Friday, December 23rd, 2011...9:00 pm

I heart feminists on twitter – some Christmas dues

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A lovely conversation on twitter has sparked me to dust off the old blog to talk about how twitter is a much more feminist friendly space than blogging ever was. It started when a Boring Man on an attachment parenting blog linked to a post of @bluemilk’s which suggested that given the massive demands that attachment parenting (AP) can place on women, it would be really helpful for AP types to have a bit of a think about engaging with feminist thought. The Boring Man thought this was scary, and it would send all the menz who were otherwise well disposed to AP to the fainting couch if some(woman) happened to mention that a bit of thinking might not go astray if they were going to suggest to their partner that this is how they would like to parent.

I started blogging in 2004, and it was entering the online space that persuaded me make my lifelong identification as feminist explicit, concrete and LOUD. I felt I needed to, because there was so much crap, misogyny, woman-ignoring and general bad form going on in the politics blogging scene which was where I first cut my chops.

I was brought up feminist, and didn’t really spend much time in “real life” around people who found the idea of women being strong, powerful, interesting and engaged a challenge. I was ignorant, I didn’t really know how much hate was still out there. It shocks me still.

I learnt fast. I learnt about my own massive blind spots. I needed to do a lot of listening about what it was like to live with race prejudice, with transgender prejudice and with ableism. (And later insert here – funny to speak of massive blinds spots and not mention any of the wonderful fat positive tweeters/bloggers whose insights help me every day). I will never be “finished” listening, but I’ve found it helpful to scope out the dimensions of my blind spots and I’ve found great joy in applying my attention and learning. In particular I pay respect to @iLauredhel and @TigTog, the first Hoydens, for making that learning accessible to so many of us.

I also pay respect to the literary critic feminists such as @adelaidebook for showing me the importance of patient and detailed analysis, the strength that it takes to keep going and the forebearance to front up for the eleventy millionth time to say “From your comment I can only conclude that you – and perhaps other male commenters here (at LP, for instance) – have not actually gone so far as to read the women’s comments in the thread. This is wrong and makes you look stupid.”.

I pay respect to @Lucytartan whose commitment to gentleness and whose suppleness of thought permeates all of her communication and has informed her valuable critiques of how feminists engage each other online, and has helped me start to imagine more clearly what a nonviolent world might be like.

I pay respect to @cristyclark who taught me a lot about gentleness in parenting, and what it looks like to live a life of principle.

I pay respect to @drnaomi, my first online feminist friend, for teaching me that solidity in ourselves is good for everyone around us.

I pay respect to @dogpossum, who has stood up to challenge her heart-community of dancers about sexism and has not backed down.

I pay respect to @bluemilk, for her curiosity, her energy and her sharp, sharp mind that is always bringing something new and valuable to my attention.

I pay respect to @herbalgill for her integrity, her humour and the way she wraps that biting wisdom with such kindness.

And I pay respect to my darling @tammois, for making me remember why it’s so fucking goddam important that we riot against what is wrong and insufferable.

And to all my other sisters – to @katejclifford, and to @anti_kate, and to @amandarose, and to @mindyhoyden – thank you. You are my sisters, and I love you. I love that together we are making a beautiful place where Australian feminists can talk, and snark and debate and speak the truths of our lives to each other.

So rare. So fine. (There are bits of this song we need to ignore for present purposes, but I welcome alternative songs that are more sister-focused. Send me the name and I’ll whack it in :) Also, volume up, it’s way soft.)

I am sure that I have omitted some names that should be here, and I would like y’all to please feel free to share some love and respect for our wonderful community.

… Only very slightly later!

Already I realise my omissions – I pay respect to @frala_fontaine who has shown me that we are mistresses of our own destiny, and to @bellsknits who has taught me what resilience looks like when you live it every day and to @charlotteshucks who sees that what makes us beautiful and powerful is also what makes us hilarious.

Expect more updates :)

Here’s another update

@kissability for reminding me that poetry makes our spirit strong and that there is unutterable beauty in our face every day if only we would see it, particularly when we are in the middle of a fucking fight.

But wait there’s moar!

I’ve just had a realisation sparked by a tweetversation with @ilauredhel that I have not included some of the fantastic fat positive women who have really helped me inhabit my large body –

I pay respect to @definatalie for her commitment to being brave and to speaking truth.

I pay respect to @awesomefrances for living yellow.

and some radfatty love has come in from the awesome @yayforhome. Respect to her to and her beloveds – @Fatheffalump and @mymilkspilt. Respect also to the beautiful #fattylove nominees from @definatalie @52stations @lillianbehrendt @afrotitty @shecametostay @allygarrett @polianarchy


  • I am extremely flattered and a little awed to be included in this list. Thank you so much for your lovely words.

    Thank you also to the other feminists who are continually fighting the good fight, and the many more who listen to me whinge about parenting and offer unconditional support and advice (despite the fact we are well past the baby stage).

