Many of you who read my blog don’t necessarily spend a lot of time in the “feminist blogosphere,” I know . . . so the heated, often polarized, conversations that have been happening in that virtual space over the last couple of weeks are possibly completely off your radar. But to me they have been important. They have encouraged me to be mindful about how I interact with others in virtual spaces — on this blog and in comment threads on other blogs. They have challenged me to think about how to be open to learning in a spirit of humility while also refusing to let others set the terms of my own participation in the world of feminist activism.
I’m still thinking about what all of these conversations mean to me in terms of this blog and in terms of my participation in online communities generally. And I don’t feel ready, quite yet, to offer my own composed thoughts on the subject. I thought, therefore, that I would round up a few posts that have spoken to me on the issue of interpersonal conversation and debate and share them with you:
Miriam Perez, at Radical Doula, writes about why she blogs and why she refuses to be bullied into silence in relation to this conversation about comment threads and transphobia at Feministing.
(For further background, you can see this earlier Feministing post for links).
Rachel, at the Feminist Agenda, muses about a dynamic I try to keep in mind when participating in the blogosphere, both as a way to check my own defensiveness and as a way of understanding others’.
On a related note, MK asks when is comment-thread engagement worth the fight?
Mandolin, over at Alas, a Blog, writes about disliking “competitive conversation.” As someone who likewise finds oppositional debate both exhausting and unproductive, I really appreciate the distinction she draws between collaborative discussion of divisive issues and debate that is polarized.
More to come (hopefully) as the semester winds down and I have more time to think about the nature of this particular virtual space in relation to activism, online communities, and my daily life.