By: Roberta Nin Feliz
BRONX, N.Y. (WOMENSENEWS) — Nearly a quarter of U.S. teen girls use Tumblr, the Pew Research Centerfinds, compared to 5 percent of boys. What are we doing on this visually focused social medium?
I, for one, am using it to seek answers and demand change.
After the groundbreaking decision by the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage in June, there were bursts of Tumblr posts celebrating the ruling. Likewise, almost immediately after the Kentucky clerk Kim Davis refused to issue a marriage license to a gay couple, Tumblr users protested, sharing articles reproaching Davis’ action and sporting hashtags from #gaymarriage to #equality.
This is why knowing where to look on Tumblr for a community that will agree with you and challenge you, as well as galvanize people for good, is important.
Below are 10 blogs I turn to for wit, information and, most importantly, the writers’ raw demand for equality and respect for women and other marginalized groups. Each of these Tumblrs houses a safe community where individuality can blossom and teenage girls and women alike can come together to discuss concerns:
I wish I had found this site when I first began exploring what it meant to be feminist. “There aren’t any rules for feminism and there isn’t really any way to be the ‘best’ feminist.” This is what the author–she or he, not sure since the author is anonymous to protect against threats– writes. “It’s all about giving women a voice and choice. Feminism is very flexible, and accepting.” By answering questions from readers and posting visually arresting images, The Daily Feminist covers issues through the lens of the transgender community, #blacklivesmatter movement and body positivity. The author gets more than 20 questions a day and “Answering those questions and knowing that I am making a difference is what gets me past all the negativity and hate that comes my way,” the author said in an email interview.
I was first attracted to this blog because of its edgy, gradient artwork, including one of a woman holding a sign that says “Sexual Freedom, Independence, Liberty and Love.” Turns out this image was created by its founder, Solace Rose, 19. Rose’s online community is 16-25 years old and her blog features open discussions for women, creative projects including a photography project and cultivating a safe space for exploration. The site has articles written by friends and supporters “driven by youth perspectives” on topics of sexual harassment in the U.K., body hair and the stigma surrounding menstrual cycles. But some of her true gems come when she takes the role of advisor: “No matter how many obstacles you face, try your best to remain strong in your beliefs and never stop searching for a way forward,” she tells teen girls. “Succeeding is all about overcoming fear of failure.”
Looking for answers on your own sexuality? Go no further than this blog run by Juliana, a 16-year-old “bi feminist demigirl.” Her bio explains: “I am a demigirl which is someone who partially identifies as a girl and also another gender.” In an email interview Juliana said, “It’s not a very well known gender journey, but it’s mine.” Juliana’s blog promotes rights for LGBTQI young people, with an emphasis on the bisexual community while demystifying biphobia. Her blog serves as “Sexuality 101” for young people trying to understand themselves. Julianna said she advises all non-conforming teenage girls to “Relax. You’ll figure it out. Play around with labels, explore your sexuality and your gender. You’ll know when it’s right.”
Profeminist appeals to teens looking for an international, optimistic and tenacious approach to feminism. In addition, you can find 20 feminist FAQ answered in the ebook “The Profeminist Guide to Frequently Asked Feminist Question.” The book includes all frequently asked questions received on the blog in a compact easy-to-turn-to feminist guide, available on the blog for $10.
5. The glitter (censored)
Note: In order to remain respectful of the boundaries of a school newspaper, this word is not included in this version of the piece. At the end of this article, there is a link to the original uncensored article.
I absolutely love the name of this blog; it emits a vibe of “I’m a girl and I don’t really care what you think,” and that’s exactly what the blog champions. Posts are unapologetically raw and honest and discourage women from apologizing for their bodies, their body hair or their sexuality. While the posts encourage equality and reform for feminist as well as LGBTQI issues, I couldn’t help but feel proud and zealous as I learned about the feminist movement of the ’60s and ’70s.
Journalist and writer Eliel Cruz’s laugh-out-loud funny blog emphasizes the ridiculous ways of manliness. From ridiculing the Axe men’s deodorant line to the introduction of “brosé,” rosé for men, the blog provides a refreshing way for women to laugh at machismo. “I started this blog after seeing one too many unnecessarily gendered items,” said Cruz in an email interview. ” I think we should celebrate masculinity, femininity and the variations of gender expression.” By ridiculing the behavior of men, the blog provides a medium for male self-reflection, comic relief for women and constructive criticism for both. “We should start by discussing how we perpetuate masculinity as superior and how it can be oppressive to both men and women,” he adds.
Vaginal care, women’s rights and sexual exploration are front and center of Viragofondly. The blog aims to repurpose the connotation of the word “virago,” which at one point was a term of endearment for strong independent women but acquired over time the negative meanings of domineering, violent and bad-tempered women. Many of the captioned pictures on the blog include catchy slogans and take advantage of images in popular culture, creatively repurposing them for feminism. Not to mention, their pictures make great lock screens!
This blog aims to debunk the myth that the fight for African American rights can be gender neutral and emphasizes the intersectionality of women’s rights and the push for racial justice. Spinning off a report by the African American Policy Forum titled “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out,” the blog analyzes why girls of color can be more prone to being sent into the juvenile justice system, “acting out” and shouldering more caretaking responsibilities. Through simple black-text-on-white-background posts, the blog conveys a powerful message about the way society treats our black girls.
For this Tumblr, Liz Laribee captions still shots from the ’80s and ’90s TV show “Saved By the Bell”–along with other pictures–with quotes from author, feminist and teacher bell hooks (the pen name of Gloria Jean Watkins). It’s a funny chiming of the two “bells,” which had nothing to do with each other, of course, until Laribee related them. Besides producing an incredibly witty way to share wisdom, Laribee communicates her passion for feminism, advocacy and intersectionality in a clear and concise way.
Named one of Time magazine’s 2015 “Most Influential People” and Cosmopolitan’s “50 Most Fascinating People on the Internet,” Anita Sarkeesian, the creator of Feminist Frequency, explores the portrayal of women in pop culture. Dubbed “Gaming’s Feminist advocate” by Time magazine, Sarkeesian began a Web series in 2009, “Tropes vs. Women in Video Games,” to analyze the way women are portrayed in this medium. I remember going through a video-game phase and playing “Tomb Raider” and feeling like the feminine and exposed clothing of the main character was what all female heroes should look like. Sarkeesian is dismantling that idea and encouraging the gaming world to rethink what a female hero is.
This story is part of Teen Voices at Women’s eNews. In 2013 Women’s eNews retained the 25-year-old magazine Teen Voices to continue and further its mission to improve the world for female teens through media. Teen Voices at Women’s eNews provides online stories and commentary about issues directly affecting female teens around the world, serving as an outlet for young women to share their experiences and views.
This article was originally published on Teen Voices and is reprinted with permission.