What does the 50th ‘anniversary’ of the Feminist Carnival mean?

// 19 December 2007

The 50th Carnival of Feminists has been published at Jaded Hippy. As is so often the case, the Carnival is hosted by a blog which is completely new to me. It is also stuffed full of feminist posts, branching out to give a tiny taste of the true length and breadth of feminist activism on the internet.

For those who don’t know, in the blog world a Carnival is a regular celebration, a collection of posts on a given topic submitted by readers. A Carnival helps you get a handle on the truly vast number of bloggers writing about a given topic. There are all kinds, covering every topic under the sun – Blog Carnival has a record of 3,120 carnivals, or 16,160 editions.

So, in the grand scheme of things, how important is it that the Carnival of Feminists, started over two years ago by Natalie Bennett, has reached the 50-edition mark?

In my opinion, it is very important. Purely in terms of showing how many feminist bloggers are out there, it is staggering. Consider that there are 50 feminist bloggers willing to take on the considerable time and effort of sifting through hundreds of entries and pulling them together into some sort of coherence. Then add to that the bloggers they link to. I don’t think I’ve read a single one of those carnivals and thought ‘oh, yes, I’ve seen all this before’ or even that I know of all or most of the bloggers.

And also consider the vast range of opinion and focus demonstrated by these bloggers. A quick look at the most recent carnival proves the point. We have everything from this Livejournal entry by tacithydra on the declining numbers of feminist bookstores in the US (124 in 1993, 12 today), to this post from the host’s own blog, trying to feel around how a change in the way we view consent, and the value placed on female sexual pleasure, could radically alter the current culture of rape. (As a side note, you may be interested in checking out this debate on consent).

In other words, feminists are out there – and yes, an unwieldy number of them are blogging away furiously, creating communities and forging readerships, thinking ideas out and pulling down myths. They are busy doing activism.

So what is the Carnival’s role in all this? What I love about it is that while Marie Claire is desperately trying to convince us that feminism needs to be rebranded to appeal to the masses, the truth is that the number of active, enthusiastic feminists is so vast that we need something like the Carnival just to begin to get a taste – not a handle – on what they are thinking and saying. Here’s to another 50.

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