Critical Blogging: Constructing Femmescapes Online

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 By Andi Schwartz

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Abstract: By looking at two queer femme blogs, this paper argues that online spaces can be used as sites of political resistance and arenas for developing queer identities and communities. This paper frames blogging as political activity by using prefigurative politics and the concepts “queerscapes” and “virtual boundary publics.”


3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 A lot of it was just about what was going on in my personal life. I felt like I too was having trouble asserting myself so my needs could be met, stopping others from using and abusing me and finding myself in friendships where I held so much for the other person without reciprocation. I also started to feel like I spent a lot of time working to get folks more comfortable with me, my body and my ideas and focused on acceptance rather than mutual respect.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 1 I don’t want to be accepted, someone giving up the fight to make me thin, straight and more docile….I wanted to be revered, leave people awestruck and that healthy dose of fear that forces people to think twice about the shit they say to me because of how I fearlessly defend and celebrate myself and others. (Luxery n.d.)

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 2 In the epigraph above, queer femme Tumblr blogger Jessica Luxery explains why she uses the hashtag “#meanfatgirls” to index her selfies. As she explains, this single hashtag is bursting with political meaning — with its use, Luxery asserts her right to an online and offline identity of her own choosing, in spite of pressures to conform to societal expectations of femininity, heterosexuality, and thinness. Is it possible to think that a blog on Tumblr.com, a site better known for selfies and .gifs rather than written articles, could host a range of politics, including those combatting sexism, homophobia, and fatphobia?

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 1 In this paper, I draw on Gordon Brent Ingram’s concept queerscapes, a network of queer spaces that enables queer survival (1997, p. 29), and prefigurative politics to argue that femme blogs are an important aspect of femmescapes, a network of public spaces through which queer femininity is enacted, celebrated, and politicized. I examine two blogs Tangled Up In Lace, curated by Jessica Luxery, and That’s So Majestic, curated by Fleetwood Legay, to argue that femmes politicize online space by using blogs as tools to engage in identity production, community building, and political theorizing. The online spaces examined here combat femmephobia and a host of other oppressions including racism, fatphobia, sexism and cissexism, class hierarchies and capitalism, and queer- and homophobia. I argue that Tangled Up In Lace and That’s So Majestic are sites along a femmescape.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 2 Luxery and Legay met through Tumblr and are now married and living in Calgary, Alberta. They have many internet holdings, including YouTube channels, websites, and blogs hosted by Tumblr.com. Tumblr allows users to post original content as photos, text, audio, and video, and to “reblog,” or repost, content originally posted by other users. Posts are archived and linked using hashtags. Users can interact directly with each other by “liking” or “replying” to posts, or by using the “ask” feature. These features lead Catherine Connell (2011) to argue that Tumblr offers collectively-produced narratives and a democratic form of public participation.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 1 Though online space is not inherently political, Luxery and Legay use it as a tool to resist the marginality of their intersecting identities: fat, femme, genderqueer, queer, and working class. Participation in counterdiscourse is not unique to femme blogs or Tumblr, as the internet is politicized by other groups and in other ways (Montgomery 2007; Gerbado 2012; Rettberg 2014). However, considering the broader social context of femmephobia in both queer and mainstream spaces, creating a femmescape is its own important act of political resistance. Ultimately I argue that, if we consider the marginality of queer femmes in both mainstream and queer spaces, then blogs like Luxery’s and Legay’s become vital to the survival of femme communities and politics.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 Like many forms of organizing, the online politics examined in this paper rely on a DIY-ethic, promoting the agency and subjectivity of marginalized communities and individuals, particularly queer femmes. Throughout my research, I have found that femme bloggers create their own images, theories, and communities. I argue that these DIY productions provide two important functions: they create space for femmes to exist, and they push back against the normative discourses that create hierarchies and marginalization.

