So, here is the thing: Once upon a time, Sady Doyle was a wee slip of a girl, who was going to move to New York, get an excellent liberal arts education, and become a writer. Then, she moved to New York, got an excellent liberal arts education, and became a receptionist. It was very exciting! By which she means, “demoralizing, in the extreme!” And then, she started a blog. Which is where things get weird.
This blog: It got picked up and linked to and passed on, one person at a time. Sometimes a whole bunch of people came in for a single post, sometimes they trickled in slowly over the course of months. Every single person was doing us (meaning, at the time, “Sady”) a favor. They were giving her a space, giving her permission to type, giving her permission to work her voice and her ideas out in public, by creating the illusion that they were interested. All of those people have a place in our hearts; the blog wouldn’t exist if they hadn’t come here. People who link to us: We love you! People who Twitter us around: We love you! People who comment: We love you, too! Mostly!
But there is a special place in our hearts for people who donate. And we would like to explain why.
THE INTERNET has been blamed for a lot of things: The loss of writing jobs, the collapse of media in general, the rising scourge of people publishing whatever risible crap they feel like today, in a way that can affect or damage people, with no consequences, often because their names are like “TVShowFan97″ or “MysticDragonWench” or “TotallyNotGregWhoWorksInAccounting” or what have you. All of these things are true. But there is another thing we would like to think the Internet can do: Provide a space for discussion and creativity (yes, we just called blog posts “creativity.” NO, WE WILL NOT WAIT FOR YOU TO FINISH YOUR BOUT OF DERISIVE LAUGHTER) among people who need to be heard, people whose voices are valuable to others, but who can’t find their way in to the mainstream of conversation for whatever reason. Sometimes, these are people who are too Other, too brown or queer or womanly and too bad at playing cool about the various indignities arising from these conditions, or too ornery to adhere to pieties associated with “their” movement, to fit in. At other times, they are Furries, but that kind of weirds us out so we’re not going to talk about it. The thing is, if Furries want to have blogs, and their blogs are really super duper well-written and good at catering to Furry interests of the day, that is also cool, though!
ANYWAY: The point is, the Internet, weird and illegitimate and unruly and full of risible crap as it can be, does give people a means of connecting, and of starting conversations that non-Internet media doesn’t foster. This isn’t about lazy crappy bashing of “mainstream media,” because come on: You depend on mainstream media to know what’s going on. Everyone does, whether they’re getting it first-hand or just seeing bits of it harvested for their favorite blogs. Mainstream media is super-awesome, and can do lots of stuff blogs can’t. But sometimes one gets the feeling that it doesn’t believe in the value of certain conversations, or certain voices, until it can see that those conversations are already happening in a big way, or that those voices have already found places where they thrive. The Official Tiger Beatdown Theory Of How Things Work (DISCLAIMER: TIGER BEATDOWN BASICALLY KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT HOW ANYTHING WORKS) is that every time a feminist site takes off, people get a little less skeptical about publishing one of them hard-line feminists who are only going to alienate their readers. And even if some folks remain skeptical, well: We have our blogs. So we’re having the conversations anyway; we’re hearing each other. We need that.
The point being, you found us! And yay for you! We hope we make your lunch break much more amusing! HOWEVER: As this site has grown, it’s become a full-time job. It demands commitment, from Sady and from all the contributors. It’s not all sparkling repartee about Lady Gaga: There is e-mail to be answered, there are requests to be handled, there is promotion and site re-design and deleting of the 125 Bulgarian spam comments that somehow arrived over the last few hours, HOW DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN. And then there’s the work of writing, which is demanding in and of itself: It’s not always easy, or always fun, to stare at something sexist or worrisome or horrific or just plain stupid until you figure out what you have to say about it that could potentially be of use to someone else. Sometimes, you just want to eat chicken and watch “Top Chef” and forget your responsibility to feminist discourse. But you don’t, because if you didn’t write about it you would just be angry all the time because you would be thinking about all these things that you can’t bring up at a dinner party, and the next time you wanted to eat something, it would probably not be chicken, it would be your own face. Which would be very undignified.
The thing is, though, in order for us to keep focusing on this site full-time, keep treating it like it matters, keep treating it like work, we have to have financial support. It just has to be. That’s always been part of the understanding when it comes to traditional media; it should be part of our understanding when it comes to the Internet. The more money a site takes in, the better it can afford to do. And the fact that 75 to 90 percent of our financial support comes directly from readers is awesome. It sets up the sort of give and take that the Internet, in its better moments, is ultimately all about; it gives us the ability to focus, to treat this like it matters, to know who we’re writing for. And it keeps us independent, which is amazing: If we’re not ultimately beholden to anything or anyone but the people who like to read us, then that means that we are free to question or push back against or experiment with anything we like. If people don’t like us so much, they won’t pay us. They’re our bosses. Our job isn’t to appease any organization or Ultimate Feminist Blogging Authority: Our job is, basically, to be good.
So, Bosses. You are on the Tiger Beatdown Team. We need you and we love you and we thank you.
Also, if you click the “Subscribe” button (so convenient! So affordable! So in-the-sidebar-on-the-home-page!) or donate $50 or more, Sady writes you a haiku. (“You should offer something better than a haiku!” — People On The Tiger Beatdown Team Who Are Not Sady. Maybe there should be a newsletter or something; leave your suggestions, if you please!) We should have told you that before, clearly!