Friday, January 4, 2013

In Search of the Feminist Blogosphere

I keep reading references to the "Feminist Blogosphere" and I so want to go to that place. I imagine a small waterfall roiling in a deep, green pool beside big, flat rocks under a baking sun. The fragrance of flowers wafts over my face on a delicate breeze. The sound of women's laughter beckons me from around a bend in the river. Skinny dipping is encouraged.
South Yuba River waterfall from

The only problem is, there's no map, and I don't know where to find this place. I've been looking in various nooks and crannies, following a link here, a clue there, but I haven't yet stumbled upon the precise location.

I have a vague uneasiness that maybe the Feminist Blogosphere is hiding from me. Maybe it doesn't want me to visit because I'm too old, or not wearing the right clothes, or reading the right books, or using the right jargon.

One feminist blogger shut down her blog shortly after I discovered it. Was she running away from me? It seemed she beckoned me with one hand and held up the "halt" signal with another. Was I the victim of a practical joke? Of course not, but when you're searching for Paradise, you sometimes get delusional.

Then there was another blogger whose words really spoke to me, moved me. I commented on the first blog post I read. Then I commented on the second. I wanted to comment on the third--I wanted to take her in my arms and cradle her like a daughter, to try to soothe her pain--but I felt embarrassed. Was I intruding?  Overreaching? I didn't want to bring chocolate cake to the party when all that was wanted was a few dry chips.

Following blogs is new to me. It feels a little like following soap operas--viewing and caring about unfolding lives that I'm not really a part of: Sue got engaged! Tiffany went to a party! Roxanne broke up with her abusive boyfriend! I'm interested in their stories but not entirely sure that I should be. Is "getting to know" these young women a good use of my time? I think it is, but I'm not sure.

Meanwhile, I've just finished reading The Screwtape Letters for the third time straight. It is really nourishing me. Here's an old-fashioned book, written in the 1940s by a white man, and I know that my loyalty to my own Heart is so weak that I wouldn't even allow myself to love it except that David Foster Wallace said it was his favorite book, so it must be cool. And thank God. Because I love it. I really do love it.

Three more things: First I read that the New Feminists didn't mind talking about make-up and crafts and putting little pink ponies on their sites and being generally girly. That was news to me. Then I saw this post on Tumblr and it made me laugh:

"m: i was trying to tell alex what the feminist waves are. first wave is we want to vote. second wave is we want to make as much money as you. third wave is we knit..."

Later I saw this other post on Tumblr and it made me laugh, too. It's Zoey Deschanel talking to Glamour Magazine:

“I’m just being myself. There is not an ounce of me that believes any of that crap that they say. We can’t be feminine and be feminists and be successful? I want to be a f–king feminist and wear a f–king Peter Pan collar. So f–king what?” - Zoey Deschanel 

I could tell you who posted it, but it wouldn't mean anything. The thing about Tumblr is everyone is quoting and re-blogging everyone else, so it's hard to know who the originator was. I guess that's post-modern: the art of appropriation. It's all around us on the web and in music and movies and our lives. What was that John Lennon lyric? "I am you and you are me and we are all together." 

I'm going to be 58 next month. All I can say is thank God for medical science. People used to die at that age! But I'm a slow learner. And I want to read The Screwtape Letters again. And I want to find out what happens next to Roxanne. And I want to write a really good novel, or short story, or poem. And I still want to find the Feminist Blogosphere. I still have so much to learn...

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