Cross-posted @ The Pursuit of Harpyness.
I’m sending y’all on over to Feministe to read a post that Jill published this morning on the dynamics of “calling out” the “big feminist blogs” for being less-than-perfect on the issues you care about.
[In some ways,] online feminism is worse for wear. Part of that is what Florence is talking about above — blogs, and especially the “big blogs,” are perceived as institutions rather than collectives of people writing about something they’re interested in when they have time, in order to facilitate a conversation among like-minded people. With the perception of institutionalization comes expectations — that a blog will not only cover about what you think it should cover, but will also cover it in the way you think is most appropriate, using the words you think are the best. Which isn’t totally unfair, but which segues from potentially productive into poisonous when the method of conveying those expectations is Calling Out.
I’m as guilty as anyone else when it comes to partaking in feminist Call-Out Culture. Calling Out, I think, is part of any activist’s growing pains. We all want to do right. We all feel like we’re doing more right than some other people who we perceive as having more power (or influence or airtime) than we have. We all want to be a good _____: feminist, ally, woman, activist. Part of that, if you love an idea (and I think most of us do love the idea of feminism, even if we don’t always love how it plays out in real life), is saying something when you see someone else Doing It Wrong. There should be space for that. We should keep each other in check; we should all want to be better.
But in the feminist blogosphere, “calling out” has increasingly turned into cannibalism. It’s increasingly turned into a stand-in for actual activism. We have increasingly focused on shutting down voices rather than raising each other up. Pointing at the gap has replaced doing the hard, often thankless work of filling it.
I mean it: go read the whole thing.
I predicted correctly when I figured out “Yep, that's gonna self cannibalize in 50 comments.”
A lot of call-out culture is why I get so stuck on doing reviews for FoDW: I get so caught up in the Tumblr Social Justice sphere, picking apart every potentially problematic part of the book that might start an internet firestorm, that it's easier to just let it linger on the growing pile of to-be-revieweds.
Granted, if there was a firestorm on my blog I'd get more readers…:D