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Eight writers for feminist publications gathered in Ticknor Lounge yesterday to discuss feminist activism in the blogosphere as part of Feminist Coming Out Day, a campaign started by Harvard’s queer and feminist student groups in 2010 to raise awareness about diversity among supporters of gender equality.
“After Feminist Coming Out Day last year, we asked, ‘Once you come out as a feminist, what do you do then?’ We provided a platform for people to speak about what feminism is, but we had no platform for further action,” said Abby P. Sun ’13, co-president of Feminist Coming Out Day and co-chair of the Radcliffe Union of Students.
Sun said the panel was designed to expose students to online outlets for feminist activism.
The discussion featured Chloe Angyal and Lori M. Adelman ’08 from Feministing.com, Julie Zeilinger from The F-Bomb, Cherie Hannouche from The Daily Femme, Andrea Plaid from Racialicious, Sady Doyle from Tiger Beatdown, Anna North from Jezebel, and Lena Chen ’10, creator of The Chicktionary.
“The idea among older feminists is that younger feminists aren’t doing anything or have given up goals of feminism,” said event organizer and moderator Samantha A. Meier ’12. “Our generation of feminists has a different set of tools and a different style of organizing than feminists in the 80s,”
Panelists highlighted the challenges inherent in the blogging medium, which include integrating the voices of men, queer women, and people of color into the mainstream blogging community and coping with inflammatory comments by readers.
Chen, a former board member of Queer Students and Allies, described her “feminist click moment” as a college sophomore when she started a blog about her sex life, which attracted a negative backlash.
“My junior year I decided that putting too much of my life online made me and people in my life vulnerable,” Chen said. “So I shut down that website and started Chicktionary, which still used my personal experience as a lens to inform my writing, but to a lesser degree.”
Racialicious blogger Andrea Plaid discussed how social media has been employed in feminist organizing projects. Recently, feminist groups mobilized to take down an anti-abortion billboard that read, “The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.”
Sady Doyle from Tiger Beatdown discussed her recent Twitter campaign to respond to the “victim-blaming” and “rape apologism” that she said has characterized Michael Moore’s dismissal of Julian Assange’s sexual assault allegations.
“Its important both to understand the limitations and the potential of Facebook and Twitter, and how social media can add to and complicate traditional activism,” Meier said. “This isn’t a dead movement.”
—Staff writer Nadia L. Farjood can be reached at email@example.com.
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