Welcome back, ShoutOut readers! For older readers, thank you for joining us for another semester of fighting the patriarchy at JMU. For any new readers, thank you for joining our community.
You may have seen recent tension on our blog between bloggers, and so we have entered a phase of community building, both within the blog and with our readers. We hope that this continues to be a safe, feminist space both for members of the JMU community and those outside it. We would also like to reestablish what that safe space really means and that includes accountability for not only our readers and commenters, but for our bloggers as well.
That is to say, we hope that when any member of this community sees a problematic post or comment, or an area for improvement, they will speak up (or shout out, if you will). Part of ShoutOut’s central purpose is to foster feminist discourse and it is vital to our mission to maintain a dialogue that is inclusive of everyone, and this means that:
This is a space in which sexist, racist, classist, ableist, homophobic, heterosexist, transphobic, sizest, ageist or any other attempts to attack or erase anyone’s identity is absolutely impermissible. Critiques of religious systems and institutions are important in feminist discourse, but personal attacks on one’s religious or spiritual identity (or lack of identity) are also unacceptable in this space (for example, it’s fine to criticize the Catholic church, but not criticize someone because they are Catholic). While this policy has clearly been in place in accord with how we have moderated comments (although some do slip through) it also applies to our blog posts and to the bloggers. We, as a community, are all accountable to each other.
This is where we need you readers. We cannot be a community without you and we ask you to hold us accountable when we slip up. Which we invariably do, being human. This is a learning experience for all of us and if we say something that you find discriminatory or just plain not cool, tell us and we will constructively respond and continue to actively strive to make sure that this blog is a safe space for everyone. This is your space too and we owe it to you to make it the safest place it can be for everyone to participate in the conversation.
In an effort to emphasize our new approach to accountability we have made a couple of changes to the structure of the blog, including,
- having two new co-editors as of now, bloggers aliasmitch and Katie O.
- trigger warnings on posts that deal with sensitive material (e.g. sexual assault and rape, domestic violence, eating disorders, gay bashing, etc.)
- ensuring that the long-standing comment policy applies to posts
- and making sure that there is increased dialogue between bloggers (and, hopefully, commenters).
Furthermore, if you don’t feel comfortable commenting in a public space, please feel free to email us (aliasmitch or Katie O.) at our email addresses on the “Who We Are” page. We understand that commenting in a public space may not always be comfortable for people, so we are completely open to having readers email us. We’ve also added a new twitter as a way for our readers to keep up with our posts.
We’re very much looking forward to blogging this semester and reaffirming our commitments to our readership and this feminist community as a whole.
– aliasmitch & Katie O.