Radical Feminism on the Web: The Carnival of Radical Feminists

Rain and Thunder: A Radical Feminist Journal of Discussion and Activism, Autumn Equinox 2009, Issue #44


In the face of diminishing print media slots, even writers with steady gigs are embracing the self-publishing cyberworld of blogs. Many newly-minted radical feminist writers have backburnered dreams of being paid staff journalists at print publications for the obvious reasons, but their urge to keep writing the good write remains untamed and blogs are their verdant stamping ground.

Enter the Carnival of Radical Feminists. A blog carnival is an online magazine of sorts, a community that collects links from around the Internet on specific topics. Editions of the carnival typically come out on a regular basis and include contributions that have been submitted by bloggers. The Carnival of Radical Feminists has been chugging along since Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff published the first in the series on May 11, 2007. Since then there have been twenty-two further radical feminist carnival editions, with #22 living in its very own special forum at my not-a-blog website,

At Cheryl’s instigation, Ann Bartow of the blog Feminist Law Professors agreed to host the second Carnival, “I’ve learned a lot from blogging and reading blogs, not all of it good. But radical feminist blogs are the only place I find unabashed feminism – writings by women who truly don’t care about pleasing liberal men, and for that I am very grateful. All the goodies doled out by well placed Supposedly Liberal Doods are reserved for pro-porn feminists. Criticize porn and you will pay. So blogs where feminists criticize porn without cringing or qualifying need to exist, and I’m glad the Carnival of Radical Feminists offers them some support.”

“Buried Alive” blogger pisaquari agreed to host a carnival in order to bring a wicked plot to fruition, “My plan the whole time was to do interviews–had, in fact, wanted to do them for quite some time. The Carnival was the most sensible way for me to get them the right amount of spot light.”

She continues, “We have so many passionate, dissenting voices and the Carnival gave us some much needed solidarity on a regular basis–a reminder that there is enough commonality to carry the torch. As well, I think it showed the larger feminist blogosphere that we have the capacity to come together and celebrate our philosophies–in a feminist blogosphere that generally doesn’t celebrate our way of thinking.”

Piggybacking off pisaquari’s comment about the feminist blogosphere, liberal feminists have done their typical hogging of the title ‘feminist’ with their all-radicals-excised “Carnival of Feminists.” In more piggyback news, mere days after pisaquari’s fresh take on the carnival there was a burst of interviews among thirdwave libfems reminding people that only feminists who have a net positive opinion about prostitution will be allowed to join in their reindeer games.

Three radical feminist bloggers – Witchy Woo, Laurelin, and V of the blog ‘resisterance’ – combined their superpowers to bring the world Carnival #18 based on the theme of exploring hierarchy and class. For V, the biggest challenge was fear of criticism for including writers with differing ideologies. “Sometimes it just feels easier not to rock the boat, even if it’s not healthy to the growth and progression of our political positions and debating skills. As it was, I didn’t get any grief personally for anything that was included, and in the end the most downright annoying thing was the way that our Carnival was basically ignored by mainstream feminist sites in a way that they do not (and wouldnt dare) do to other even tangentially relevant Carnivals.

“The bigger feminist websites seem happy to promote and link to many other carnivals including those that are not even feminist in tone or content, but won’t mention the Radicals no matter what we do.”

To bolster V’s point with an anecdote of my own, a few months ago I emailed Jess McCabe, editor of the UK website The F Word, to inquire why the pornstitution lobby’s carnival “Feminist Carnival of Sexual Freedom and Autonomy” was faithfully promoted at The F Word but the radfem carnival wasn’t. Her reply belied ignorance of an astonishing amount of feminist blogs with its assertion that she thought the radfem carnival was defunct, and the public relationy response hinted at the inclusion of future Carnivals of Radical Feminists. However, rather than include pro and anti pornstitution carnivals, the decision came down to scrap mention of both, and nary a word has been seen by either on The F Word since.

V sums up my thoughts on the situation so well I’ve decided to let her have the final word about the Carnival of Radical Feminists, “Like any Carnival, it is effective in that regular readers of the host blog and the Carnival itself get exposed to writers and websites that they havent found before, and therefore a wider range of opinion and thought. It would be even more effective if it was paid any attention at all by mainstream blogs.”

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