Saturday, September 16, 2006

A Blog Without a Bicycle: An Introduction

My Project

This blog is a part of my M.A. thesis. I am a second-year graduate student in Women's Studies at the George Washington University. Over the course of the 2006-2007 academic year, I will be completing a thesis that explores blogging and feminist self-presentation online.

Among many other things, I will be exploring:
  • Cyberfeminisms

  • How the internet, specifically blogs, are utilized by self-identified feminists

  • Feminist activism on the web

  • The personal as political online

  • Similarities and differences between blogs and previous forms of feminist literatures (ie, 'zines, diaries, journals, newsletteres, textiles, etc), especially in regards to production and dissemination (ie, DIY cultures)

  • Self-presentation, representation, and performantivity, and embodiment in cyberspace

  • The digital divide

  • Gender and technology

  • Feminist online networks and communities

  • Current trends in blogging

  • Recent (academic and otherwise) research on blogs

  • Global versus local uses of blogging


  • The purpose of this blog is not to create a well-documented diatribe against the difficulties of thesis writing (whining will be kept at a healthy minimum), but instead to explore the implications, philosophical and political, of my research. It will a place for me to think "out loud," to ask questions, and, hopefully, to receive insightful feedback about my work. Importantly, keeping this blog will allow me to experience blogging feminist-style - yielding important understanding of this form.

    The Name

    I spent a lot of time agonizing over a title for this blog that truly captures the essence of my project. Should my title be catchy/serious/straightforward/intriguing/inviting/witty/provocative/sensational/cute/etc? In the end, I selected the name "A Blog Without a Bicycle: Riding the cyberwave of feminism" because it was the title I liked the best after a lot of brainstorming.

    Of course, there are important implications of selecting this title. First, "A Blog Without a Bicycle" references the oft-quoted 1970s phrase that is attributed to Irina Dunn, "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." This phrase is firmly located within the "second wave" of feminism (I acknowledge the many critiques of wave theory that warrant further discussion). Given my age and experience, I am more of a "third wave" feminist. So, what's with the throw back? And won't men feel a little alienated by this title? By choosing "A Blog Without a Bicycle," I am hoping to signal continuity between feminist movements. I am not, however, trying to make any individuals feel attacked or unwanted. I believe that my subtitle, "Riding the cyberwave of feminism," should help to make this clarify this point.

    My Feminisms

    Throughout my introduction to this post, I have been throwing around the word "feminism." I would just like to take a moment to acknowledge that this term is one with multiple meanings and one that has been contested. While I am not interested in engaging many of the negative stereotypes that exist in American (U.S.) culture about feminism (I feel Rush Limbaugh and Pat Robertson have adequate space to express their views in other venues), I do know that is important to clarify my use of this term.

    Personally, I identify as a "feminist." I appreciate, however, that many men and women who share similar political views to my own do not use this label. For me, being a feminist means working towards creating a society that is based on equality and equity for all individuals. I realize that my use of "equity" here is signifigant and I believe that it honors the unique individuality of the human spirit. Of course, there are many other ways in which to define feminism and my feminism is no more valid than any other variety.

    The Team

    As you may have noticed, there are two contributors listed for this blog. To be clear, I am (*e) the main contributor/creator/moderator of this blog. I have given my advisor (tramlow) access to my blog for convenience and for administrative purposes. And because he's a great advisor who deserves credit for his role in this project!

    Email

    I can be reached via email at ablogwithoutabicycle(at)gmail(dot)com.

    Link!

    I have reciprocal linking policy. If we both share common beliefs and goals and you would like to include a link to my blog on your webpage, I would be happy to include a link on my blog. Let's build some feminist networks.

    Participation Policy - IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ!

    Please read the Informed Consent Form in full before posting to this blog.

    In brief, by posting comments to this blog, you are accepting the following terms and indicating your informed consent:

  • Any comments made on this blog may be included in my thesis or future projects, for which I hold all rights and sole ownership. I will do my best to honor any material that I utilize in my projects, but I am under no obligation to pursue permission for its use, as your participation indicates your acceptance of these terms.

  • I reserve the right to moderate all postings.

  • I may contact you to follow-up on your comments and to engage in further discussion. You may, of course, decline to respond.

  • Your participation in this project is voluntary and you may terminate your participation at any time.
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