On ladyblogging and disagreement

Finally catching up on my reading, and the best thing I’ve read so far is this: Molly Fischer, On Ladyblogs.

I rarely read so-called ladyblogs. I think the Hairpin, to take the same specific example used by Ms. Fischer, is largely condescending, repulsively phony, and offensively self-congratulatory. I don’t read non-ladyblogs often either. I think blogging has devolved into a giant lazy finger pointing at itself, a point that (in the second best thing I’ve read recently) Blake Andrews illustrates beautifully in his photography-specific piece The Finger.

Somehow, as women, we’re allowed to complain about the rest of the blogging world but about not “our” blogging world. We violate the terms of sisterhood if we don’t put hugs and kisses into everything we do, and if we disagree with what’s said or done, we’re supposed to keep our mouths shut lest we hurt someone’s feelings. Everything is personal, even when it clearly isn’t, like your reader’s feelings on those cute new shoes you wear once to take a picture of.

I’ve dealt with this playground mentality by divorcing myself from that world entirely, which I admit is avoidant and unproductive. Thus, I can only applaud Molly Fischer for having the courage to say what needs to be said, even in the face of truly ridiculous personal attacks that revolve around “boys” and “slumber parties”.

As she puts it, "[my ideal website] would be one where good faith could be assumed without gussying everything up in the trappings of intimacy, swaddling tricky subjects in chattiness. These are gestures that seem strange and infantilizing to me, because instant friendship regardless of individuality is the kind of assumption that parents make about children (“They have a daughter your age, you’ll have fun!”) and bosses about subordinates and majorities about minorities, but not one equals in power typically make about one another."

Ladies, we’re allowed to disagree, and we’re allowed to argue about what we really believe. We’re allowed to really believe things, and we’re allowed to have strong opinions that we stand by. Men have done it for centuries, so let’s stop pretending like we don’t want that same freedom.

P.S. I also think the forced faux-intimacy of the ladyblog world creates unrealistic expectations in female friendships, but that’s a topic for another time.