Ask a Feminist

I was just working on a new Feminism Friday post over at Finally, A Feminism 101 Blog and I had a thought (what? me? have thoughts? I know, so out of left field). My thought was this: wouldn’t it be cool to have a group blog called “Ask a Feminist” where each week a feminist answers selected questions from readers regarding feminism?

The way I see it, if there was a base group of about 5 bloggers that came from various schools of feminism it would probably be a good mix (as well as splitting the post load). If questions outside of the bloggers’ expertise are asked, they could get in contact with other feminists who could offer “expert opinions” on the subject. I also figure that the bloggers could field questions from non-feminists and feminists alike (we all have more to learn about the various feminisms, after all).

Not that I have the time to start a new project, mind you, but I just want to get a feel for what kind of interest there might be in a project like this. And, heck, if I get enough bloggers interested in doing it, I’d be more than happy to offer the space and help organize things.

So, here are a few questions:

  1. Would you be interested in reading a blog like this?
  2. Can you think of questions that you would like to ask the columnists?
  3. Would you be willing/able to participate as a blogger? And/or do you know of any feminists who would?

If you have any other comments on the idea, or want to add suggestions for how to implement it, go ahead! Even if it never gets off the ground, I’m sure it’ll be fun to talk about :)

PS: I’m going to be gone this weekend, so moderation might be slow. I’ll see if I can get some of the other bloggers to keep an eye on things while I’m gone.

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19 Responses to Ask a Feminist

  1. Tiana says:

    1-absolutely
    2-probably but I can’t think of any right now
    3-I’d like to but I’m not confident that I’m qualified.

  2. 1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. Yes.

  3. Valcoris says:

    It sounds like a great idea. I’m not sure of what I would ask and what not but I love the concept. My question is one merely of curiosity. Why not do it as a discussion board as opposed to a blog? There may already be a space out there in this format that I don’t know about. In a Forum setting you could have the main ask a Feminist area but would also be able to make small niche boards for things that are more involved specialized etc.

    Please keep us posted as how/where this goes. I know I will be watching anxiously and being sure to spread the word if it comes to fruition. This blog and other blogs like it have been a great way to show friends coworkers and family what feminism is all about and sadly for some of them to introduce them to it. So thank you for all that you are already doing.

  4. whatsername says:

    I think that could be potentially rather interesting!

    I’d be willing to provide answers. :)

  5. tekanji says:

    Amanda Marcotte, Rachel, and whatshername: Thanks for volunteering! If this project becomes more than just an idea I will definitely be in touch. :)

    Tiana: Well, I think that the main qualifications would be eagerness, sociability (for the ability to interact with even frustrating questions, and it helps with cold e-mailing other feminist bloggers for expert opinions), and technical skill (the ability to write an easy to understand answer). Also I’d like all the bloggers to bring a unique perspective to the group so it doesn’t end up homogeneous (a group of white, middle-class, heterosexual, cisgendered American feminists, for instance, wouldn’t exactly be representative of the movement).

    And, anyway, even if this particular project isn’t for you, it’s not like I don’t have a million other ideas floating around. I often tend to air out ideas on my LJ, so I’ve added you just in case you’re interested in reading about the other projects that I’ve thought up in the past.

    Valcoris said:

    Why not do it as a discussion board as opposed to a blog?

    There is one in the works, actually. The problem, though, is that forums need moderators (especially general feminist forums, which will attract trolls like nobody’s business) and in general more attention than a blog. So far I haven’t been able to scare up enough of a mod team, even with the help of Feministe’s Jill, so that particular project’s on hold for the moment.

    Another advantage to having a blog is that it’s a controlled conversation, rather than a free-for-all. With the bloggers picking and choosing which questions to address, and then spending time addressing them (rather than doing a back and forth, like with a forum) it will be easier for a broad range of people to take something away from a particular thread. Forum threads tend to be good for those participating in them, but it’s hard for outsiders of the conversation to pick up the important bits because there are so many people talking.

    I guess if I were to say things simply, I think both are good ideas but the blog is easier to implement currently.

  6. Kristy says:

    sounds like a great idea!

    I’ll have to get back to you about questions, but would love something about eco-feminism.

    I don’t think I’m qualified to answer either.

