WAM! It Yourself Conference Liveblog: Feminist Perspectives in Pregressive Media

Posts are going in reverse-order so start at the bottom and scroll up for the blow-by-blow in order!

12:15pm: Megan: “Know your budget, know your boundaries, ask for what you’re worth.” Lauren: “There is a balance between doing fulfilling work and getting what you’re worth.” She shared a funny example about having to research Justin Bieber & his fans on twitter for an assignment… but she did it for the trade-off . The profits from one assignment can make room for a project you are more passionate about!

12:08pm: Akiba: “I actually don’t look for safe spaces, I look for spaces that will welcome me to do my work. [..] As a journalist I don’t expect the space to be safe, but when it is I love it.” “You can actually change a space, you really can. I worked at the source magazine and I had a column called “What the Fuck” and I had an editor actually say to me, ‘This isn’t Ms.’ […] and I said, ‘Okay, but this is my column.'” I feel like I have found my people… and a newfound desire to bring my feminist voice to a more mainstream publication!

12:03pm: Now we’re talking about the value of women-only spaces. Lots of comments…I’m going to save this to think/write about later. [Someone brought up this issue of how this can marginalize trans women, WOC, etc. I’m relieved this got brought up.]

12:01pm: “Don’t ever not write for a publication because the comments are nasty because that’s letting the assholes win.” [Someone in the audience!] “Often the comments prove your point, they make you right… so there’s no reason to be afraid.”

11:59am: WAM is a great resource for interviewing people who “aren’t your usual suspects!” Paraphrased Megan: [In reference to not necessarily giving equal-footing to bad opinions by presenting them in the same way.] “You can put Tony Perkins in the story… just make him sound crazy.” Also, “The idea that there was ever objectivity has always been false.” “This is something that other reporters have been doing for ages… just the other way around.” Why do you never see WOC doing political punditry? “Cause the old white dudes are deciding who to interview.”

11:56am: What are some good entry-points to getting people engaged in feminist issues? One example: one of the panelists used the scarf movement against exploiting young-women’s sexuality to talk about how you can be pro-sexuality but anti the exploitation of women’s sexuality in the media (objectification).One really crafty way to handle this to interview the right people, and you decide who the right people are. […] If you are wading through an issue or trying to create discussion around something through a different frame then find the right people to talk to and try to put their views through a different context. Its actually sometimes more effective if you’re not talking to people who are all on the same page as well [because then those different viewpoints can pop in the contrast.]” – Paraphrased Akiba.

11:47am: “I am not the most thick-skinned person in the world.” Akiba is telling us how to deal with “internet gangsters.” She’s talking a lot about the Cleveland rape case & the issues that came up in talking about it. [Go check out the articles she has written about it, I know I will be later…] She deals with bad comments by trying to make it just really plain how she feels/what she thinks. Now someone I can’t see (sorry!) is recommending a follow-up post as a worthwhile strategy for dealing with a post that generates a lot of problematic comments.

11:35am: We are talking about commenters: when and how do we engage them? Megan: “I was schooled very early […] at Wonkette. […] The first time I commented was because I wrote something as a woman [about being comfortable with my body] that made them all think I was a guy. So I said ‘ Look, you can call me stupid, you can call me ugly, but don’t call me a guy.’ ” “You have to develop a thick skin but, at the same time, you don’t have to tolerate certain language/discourse.” I feel like this liveblog is just going to turn into me doing my best to copy down all of Megan’s witty comments. Again: “Liberal men are perfectly happy to be on women’s sides until they disagree and then they’re perfectly happy to call them a ‘mashed-up bag of meat.'” [Referencing an insult leveraged at  Michelle Malkin.] “Media is a male-dominated culture […] and so, as a woman coming into these environments I am very specific, very upfront, I say ‘we cannot expand our audience if we keep talking like this.’ I’ll say, ‘Congratulations, you’ve cornered the market on straight, white men over forty… do you want to expand out from there?'”

11:32am: “I don’t know if someone hates women, I can only as a journalist and a reporter say what they are doing. You can say in very specific ways about something someone has done […] and share with you reader what you think of their motivations.” –  (Paraphrased a bit) Megan. “If you are going to come to my site and leave a racist comment, a misogynistic comment […] I don’t want your clicks.” – Megan, again. She also just told us that she literally told someone on her staff that if an asshole commenter complains about being “silenced” to tell them that she said that could “go fuck themselves sideways.” Which I, for one, think is just awesome. Knowing that you don’t have to engage with the people who are being jerks holds so much power.

11:30am: What are some great ways to write headlines that get your readers to click and take you seriously, not just ignore the post for being feminist? It depends on the audience. words like patriarchy might work on a smaller personal blog when you know who you’re talking to, versus something huge where you might need to create a synonym or accept maybe getting less hits on that piece. Most important: be clear about what you’re saying and make the headline fit. [Akiba]

11:24am: Megan Carpentier is blowing my mind right now. Such a cool story about that awful forcible rape bill and how she encouraged one of her writers to write about it and just keep covering it… on a site that didn’t by default cover feminist issues… which just adds to the evidence that these stories and those strategies work.

11:19am: Progressive does not always mean feminist (Sadly, I already knew this… I mean, just look at the Moore & Me campaign…if progressive ALWAYS meant feminist there would have been no need.)

11:10am: My second panel, Feminist Perspectives in Progressive Media with Megan Carpentier, Lauren Kelley, Sarah Seltzer, and Akiba Solomon is starting in a minute! I may pay attention more and type less this time around. I’m in the back (but I have an outlet) so I can’t hear or see all so well but I’ll do my best. (Out of curiosity, is anyone following these posts?)

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