reappropriate

Friday, January 06, 2006

Ringmistress

This post will be a short note on my experiences hosting the Carnival of Feminists VI. Hostesses prior to myself have written excellent guides on how to hostess a Carnival, and I would point you in particular to Sour Duck's excellent series of notes on Carnival-hosting. Therefore, I won't go in to the usual "What is a Carnival" stuff since that's all available elsewhere. Instead, I will list a few notable lessons and thoughts that occurred to me during my Carnival experience. Why are you doing this? The Carnival of Feminists was actually my initiation into the world of Blog Carnivals. I had seen them referenced in posts syndicated on FeministBlogs.org but it wasn't until someone suggested that I try hosting an edition of Carnival of Feminists that I really looked into the whole thing. I began reading editions of the Carnival of Feminists and realized how great a resource this was. It was a celebration of feminism that delivered brutally honest testimony of our failures, shortcomings and triumphs. However, what was lacking, to me, were particular avenues of feminism that considered it more than a mere identity in and of itself but as something fluid, intersecting with every other aspect of a person's identity creating a unique feminism for each person. It's no secret that feminism and race activism have, at times, been at odds. Being, of course, a feminist of colour, this disconnect is of particular importance to me. I wanted to include in the Carnival a discussion of that diversity of feminism. As race is a rich breeding ground for controversial analysis, I hoped to draw a discussion of race and feminism and how it is intertwined out of the feminist community. I also hoped to bring to the attention of Carnival readers blogs by feminists of colour that are somewhat off the beaten path of regular readership. Bandwidth What I was completely unprepared for was the massive increase in traffic and bandwidth that participating in the Carnival and, indeed, hosting an edition, would entail. With my current hosting plan, I had been using just about 75% of my monthly bandwidth. Merely by having one of my posts be included in an edition of the Carnival meant that my bandwidth shot past my monthly allotment in early December, just a week before my edition of the Carnival was scheduled to come out. I guess it's a testament to how much of a niche this particular Carnival fills that it is so massively successful in generating readership to a blog. It's also a testament to the phenomenal job Natalie Bennett did in putting the Carnival together and getting the word out. So the lesson I would share here is: be prepared for the bombardment! Calling for Submissions I just want to include also a brief thanks to everyone who spread the word with each call for submissions. Also thanks to everybody who nominated and submitted work for the Carnival. It made my life a lot easier. Natalie was particularly helpful -- she sent me an email that had roughly 15-20 posts of interest which led me to several other blogs and ultimately helped me build the list for this past edition. Also, I used the Technorati Tag feature to ask for submissions, and used a textarea to provide the code for the HTML-unsaavy. I can't say whether or not other bloggers found it useful to be able to copy and paste some code into their post to nominate it, but I found it useful to get a listing of all posts that had been submitted by their authors. Finding the Right Posts Possibly one of the hardest aspect of hosting this edition of the Carnival was that I didn't quite get the kind of posts I was looking for. I admit that my first call for submissions was poorly worded and unnecessarily vague. I was working under the delusion that feminist bloggers had been just dying for an opportunity to blog about the intersection of race and gender -- and I had worried that by presenting more specific avenus to blog about, I would be stifling the creative process of other bloggers. In response to the lukewarm reception of the first call, in my second call, I offered some possible topics and questions, and while these were met with more enthusiasm, I wasn't exactly deluged with posts. I can speculate as to why this might be: some might have felt the call for submissions was looking specifically for feminists of colour to blog about race (and therefore felt excluded), others might have simply had nothing to say. Whatever the reason, I wasn't necessarily disappointed with the turn-out, since a lot of great posts were written over the two-week period that I covered, but I can say that I was a little bummed that I didn't get quite the discussion I was looking for. The Holidays Another issue I had to contend with was the holiday blogging blah's. Bloggers were either away on holiday and didn't have access to their computers or were, understandably, enjoying their lives instead of sitting in front of the computer pondering racism and sexism intertwined. Other Blogs One of my goals, as stated above, was to bring some light to blogger feminists of colour who hadn't been featured before in the Carnival . Whether emailing other bloggers or searching for blogs by other women of colour, I actually had a hard time finding bloggers of colour who were wanted to discuss issues of feminism. Again, I can only speculate as to why. The Format I had reviewed other editions for a format to use, and decided to modify a past edition of the Carnival's format for my upcoming edition. I really worried about doing each post justice, and I decided the best way, while still generating a unique Carnival edition that was more than a mere list of links was to attempt either a summary or a quote for each post. I decided that this would give readers a better idea of what each post was about, and would allow me to develop a narrative flow for my edition of the Carnival. Which leads me to my other major alteration to the format: narrative flow. Rather than breaking the edition up into sub-categories of posts, I decided to try and connect each post to the one preceding it in some sort of logical (or quippy) way. In some instances I succeeded, in others I failed, but overall, I was very happy with the way one could read the Carnival edition and get a sort of Big Picture of What Happened (tm). The All-Nighter My last big comment and life lesson: do not attempt to write out your edition in one sitting. For the love of all things holy: start early, compile the list over time, and save the night following deadline for final submissions and proofreading! I spent a total of eight hours in front of my computer on the night of January 30th, starting from 8pm, and didn't move my legs until 4am the following morning. Never again. Despite (or because) of all of this, I actually had a stupendous time hosting this Carnival. I found several new blogs that I look forward to becoming a regular reader of, and networked with some great new people. Most importantly, out of this particular edition of the Carnival, the Radical Woman of Color Carnival has been born. In the end, I feel like I performed a service for the feminist community, my eyes were opened to other, extremely valuable insights within the feminist community, I think the bandwidth deluge is going to be mangeable, and though I didn't accomplish every goal I had set out with, a step has been taken towards fulfilling those larger ambitions. I would recommend that all of you readers consider volunteering to host an edition of the Carnival of Feminists or, at the least, taking time to submit work to other editions. The next Carnival of Feminists will be on January 18th at Feministe.

