More on the potential of the blog

When I was in (my all-girl parochial) high school, the entire school was subjected to a safety talk by a “Safety Expert” whose actual qualifications I cannot immediately recall.

What I do remember is being warned that I was always in danger, that there was next to nothing I could do about it, but that I should not accept any job or do anything that required me to go out at night, as that was really just asking for it.

I’ve written about some of this before (see A Couple of Not-So-Happy-Thoughts on Blogging) but this week’s readings included Blogging While Female, Threatened Into Silence, and Weblogistan, so what the hell, I’ll talk about it some more.

The power of blogging is that you don’t have to go through traditional white-male dominated (In the US) media to get your message across. You don’t have to go through anyone, and that’s why it’s such a potentially powerful force for social change. And you can remain anonymous. There is a power to anonymity, to hiding your face while sharing your voice, because then it’s all about what you have to say, not what you look like or how much money you have or what’s between your legs. Of course, anonymity can be paralyzing too. Can you afford to talk about X? Will anyone guess it’s you? Like a superhero, you’re always vulnerable to someone finding out your alter-ego.

The women of “Weblogistan” are certainly feeling that strange cocktail of freedom/new constraint.

And, of course, there are plenty of people using that same anonymity to threaten those they disagree with, especially if those they disagree with are already a member of a marginalized group.

Honestly, it didn’t occur to me not to use a pen name when I started blogging. Granted, this may have had something to do with my years of being involved in slash fanfiction (something else I would not be admitting to were I not being anonymous)… would it have been different if I was a guy? Can’t say.

But the fact that I can be here, that anyone can be here, can be listened to… we’re way more powerful than threats, than trolls, than hate. We can’t be silenced, not all of us. And I think that will win out in the end.


1 Response to “More on the potential of the blog”

  1. 1 Alia
    16 April 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Your insight on the power of not just women on the web, but how we don’t need to be afraid of what others will think was wondeful. It is sad that perhaps the only reason threats are recieved is that the potential of words to influence others is powerful. Many people are afaid of what women are saying on the web because for the first time in a long time, women are gaining that voice that the women before fought for. Ideas that range from equal pay to increasing equal rights are the agenda. These ideas will not be silenced because of the threats and intimidation that is occuring online. Instead, the ideas will manifest into action and real change will occur. ( At least that is my hope.)

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