    I also like the idea of a forum, and could lend a little time to moderate possibly.

  7. BetaCandy says:

    I’d be interested in helping and in reading.

  8. Luke says:

    Yes (!), yes and possibly…because I hardly blog anymore as is.

  9. Sage says:

    I’d volunteer for sure! Personally, I’d like to see a place where rad fems and sex positives (or whatever) could both answer questions and have a more philosophical discussion around the different answers with absolutely no ad hominem arguments allowed. It would have to be moderated by the most level-headed person in the world. (If I find one, I’ll let you know.) Because it’s not enough to keep the trolls out, someone has to make sure we don’t attack each other. This might be radically different from what you’re picturing, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

  10. Jol says:

    Yes to #1 and #2. With #3 the spirit is willing but the knowledge and experience are worse than weak — so if there’s any need for work like researching specific points or proofing or anything that doesn’t require any expertise, just a warm body to process material, I’d be glad to contribute.

  11. Jol says:

    p.s. I think this is my first ever time commenting here, so I should add, this is a great blog, thank you.

  12. Donna says:

    The only problem I see is that outside of initial interest you might not get enough questions to use as a full blown blog, why not make it a feature of the 101 blog? Have “Ask a Feminist Fridays” for example. Lets say there are an average of 3 to 5 questions per week, you hand them off to several bloggers and post their different answers the following week, giving them time to really think about it and getting several answers for the same question. I think you would find alot more volunteers from diverse backgrounds if you do it this way too, since there isn’t pressure to do this every day, but only the one time and maybe again at a later date but not necessarily. I think seeing the different answers from several perspectives would be cool too (like a WOC feminist, a white middle class radfem, and a male feminist for one week) and could spark some interesting conversations in the comments.

  13. tekanji says:

    Wow, thanks for all the interest, everyone! At the end of the week I’ll send out an e-mail to everyone who expressed interest and we can see if we can get organized.

    Sage said:

    Personally, I’d like to see a place where rad fems and sex positives (or whatever) could both answer questions and have a more philosophical discussion around the different answers with absolutely no ad hominem arguments allowed.

    I would love to see that, too. I know more sex-pos leaning people than radfems, but if you have any particular radfems in mind maybe you can see about contacting them to see if they’re interested?

    Jol said:

    so if there’s any need for work like researching specific points or proofing or anything that doesn’t require any expertise, just a warm body to process material, I’d be glad to contribute.

    I’ll put you on the list to be e-mailed; you’d be surprised how much of a help having someone to help process and organize is. And thanks for de-lurking! I always love it when I have a chance to get to know my readers :)

    Donna said:

    The only problem I see is that outside of initial interest you might not get enough questions to use as a full blown blog, why not make it a feature of the 101 blog?

    I did consider it, but the blog belongs to tigtog and I don’t want to step on her toes. I’m actually in the process of making a sister 101 site that will be directly connected with the FeministWiki that I’m (slowly, very very slowly) trying to organize, but that blog’s still in its very early planning stages. But I’ll bring it up to the volunteers and see if they think it would be a good idea to attach it to a 101 blog or keep it separate. Also, even as a separate blog I was figuring on a weekly posting schedule for exactly the reasons you mentioned.

    I think seeing the different answers from several perspectives would be cool too (like a WOC feminist, a white middle class radfem, and a male feminist for one week) and could spark some interesting conversations in the comments.

    That’s a great idea :)

    By the way, should I include you in the mailing? You don’t have to commit to anything, but I must confess that you were one of the people who I was hoping would be able to help out.

  14. steve says:

    1. Great Yes
    2. Absolutely Yes
    3. No Not Qualified, Don’t know any well enough to ask

    Great Idea

    Steve

  15. Anna says:

    If you’re still looking for people to express interest, count me in? Heaven knows I spent most of my week-long “vacation” answering all sorts of questions about feminism, and it may be nice to deal with it in text instead of with someone who thinks it’s a good idea to yell whenever you point out he’s interupting.

  16. Katherine says:

    Did this happen? I’d love a place where I can ask questions without derailing or disrupting a blog.

  17. tekanji says:

    Unfortunately, it never did. People showed interest at first, but things fell apart in the planning stages.

Comments are closed.