Letter from the editor: BLOGGING OUR WAY TO A FEMINIST UTOPIAWritten by Caitlin Logan
As the new volunteer Blog Editor for The Young Women’s Movement, I wanted to write something about why I feel there is powerful potential in the online feminist space offered by this blog and the awesome network of bloggers with whom we’re working. (Remember, you could be one of them. Please be one of them!)
As a teenager I was always more interested in politics than my peers, and I took a strange sort of pride in being the odd one out in a somewhat conservative environment. I was moved by the violence of an illegal war, the stripping back of freedoms and privacy in the name of security, and the entrenched socio-economic inequality which I recognised both at home and on a global scale. These were issues which were exposed to me, viewpoints which were offered to me; by family, teachers, news coverage, the internet, and, vitally, music, which protested loudly and often during the Blair/Bush years.
I always had a feminist ‘impulse’– I couldn’t stop talking to people about Hillary Clinton in 2008- but, honestly, I don’t remember thinking deeply about feminism until I went to university later that year. My school education on gender equality extended little farther than equal pay, workplace harassment, and, of course, women’s suffrage. These seemed cold and distant facts, presented almost as finished business- we have laws for these things now. As far as I recall, we were not invited to examine the gender stereotypes and dynamics that existed in our own time and place.
From my first university classes in English, sociology, and to a lesser extent, politics (shout out to my fourth year Feminism and Politics class!), I was introduced to ways of thinking and speaking about gender and inequalities which have now become second nature to me. I count myself lucky that I had an education which led me at times to wonder with amusement how certain ‘types’ in our society would react if they sat in on our classes— we were positively indoctrinated into leftie, feminist ideology.
Of course, it’s not only the nature of my education which evidences my good fortune. The very fact that I had access to higher education was a privilege, even in Scotland where we have our tuition fees paid. It would be the worst kind of irony if the people who stand to gain the most from feminist politics were denied access to opportunities to discover it.
That’s why I have a huge appreciation for the other sources of learning which have been available to me, and which are more widely accessible. Around the same time that I began my formal education in How to Be Annoyed by Everything (or, How to Make Everything Better!), I also found my way onto Tumblr. Now, Tumblr gets a bad rap, mostly for being a place where people who say silly things on Twitter get to say the same things, but longer.
Eventually I did have to take a step back from it, but there was a lot to be said for Tumblr as a place where a diverse range of people could share knowledge. From the anecdotal to the academic, bloggers shared their experiences and understandings of sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, ableism… You name it, Tumblr had it covered, and it had a lasting impact on my awareness of those issues.
Tumblr is just one place among many in the great expanse of the internet where people can and do come together on a daily basis to talk and learn from each other. This can be more than a pastime or even a source of education; it can serve as the creation of a collective, an opportunity to share personal experience and be vindicated by the knowledge that this really is part of a bigger picture. “Yep, you’re not imagining it, mansplaining is definitely a thing.”
That sharing, learning, growing, and finding a unified and disparate voice all at once is a powerful, difficult, and necessary part of any movement for change. Without putting undue or unachievable weight on The Young Women’s Movement’s blog, my hope would be for the blog to offer that kind of space, within which a diversity of experience can be seen and heard.
There are many things about feminism- those which impact on me personally and those which don’t- which I wish I had learned sooner. I’m grateful to have had formal and informal opportunities to learn some of those since I first set off to leave home in mourning for HRC’s lost presidential bid, and I hope that together we can learn many more.
To submit a blog or find out more about getting involved in the Feminist Blogging Network, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Images courtesy of Caitlin Logan and Alan.
Caitlin Logan is our Volunteer Blog Editor. She studied English and Politics at university, followed by a Masters in Equality and Human Rights. Fast forward a few short years later, and she is about to embark on a new career in her dream job as a journalist. She loves writing, reading, Netflix binges, and roller skating- because she has to do something that sounds like a real hobby, and walking is boring anyway.