Thursday, March 29, 2007

Cover Art Contest

So, in beginning to put the pieces of my thesis together, I have decided that after all of this hard work, the tome really deserves a nice cover. But I am not necessarily graphically inclined. So...I thought I would have a contest! Exciting, right? YOU could design the cover art for the print version of my thesis that will be forever kept in the GWU library (plus a very special spot on my own personal bookshelf). I know you are bursting with ideas - send designs to ablogwithoutabicycle(at)gmail(dot)com. The winner will be announced on/around May 1st!


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Interview with K.M. Aase

"[A]ctivism can be supported and furthered by online activities, but online work with out real-life action is only a prelude to activism." -K.M. Aase

I recently interviewed K.M. Aase about her blogging experiences and she shared some great insights with me. Enjoy this thoughtful and thought provoking interview!

Interview

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you identify as a "feminist"? How important, if at all, is
being/not being a feminist to your identity?


K.M. Aase: Yes, I identify as a feminist. I think quantifying how important it is is rather difficult though. For me being a feminist is as fundamental as being female. I am a woman, I am a feminist. To me it is hard to understand how anyone who is female can not identify with feminism. Because this is such an integral part of my self-understanding, though, I don't feel the need to announce myself as a feminist. If I am true to the cause, my actions and ideas should make it clear that I am a feminist without having to "Evangelize'.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Whether or not you identify as a feminist, what does "feminism" mean to you?

K.M. Aase: Feminism is about choice and respect. For women, it is about having the opportunity to create your own destiny. If you want to stay at home with a brood of children, or be a professional athlete, or cure cancer, all of those should be equally valid options with no social stigma either from men or from other women. Feminism is the idea that a woman's future is based on her own skills, dreams, and desires, not a gender role or social norm. For men, feminism is about respect. The respect for women as spiritual and mental beings, not just physical. Respecting women to make their own choices in life. Respect to treat women as equals and not feel threatened by that equality. The third aspect of feminism, I feel, is the understanding that everyone is different, each person is an individual, and no two experiences are the same, and respecting those differences.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you or have you ever kept a blog or blogs? When you spend time online, do you read blogs? Are there any blogs you read regularly?

K.M. Aase: I currently have four blogs. I have to admit, I rarely read blogs. Every now and then, prior to my current project, I would read a personal blog here or there. I am reading more now, but it is required for a class. Two that I read most regularity are 'Jews sans Frontiers' and 'Queer Dewd'.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Tell me about your blog(s).

K.M. Aase: One is personal, one for my Senior Project, one to post my fiction work, and the last to keep in touch with my fiction audience. My personal blog is, obviously, to keep current with family and friends, my blog for my fiction work is where I post works of fiction that I have written, the sister blog to that is used to keep the people who read my work up to date on what I am working on. My Senior Project blog is a blog about feminism, though I am choosing to use a very broad definition which incorporates a lot of other social justice issues.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: How long have you been keeping a blog?

K.M. Aase: Off and on for five years; my senior project blog only about three months.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: What made you want to start a blog? What was your inspiration?

K.M. Aase: My very first blog (no longer current) I used to rant about things, using humor, generally about how stupid people can be. My senior project blog which is the most current is being used to complete my senior project in women's studies. I am a writer, so it was only logical to use writing for my women's studies project, but the stipulation for the project has always been that it has to attempt in some way to change the world (i.e.: it can't just be a paper). Using a blog I was able to do both.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: How would you describe your blog(s)?

K.M. Aase: A take on current events and western culture from a feminist point of view, using humor as well as fact to express a point

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Does your blog have a theme or does it focus on a particular issue?

K.M. Aase: Feminism and social justice issues.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: How do you define a "blog"?

K.M. Aase: A online journal presented in reverse chronological order.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: What qualifies as a "feminist blog"?

K.M. Aase: A blog that expresses feminist views, whether or not it calls itself a 'feminist blog'.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Have you ever participated in a blog carnival? If so, tell me about that experience.

K.M. Aase: No, I actually don't even know what that is.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you belong to or consider yourself a member of any online community? How do you define these communities?

K.M. Aase: No, I am not/do not. I prefer to make my contacts in person. All too often online communities have extreme infighting and crazy group dynamics that don't appeal to me. Even the most intelligent, mature, and loosely formed communities seem to have these issues.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you think that activism can be carried out online? What are the possibilities of such activism?

K.M. Aase: I think it's possible but likely less effective then carrying out activism in the real world. The internet provides a platform from which an idea can be expressed. However, simply expressing an idea isn't really 'active'. The internet can be used to provide information, which is a major component of activism, but information alone is rarely enough. Although the internet can be used to drum up support for a cause, without real-life action, it seems to me like it's just a lot of noise, a lot of people talking to each other, most of whom already agree with each other anyway. Of course there is online petitions, but it seems to me (and I admittedly have very little experience) that online petitions do not hold the same clout as actual physical paper petitions. To summarize, [I] feel that activism can be supported and furthered by online activities, but online work with out real-life action is only a prelude to activism.

A Blog Without a Bicycle: Do you think that feminist activism is being conducted online? If so, can you think of any examples?

K.M. Aase: I think the dissemination of information for feminist causes, as well as the platform to discuss feminist ideas is being conducted on the web, both are important adjuncts to feminist activism, but require more than that. For example: The internet can be used to provide information about safe sex, activism would be providing free prophylactics or teaching a safer sex class.

Would you like to share your thoughts on the blogosphere and be featured on this blog? Post a comment with your contact information OR email ablogwithoutabicycle(at)gmail(dot)com.


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