Why Sharing is Hard

Today we exchanged our drafts with peers to receive feedback and engage in peer-editing. I always encourage the students I TA to do this, and to get in the practice of having someone else read and edit their work (and vice versa). 

Why, then, is it so hard for me to share my draft? I can’t say it’s because this time the content was deeply personal (it was, but isn’t it always?). I think it’s more so because the act of writing itself is extremely personal. After spending time crafting a draft, sculpting thoughts and sentences, to have them questioned can be an affront, one that we’re not always ready for.

But it’s still important. Terrifying, but important. It’s often difficult (if not impossible) to discover our own errors and lapses when writing, which is why having a fresh pair of eyes edit, question and critique your work is beneficial. This type of interaction is what helps us grow and improve as writers.

So today was hard. But ultimately rewarding and beneficial. 

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Onlinephobia (or my fear of blogging)

During Good Friday preparations, my dad asked me if I would ever maintain a blog dedicated to discussing feminism and discourse online. I try to avoid these types of discussions with my family mainly because, comparatively, my views are very radical. But for some reason I decided to try to muddle through that discussion with him. 

I told my dad that, no, I didn’t see myself ever maintaining in any regular capacity, a blog of any kind. I initially answered this way because when I think back to all of my other previous failed online endeavours, it seems foolish to think that I will actually keep going with this blog. It’s as if a genre is too much pressure. Like if I step outside of the lines of genre, something bad will happen (even though it won’t, even though no one will notice). 

I also told him how scared I was. I told him how I’ve researched and watched as women defy the rules of the boys’ club that is gaming and geek/nerd culture. I told him how uncomfortable I felt within the community, how I never felt like it was okay to be a member. And I don’t. I don’t play games online, not after I was called a bitch, dyke and cunt at 16 years old for playing Halo on Xbox Live (and to think that those are now mild insults/threats). 

It’s hard to locate myself in my desire to engage in feminist activism online and my desire to shrink away and hide, relatively undisturbed with my books in the corner. 

But reading alone in a dimly lit office isn’t going to change anything. It won’t change the threats of rape, death and violence made against women daily, for actions as small as playing a video game or being interested in comics. These are spaces we’re not supposed to like or occupy. 

If I have no problem standing up to my peers in class, speaking out about issues of race, gender and sexuality, how is it that I can’t maintain a simple blog? 

I can’t say that I will commit, because it will make my (potential) failure to do so worse. But I can say that I’ll try. Because it’s important, and it’s important that women exist safely and equally within these communities.