Establishing Femmescapes

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 1 Femme can mean many different things to many different people. A broad definition of femme might state that femme is a queer gender identity or expression that incorporates some aspects of “idealized” or “emphasized” femininity but rejects others (such as compulsory heterosexuality), thus making femininity queer. Femme is not simply a reproduction of femininity, but is often politicized or queered femininity (Connell 2013). Femme has origins in lesbian culture but is an identity that is often claimed by many queer women, heterosexual women, men, and trans* and non-binary folks (Connell 2013). Often, the individuals who claim the identity are invested in reclaiming and celebrating the feminine as queer, subversive, and valuable — and with good reason.[1] While femmes can often go unnoticed in mainstream society due to their increased likelihood to pass as gender- and hetero-normative, femmephobia — prejudice against femmes and the feminine in general — plays out in queer and feminist communities.

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 2 Butch and other masculine-of-centre gender presentations are considered more recognizable or “visibly” queer in social and community settings, which leads to the equation of the butch as the default or ideal lesbian or queer woman (Harris & Crocker 1997; Maltry & Tucker 2002; Noble 2004). Some radical feminist theorizing during the 1970s and 1980s led to the denigration of femininity and butch-femme roles, constructing an androgynous gender ideal for lesbians, and an egalitarian relationship ideal in lieu of butch-femme sexual dynamics (Nestle 1992; MacCowan 1992; Harris & Crocker 1997). The effects of this radical feminist theoretical framework are still felt today as certain feminine adornments — high heels, lipstick, short skirts, etc. — are still conflated with internalized misogyny, depoliticization, and placating to the male gaze and patriarchy.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 2 Ingram argues that queerscapes manifest because of the marginality and alienation that queer people experience in various aspects of society (1997, p. 29). The existence of a distinct queer space is vital because it “enables people with marginalized (homo) sexualities and identities to survive and to gradually expand their influence and opportunities to live fully” (Ingram, Bouthillette & Retter 1997, p. 3). In other words, queer lives depend on the existence of queer space. It is important to note that queer femmes face marginality and alienation in mainstream society as well as in queer society, and therefore carving out distinct femmescapes are crucial.

Blogging as Political Action

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 1 The “political” and “politics” can be understood in many ways, even when only considering these concepts in relation to cyberspace. For instance, the internet and social media have been useful to social movements and protests like Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring as both a means of organization and a means of mobilization (Gerbaudo 2012). The Internet and social media have also been utilized in political campaigning and voter-mobilization (Montgomery 2007). In this paper, however, I focus on an online politics that is prefigurative, a politic wherein the representation and visibility of alternate ways of being are key components to motivating cultural and social shifts. Mathijs van de Sande (2013) states that prefigurative politics include three vital components: the creation of an alternative society existing in here and now; that this society is experimental in nature; and that within this society the means of organizing is the ends of organizing (p. 235-236). Blogs embody these three principles of prefigurative politics when they are used to build identity and community; to share and articulate ideas about the world; and to develop spaces and strategies of resistance. These are the distinguishing aspects of the online politics I discuss in this paper: identity production, community building, and political theorizing.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 1 While the political activity I examine here does have offline effects, its main goal is not to “choreograph assembly,” unlike the activity described by Paolo Gerbaudo (2012). The political power of the online phenomena I examine here can be found in its willingness to exist outside the mainstream, to create separate spaces, to prefigure a better, more inclusive and accepting world. That’s So Majestic and Tangled Up In Lace are political in the prefigurative sense as they are temporary and ephemeral sites of a femmescape within a broader landscape of femmephobia and femme invisibility. The bloggers create this alternative by developing their own definitions of femme identities, their own supportive femme communities, and their own femme codes of conduct (or femme politic). These alternatives run parallel to and intersect with mainstream society and expectations, often creating friction or dissonance on all sides. As I will illustrate, this work is done through posting selfies, asks, text posts, and reblogging all of the above, creating an environment where femmes are visible, supported, and celebrated.

