While this course has been my first official foray into the GWSS department, feminism and gender politics have always been a pet project of mine. This class provided a much-needed platform from which to articulate new ideas and refine existing ones. The readings and class discussions helped me to bring my already-formed viewpoints into dialogue with new perspectives, and to approach familiar issues from different angles. For me, this course has emphasized that there is no finality to an issue, but a multiplicity of discourses that interact and sometimes oppose one another.
The class blog has been a mostly useful way to exchange ideas and promote discussion, both online and in class. Often, posts people have made on the blog sparked interesting conversations in class, and vice versa. Also, posting one's thoughts in written form can provide the illusion of a safe distance, perhaps making it more comfortable for people to express their opinions without the terror and pressure of public speaking. However, the relative anonymity provided by an online medium, where some of us choose to be identified by an alias or x500, also provides an easy out, excusing one from taking responsibility for one's thoughts and writings. While this has not been a problem in our class, and the exchanges here have been entirely civil, I think there is value in publicly declaring oneself, and allowing one's body as well as one's name to be associated with one's attitudes. This is not so much a critique of the class, but of our generation and of cyberculture as a whole. How is the internet changing how we communicate with each other? How does it change how we form and per-form our identities?
I also question the format of obligatory participation that frames our engagement with this medium and with each other. Because the blog is assigned, not optional, something feels inherently forced and, in a way, false about interacting with each other because we have been told to. Ideally, these conversations would be self-motivated, self-directed and would happen organically. However, I understand that this is problematic because we are all students and, thus, are unfathomably busy all the time; doubtlessly, without some compulsory mechanism in place to keep us on track, the blog would sit empty most of the time. I don't have any good suggestions to improve this.
ALSO. For the record, I hate Twitter. I don't understand how it is useful. The structure of a blog enables and encourages commenting and constructive conversation, which is awesome. Twitter, however, has a character limit that makes any kind of detailed critique or complex analysis impossible. It might be a useful exercise in brevity, but ultimately its limitations are too constrictive. Furthermore, it doesn't allow for comments. If someone posts a tweet that you like or want to respond to, you can do the little "@such-and-so" hashtag thing, but those tweets are uploaded independently and are not attached to the original tweet they are attempting to reply to. The result is a cess pool of random, isolated virtual sound bites that are ejaculated into the ether, encouraging everyone to participate in a self-indulgent and masturbatory barrage of discourse. Fuck that.