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A Supposedly Feminist Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Mistakes I’ve Made While Blogging

You know, friends: the Tiger Beatdown Internet Infotainment Experience has been around for a while now. Eight months, to be precise! That is like, seventy-seven years, in blog terms! Also, as I have been writing it, I myself have been getting older. I will be twenty-seven years of age soon! That is, like, seventy-nine-hundred years, in terms of how old it makes me feel! (Yes, I know. You are all older than me. I am a tiny infant baby. I should shut up.)

So, in a surprising twist, it turns out that I have a point here. It is this: with age, they say, comes wisdom. While I find this to be personally untrue (with age, for me, comes steadily decreasing lung capacity due to chain-smoking) I will concede that with blog-age has come the determination to be slightly less blog-stupid.

It is tricky, putting your thoughts out there once per day for the world to behold! Especially when you are dealing with a really complicated subject, like the feminism! I have put a lot of thoughts out there that I shouldn’t have! And, considering that I have been nattering on about the feminism for even longer than I’ve been blogging, I’ve put some “feminist” “thoughts” out into the world that haunt me, even though they are not available through Google Search.

What I am saying, here, is that now that I am an old lady (no, I’m not. I KNOW. I will shut up) I have been thinking a lot about responsibility: as a person, as a blogger, as a conductor of ladybusiness. And, after thinking about it, I want to share with you a few lists of things I don’t intend to do in the future.

The first list focuses on mistakes… in BLOGGING!

1. AIMING ROCKET LAUNCHERS AT MOSQUITOES. I like to write about things that are silly and trivial. I know! Are you SHOCKED? I think that misogyny in pop culture is important; I think that even the small things can help to show how the larger structures and myths of sexism function; I will probably never be your source for intelligent, measured critiques of US economic policy, but I am pretty definitely going to see “Funny People” and blog about it, because whatever. Nevertheless! Getting worked up and unleashing all of my rhetorical fury on some weird mommy-issues-having dude who writes a blog, or an obscure op-ed, or a vaguely-but-not-really-but-actually-yes-vaguely-offensive article only wastes my time and yours and it makes me look (sshhhhhh) hysterical. Even though, when I do these things, I am not actually hysterically angry, or even all that angry. I am just bored.

2. ALLOW ME TO USE THE INTERNET TO DEMONSTRATE THAT I AM A DICK. Here is a fact for you: I am a vulgar and immature person. Here is another fact: as a young writer, I had it drilled into me, again and again, that I should basically never criticize another writer publicly, ever, because they would, as the Mortal Kombat game says, finish me. As a vulgar and immature person, I had but one recourse: to start a blog, where, if it so pleased me, I could express my well-reasoned ideological disagreements by saying that so-and-so, in addition to being wrong on the issues, is well-known to eat ass for breakfast. (And ass for lunch. For dinner? More ass. It’s a remarkably ass-centric diet, is what I am telling you.) And, you know? I really don’t want to become the sort of person who measures her words so carefully that she’s incapable of outright saying that someone is wrong or acting the fool. I am, however, steadily becoming more aware that people are actually reading this weird Internet thing of mine – and that when I promote a back-handed, arrogant, dismissive, snide attitude, not just toward a particular piece of work, but towards a person (with feelings! And a life! That I know nothing about!) others follow suit. Also: if I’m just feminism’s playground bully, there’s really no reason for anyone to listen to me or take me seriously. I’m not accomplishing anything if I devote most of my time to being a dick.