Femme Identity Production Through Selfies

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 1 Luxery and Legay use their individual blogs to cultivate their own queer, fat, femme, working-class identities, which is evidenced in part by their use of self-portraits, or “selfies,” and identity-descriptive hashtags. Earlier I described Luxery’s use of the hashtag #meanfatgirls and selfies to create and assert her identity, and articulate how she fits in the world socially and politically. Both Luxery and Legay frequently post selfies with hashtags. In addition to #meanfatgirls, other common tags are #fatvanity, #fatgirlsobsessedwiththemselfies, #femmes4femmes, and #genderqueermomentsintime. Like #meanfatgirls, these tags disrupt hierarchies of desirability and other modes of social value. Tags like #fatvanity and #fatgirlsobsessedwiththemselfies counter the assumption that fat bodies are not desirable or loved while #femmes4femmes challenges the assumption that femmes are exclusively attracted to butches and masculinity, or that masculinity is ultimately more desirable than femininity. Legay uses the hashtag “#genderqueermoments” in time to archive the fluidity of their gender presentation, capturing some of the complexities of a genderqueer identity. These selfies and hashtags are demonstrative of a prefigurative politic as they are both the means through which femmescapes are enacted and the ends, or the realization, of an online femmescape.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 3 Jill Walker Rettberg (2014) argues that self-representation has always been an important part of culture and technology only makes this practice more possible for more people. Blogs and selfies can be considered descendants of diaries, self-portraits, autobiographies, and memoirs (Rettberg 2014). Despite the persistence of self-representation over time, selfies are often hated, ridiculed, and pathologized (Rettberg 2014, p. 17). Rettberg argues that these responses are mechanisms for disciplining selfie-takers, most often young women. The act of young women producing and sharing their own images disrupts notions of power in society, of who gets to be seen, heard, and taken seriously (2014, p. 18-19). Following this logic, it can be assumed that any marginalized or oppressed individual or group that produces and distributes their own images and tells their own stories is participating in a radical and political action. Therefore, the act of femmes photographing themselves and distributing these images and their stories online is a political one.

17 Leave a comment on paragraph 17 0 Being fat, femme, queer, genderqueer, and working-class are not socially valued subject positions, especially as they intersect. Posting photos of their own fat, femme bodies and using the hashtags described above are not only acts of self-love, which is radical in itself, but politicizes the subject positions the two bloggers each inhabit and disrupts power in society. Luxery and Legay’s use of these hashtags demonstrates marginalized individuals politicizing online tools and creating alternate spaces where they can be visible and celebrated. The bloggers exercise agency by posting these photos and using these tags themselves, effectively controlling their own image. In doing so, they create their own narratives and resist the fetishization of their bodies. By participating in these processes, Luxery and Legay actively create an alternative to the social systems that seek to oppress them and others who share their subject positions, an action consistent with van de Sande’s notion of prefigurative politics.

Creating Cyberspaces Through Asks

18 Leave a comment on paragraph 18 0 Online interactions demonstrate the “realness” of virtuality. With today’s many social media and networking platforms, it is not difficult to carve out a niche on the internet that you or your carefully curated persona can occupy. These personas or “avatars” exist online and interact with each other, creating an online space or virtuality (Jordan 1999). Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and various blogging platforms like Tumblr are examples of online spaces. Existing research shows that online spaces are often created through the exchanges of avatars who share social identities (Jordan 1999; Driver 2007; Gray 2009; Connell 2013). Susan Driver (2007) discovers this in her examination of an online birl (boyish girl) community. The collective valourization of masculine girls in the online birl community works to disrupt hegemonic ideas of gender and desirability (Driver 2007). This type of exchange is consistent within online femme communities as well. To illustrate, I analyze the following interaction between Legay and another Tumblr user, which demonstrates a connection based on a shared genderqueer identity. Using the “ask” function of Tumblr, user “underpenumbras” asked:

19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 idk how often you check this thingy but i wanted to tell you that you were the first GQ [genderqueer] person i ever was aware of and i was so drawn to you but i wasn’t sure why. and because of your openness about feelings, i started exploring my own and that’s how i found out i was also GQ. so thank you for being you openly on the Internet and making art about femme GQ stuff and etc etc etc everything! (Legay n.d.)

