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Why happy feminism?

August 14, 2009

(Not a happy post, but meta on the reason this blog exists.)

The idea for this blog came after I read a page of posts on the F-word, and just turned away from my computer and cried. It’s happened before, and it will happen again. Grief and fear are normal responses to knowing some-one was killed or beaten or raped for the thing they have in common with you – or even knowing those things happen at all.

Living in a sexist world means that lots of us have PTSD, or depression, or anxiety disorder, or just have the kind of bad day where coping with one iota more of sexism is impossible. The natural response then is to hide under your duvet and pretend the outside world isn’t happening, and everything is OK. There’s nothing wrong with that – we are big fans of self-protection here. You do what you have to do to survive.

This blog is about the alternatives to hiding when it gets too much. Ways of making a difference which aren’t emotionally exhausting. Music, humour, art. And thank you notes to the people who are out there fighting the good fight.

All this is not to dismiss the roles of grief and fear and anger. They  are entirely sensible, reasonable, valid responses to the state of the world. Acknowledging our pain is necessary and healthy.  Anger is useful, anger gets things done. This blog  is not about smiling and pretending everything is OK. It’s about taking a break and smelling the roses and keeping up hope for change.

As veterans of the blogosphere, we know the kind of shit that gets thrown at those who speak out.  It’s hard to deal with and it takes its toll. We can’t stop that kind of harassment. What we can do is balance it out with positivity.  We can look after our allies.

And getting e-mails from people you admire saying they appreciate you taking the time to thank them is a heck of a lot nicer than getting e-mails from the BBC telling you rape jokes are OK because they’re funny.

So write those angry letters. Just write some happy ones too. Write to your MP demanding they support improved access to abortion in Northern Ireland, and write to Diane Abbot telling her she’s awesome. Write to JJJ telling them that ignoring women’s music is not OK, and leave a comment for Naomi Eve thanking her for putting together the alternative Hottest 100 women.

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