Is Feminism Political?


12:23 am - November 4th 2008

by Jennie Rigg    


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This might not be as daft a question as it at first may seem. It arises from a reply I got to an email I sent to Wikio, earlier, regarding my categorisation in their blog rankings, and the categorisation of others.

Politics is defined quite well on Wikipedia, for my money. They say that:

[p]olitics is the process observed in all human (and many non-human) group interactions by which groups make decisions, including activism on behalf of specific issues or causes.

I therefore consider my Lib Demmery-focussed blog to be pretty political, but not exclusively so, and I wasn’t massively offended to be put in the category “other”, since I do talk about Doctor Who and Top Gear sometimes. However, when Steph Ashley told me that Dib Lemming is also classed as “other” I had a closer look at some of the categorisations. And, what do you know, pretty much all the blogs I would call political blogs that are written by girls are also in “other”. To be fair to Wikio, there are also lots of blogs which are written by boys which are in “other” which read like politics blogs to me – Amused Cynicism, for one. And they do cover a lot of blogs, and can’t be expected to examine the minutiae of each one… And then I noticed The F-Word‘s categorisation.

Now, some of you might be aware of my annoyance when people assert things that aren’t true, like They’re trying to ban Christmas!! and The Daily Mail is a newspaper and girls don’t blog, especially not about politics… Ah yes. Girls don’t blog, do they? Especially not about politics! Politics is boys‘ stuff! Well, of course, depending on how you define politics, this is exactly so. For instance, if you define “politics” as only including electoral politics, then that is going to be a mostly male space. Which seems an unnecessarily narrow definition to me, but what do I know? I’m a girl.

And, of course, if you explicitly exclude feminist blogs from your definition of political blogs, as the gentleman (and he has been very gentlemanly, BTW, even though I have ranted at him rather a lot) who emailed me from Wikio tonight does, even though he believes (but isn’t sure) that the writer of The F-Word has asked him to include it under politics, then that is going to take vast swathes of women outside the remit of politics…

Now, obviously: your site, your rules. This is the way of the internet. But the whole purpose of feminism is to effect political change so that women are treated as equal to men. If that is not political, then (with the greatest of respect to the very gentlemanly gentleman from Wikio, and apologies for my unladylike language) what the blue buggery fuck is?

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By the way, the reason the gentleman from Wikio is referred to as such is because he wished to not be named or directly quoted. I have tried to tell the story while staying within that request, because he WAS very nice about my complaint.

Hello, gentleman from Wikio here,

I e-mailed the F-Word and asked whether for the purpose of our classification they would consider their blog a Politics one. The response I received was was an affirmative, but was not particularly vehement (I thought). I discussed it with my colleagues and I felt that the F-Word touched on more than just politics so I left it as it was as (ie in the General rankings).

I felt (perhaps incorrectly) the authors did not feel particularly strongly either way about whether the blog appeared in the politics rankings or general one. If I was wrong about that, I do apologise to them.

Jennie’s arguments above I found very interesting, particularly the point on electoral politics, and have changed my mind. I am grateful for her input, even though I feel she has rather misrepresented me.

The F-word will appear in the Politics ranking next month. We never pretend to know more about the blogosphere than the bloggers who reside within it so any such advice/opinions on classification discrepancies are welcome.

Dan

It did actually occur to me that if everything that I think of as political was categorised as political by Wikio then there wouldn’t be much else in the chart…

And sorry for keeping you up.

Victory. Next step: get Guido off the politics list. It isn’t a political blog at all, just a virtual honey trap for the permanently deranged and bewildered.

I think this must be some sort of record for the shorttest time from a campaigning blog entry on a topic to victory being achieved. Well done, Jennie!

Maybe there is some point in this blogging lark after all… 🙂

Well done Jennie. Result!

“Victory” is pushing it :-). I’d call it good customer service. AFAIK Dan is not part of the Illuminati.

What about rounding up the “girl political blogs” that aren’t in Wikio and submitting them if you want to make sure they are visible?

>It did actually occur to me that if everything that I think of as political was categorised as political by Wikio then there wouldn’t be much else in the chart…

That is key, especially as it is a good thing (as you argued before IIRC) for political blogs to be a bit less anally political. That would make things interesting for wikio.

Before I get jumped on – not trying to squash anyone.

Matt, you’re way off there.

Jennie’s long campaign and her awe-inspiring victory against Wikio – AKA the evil ranking empire, is nothing to sniff at.

We’re considering a stature in her honour. Looking somewhat winsome at her laptop.

Heh 😉

I’m keeping stumm.

Victory! Especially given Dan says:

particularly the point on electoral politics

The benefits of a good proofreader in the house…

@Matt: My degree was in politics, hence I studied, amongst other things, formulae for determining what restaurant a group of people should go to (and why I now work mostly in marketing–when I’ve got a client that is). ‘Office’ politics is talked about all the time, football has politics, etc. I had a dig at a friend yesterday for doing a meme that said ‘stop being political’–memes are, by their very nature, political.

So yeah, ‘politics’ is a broad category, and Jennie, Innerbrat and the F Word are definitely political blogs. Whereas mine is a general interest personal journal–I keep my politics posts mostly here unless it’s purely party political these days. Not that I post here enough.

@Dan. Thx mate, you made her smile, which is always nice.

