Thursday, October 2, 2008

Communicating Feminism

Yesterday Courtney Martin and I had a little convo about Robin Morgan's latest piece over at the Women's Media Center, in comments. Thought I'd share snippets here:

CM: Did you really think she was at her best D? You know I love me some WMC, and I thought it was chock full of interesting details, but I'm not sure this is a terribly effective way to communicate. Seems like a terribly effective way to alienate. And make the converted chuckle.

DS: Ok Court, you made me read it very closely again. I found objectionable parts. Like, "Bottom line: Obama’s book title: Dreams from My Father. McCain’s book title: Faith of My Fathers. Patriarchy? You think? Neither one gets it. BUT. One doesn’t not get it much more than the other." I think of it differently. And I also think this line is a bit of doublespeak: "HRC campaigned intrepidly. But her campaign was unworthy of her—and that’s her fault." If it's her fault, then it's her fault. Just own it. And lastly, this line: "We must never again collaborate in our own invisibility." Not sure I agree with Morgan that that's what happened in the primaries.

But other than that, I did think the piece--full of vitriol, yes, and sure to p** off the nonconverted--was effective in terms of pulling together a lot of what I've been thinking about the Palin-McCain ticket and hence in rallying a base. I do think outrage is called for in the face of McPalin. And I agree it's not exactly a bridge-building kind of piece. But tell me more C -- what specifically turned you off? The tone? The format? The content? I wanna know.

CM: You pointed out lots of the things that irritated me, but even more than that, I just find Morgan's overall tone so alienating. It's like, and I feel bad writing this but it's really how I feel, a feminist Dowd...too clever and snarky and sarcastic to really communicate from the heart. Maybe I'm just cheesy, but my favorite writers get at the HEART of politics. I feel like she's missing heart. (I'm also, totally admittedly, still angry at the way she characterized young feminists in her last controversial piece.)

It all got me thinking a lot about feminist messages and communication styles. Got thoughts on this? I'm curious to hear!


Anonymous said...

I decided not to read the comments but I didn't find the article off-putting because she was pretty muchon the money.

One thing I have found - generally speaking - is that the closer you get to the truth in writing, the more people will be offended.

Truth is not something that many of us want to know in connection to ourselves.

Deborah Siegel said...

I agree with you Anniegirl that the article was both off-putting and true. The question is, does this kind of tone alienate those that Morgan might most wish to reach?

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