Blogging as a Feminist (Unpaid) Method

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Author extraordinaire Courtney E. Martin writes at The Nation (here) about the challenges of feminist blogging and online organizing:

Online feminism is operating at this critical political intersection: amplifying the voices of the unheard, mobilizing funding and energy towards the underserved, and publicizing legislation developments and actions to those who are more likely to be working in school libraries or ordinary office buildings than on Capitol Hill. It can be—and it already is—the conduit between those fully devoting themselves to professional feminism and those who care deeply and want to be engaged citizens, but don’t have the luxury of working within the movement. One veteran feminist, upon hearing about the kind of work Feministing has been doing exclaimed, “You are the NOW of now!” Yet we have nothing comparable in terms of resources. * * *

Here’s the bottom line: with support, feminist blogs and online advocacy organizations can develop the next generation of feminist leaders, rapidly mobilize readers to hold corporations accountable, put pressure on lawmakers and spur local coalition-building—at an unprecedented scale. But without a supported feminist web, we will continue to be primarily reactive, increasingly myopic, and elite (who else can afford to blog unpaid?).

The entrepreneurial way in which feminists have utilized the Internet has completely transformed the nature and reach of social justice organizing. For years, bloggers and online organizers were just testing the waters and seeing what worked. Now, the proof of concept phase has long past. It’s time to mature into the second stage—in which online feminism is funded, forward-thinking and just as fierce. It’s time for all of us—bloggers, organizers, philanthropists and business experts alike—to put our heads together and figure out how to create a robust, sustainable online space that can serve as the “women’s center in the sky” (as Gloria Steinem recently put it to me) for the next generation.

Read the full piece here.

The ones doing the serious, day-to-day work of online feminism — and here I’m referring to bloggers at Feministing, Racialicious, Tiger BeatDown, along with their lesser-known sisters and brothers — struggle to make ends meet.  Law professors, in contrast, have the twin luxuries of salaries and time.  We pay for hosting services out of our own pockets, but that’s not nearly the same financial burden for a law prof as it is for a struggling freelancer. So what can law profs do to support feminist blogging?  Offer material and professional support as possible to other feminist bloggers!  Start by reaching into the wallet (even if the donation is not tax deductible).  If you’ve got your own blog, be generous with links and cross-posts.  Small steps in the correct direction.

-Bridget Crawford

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