5 Comments:

Blogger fiercelyfab said...

I really enjoyed the Carnival of Feminists: issue 6, I definitely found the theme of race and gender of extreme importance, and processing/growing to define what it means to be a woman of color and a feminist I believe is a transition and it takes a bit to put down in words, express and dialogue about especially in the blog world.

Definitely this subject/reality is an important conversation to start or tap into within the blog world. And I'm almost sure The Radical Woman of Color Carnival is going touch upon many of the race/gender interconnections.

But I was wondering what kind of conversation were you thinking of-any ideas you want to share?

1/07/2006 04:37:00 AM  
Blogger Espahan said...

I had this same question. What kind of conversation did you want? I think the idea was good. Perhaps something more specific? In any case I enjoyed reading all the entries, and have bookmarked your blog. Good job.

1/13/2006 10:19:00 PM  
Blogger yellowbaby said...

Something interesting said earlier on Reappropriate is that Asian American women may be too "terrified, unwilling, apathetic" to speak up on the internet. I would add that it is the same in real life. Brownfemipower said on her blog she hasn't found a discussion of women of color and "sexualized passive violence, silencing, lack of power, lack of access" on the internet and in real life since the internet mirrors the rest of life. I think these are interesting topics to think about.

1/18/2006 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger yellowbaby said...

In my own case, on the internet and in real life, half the time I've spoken out too much and half the time I haven't spoken my mind for the well-articulated reasons listed above.

1/18/2006 08:06:00 PM  
Blogger yellowbaby said...

More possible explanations why WOC do not speak up in real life or on the internet from Brownfemipower:

"Whether it is because of lack of access, lack of knowledge of the technology, fear of their words being attacked or not believed, or lack of time, there are too many women out there who do not have the power to access the resources the internet has to offer".

WOC have the most to lose by not speaking up about political issues because the denial of racism, sexism and classism turns anger inward and has lead to some of the highest rates of depression.

1/28/2006 11:43:00 PM  

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