3. OH, LOOK, AN ARGUMENT! I MUST TAKE SIDES AT ONCE! I love an argument! I basically think conversations can only get better when people are unafraid to challenge each other, or call each other out. However: it is my understanding that lots of people do not like an argument as much as I do; they apparently find them hurtful and unpleasant. And, even in the high-minded world of ladyblogging, it’s tough to keep arguments issue-focused. You know how it goes, when an argument goes south: an argument ensues, people appeal to the folks around them for backup, teams form, old resentments and grudges are unearthed, a lot of people are like “hum de dooo de dooo, not getting involved, la la laaaaaaa,” someone else makes passive-aggressive comments about people who refuse to get involved in the argument (these can be made to sound very issue-based! Which is even more annoying when you realize that they are, in essence, somebody going “X smells bad and I hate her and you aren’t helping me hate X, WHY, now I hate you too”) and before long it’s all about who you like and who you don’t like and NOT the issue at hand. (Note: THIS IS NOT ALWAYS HOW IT GOES. It does go this way sometimes, though.) And then I, a person whose opinion nobody asked for, show up on the scene with one of my very useful blog posts! Which add nothing to the discussion, lots of times, and really only give me an excuse to work out my own personal thoughts on the issue being discussed! Here’s how I would like this to go in the future: not like that. So, when an argument raises important issues, I plan to, you know, WRITE ABOUT THE ISSUES. And not about how X thinks Y is a big stinky poophead and have you heard about it and ooooh let’s add fuel to the fire, it is so warm and shiny and whoops, HOWDITGETGETBURNED, HOWDITGETBURRRRRRRND. Yeah, no more of that, please, Sady.

4. REPEATING THE PARTY LINE BEFORE I UNDERSTAND IT. It is tough to determine whether this belongs in the “blogging mistakes” post or the “feminism mistakes” post. However, it’s really a problem with writing – so, here you go. Feminism is a complex philosophy (yes! I would describe it as “a philosophy!”) with lots of differing lines of thought, and arguments which link back to other arguments, and variations on a theme. You’ve got your Radical Feminists, your third-wave feminists part A: Reclaiming Femininity and Sexuality, your third-wave feminists part B: It’s All About Intersectionality, your second-wave feminists who are glad about the third-wavers, your second-wave feminists who hate them and use words like “funfeminist” and “empowerful” and think intersectionality is just an excuse to place women last (DO. NOT. GET that one, really – there’s going to be a whole blog post on that at some point), your third-wavers who don’t seem to get the point at all and just want to trash the second-wavers for being so old and earnest because that’s helpful, and basically it can be hard to look over all this and write only what you know to be true, rather than buying into some pre-packaged feminism that contains a lot of concepts for you to mouth before you truly understand them. But when I look back at the blog posts that really, really make me cringe – there are a lot of them, actually! – the chief mistake I made was always endorsing an argument before I’d analyzed it. This is not to say that the arguments were always wrong! (Some of them were wrong.) It is to say that I was writing what someone else would say, or what I thought I was supposed to say, rather than what I actually knew and believed. And it doesn’t make sense to say anything, ANYTHING, about this incredibly complex and rewarding and necessary discipline of feminism before you know what you are talking about. So. I’m going to write my take on things, from now on, and not anyone else’s.

4. WAS THIS JOKE FUNNY THE FIRST TIME? NO? HOW ABOUT THE SECOND? Or the third, or fourth time? By the time I reach iteration number 50 of this particular joke, I trust you will be well-acquainted with its subtle intricacies and laughter-generating potential! Basically, the thing I would like you to think about – carefully, and at length – is how funny this joke is, and how much funnier it will become after I have told it in eighty-seven different versions. For example! What if I ended several short sentences with exclamation points?! HUMOR!

Oh, OK. I’m not going to stop doing this. Sorry. It is the Tiger Beatdown way.

16 Comments

  1. klg wrote:

    I beg of you to not stop doing #1 on your list, “aiming rocket launchers at mosquitos”. I come here for the rocket launchin at “mosquitos”!
    Please don’t stop….

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 12:23 pm | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    I am SOOO glad you are not going to stop. :)

    Alix

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 12:26 pm | Permalink
  3. Katherine wrote:

    I treasure each and every one of your exclamation points. Don’t stop believin’.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  4. C. L. "Cat" Minou wrote:

    Sady, I’m afraid I’ll be serious here and say: thanks for this post. As another newly minted blogger (proudly on my second month! woohoo!) I’m getting the same kind of education, so it’s good to read your retrospective here as I continue to figure out what I’m doing, what I want to do, and what I should please stop doing. (Apparently, calling people “ducks” is on that list. Hmm.)

