You Should Start A Feminist Blog

How do you be a writer? You write. How do make change? You speak up. And that, my friends, is why you should start a blog.

The written word is an intensely powerful thing, and it plays an important role in social change. Especially for feminism. Writing can be a more accessible way to reach people who are undecided about or opposed to your point of view; while they might automatically tune you out if they see you on a street corner with a clipboard, or outside a statehouse with a bullhorn, your written words are more approachable and give you a chance to more fully explain what you mean. (Although please know that more direct forms of activism like signature gathering and physical demonstrations are also useful and effective, and they belong in your activist toolkit, too.)

In addition to making your views on political issues more accessible to a general audience, writing can be an easier way to share more personal narratives if you are so inclined. I’ve said this before: I believe each time a woman tells the truth about her own life it is a radical act with the power to change society. It transforms others, and it transforms you. The baggage we carry as a result of sexist bullshit — including but not limited to internalized shame we might feel for having imperfect lives, bodies, relationships, class status, desires, you name it — loses negative power over ourselves and others when we dare to acknowledge it out loud. Oppression feeds and breeds on your silence.

I am routinely asked how to start a blog. The best thing to do is start. There are a variety of platforms that will let you build your site for free. I’m partial to WordPress because I’m used to it, it provides fairly sophisticated yet usable data on who is reading your stuff, and because they have been so kind to feature my previous posts on Michelle Obama and my late, great dog on their Freshly Pressed hub, which got me exposure to tons of new readers who didn’t get here through the traditional feminist channels. That said, I also use Tumblr for my other blog, white guys doing it by themselves, and when I hit the jackpot and got featured on their homepage I gained more than 7,000 followers in a few days, many of whom like to reblog pictures of white men running the show (every show). There are other platforms, of course. When picking your platform, think a bit about what you want to do on your site. Are you going to be doing more in words or images? What are your goals for your site — who do you want to reach, and how? Is reblogging important to you? Think about what platform better suits your needs.

Once you get that blog going, be sure to promote your posts on your various social media accounts. Also, however, be sure to invest the time to read other people’s blogs and as you are so moved, comment upon and share their work. One of the best ways to build readership is to engage in organic and authentic conversations with others — especially over their ideas.

Many people who ask me about starting blogs are currently involved with organizations that have blogs of their own. If you have a chance to write for those, great. By all means do. My advice is still to start and have a blog of your own as well, because — and this is important — no organization, even a great one that you love, deserves a monopoly on your precious and unique voice in an era of modern feminism that needs you just as you are. I look back and remember the tears streaming down my face as I closed the predecessor to this blog around the time I was elected to be a vice president of the National Organization for Women in 2009; in some ways that moment presaged why I chose to leave more than three years later. It is always the right time to say the right thing, and when you have your own platform, you can hit publish whenever you want.

If you do paid writing work, you should still have a blog of your own. While it doesn’t pay and may not get you the same exposure as published works in other publications, a blog is still an invaluable career tool in supporting your ability to get those paid opportunities. In addition, it provides folks with an easy way to contact you. Finally, a blog of your own allows you to write those things that are so important or personal to you that you don’t want an editor tinkering with it. (This is not a bashing of editors; editors make my work so much better and I love them!)

Another thing: Having a blog of your own means you don’t need to approach, count on, or wait for other people to say what you think. I get many requests to write about issues, and while I enjoy that and take that feedback seriously, my first response is almost always: You should write that! Seriously, the more voices the better.

Starting this blog that you are reading now is among the best professional decisions I’ve made. Yes, it’s not for everyone — if you work in a field where you can’t be an out feminist, I get it. But even in that scenario you can start a blog under an avatar.

Do you have more tips for starting a blog? Questions? Thoughts? Or just want to promote your feminist blog in the comments? Then, please, by all means, comment away.

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Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW.

  2. Thanks for this, Erin. It’s been a number of months since I’ve written anything, but… http://minneapolitanmademoiselle.blogspot.com/

  3. Great post, I agree. If you want to express your thoughts having a blog to express via words or images is good. Blogging isn’t for everyone, but I think that it’s a great outlet/hobby and a really useful place to put your work into a space online.

  4. Shameless plug for my blog that a started up a few years ago, where I smash girl stereotypes into tiny smithereens over at The Shattered Glass Slipper. http://www.shatteredslipper.com

  5. onlinewithzoe says:

    pardon me while I brag. I began posting my ideas in 1998. Friends of mine created a website for me to enter a daily diary before the word blog was in use. They named it On Line With Zoe. It was a gift more valuable than I ever imagined at the time. And, oh, those first entries!
    Now I have 15 websites. It is a feminist library that offers an availability and documenting one’s lineage that physical archives cannot. Oh that Miss Alice Paul had a digital record of her life. Now they are in boxes that only those who can travel and have such time can see her writings.
    YES! start a blog today. Please.

  6. All great tips to be sure. While I follow many feminist blogs, I don’t write solely on feminism or related issues, however I did start a bi-monthly ‘Feminist Friday’ feature that has helped me connect with a few like minded new followers. Here is a recent FF post
    http://dstecca.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/feminist-friday-what-does-it-all-mean/
    You can find FF at http://dstecca.wordpress.com/ on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month. Thanks

  7. YAY! Yes! For many of these reasons I started my own feminist blog! MoonSpit Poetry at http://moonspitpoetry.com/. Thank you for your guidance and strength!

  8. TRUE STORY: Erin Matson talked me into starting a blog way bay in 2006. Without her support it wouldn’t have blossomed into a book! Take her advice.

  9. The exact reason I started one!! Nothing happens when you are quiet and invihttp://www.phinvisibledisease.org/sible….

  10. This is a great piece. And because I love your blog, I have just nominated you for A Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Feel free to accept of ignore! http://thejellyfisheffect.com/2014/11/27/very-inspiring-blogger-award/

  11. This was a wonderful piece. Your main blog, as well as white guys doing it by themselves are both in my blogroll. http://www.relandothompkins.com/2014/10/05/n-a-h-blogroll/

  12. Great piece. Great advice. The wider the conversation becomes, the more people will hear it and the more normalized the word (gasp) feminism will be.

    And now a shameless plug for a blog that isn’t about feminism but is feminist in its assumptions. I’m writing about the absurdities of living, as an American, in the U.K., with no special emphasis on the fact that my partner and I are a same-sex couple, or that neither of us is the stereotypical woman, but also without hiding that. We’re in our 60s and 70s and were around for the first wave of feminism, and my partner was at the original Christopher Street riots that kicked off the gay liberation movement. It feels like a gift from the universe to be able to write light-hearted stuff without having to bury the politics. And I hope it contributes to broadening the discussion or to changing some minds. It’s at http://notesfromtheuk.com.

  13. Reblogged this on Time to talk, time to take action and commented:
    This says a lot…

  14. This is a really good article! I have recently started my blog, so here is some desperate self-advertising! I would really appreciate it if you read it and give me any feedback you want: ‘Time to talk, time to take action’, by me thewriterofablog
    Thanks

  15. great article and a great blog. glad i found you. and i was happy to link to your tumblr blog, whiteguysdoingitbythemselves. very poignant. thanks for all the good work you do. 🙂

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