  • This is a list of awesome, Mindy, and you are righteously there :)

  • Oh Zoe, I love you too. I’m a bit teary and overcome at this. Thank you for teaching me about the importance of loving large, and being yourself, without apology but with a world of warmth.

    I love our online community. We’re tender to each other and fiercely committed to keeping each other safe. And there ain’t any of that keeping our lights under a bushel that those pesky menfolk like.

    Can’t believe I was your first online femmo friend. Really? I’m stoked!


  • Oh Zo, you’re the best. I couldn’t have done all the difficult fighty stuff without your support – without all your support! – this year. Heck, I couldn’t have done even the non-fighty stuff.
    I’d probably add in a few blokes to my version of this list as well, because I keep being reminded of how wonderful feminist men can be by my twitter friends.

    To friends and internetting!

  • Zoe, you remember how my dear bloke scoffed about our internet relationships? Well, since he’s been on twitter and can see what we discuss during a week he understands the depth of our connections. He is now officially jellus of us. Hah.

  • Oh, what a lovely post to be reading on Christmas Eve Eve as I take a rest from the present-wrapping. Thank you for those kind words, and not only the ones about me — whom you salute, I salute. Kxx

  • dogpossum, none of us could have done it without our community – I really feel the strength of this community with me as I move through my daily life. And I welcome naming and praising of our male collaborators , and will kick it off by praising and thanking @liamhogan and @timdunlop for being awesome.

    drnaomi – yes you were, you totally were, years before we actually met. Funny now that we are real actual friends and all, but I remember being freed and empowered by your writing at back pages all those years ago, you and @amandahawley. Here’s proof:

    And I am so glad that Pete’s getting it :)


  • Hey Ms Z. So chuffed to be on your list. ‘Beautiful, powerful, & hilarious’ are the three best words ever to describe a friend, I say – & they mosdef apply in this company. Happy Christmas, gals. Love hanging out with you all in the ‘verse because you make it a smart, sassy, warm, engaging *and* – crucially – intellectually challenging place to be. I fricking love it.


  • Oh, Christmas Eve Eve. Beg your pardon …it’s not hard to get jumpy this time of year :)

  • Sorry to freak you out. No, not Christmas Eve yet. Seconded re awesomeness of @liamhogan and @timdunlop.

  • This is such a sweet sweet post, thank you for including me in this list, I feel truly honoured to make the cut. I have to agree that there is something truly remarkable about the Australian feminist blogging community, I mean it’s seriously incredible. Punches well above its weight and is hugely protective and supportive of one another in an exceptionally non-hierarchical way. Am slightly drunk and gushy reading this, SO have to meet up with you all and have a drink together soon. Thanks Zoe, have always thought you were especially wonderful.

  • What a truly awesome post Zoe. Thank you. I’m so touched to be included in this list of fabulous strong women. I’d also add @vodkandlime for her incredible endurance in moderating anti-feminist trolls and general awesomeness. And @eglantinescake for her magic with words, her highlighting of the magical inner worlds of children and her gentle support of others (including me). And @ampersanduck for lots, but especially for having the courage to live such an inspiring creative life and for sharing it with all of us.

    I’m sure there are more. It’s always so daunting to write these lists because of a fear of leaving people off…

    Merry Christmas!

  • This is a wonderfully cheering post, and reminds me what I’m missing by not being a bit more active on Twitter (I have the occasional tweeting day, then go dark for a few weeks except for the auto-updates for the blog posts). BTW, my public twitter account is@vivsmythe (@tigtog is private and reserves the handle on the platform, basically).

    I’ve been thinking for a while that having an explicitly ozfemmo setup might be nice, to archive some of the stories the community links to on Twitter each day: it just means that one or a few of us would have to create an account following only ozfemmos (nzfemmos too?) and then tie it to a account. I’ve already got too much on my plate right now, but could perhaps get a round tuit later in the new year.

    Now, having done the early morning Xmas Eve
    grocery run, I’m about to crash under this nice air conditioner for 15 minutes and then get on with the rest of the day.

  • I will nominate @mimbles and @aphie, @shonias, @castironbalcony, @tracytrips, @stellayoung, @fatlotofgood, @jervoiselafemme, @puzzlement, @ProfProgStrumpet, @jennifergearing, @newswithnipples and that is just the Aussie ones.

    This is becoming a who’s who to follow on Twitter. Thanks Zoe *goes off to add to my following list* this is an excellent Xmas pressie.

  • I have warm fuzzy feelings and people I must go follow! Lovely post :-)

  • Geez, wouldn’t it be a fucking great party if we were all in the same room? Same city, even :)

  • Esteemed company is esteemed. It is a wonderful community & this is an awesome post (everyone has said everything I would say already, so I plus one them all).

  • Awww what a lovely gift to return home to. You’re awesome Ms Zoe!

    It also reminded me why I stopped reading LP years ago and transferred my online time commitment ratio to more food and twitter and less politics. Or rather, not engaging with the male ego, one-up-man-ship on those sites.

    I think women have wonderfully colonised the internet and made it our own through community, connections and communication…and let’s not forget fun :)

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