I’ve been presented with a question that is not an easy one to answer. What is the future of feminist opinion blogging?
Feminism is definitely becoming less of a “dirty word” thanks to the help of celebrities like Beyonce and Amy Poehler, and websites like HelloGiggles and Refinery29 that post feminist content in addition to everything else they talk about. When popular culture websites regularly reference feminism, it means that feminism is part of the everyday thinking. How awesome is that?
I think we can definitely expect to see more feminist writers, starting at younger and younger ages. When women start to realize the issues in our world when it comes to gender earlier, they will grow up pushing against it. This will also be aided by the fact that there is more movement towards feminist parenting and raising children to be conscious of these issues and to not be quiet about them. I can see more organizations hiring on a feminist consultant, which would be an awesome way to make money (Bud Light could have used one, amiright?)
I think in the near future we will see more of a crack-down when it comes to online threats and harassment, something feminist writers see a whole lot of. These online attacks aren’t ever about a writers content or opinion, it’s about her body, her sexuality, her intelligence, or threatening her safety. When the law really catches up with online harassment, everyone, including feminist writers, will feel much more comfortable with laying their opinions and stories out.
That internet hate is real. “‘In 2006, researchers from the University of Maryland set up a bunch of fake online accounts and then dispatched them into chat rooms. Accounts with feminine usernames incurred an average of 100 sexually explicit or threatening messages a day. Masculine names received 3.7′” says Amanda Hess in her eye-opening piece, “Why Women Aren’t Welcome on the Internet.” Imagine what those numbers are now, with how much the internet has expanded?
Speaking of the internet changing, that’s another big factor that will impact feminist opinion blogging. With net neutrality a hot topic that is up in the air, it’s hard to say where the internet will be in five, ten years. Without net neutrality, it’s possible that feminist opinion writing won’t be a thing anymore. Other online communities would be at risk, too (Minorities, LGBT groups, etc).Without net neutrality, those calling the shots can do away with what they consider unfavorable speech. Open internet means that people have the opportunity to forge these online communities and can get their voice out there, when it might not be heard on mainstream media.
If the open internet really does go to hell in a hand-basket, I can see a bigger revival of zines, which would be pretty awesome. I think feminists would also be subscribing more to things like Ms, Bitch, Off Our Backs, and Make/Shift. The hard part about that though is the number of people who wouldn’t have the money or resources to access a subscription to these publications. An amazing part about the internet is how easy it is for someone to access information from wherever they are.
So I guess when it comes down to it, I don’t know where feminist opinion blogging is going. There are so many factors, most due to the fact that the internet is at the same time a newborn invention and the wild, wild west. All I can do is hop on and come along for the ride.