Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Virtual Community, Virtual Movement?

Bonnie Erbe recently hosted a roundtable on feminism and Gen Y on PBS's To the Contrary. Over at, Gen Y feminist Ann Friedman responds to the charge that Gen Y is not a movement generation, noting that the online feminist community is where it's at:

I think if the online feminist community has proved anything, it's that we are a movement generation. I participated in feminist actions on my college campus, but that felt more like a club than a movement. I worked for a women's rights nonprofit, but that felt more like a day job than a movement. I went to rallies and marches, but they felt more like one-off events than a movement. It took blogging here, and being part of a community of feminist bloggers, for me to really feel like part of a feminist movement. To feel I was part of a group of people, committed to a set of ideals, who are working day in and day out to advance those ideals.

So my question then is: When does a virtual movement become "real" in the eyes of those who have, in the past, done activism differently? Because it's not just about getting young women involved in feminism. It's about getting feminist organizations involved in online.

Scroll down here to see the video or just listen to the audio.

(I hear that a To the Contrary episode with clips from me and Jessica Valenti aired recently, but I can't seem to find the link! If anyone has seen it, please let me know? And shoot me the link? Many thanks.)


Helaine said...

I'll take the bait on this one, Deborah. A virtual movement becomes real when you can see it impacting people's lives in a concrete way. At the moment, I think the issue of health care reform comes damn close to passing that test. Would that I could say the same for the feminist movement.

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