Here’s my Feministe Question about Radical Childcare


I’ve been a reader of Feministe for a few years now.  It’s pretty much one of the few mainstream-ish blogs/sites that I pop my cyber head in for a check-in for women and gender news and updates.

It’s not just the writers that provide news.  What I find more telling about the temperature of mainstream feminism and how far (or not) we have come, is the comment section. Comments can range from supportive and affirming to downright knee-slapping hilarious for its ridiculousness.

Right now, there is a post that I genuinely support and am eager to read how others are reacting.  As a contributing writer and editor at make/shift magazine, I always feel a thrill when a significant article, like Heather Bowlan’s Power to the Parents, is picked up by another outlet, like Utne.

And then there’s more thrill when it’s mentioned in the feminist blogosphere.

My curiosity set in, though, when NO comments were made in the post.  None.  Not even a “thanks for posting the link,” or “I disagree because collective childcare is _____ ” kind of comment.

No reaction.

Or, is it no interest?

What does that say about feminist readers?  Or is it just Feministe readers?  What does it say that when feminist sites cover news about abortion signs or Planned Parenthood, media goes crazy and the readers respond. But when an article reports of a much needed service in the activist circles, the voices of support or even of mild inquiry are nowhere to be found.  When the subject is redefining the family and broadening inclusion in the “movement,” why is there an echo in the room?  For all of the cries of “liberal” and “progressive” readers, where is the interest in the news when it reports a piece of information that actually DOES something to make a difference in the lives of women?

Is there no reaction to this amazing effort by China Martens and others who work to try and include children in the movement for justice and peace?

No reaction?  Is it that people want to react to more posts about Charlie Sheen’s assholery or popular and well-covered issues such as white privilege?

Or is this more telling about the disinterest the capital *F feministers have when it comes to women who are not white, heterosexual, partnered, and without dependents of any kind?  What does a “no comments” section mean about the vested interest in a truly pro-life (non-political term usage here), pro-women, pro-family effort?

Just observin’.

Just sayin’.

Just questioning.

  1. #1 by Lisa on March 8, 2011 - 10:53 am

    :) !

  2. #2 by Mamita Mala on March 2, 2011 - 7:50 am

    If I read Feministe, I would tell you. :)

  3. #3 by Neville Park on March 2, 2011 - 2:48 am

    I don’t really read big feminist blogs anymore, but I’ve noticed the same thing — not just with posts about parenting, but also race and trans* issues. I think it says something about the sort of audience feminist blogs attract, what self-identified feminists think of as “women’s issues”, and who self-identified feminists think of as women. Or I’m just super-cynical and the commenter above is right!

    Previous discussions about motherhood at Feministe have gone…interestingly.

  4. #4 by Sara Anderson on March 1, 2011 - 3:33 pm

    Some subjects are easier to react to. I know that a lot of posts about things like natural and political disasters go relatively un-commented-on. I try to avoid saying basically useless things like, “Oh shit, that is horrible,” or, “That’s neat.” Because often that’s about the total of what I can contribute.

    I don’t think you’re wrong that there’s a significant amount of self-interest at play here. While I think that access to childcare is a really exciting issue that has the potential to really transform a lot of people’s lives, I don’t know what to say to the article. Maybe I’d just do some boilerplate about how the issue is interesting and important, but after that I’m kind of lost. This will probably change once I have my own kids, but I’d rather own up to my ignorance than do a bunch of hand-waving.

    I just don’t really think commenters are very invested in a subject that’s just been brought to their attention (when that is the case). If you set out to write a blog post on something yourself, you start with some research, and usually an intent to inform. A lot of readers feel they’ve done their part by learning and not going off half-cocked. In summary, I think “read the whole thing” posts have their place.

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