[T]he internet is characteristically "postmodern" in the
way that it opens up limitless opportunities for communication, writing
and thought, and in the way that it galvanizes the proliferation of text
freed from the mastery of authors . . . it makes all information the
ownership of everyone.
What's a blog?
Blogs are everywhere: they've become the new darling of US and
international politics and are quickly becoming a new form of media.
Hillary Clinton has experimented with blogging
and hired a
blogging consultant, and the President of Iran recently announced that
he would be launching a blog.
Newspapers and other media
outlets are creating new blogs at record pace. The new and creative ways
blogs are being used for political activism have shown that they can
make waves in electoral politics: The New York Times credited the
power of blogging as a contributing factor in Ned Lamont's victory over
Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary. Lamont had hired a
staffer to coordinate blogging activities.
grassroots organizations have started blogs and in so doing are paving
the way for online "netroots" organizing. Just last year, an antichoice
bill in Virginia was withdrawn thanks to the quick response of
But despite blogs' prevalence and
increasing relevance both in and outside of the political realm, many
still don't seem to know what, exactly, makes a blog a blog.
The term blog, short for Weblog, is a Web site maintained by one or
more persons who post information in "log" format, most often
time-stamped in reverse chronological order.
Unique to blogs
is a level of interactivity not present on most Web sites. Readers can
leave comments and partake in a conversation with other readers and the
bloggers themselves. Blogs also tend to be timelier than other Web sites
in that they're updated frequently—generally several times a day. If
you're not familiar with the "blogosphere," you may find this issue's Recommended Reading section and
Wikipedia's list of blogging terms
to keep on hand as references while you browse this edition of The
Scholar & Feminist Online.
New blogs are popping up everyday. Recent estimates by The
Guardian UK put the number of feminist blogs at 240,000, and the
number of active blogs worldwide at 4 million, although some estimates
are much higher.
The blog search engine Technorati says that
it tracks more than 50 million blogs worldwide. Despite these numbers,
little has been written on the feminist implications of the recent
blogging phenomenon, to the detriment of the feminist movement. Further,
while women are currently creating blogs at nearly the same rate as
"mainstream" or "A-list" blogs (as defined by traffic
rank and media and political attention) do not often link to blogs run
by women, particularly when it comes to the political blogosphere, an
indication that the gender hierarchy is being reproduced in the
In fact, a recent survey of "important blogs"
(importance being measured by how many sites—other blogs and commercial
news sites—link to the blog) by the Web site Blogstreet indicated that
not one of the "top 10 most important weblogs" was maintained by a
Addressing this point in an essay on the importance
of blogging to progressive politics, Lakshmi Chaudhry rightly asks: "If
blogs derive their credibility from being the 'voice of the people,'
surely we should be concerned about which opinions get attention over
others . . . What kind of democratic consensus does the blogosphere
reflect when the people participating in it are most likely to be white,
Following this argument, this issue not
only explores the act of blogging as a way of subverting media power
relations and an exciting new way to think about feminist activism, but
it also examines the recurring and important questions: Where are the
women bloggers? Who are they? Or more importantly, why can't (or won't)
people find them?