    But please! Don’t stop! Doing number 4! ;)

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 3:03 pm | Permalink
  5. Phio Gistic wrote:

    I don’t think you are a bully. Or that you need to “tone it down,” or “be nicer,” or “if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all,” or any of the other things women are often told when they are audacious enough to speak their minds. I hope you keep blasting away.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Permalink
  6. Homicidal Orange wrote:

    I have been lurking for quite a while now and thought it might be appropriate to say that what you call mistakes are what I call the style that makes your writing a) so damn funny and b) some of the most insightful and at the same time funniest feminist writings I’ve read. Please don’t change!

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 11:42 pm | Permalink
  7. snobographer wrote:

    I don’t know what lead to this, but I agree with Phio Gistic. Once, when I first discovered your blog, I read months and months of your posts. I saw nothing cringeworthy. I laughed my ass off. And HOWDITGETBURRRNED was funny, dammit.

    Monday, June 1, 2009 at 11:44 pm | Permalink
  8. SargassoSea wrote:

    “I’m not accomplishing anything if I devote most of my time to being a dick.”

    But this is exactly why I find you so charming, Lady Sady.

    Oh, and I second the rocket launcher thing!

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 3:41 am | Permalink
  9. Rachael wrote:

    Oh, thank God. I was afraid you were actually going to stop.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 4:15 am | Permalink
  10. Kelly wrote:

    Ohhh…but rocket launchers at mosquitoes is my faaaaavorite! Without you I would never have known the wonders of Aaron P. Taylor! And you would never have had his encouraging words suggesting you do stand up cause you are so funny. And as one of the OGs of this blog (I think I’ve read every post ever) you don’t over do jokes ever. You are always funny. You are the funniest smart person on the internets as far as I’m concerned.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 6:40 am | Permalink
  11. Suzanne wrote:

    We don’t always have to take on the Big Issues. When misogyny is pervasive as it is in our culture, sometimes it’s nice to shoot fish in a barrel.

    Or, you know. Judd Apatow.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 7:57 am | Permalink
  12. TVille wrote:

    “However: it is my understanding that lots of people do not like an argument as much as I do; they apparently find them hurtful and unpleasant.”

    I don’t understand people who find heated discussion hurtful and unpleasant. I find that often those are the people who should STOP TALKING.

    But I digress, really what I wanted to say was; you’re super funny, super smart, and probably really don’t need to do any changing, and for heaven’s sake don’t do any apologizing…

    Keep on keepin’ on, cuz ya crack me up!

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  13. Fannie wrote:

    Please please please don’t stop doing #1.

    Why? You sum it up best yourself:

    “I think that misogyny in pop culture is important; I think that even the small things can help to show how the larger structures and myths of sexism function;”

    For those reasons, what you do here is not at all silly or trivial. In fact, your smackdowns are quite satisfying to read.

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink
  14. Adrianna wrote:

    Examining pop culture is not trivial. You have no idea how validating it is to hear “you know that rape scene in such and such movie? it was WRONG, it was framed WRONG, and it made me VOMIT with it’s utter sexist WRONGNESS”

    And you are def my favorite ladyblogger of ladybusiness and the feminism. Keep at it!

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  15. Raddad wrote:

    What everyone said. Part of what makes sexism so pervasive is that it is not challenged. Please keep loudly challenging the sexism in "small, everyday" acts.
    You have a loyal audience of readers who love the way you write and what you choose to write about – you don't have to change a thing to make your blog valuable and entertaining for us

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 7:58 am | Permalink
  16. Chai Latte wrote:

    HOW'D IT GET BURNED?

    This post is made of win for this quote alone. :D

    Friday, June 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink