So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish

Before I begin with my farewell post, I would like to note that I am aware of the controversy over the Helen Keller blogswarm and my post published yesterday. I prefer to take time to reflect and consider before responding when I am criticised, because I think that it is important to internalise and respect criticism, rather than making a kneejerk response and considering the matter over. However, I will say right now that I wish to extend my apologies to Renee for the harm I caused her with my post yesterday. Exclusion hurts, and acts of exclusion are harmful, and I take responsibility for my actions. I also apologise for taking this long to say that, as there is no excuse for not offering an immediate apology for causing harm. I would also like to reiterate that Feministe is not responsible for any of the content I post and that the blame for that post lies solely with me, not with any members of the Feministe staff.

The time has come to bid y’all a fond farewell. I have had a lot of fun at Feministe over the last two weeks. I wrote about some things that are a little bit out of character for me, like a servicey post on how to track events in Congress, in addition to covering some familiar feminist ground with topics like the abuse that gets slopped all over female creators of pop culture and gender norming in the media, and even managed to sneak in some discussion of environmental issues along the way! I also really enjoyed reading Sarah’s guest posts, even if she is still labouring under the touching and sorely mistaken belief that Robyn is awesomer than Janelle Monae.

As Jill mentioned in her post introducing the guest bloggers, some of us were invited specifically because we write about topics other than feminism, or because we approach feminism in different ways than some of the Feministe team. For me, all of the things I wrote about were feminist issues, from the exclusion of people with disabilities from online spaces to my discussion about weight loss propaganda, because, for me, feminism is about creating an inclusive social justice movement that includes environmental justice, disability rights, racial justice, and all issues that impact human beings in marginalised classes, every bit as much as women’s rights.

The goal with the guest posting project is to give people an opportunity to read some new writers who may bring different perspectives to things. To centre some people with ideas that might not always be enjoyable, or popular, or pleasant, but do need to be heard. One of the reasons I look forward to the summer guest posting each year is because I know I’m guaranteed to encounter at least one person I violently disagree with, and at least one person that I haven’t been reading, but should have been. Whichever of those camps I happen to fall into for you, I hope that everyone reading found at least one of my posts engaging, or challenging, or thought-provoking, that at least a few of you read something you really loved (or hated, that’s ok too).

I know that my decision to close comments on my posts was probably not popular with some of you, but I’ve seen a lot of great conversations going on about my posts here on various corners of the Internet, and it’s been really interesting to read those responses. A number of people have also emailed me and I have a plethora of one on one conversations about everything from US-centrism to roller derby going on now as a result. I think this really illustrates that closing comments does not shut down conversation; it changes the pace of the conversation and expands it.

If you’ve enjoyed my writing at Feministe and you are bereft at the thought of not seeing me here every day, you can follow me in a number of other places. this ain’t livin’ is updated daily (some selections from the last week: disparities in probation policies in the United States, a criticism of the ‘invisible disability’ framing, a takedown of the bootstraps myth, a discussion on salvage logging and timber policy) and I post regularly on FWD/Forward (some of my pieces from the last week include a critique of the attitudes that surround anti-discrimination legislation and a post about environmental pollution and human health in China). Later this summer, I’ll be writing for Bitch Magazine in ‘Push(Back) at the Intersections,’ talking about how the feminist community responds to critiques of pop culture written from a social justice perspective. I’m also on Twitter as @sesmithwrites and I’m pretty good about letting readers know when I’m featured elsewhere because I enjoy tooting my own vuvuzela.

I would like to again extend my thanks to the Feministe team for inviting me and all of the exciting guest bloggers they have lined up this summer; I know I’m a tough act to follow, but, believe me, there are some supercool folks coming your way in the next few months. And I’d also like to thank all of you who took my posts and ran with them in other places, who emailed me to talk about them, who linked and quoted and expanded the discussion far beyond the boundaries of Feministe, which was precisely my goal.

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