The 3rd Blogiversary Post

by | July 19, 2012
filed under Blogging, Feminism

I started Gender Focus in July of 2009 so this is the 3rd blogiversary week! Granted, if you’ve been following since the beginning you’ll know it wasn’t called Gender Focus at first. I originally started blogging because I was in a career planning class that I thought had some serious issues. The first title of this blog was Nice Work If You Can Get It. But inevitably the class ended. I still wanted to blog so I drew on my Women’s Studies and feminist activist background and changed the name to West Coast Feminist. In January 2010 I changed the name again to Gender Focus to be shorter and as a gesture that the blog’s subject matter would also include LGBTQ issues.

But I digress. As is now blogiversary tradition, in addition to the annual giveaway it’s time for me to recap the year’s highlights and share some key lessons.

September 2011 – Gender Focus welcomes two new fabulous regular contributors: Jessica Critcher and Alicia Costa. Jessica’s first post was on an Edmonton radio station’s contest to “win a Russian bride” and Alicia’s looked at plus-size women in pop culture.

October 2011 – Gender Focus welcomes new contributor Sarah Jensen, whose first post is on the first Occupy Canada events.

October 2011 – “The Halloween Post” challenging racist Halloween costumes got quoted on a CBC article, resulting in some kudos and some weird troll-y comments, including this response from a Jakarta blogger who calls me a “pinko looness” who he wouldn’t “take to a party”. I am naturally crushed (sarcasm).

January 2012 – Jasmine Peterson joined the Gender Focus team with her post on the FBI’s redefinition of rape.

January 11, 2012 – We publish our 500th post, a review of the CBC show Arctic Air. Today we are over 700 posts.

January 14, 2012 – First Gender Focus Panel-format post with multiple contributors providing short replies to a current topic or issue, in this case, federal same-sex marriage policy.

February 4, 2012 – Gender Focus wins Best Feminist Blog in the Canadian Weblog Awards!

February 2012 – Josey Ross publishes her first GF post on Woodworth’s Motion M-312 to re-open the abortion debate.

February 2012 – Ashli Lloyd becomes the newest contributor with her post on choosing not to have children.

March 2012 – I launch Feminism F.A.Q.s – a series of short, educational web videos aimed at debunking myths about feminism and giving quick lessons on feminist issues.

April 2012 – Jessica Mason McFadden publishes her first post, on Ashley Judd’s commentary around beauty ideals and patriarchy.

April 2012 – We cross-post a series of great articles by Joanna Chiu for the Battered Women’s Support Services Ending Violence Blog on the topic of pop culture representations, media literacy, and violence against women.

April 2012 – Matilda Branson’s first GF post, on “othering” and the White savior complex, goes up.

April 24, 2012 becomes the blog’s biggest day for hits as links back to a 2010 article on the history of pink for girls and blue for boys. This link also led to a record month with well over 500 site visits per day.

May 2012 – GF welcomes contributor Chanel Dubofsky, whose first post is on capitalism and Mother’s Day.

May 2012 – My Feminism F.A.Q.s video on the myth of bra-burning gets shared on the Mary Sue, one of my all-time favourite feminerd blogs.

May 2012 – Heather Klem joins the team of GF contributors with her first post on “Man Showers” for soon-to-be grooms.

Now for the lessons:

  1. Diverse content doesn’t happen without planning it. In 2010 we placed 2nd in the Canadian Weblog Awards in both the Best Feminist and Best LGBTQ Blog categories. In 2011 we won Best Feminist but didn’t place in Best LGBTQ. I took a look back and realized we hadn’t posted a single story on specifically LGBTQ issues during the entire jurying period, which I think was around 2-3 weeks, despite posting something every day. It was a bit of a reality check for me as I found I was just kind of taking it for granted that LGBTQ issues and analysis would somehow be part of the mix, without deliberately planning it. It’s still something I’m working on, along with trying to integrate more comprehensive anti-racist analysis and issues relating to disability, class inequality, and other forms of potential marginalization
  2. Never underestimate how little you have to do as a woman on the internet to get trolls to attack you. Of course the attacks and threats against Anita Sarkeesian proved this in a big way. While I didn’t experience near the same level of coordinated hate Anita did, I did receive my first blog-related death threat and discovered how much worse trolling is on YouTube as I made my entrance into online videos. I learned a lot about how uninformed some of these people are – not that they’ll change their mind if you inform them but it did kind of make me feel better that they had basically no defense for their ridiculous generalizations. This isn’t to say we stop what we’re doing out of fear. It is to say that we be aware this might happen and prepare our own policies on what types of things we will and won’t allow and how we’ll respond. It’s also to say it’s good to have a few good friends (or Twitter followers) you can talk to when you start to question why you’re doing this at all.
  3. Blogging is hard work and self-care is hella important. Like I was saying, you must have friends to talk to. You must also take time away from blogging and thinking about how you’ll respond or not respond to a commenter who you can tell is just trying to get your goat. Having awesome contributors who produce great content and help take a bit of the content-production pressure off me has been crucial, and I can’t thank them enough for volunteering their time, energy, and mad skillz.

But anywho, this is a celebration. we’ve made it through another year and done some pretty kick-ass things if I do say so myself. I’m super grateful to all the commenters, the occasional readers, and the lurkers for checking us out, sharing our links, and thinking about the issues we’ve addressed.


(photo via Wikimedia Commons)