20 Leave a comment on paragraph 20 0 Legay replied:

21 Leave a comment on paragraph 21 1 BB ANGEL! today is making me think about how visibility is super complicated and politically loaded, but this is an example of how visibility can be really powerful, which is cute. thank you so much for the love. I lost a very magnificent and important person in my life today and I really needed to be reminded that sweetness and hope and possibility is a thing. (Legay n.d.)

22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 1 Here, Legay’s visibility as a femme genderqueer person on the internet encouraged another Tumblr user to explore and realize their own gender identity, highlighting the role femme blogs play in identity building. It provided a connection that will have an impact beyond Tumblr and beyond the relationship between the two bloggers, highlighting the role femme blogs play in building community. It helped normalize, at least for one person, gender fluidity in a society that clings to a strict gender binary, highlighting the role femme blogs play in developing and accessing political theories.

23 Leave a comment on paragraph 23 0 The exchange above illuminates the theory that visibility is an important marker of identity (Driver 2007; Gray 2009) and the complexity of visibility for many marginalized groups, including femmes. The equation of female masculinity with queerness often means femmes are overlooked or considered invisible in both queer and mainstream communities, invalidating the experiences and identities of queer femmes. However, many femmes, due to their race, gender expression, trans* status, body size, or other factors, are considered highly visible and face increased violence and discrimination as a result. Legay’s response above refers to the loss of a friend, a queer, fat, femme of colour whose many intersecting marginalized identities made it impossible for them to live comfortably in this world (thestoutorialist 2015). This friend, Taueret Davis, a “Brooklyn-based artist, performer, and queer femme body liberationist” (Queer Memoir 2013) and Tumblr and Instagram user (“afrotitty” and “Pantherella”, respectively) is not the only fat femme of colour to be lost in this way.

Building Femme Communities Through Text Posts

24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 1 The online femme community has mourned its losses using the same tools it uses to celebrate and connect to one another. In March 2012, Luxery wrote a text post that read: “put on all your make up and cry it off in public. don’t say sorry and don’t hide your tears. mourn and grieve and celebrate goddess actuality” (Luxery n.d.) and tagged it “#calloutqueenrestinpower.” This post was written in response to a fellow femme blogger’s suicide, whose Tumblr username was “calloutqueen” (Perez 2012). On the same day, Luxery reblogged pieces of calloutqueen’s art and several other posts written by other users about the blogger’s death, including one written by Legay, which read: “today i am blasting mariah, throwing glitter into the wind, screaming at the rough seas, casting some spells and dressing to honor a goddess. be kind to yourself right now if you can. do your best to honor your grief & and create space to experience your feelings with intention” (Luxery n.d.). These posts, communicating sorrow over the loss of another femme blogger, are indicative of a femme community that reaches beyond the blogs curated by Luxery and Legay and, perhaps, beyond cyberspace altogether. It suggests that these two bloggers are part of a larger online community, or plural online communities, that have a presence in both virtuality and material reality. Further evidence of this femme community can be found when clicking on the hashtags “#calloutqueenresitinpower” or “ripqueentauret” which act as portals to other posts mourning the loss and celebrating the lives of these influential femme bloggers.

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 1 That these bonds can be traced online indicates the significant role femme blogs play in fostering femme community and constructing femmescapes. These posts are examples of identity work and political resistance as they articulate femme grieving practices (glittery, loud, public, and pop-music-driven), and pose challenges to dominant narratives that, arguably, push queer, fat femmes of colour to suicide, or at least out of public space (Perez 2012). Luxery and Legay challenge these narratives through their posts by refusing silence as an adequate response to a queer femme’s death and encouraging femmes to disrupt public space with public, queer, femme crying. This text post also demonstrates the prefigurative politic the blogs operate on: it suggests experimental and alternative ways to cope with grief and represents a moment of friction between femmescapes and mainstream society.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 1 These posts demonstrate how femmes politicize online spaces and use them to create alternate spaces where queer, fat, femmes of colour can be celebrated, mourned, and honoured. The spaces constructed in these instances are valuable as they provide an alternative to mainstream public spaces where queer, fat, femmes of colour are excluded (Perez 2012) and delve into experimental ways to confront grief caused by oppression. They underscore the importance of online femmescapes, as these spaces are one of few places where femmes can be their full selves and be appreciated for it rather than denigrated. These posts also indicate the existence of online femme communities, as well as the online formation and articulation of femme politics and femme resistance. This is consistent with Connell’s (2013) argument that blogs can be sites of counterdiscourse.

