These Feminist Friday discussions are the coolest thing I have ever done on the Internet. We’ve written 23 posts on 8 blogs. I’ve lost count of the responses we’ve prompted. Some of these discussions ended up with comment threads of 50 or more. At least a couple of threads ended with more than 100. We’ve had discussions that started on Friday and didn’t end until Tuesday. Sabina’s post questioning the value of the Bechdel Test post was Freshly Pressed. Not bad at all for a project that started with three bloggers talking on a discussion thread at blog that was barely a month old. Rather than try and prompt a focused discussion this week, I’ll talk about what the success of this enterprise has meant to me and where I hope it goes from here.
Even though I am stepping away from the organized discussions for a while, I’m not going to stop talking about Feminism, nor sharing links about gender inequality. I encourage everyone to keep thinking, talking, and writing about these issues. When you blog about them, please share links with me. I curate links. A post you write in November or December could turn into something that generates a good discussion next year. Thank you, everyone for reading, commenting, and sharing these posts. I’m grateful, and I am convinced we can to do this again.
I am not one for false modesty. I’ll take all the credit that’s due to me for keeping these discussions going for the last seven months, but I deserve much less than half of it. Diana and Gretchen inspired and encouraged me to run with an idea and see what happened. Before I started talking about Feminism with them in December, it had never even occurred to me to write about this stuff. I’ve written fewer than half the posts, and none of the best ones. The other bloggers who have supported this project by writing their own posts, showing up week-in and week-out to comment, and sharing on their own social media are the ones who made it work.
All I’ve done here is start a conversation and do my best to keep it going. I wrote the first four posts, but if Gretchen and Natacha hadn’t contributed the fifth and sixth, I would not have written a another one and we wouldn’t be talking about starting these back up in 2015. And I’ve only written one of the last seven.
I’ve put a ton of work into organization and promotion, it’s true. It has been exhausting at times, and I’ve had to let some easier, more-fun blogging go to do it. The reason I did it is because so many other bloggers came along with me. And because I believe that talking about inequality is better than not talking about it, even when you are in no position to fix it. I’ve said this time and again over the last few months in private conversations and on threads:
Every conscious social change that ever happened started with a few people talking.
This is why I support hashtag campaigns despite the fact that a lot of people see them as armchair activism. And look what we’ve done in the last seven months. We haven’t started a movement, but we’re not just a few people talking any more. We’re a LOT of people talking. So all the effort on my part has been totally worth it, and I’ll keep doing it as long as other bloggers keep supporting it.
Starting these discussions back up is my highest priority. The reason I’m organizing other things like the A to Z Challenge and the next round of my Tolkien series right now is because that stuff has to be done to free up my time for this. Mine and Diana’s network, small as it is, has grown to the point that I’m not going to be able to manage it next spring unless I produce a lot of content over the next couple of months and streamline the organization. So that’s what I’m doing.
Once I am a little further along with the planning, I’ll have thoughts about things we can do to reach more people and do it more consistently. I will invite everyone to contribute to a discussion about how to proceed, and I’ll make decisions about my continued role in this project based on the feedback I get. Personally, my long-term goal is to figure out a way to set these up so they happen whether I promote them or not. Nothing would make me happier than finding, after a month-long absence from the blogosphere, that these discussions had been happening the entire time I was gone. I don’t know if that’s even possible, but I am thinking hard about it. In March I didn’t really believe it was possible to still be talking about this in October, but here we are. I am optimistic about 2015.
Thanks again for this awesome run of discussions. I’ve learned a lot about Feminism and gender inequality from them, and I’m a much better organizer for having done them. Keep in touch with me. If you want this to happen again in 2015, I will do everything in my power to make it so.
Everyone who has hosted a discussion gets a link today, not necessarily to Feminist posts. Just to whatever happens to be at the top of their pages. Check them out. Their interests and everyday blogging are extremely diverse. Some of them have worthy long-term projects of their own, and you won’t find a more friendly group of people anywhere in the blogosphere.
Gretchen – Drifting Through My Open Mind
Natacha – Science Fiction, Transmedia, and Fandom
Sabina – Victim to Charm
Hannah – Things Matter
Thank you, Rose Fischer, for all the time and attention you’ve given these discussions, and for the conversations we’ve had about how to do engagement with long-term blogging projects. You are truly an inspiration, and you have helped me become a better blogger.
And thanks, especially, Diana, for your faith and for your dogged persistence. No way I could have kept this up for the better part of a year without your support.