As the person who first used the word “victory” (a word I wouldn’t think twice about using when winning an argument against an obnoxious monkey in a call centre; not sure what the Illuminati have to do with the price of fish) on this thread, I feel the need to stick up for Jennie here.

I think she’s right to question why a blog about feminism could be presumed to be un-political, just as I think she’s right to identify a double standard.

As I blogged yesterday, Dod’s have just launched their Women in Public Life Awards. Their website is a hideous eyesore of pink flowers. I’m frankly surprised they didn’t include pictures of puppies and a section on makeup tips. And this is an awards scheme for some of the most senior women in politics.

I think she’s right to question why a blog about feminism could be presumed to be un-political, just as I think she’s right to identify a double standard.

What James said.

Um, yeah, but rereading I don’t see anyone saying otherwise? What’m I missing?

#11

Well I don’t consider Advancing… to be a political blog. And for that, Mat, I’m going to post some more about knitting just to spite you.

>I feel the need to stick up for Jennie here.

I wasn’t aware that anyone was having a go at Jennie.

>So yeah, ‘politics’ is a broad category, and Jennie, Innerbrat and the F Word are definitely political blogs.

Of course it as, and of course they are. Never said they weren’t. But surely it is a matter for the F Word to decide whether they want to be categorised as a primarily political blog or not.

Why does “other” have to mean “not political”. Isn’t that falling into a “political silo” mentality.

Sticking up for Wikio: Why the need to declare “Victory” over a company who are on our side? They are one of very few companies who take time to engage with individual blogs.

Two serious points:

1 – A broader definition of politics is *precisely* what the political blogosphere needs. Would anyone here disagree with that?

2 – Repeating – why not round up the “girl political blogs” that aren’t in Wikio and submitting them if you want to make sure they are visible?

>But surely it is a matter for the F Word to decide whether they want to be categorised as a primarily political blog or not.

I see that that has already been addressed. Thanks, Dan.

I still think that it would be good for someone to make sure that Wikio has complete coverage of this category of blogs.

Hi James Graham,

There is no double standard. We’d just largely to this point (for the practical reasons related to the ranking only, not in order to define the word or make any kind of statement) tended to consider politics as electoral politics.

There are so many political blogs in the UK it’s untrue. More than any other type of blog… way more. As you can see our overall Top 20 is 80% ‘Politics’ blogs already.

I said I thought Jennie was right – that to centre it around electoral politics was incorrect (even though as Jennie recognises, we are running out of big blogs that aren’t classified as Politics or Tech blogs!!) – so ‘obnoxious monkey’ seems an unfair comparison.

Dan

Dan – I didn’t call you an obnoxious monkey, I called a hypothetical person in a hypothetical call centre an “obnoxious monkey.” That’s a bit of a leap.

Trust me, if I insult you, you’ll know about it.

> I still think that it would be good for someone to make sure that Wikio has complete coverage of this category of blogs.

Yes Matt, that is exactly what we want. We openly solicit the expertise of bloggers. Ordovicius was kind enough to supply me with a collection of Welsh blogs for example, and some of them we hadn’t yet indexed.

And we of course want to be told of such classification issues, as I said above. The classification is often done automatically; we have over 60,000 sites in our index. We absolutely and totally want your help: you are the experts.

Dan

James, I didn’t say you did, it was the comparison to which I objected. Perhaps I was being overly pedantic.

Mr Wardman: I have my local party AGM tonight, but there will, at some point, be a nice long submission list on it’s way to Dan of girly blogs; some of them political and some not.

He’s been very lovely, even though I was horribly grumpy at him, and that sort of thing is appreciated in this house.

>Mr Wardman: I have my local party AGM tonight, but there will, at some point, be a nice long submission list on it’s way to Dan of girly blogs; some of them political and some not.

Fantastic.

Blimey, I’m in “Other” as well. That is a bit daft. Can I go on your list to Nice Dan?

Clearly feminism is political. As is anything relating to power structures between groups of people.

I’m also surprised that Amused Cynicism isn’t categorized as political. I regard it as mostly political, and most of what I write about is either explicitly political or has a political dimension. Though I don’t limit myself in what I cover — it’s my soapbox and I’ll continue to write about whatever interests me.

So Dan, if you’re reading this, I suggest you re-categorise Amused Cynicism as political. (Actually if I was running Wikio I’d allow a blog to have more than one category; that would be more in line with reality than trying to shoebox every blog into just one category).

Matt Wardman: What about rounding up the “girl political blogs” that aren’t in Wikio and submitting them if you want to make sure they are visible?

May I take this opportunity to plug my other website, Includipedia (an inclusionist fork of Wikipedia) for one moment?

If you are a “girl political blogger” (or any other sort of blogger) and wish to promote your blog, why not create an entry for it on Includipedia — for example here’s the entry for Amused Cynicism, and here’s the entry for Liberal Conspiracy. When you do so, you’ll want to include a link back to your own blog (which will improve it’s Google ranking).

Hi Alix and Philip, both Amused Cynicism and PRoM have been switched to Politics.

Thanks for those.

Dan


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Jennie Rigg

    @jamesgraham: yes, well, planning and actual often differ… http://tinyurl.com/6f787o

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    […] television and general toss; yet I’ve always been regarded as a political blogger. As Jenny discovered, by contrast she tends to be regarded as an “other” by default and even feminism is […]





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