Double X Thinks Feminism Is Both Dead and Hurting Us. ZOMBIE FEMINISM!
We're exhausted here at Bitch headquarters today by all of the weirdness that's happening on Double X, the new online women's magazine that is a version of the eponymous Slate blog. Apparently, the folks over at Double X don't want to identify as being feminist, but they sure love talking about how feminism is dead. And out to get us. ZOMBIE FEMINISM!
Since Double X launched yesterday, it's been chocked full of infuriating, Backlash-y articles like "Whine, Womyn, and Thongs: How feminism has failed", and "How I Got Bored With Feminism".
We don't know about you, but we're disappointed. (And we also need to figure out the best way to fight off this new undead feminism before it eats our brains.)
Not because there is a new women's website out there that isn't exactly feminist (that wouldn't be news to anyone), but because somehow Double X is trying to be both feminist and antifeminist at the same time (hating on both sides along the way). In press releases about the site, editors claim they want to move beyond discussions of feminism (they seem decidedly post-feminist) and just be a women's interest site. That's fine and dandy, but as Feministing points out, they are running a series of blogs about Betty Friedan. Last time we checked, Betty Friedan still signifies second wave feminism in a big way. Why is Double X so all over the place?
For example, kickass Bitch contributor Latoya Peterson wrote a great post for Double X on feminism and race. Score one, feminism! However, Slate's Susannah Breslin states that "feminism is dead." Score one, antifeminism! WTF?
And the hating doesn't stop there. Not only does Double X claim that feminism is dead, and boring, and sooo over, they also point their post-feminist fingers at websites like Jezebel, claiming that its brand of feminism is "hurting women." Apparently, the fact that some of the women over at Jezebel have casual sex and histories of sexual abuse means that they are undermining our society's feminist sensibilities. (But wait, isn't feminism dead?)
As always with issues like this, things are tricky (hence our aforementioned exhaustion). While it's great that Double X is recognizing the importance of more female-generated and female-targeted content on the web, it really blows that they are doing it in such an inflammatory way when it comes to the feminist blogosphere. It's as if they are trying to gain blog street cred (as if there were such a thing in this land of nerds) by cutting down a movement that has clearly helped them get to where they are (on a big, flashy, women's website). Are they just trying to start a catfight among feminist blogs in order to disprove their point that "feminism is boring"? It's reactionary, sensationalist weirdness like this that gives feminism a bad name (or no name at all) in the first place.
This situation also brings into question of the value of the feminist blogosphere in general. While we clearly have a vested interest in said blogosphere, it's true that many online journalists are encouraged to write more inflammatory pieces in order to increase hits to their sites. While this is true of print media as well, tracking technology and pay scales based on site traffic (one of the better points made in Double X's anti-Jezebel article) make it even more of an issue on these worldwide webs. (Don't worry; Bitch bloggers are not on a scale like that. Don't let that stop you from reading our posts, though! Also, Gawker Media bloggers aren't paid by their hits anymore, which is probably a good thing.) Is this type of outrageous, sound-bite-y, catfight-y blogging turning former feminist sisters into present-day feminist haters?
And of course, there is the issue of the essentialist name of the website, Double X. By referencing chromosomes in order to indicate that the site is for women, Double X is excluding women-identified people who don't possess two X chromosomes. I guess they think that, since feminism is undead, there's no reason to include trans, cis, or genderqueer individuals. (Don't worry friends, this only means that your brains won't be eaten.)
OK, enough with the zombie feminism puns. What are your thoughts?
image from George Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968)
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