The feminist blogosphere has become as much a space for social activism and encouraging change as it has for people to air their opinions and comments without fear of consequence. Though online feminism has been instrumental in bringing important issues to light, others worry that it has become exclusive to a fault, leaving out some individuals and groups that want in on the conversation.
Recently, many opinions on the possible shortcomings of feminist media in general have again been highlighted. There have been rumblings, some below the surface and some outspoken, indicating that there is a dearth of inclusivity among the main players of online feminism.
We wanted to dig deeper into the issues of online media, elitism and the exclusivity of feminism, so we called up a group of women that we think broadly represent a swath of different perspectives.
Check out these smart opinions.
Erinn Furey, a queer activist, social worker and a former American Idol contestant, spoke out about her concerns that online feminism isn't doing enough to encourage women to identify as feminists.
"I come from the perspective of a queer woman and queer professional, but also as a woman that works with queer individuals and young people and their families. When I see feminism have increased popularity via the Internet, and specifically I'm talking about stuff that is shared on social media sites, not just blogs, it feels like something that doesn't include not only queer women, but women that don't automatically identify as feminists. A lot of Internet feminism seems to suggest: If you are not thinking about what we are thinking about, or how we are thinking, then we are not interested in having you as a part of the conversation.
"I feel like a lot of internet feminism is leaving some women out of the conversation because Internet feminism is thinking about what Internet feminism wants, and not necessarily what is best for women as a whole. And, of course, if you're marginalized, you're going to fall through those cracks even more.
"It's interesting that Internet feminism forgets about women who are not identifying as feminists. So, that Victoria's Secret model featured on Jezebel -- we all know that she is part of a larger conglomerate and that people have to earn their living in various ways. I think that even with figures like Farrah Abraham, too, people were like: 'How dare you defend the choices that she has made?' or 'How dare she make a living off of something that feeds into beauty standards?' I think that is the opposite of feminism. I think those were good chances to take women who don't identify as feminists and say: 'Hey! You can be part of the movement, too.'"
Alex Berg, a producer from HuffPost Live, added to the concern over queer representation in online feminism.
"For me, when we talk about online feminism, I think it's really interesting because it sort of marginalizes a lot of women, like women of color and queer women. I also think it excludes women who are not in a particular social class as well. The way that I portray online feminism is that there is a very rich blogosphere and Twitter community of marginalized feminists, and I try to engage with that community, but I find that as a queer woman the way that I experience the challenges that feminism tries to address is really different from a the way a straight woman might experience feminism.
"I also think it's interesting that in the workplace, feminism worries about how you will be treated because you are feminine. For me, I not only worry that I will be treated differently because I'm a woman, but because people are going to make assumptions about my sexual orientation. I'm treated differently because in over 30 states, I could be fired potentially, if someone disagrees with my sexual orientation. There are a number of institutions that mainstream feminism doesn't address."
Brittney Cooper, the co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective (blogger name: "Crunktastic") thinks that online feminism has made great strides for the modern-day women's movement, but that there is still work to be done in terms of inclusivity.
"I think online feminism is an experiment in what democracy looks like. There are many more voices at the table now, which means that there are new people defining the rules. Many of those people are women of color. While online feminism is a tough space for sure, it is no tougher or any more judgmental towards women, or their bodies, than what it means to move through the world on the regular.
"But because feminism, online feminism included, is a human project, it is full of people with traumas and issues and less than productive ways of engaging. Feminist space is not utopian. Injustices and exclusions happen there everyday. Still, when I think of online feminism, I think it has made space for many more voices than it has excluded. At Crunk Feminist Collective, we would call this cacophony of voices, "productive dissonance," and "percussive feminism." It's loud and noisy, but it makes you think and it makes you move. And that is something to celebrate."
Ashley Love is a journalist and a transexual media advocate.
"Both feminist and LGB online news sources often lack balanced and fair journalism when covering transsexual and transgender issues, even excluding, belittling and misrepresenting voices of trans women. The 'tra**y slur controversy' was primarily covered by gay male journalists who censored the feminist element out of the debate. The 'Hollywood trans-face' pattern of male actors mocking and misgendering trans women's lives is underreported or apologized for in LGB and mainstream feminist media. True feminism is not just giving voice to privileged women, but to all women, nor is LGB media outlets (mis)speaking for transsexual women or suppressing their dissent considered genuine ally behavior."
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