If that I feel the need to respond to. I feel the need to respond, and to respond here at Radical Doula at not at Feministing (where most of my blogging has been going lately) because of the nature of the conversation the post has invoked.
The post is called What if the feminist blogosphere is a form of digital colonialism?
You should read it, but it touches on some of the politics of blogging, “big time” blogs vs smaller blogs, WOC bloggers vs. white bloggers. Tokenism and power.
As a Latin@ blogger who started writing for this “small time” (what is the definition of that anyway?) blog and then joined a “big time” (again, where is the line?) blog as a contributor about a year ago, I felt like Van Deven and Shoot were talking about me.
There is A LOT running through my head right now. I’m annoyed, I’m frustrated, I’m tired of having to expend energy responding to intra-feminist blog wars and cat fights.
I already feel the pull between writing for this blog, which I love and miss when I don’t have time to write as much, writing for a larger blog with a bigger reach (more impact?) and yes, more benefits to my own life as a writer/activist, and the other myriad of things I do to make money to support my passions, many of which don’t pay.
I’m not going to lie. I love that I have a platform at a blog that has built up a readership over the last 5 years. As much as I sometimes hate having to deal with commenters at Feministing, I like that I get to talk about the world from my own queer, Latin@ perspective, to many people who would never hear it otherwise. And they need to hear this shit. Seriously.
How would the first 21 years of my life been different if I had had someone like me to look up to? What if Ellen DeGeneres hadn’t been the only dyke I knew of? What if I had been able to read the thoughts of someone like myself, about gender, sex, race, politics, life? Maybe my teenage/college years wouldn’t have been so damn isolating. And you know what? I never would have found a blog like radical doula. We need these ideas and perspectives in mainstream (and I say that with a bit of perspective, since no feminist blog is really mainstream yet) places, so that people like the 16 year old version of myself might see themselves reflected somewhere.
Shark Fu pretty much hit the nail on the head in terms of how offensive the tone and implications of that post are. I can’t be bought. I can be offered an opportunity, a larger microphone, a new platform. I can say no, I can set my own terms, I can choose to preserve the spaces that are mine and mine alone at the same time as a I contribute elsewhere.
You want to talk about tokenism?
Let’s talk about tokenism. Let’s talk about how it happens everywhere and everyday. Let’s talk about how it’s the flip-side of oppression. Let’s talk about how it makes me question every award I receive, every job I get, every person who emails me, every opportunity I’ve ever had. Let’s talk about how often I make a joke out of my own presence to call attention to the hidden thought in the room before someone else does. Let’s talk about how it makes me feel like I can only talk about a certain set of issues, that I have to be the one and only representative of an entire community. Let’s talk about how I don’t need to be publically reminded of something I think about every day.
But do me a favor. Let’s put this shit in context. The feminist blogosphere isn’t the only place that tokenism happens. And it’s probably not the first place we need to be fighting it. Not that you asked, but my role in the big feminist blog I write for is pretty damn much my own. No one tells me what to write about, how to write, who to write for. I make all those decisions, just like I decided to join that platform as just one part of the activism I do everyday.