Likes, Replies, and Politicizing Online Spaces

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 1 Last year Legay posted a self-portrait with the caption “was having anxiety about going outside so I got dressed rlly cute and then some fucking bros EGGED me. so if you need me I’ll be crying my falsies off and feeling bad for myself that violence has to be an everyday reality if I’m presenting my gender in a way that feels authentic/real” (Legay n.d.). This post garnered 103 notes_at last count, including many replies containing supportive and validating messages, such as: “lobsterleyla said: omfg i’m so sorry that happened to you *big internet hug*” (Legay n.d.) and “limberlost said: I’m so sorry! Hope you feel safer soon and can rock it. Your words and pix have helped me lots x” (Legay n.d.). [2] The responses to Legay’s post are characteristic of Driver’s notion of online community, which she describes as systems of caring relations that go beyond physical and traditional understandings, enacted through symbolic and imaginative gestures that have a tremendous impact, regardless of their brevity (Driver 2007, p. 176). The responses above extend support and care toward Legay through words of encouragement and symbolic gestures (ie. “*big internet hug*”) and indicate Legay’s positive influence as they navigate their own experiences, often shared experiences of gender nonconformity and queerness.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 1 Legay uses cyberspace to experiment with their offline and online genderqueer identity; on different blogs, Legay uses different names and pronouns, and frequently posts and engages with other users about their gender fluidity. These posts not only demonstrate Legay’s participation in online communities but also further suggest that the blog That’s So Majestic is a space for femme genderqueer identity work and resisting hegemonic notions of gender that extend beyond the author/curator.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 In addition to femmes, queer youth also use online spaces and tools to cultivate their identities and foster community. According to Kathryn C. Montgomery (2007), identity production is integral to adolescent development. She likens online tools like homepages and blogs to teen bedrooms: in a digitized world, homepages and blogs become the new sites of identity production, allowing teens to engage with media to make sense of themselves and their culture. According to both Driver (2007) and Mary L. Gray (2009), online spaces offer ideal conditions for undertaking queer identity work. They each find that queer girls and youth use online spaces and tools to cultivate their identities, with Gray (2009) noting that online representations of queerness created by youth are more appealing to them than other media representations. In her review of Driver’s Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting, and Creating Media (2007), Mollie V. Blackburn argues “[c]onsidering the constraints on experimenting with queer identities and the risks associated with such experimentation outside of cyberspace, such opportunities in cyberspace are significant” (Blackburn 2010, p. 77). It is significant that these processes occur in a niche of cyberspace; marginalized groups are confined to marginalized spaces and conduct their political and cultural work within them.

30 Leave a comment on paragraph 30 1 Countering Jurgen Habermas’ assumption that there is a singular public sphere in which political life is enacted, Nancy Fraser (1992) coined the term “subaltern counterpublics” to explain the activities that subordinated groups engage in to “invent and circulate counterdiscourses, which in turn permit them to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs” in “parallel, discursive arenas” (p. 67). Political life is therefore enacted in a variety of spaces, as marginalized groups do not have equal access to the public sphere. To illustrate, many girlhood scholars have pointed to the bedroom as a site of girl culture and girls’ cultural production (McRobbie 1991; Driscoll 2002; Kearney 2006). Seemingly innocuous spaces, like a young girl’s bedroom, can then become politicized spaces. Similarly, Tumblr, a site known for selfies and .gifs, can become a site of political activity and resistance.

