Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Point

I wasn't going to do an entry for this Carnival, but things change.

Specifically, things changed because I read this. I saw the obvious strange assumption in the review and I replied, perhaps a bit snarkily. (I'm known to do that. Marionette and a few shocked people on livejournal can tell unflattering stories about when I snark before I think. My social training is from Italian-American family dinners, military service, my macho job, and online geekdom. Sharp, cruel statements reign supreme and gain respect.) I received a rather exasperated reply, which went off into a tangent. I'm not going to talk about the conversation over there, I'm just going to address the tangent.

Let's clip a couple segments of her response to talk about:
That being said, witchhunts based on art that shows big tits or hookers or (sometimes quite clumsy and stupid) scenes of rape does not really make a huge difference in terms of making change outside a small corner of the blogosphere. Only bridges built between the male & female sectors of comix fandom will get any sort of real change accomplished.
(Strange, that's what I thought I was trying do with a linkblog that connected with no commentary and linked to all sides of the issue -- of course, I'm getting ahead of myself here)
At the end of the day, the only thing justifying writing a blog is to express honestly how you feel
The first part is important, but the last part is where I disagree completely.

I write, and I read other blogs, to learn.

If you look at my early archives, you'll find a number of opinions and posts you wouldn't see now. the wording is different, the subject matter is different. I think much of it is funnier. I used to just do reviews, and point out things from time to time.

The point where that changed is the point where I found one of my posts linked in the Sixth Carnival of Feminists (hosted by Reappropriate). I'd been at Philobiblon by random wandering before, and commented. I think that may be how they found my little Wonder Woman post.

Now up until that point I was in the community I was used to, comics fandom. Bloggers were mostly message boarders who had gotten sick of the free for all on message boards they didn't moderate, and decided to stake their own claim in cyberspace. It was very familiar territory, full of people I was used to dealing with. I'm still very fond of this territory, but the political blogosphere was new and interesting.

And the "personal is political" and sociological blogs were even better.

I was so excited I volunteered immediately to host an edition of the Carnival. I was actually very disappointed to have to wait so many months, but I got busy in the meantime.

From Reappropriate and Philobiblon I followed every link that looked promising. I absorbed as much as I could like a sponge. Prior to this I had just been dipping my toes in the waters of Feminist blogging with some of my "feminine view of comics" type posts. I was always up for critical analysis. This section of the blogosphere was like getting a brand new toolbox for Christmas after you'd been using just a screwdriver and a hammer. I applied these tools to my own area of expertise, comic books, and found that they were just perfect for what I'd wanted to say.

My writing was clearer, and more precise, but somehow just never clear enough. At the same time, Kalinara and I had started When Fangirls Attack. Other people were writing about the exact same subject that stirred my creativity. Most of the earlier ones used the basic tools, but eventually we found ones who were using tools so complicated there wasn't even room in my toolbox for them yet.

Through this larger part of the blogosphere, I was able to share what I knew with the rest of my community, and I was able to reach out to the small areas where the two communities crossed. As I did that, I was able to expand my own horizons, and refine the rougher ideas.

This is still going on.

This is more than simply self-expression. This is an exchange of ideas. This is interaction. This is communication.

Most importantly, this is learning.

It may only change things in this small community, but it does change this community.

More importantly, it changes individuals, and individuals change worlds.

Perhaps that statement is too optimistic. Perhaps both statements are optimistic.

I can say one thing is true. It has changed this individual.

And that change may not mean anything to world, but it means the world to me.


  1. I write, and I read other blogs, to learn.

    I was doing some thinking recently about the purposes of comics blogs, and I figured to myself that you can do three things with them: you can inform, you can entertain, you can enlighten.

    I hadn't thought about it before, but now that you mention it I guess it's true that you can enlighten yourself with your writing. For that matter, the quote you presented ("the only thing justifying writing a blog is to express honestly how you feel") has some truth too. Not that it's the only thing, but it's certainly on the menu, and cheaper than therapy.

  2. A lot of what you've said reflects my own experience. Some time in the last year I started thinking differently about a lot of things and I can only put it down to a dialogue I found I was having with what I'd now identify as other feminist bloggers.

    There was no flash of light, no great revelation, just a dialogue between people who didn't assume that they already had all the answers.

    And don't feel too bad about the snark before you think stuff, it's a habit I'm trying to break, too.

  3. I'm much more interested in the learning and intellectual aspect of blogging (or, er, LJ) than the social aspect, really. While I enjoy keeping up with friends, it's the communication of ideas that gets me excited when I open up my browser.

    And amen on the spreading learning to individuals. It's a viral thing- if one person gets the message, then tells his friends, and they spread it, too, things happen.


  4. Over at Pandagon, (and elsewhere, I think) it's been noted that feminist blogs are doing similar work as the consiousness raising groups of the '70s.

    So, yeah.

    and :p... to the idea that's it's only ever yelling for the sake of hearing your own voice.