Jessica Valenti has formally ended her time at Feministing. It’s one of those moments when I get all sentimental, because it’s kind of crazy to think of the journey we’ve all been on. I don’t know how many of you know the whole history here, but when Feministing was started, I was still blogging at a small Blogger blog called Mouse Words, and there was no such thing as “feminist blogging”. In fact, political blogging was still sort of a new thing; the word still connoted “web logging”, and had a diary feel to it. The only two blogs that existed that were explicitly feminist blogs were Feministe, which only had Lauren Bruce at the time, and Feministing. And I suppose Mouse Words, but then as now, feminism was only part of a whole cloth liberal agenda I have with my writing. There was also Rox Populi, which is defunct now, and it was, like Mouse Words, straddling feminism and liberalism in general.
Jessica was the only one of us who had a vision, though. Most of us had blogs because we liked ranting into space; we didn’t actually think about audience-building. I was absolutely floored when I won the Koufax award that year for Best New Blog, since it never occurred to me that I had more than five readers. I was even more floored when Jesse asked me to replace Ezra Klein on Pandagon. Most of us had no ambitions with our blogging. But Jessica was the exception. She saw Feministing as something that could be up there with feminist behemoths like Ms Magazine. I thought she was way too optimistic, but she proved me wrong, and now Feministing is probably more of a feminist powerhouse, especially for young women.
Hard as it may be to believe in current times, I actually wrote for Feministing for a week, to cover Jessica while she was on vacation. The blog now is more of a news blog for feminism, but back then it was a little more free form, and my style fit right into it. On any given day, you’d get maybe 5 comments. There was lots of raunchy humor and shenanigans, because we didn’t think back then that what we said mattered very much. Feministing is obviously a more valuable service nowadays, but I still have nostalgia for the early days, when we were still trying to figure out what we were doing with this blogging thing, and it was just a hobby and so having fun was the main idea behind it all. Lots of time was spent in chat. Nowadays, everyone is super busy and grown-up, and so those early days seem like a second adolescence to me.
And we totally worshiped Kathleen Hanna, so I’m dedicating this Friday Genius Ten to the people we were in 2004 and 2005, the ones who saw ourselves as Riot Grrrls redux and online, the people who saw feminism as a punk rock subversion and were outside of the establishment. Jessica was right and I was wrong; we could totally be ourselves and still create a voice for ourselves in feminism. So, thanks to her for having a vision, and for being a friend.
Original song: “Hot Topic” by Le Tigre
1) “Modern Girl” by Sleater-Kinney
2) “Meeting Paris Hilton” by Cansei De Ser Sexy
3) “Flower” by Deerhoof
4) “Tick” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
5) “In Particular” by Blonde Redhead
6) “Hombre” by MIA
7) “Pile of Gold” by The Blow
8) “Cross Bones Style” by Cat Power
9) “I Hear Noises” by Tegan and Sara
10) “Hello? Is This Thing On?” by !!!
Videos below the fold.