31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 1 Departing from Fraser’s concept of subaltern republics, Gray argues that queer youth instead create what she calls boundary publics, “iterative, ephemeral experiences of belonging that circulate across the outskirts and through the center(s) of a more recognized and validated public sphere” (2009, p. 92). Queer space is necessary, and also necessarily fluid and ephemeral. Connell uses Gray’s concept of “boundary publics” to examine a queer, fat, femme fashion blog called Fa(t)shion February. She argues that the blog represents a virtual boundary public “that creates a community of belonging through both the co-optation and the countering of predominant understanding of fashion and fashionability” (Connell 2013, p. 216). Connell’s analysis of the blog reveals its (prefigurative) political function, as it is a space for theorizing and building queer, fat, femme identity and community. Drawing from bell hooks and Gayatri Spivak, and the notion of voices from below, Connell understands Fa(t)shion February as a site of counterdiscourse that has the power to alter narratives of fashion and fashionability (2013, p. 212). Connell’s research underscores the significance of blogs in the creation of femmescapes: what occurs in online communities has the potential to inform a political discourse that can have material effects on the lives of marginalized groups, such as queer fat femmes.


32 Leave a comment on paragraph 32 0 The blogs curated by Luxery and Legay and examined in this paper demonstrate how femmes politicize online tools to create much-needed femmescapes. The role of femme blogging as a political act of resistance and survival is best analyzed through a prefigurative model of politics, as articulated by van de Sande (2013). The blogs examined here are spaces where an alternative world is not only visualized, but realized through virtual processes that both run parallel to and intersect with mainstream society. These alternatives are envisioned and enacted by the bloggers as they document their experimental approaches to gender identity and expression, systems of care, practices, and political values. The blogs curated by Luxery and Legay are both the means through which these alternatives are articulated as well as the realization of the alternatives they have been constructing. By applying the contributions of the theorists reviewed in this paper, it is possible to conceptualize these cyberspaces as “real” spaces through which political processes are enacted.

33 Leave a comment on paragraph 33 1 Insisting that online activity “counts” as political follows the same logic as disrupting femmephobia and femme invisibility. It is hardly a coincidence that femmescapes are constructed across a myriad of forms that are often dismissed or trivialized by the mainstream, including the Internet, where they become “slacktivists,” and selfies, where they become “narcissistic” or in need of “help.” Queer femmes do not have equal access to the public sphere nor to queer spaces, as they are marginalized in both, so, like queer youth and girls, they must create spaces “across the outskirts and through the center(s) of a more recognized and validated public sphere” (Gray 2009, p. 92). Femininity is trivialized and considered apolitical, just as selfies and the internet often are. Pushed to the margins, femmes take advantage of these “parallel, discursive spaces” to “invent and circulate counterdiscourses” (Fraser 1992, p. 67).

34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 2 Of course, femme blogs are only one aspect of femmescapes, and it is important to resist flattening cyberspace into a single utopic vision. With all the benefits of existing online, there are risks: corporations capitalize on youths’ identity pursuits, using them for data mining and market research in hopes to profit off of them; free hosting of youths’ pages are often offered in exchange for advertising space; and the push for youth to vote was orchestrated by those with financial and political interests of their own (Montgomery 2007, p. 117, 180). In addition, cyberviolence and cyberbullying are increasingly real concerns and often have serious offline consequences (Hinduja & Patchin 2007; Berson, Berson & Ferron 2002). Further, Connell found that the challenges posed by Fa(t)shion February had little impact on broader society’s understanding of gender and sexuality. These “negatives” of online activity do not disqualify it from being politically valuable, but generate a more complex picture of how online spaces can be utilized.

