Tuesday, February 02, 2010

"Does gender affect x, y and z?" Yes, gender affects everything

What have I been doing recently? I have been making poems, making films (and getting much better at it), hooping, doing acro yoga, choreographing, hanging out with friends, and organizing readings at Agitprop. I've also been working (as in the making money sense--teaching, bits of contract work, my RA duties at UCSD), riding the bus, finally taking advantage of student health insurance by updating some prescriptions, and doing a worse job than usual of putting my clothes away. I also gave myself a large bump on the forehead by walking into a metal lamp post--not my best moment. So, I've been away from blogland.

I am indeed tired of conversations about gender and blogging, gender and publishing, gender and self-promotion. But I'm not tired of the topics--or, at least, I still think the topics are essential. I wish that we lived in a happy land of gender (and racial and socioeconomic) equality, but we don't. So, conversations and actions continue. And will always have to, because even if the world were perfect, we'd still have to work to maintain perfection. But I don't turn to blogland to have great conversations--especially not about gender.

Yes, of course there are exceptions, and I turn to specific blogs for conversation--typically blogs written and moderated by friends that I knew before we interacted in blogland. I've met some people through blogland, and that's been great, but even there, the lasting virtual connections that I make tend to be the result of a whole network of community and social connections that exist alongside the virtual ones.

I do not turn to Harriet or Silliman's blog for conversation. I turn to them for information, but not conversation. In fact, unless I become a paid blogger for Harriet, I'm unlikely to ever join any comment stream on any post there, ever. The comment streams there tend to be repetitive and frustrating. I really do prefer to talk to someone at a bar, or cafe, or over food. I'd rather argue with someone that way, too.

Women do blog, and blog in interesting ways. Smart women and men know this, and read accordingly.

There's almost never any substantial debate in the comment stream on this blog because I rarely make statements like, "Workshopping sucks," "MFA programs are bogus and anyone who does one is a tool." "Women are smarter than men," "white space on the page is lame," "Flarf is more avant-garde than the avant-garde," etc. Blogs that make these kinds of statements are more likely to have overrun and often irritating, unproductive comment threads. My blog is too random, and I post too many pictures of my parrot for that to usually happen. This is fine with me.

The post on this blog that gets the most hits and has the most comments is "Today, I tried to spell fluctuate as 'fluxuate.'"

I think that repeated, community-minded actions and groups of people really do help shift gender (and racial, and socioeconomic) imbalances in the world of writing (and, when I'm feeling idealistic, the world). I can think of numerous examples that have been important to me personally and recently, in no particular order and off the top of my head: HOW2, Delirious Hem, Foursquare, the Press Conference 1, 2 and now 3, the Positions Colloquium in Vancouver, Bridge Street Books, The Flarf Collective, Pussipo, Ruthless Grip reading series in DC, In Your Ear reading series in DC, Palm Press, Tangent Press, Les Figues Press, the Cal Arts Conferences, Area Sneaks, the Poetic Research Bureau, my own attempts in conjunction with others to do a series at Agitprop here in San Diego, the Agitprop Gallery itself, Krikri, and any dinner hosted by Jerry and Diane Rothenberg.


Anonymous said...

I love this post! I enjoy the Lester photos too!

Adam Strauss

My sense is that you and I are of two feminisms which get along well, though (won't speak for yours: I don't, however, believe that an other--another--can't "speak" sensibly regarding another one) at-least in my case--sadly--I feel like there are many other feminisms which would say I am more like an erasor than a contributor. My prediction is that the 4th wave will center around the issue of whether it is womenness that must ultimately constitute feminism(s), or if it is humans (all of 'em, every single lol hideous one!) which shall/should.

The formulation above is far from complete/making lots of sense: M Nussbaum and Amartya Sen already qualify for my 4thwave moniker etc.

I hope all's well!

Office of the Cultural Liaisons said...

It is interesting that technology lets one have two different conversations with this at the same time:)

Ryan W. said...

the best comment thread convos are often ones where people are fairly brief and say silly things.