I had written to express skepticism about the voice cultivated by women’s websites. Now I was experiencing the real problem with the community defined by that voice: the way it manages criticism. When intimacy is your model of success, it becomes easy to assume that everyone is either a friend or a traitor. I had tried to approach the ladyblogs as an observer rather than a participant, but my writing about them in an apparently impersonal public voice, as a woman—which became a woman holding myself apart from their community of women—registered as unacceptable aggression. So, was I a spinster feminist, or just out to impress boys? This was the exact corner of the internet that seemed like it ought to know better.
On Ladyblogs by Molly Fischer is online!
Women continue to feel like their shared online spaces are so tenuous that any critique of them must be treated as a mortal threat. It’s easy to understand why they feel that way when you think of how recently these outlets have emerged and when you look at the blog-world outside them. But we need to spend less time defending our fortresses and more time expanding the borders of our empire.