35 Leave a comment on paragraph 35 1 Connell’s study suggests blogging may not have an immediate or widespread effect on broader society’s views, but that does not mean the value of blogging dissipates. It may be enough for queers to know these spaces exist and to participate in them. In the wake of the defeatism and skepticism that followed the momentum of Occupy Wall Street and other movements of the “twitter-volution,” van de Sande (2013) pushed for a reimagination of these moments as prefigurative. van de Sande calls to stop evaluating movements based on outcomes or “success” and instead focus on what these movements actually do (2013, p. 227). van de Sande argues that from a prefigurative perspective, Tahrir Square was “successful” because, while temporary, it offered a space to experiment with alternative ways of organizing society and for people to freely express their political concerns (2013, p. 233-235). In this paper, I have argued that femme blogs provide precisely this role. While the existence of these spaces may be short-term, and individual engagement in them may be even more brief, the impact is lasting. The unlimited capacity and the archival nature of the Internet means future waves of users can access and continue to participate in the political conversations that occur in these spaces. The impact of accessing and participating in online femme communities on individuals would make another compelling study.

36 Leave a comment on paragraph 36 2 It is important to understand femme blogging as political because it disrupts notions of what is considered political, who gets to participate, and who gets to decide. If femmes are excluded or face oppression in more traditional forms of political resistance, then they might forever be excluded from political discourse. If we shift our ideas around what is political and what is resistance, and where and how this all happens, we see a broader range of femme political participation. This combats stereotypes of the passive, apolitical, dependent femme, and helps to reconstruct femme as powerful and agentic. Changing how we view “politics” and “the political” means changing how we view femme. This nuanced view of politics and political activity can also be applied to communities who experience barriers to other forms of political participation that get minimized by the term “slacktivist,” including youth, people with disabilities, people of colour, and undocumented immigrants, permanent residents, or others’ with restrictive citizenship status. These ideas must be challenged so that marginalized communities’ resistance and theorizing can be recognized, valued, and utilized to create more nuanced and inclusive politics.

37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0


38 Leave a comment on paragraph 38 0 [1] On her blog Leaving Evidence, Mia Mingus distinguishes between being “descriptively femme” and “politically femme,” and explores some of the political reasons folks who may be “descriptively femme” may not identify as “politically femme.”

39 Leave a comment on paragraph 39 0 [2] “Notes” on Tumblr are made up of likes, reblogs, and replies. The more notes a post has, the more popular it is on the site.

40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0


41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 1 Berson, I. R., Berson, M. J. & Ferron, J. M. (2002). Emerging Risks of Violence in the Digital Age: Lessons for Educators from an Online Study of Adolescent Girls in the United States. Journal of School Violence, 1(2), 51-71.

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 Blackburn, M. V. (2010). Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting and Creating Media. Journal of LGBT Youth. 7(1), 74-79.

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 Connell, C. (2013). Fashionable Resistance: Queer ‘Fa(t)shion’ Blogging as Counterdiscourse. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 41(1&2), 209-224.

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Desert, J. (1997). Queer Space. In G. B. Ingram, A. Bouthillette & Y. Retter. (Eds.), Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance (pp. 17-26). Seattle, WA: Bay Press.

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 Driscoll, C. (2002) Girls: Feminine Adolescence in Popular Culture and Cultural Theory. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 Driver, S. (2007). Queer Girls and Popular Culture: Reading, Resisting and Creating Media. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 Gerbaudo, P. (2012). Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism. London, UK: Pluto Press.

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 Gray, M. L. (2009). Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America. New York, NY: New York University Press.

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 Harris, L. & Crocker, E. (Eds.) (1997). Femme: Feminists, Lesbians, and Bad Girls. New York, NY: Routledge.

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52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 Ingram, G. B., Bouthillette, A., & Retter, Y. Lost In Space: Queer Theory and Community Activism at the Fin-de-Millenaire. In Ingram, G. B., Bouthillette, A., & Retter, Y. (Eds.), Queers in Space: Communities, Public Places, Sites of Resistance, (pp. 3-16). Seattle, WA: Bay Press.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Jordan, T. (1999). Cyberpower: The Culture and Politics of Cyberspace and the Internet. London, UK: Routledge.

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 Kearney, M. C. (2006). Girls Make Media. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

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Version of Record: Schwartz, Andi (2016). Critical Blogging: Constructing Femmescapes Online. Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media, and Technology, No.9. doi:10.7264/N32Z13S5

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