Wrestling With Ugly Voices
Jessica Valenti is a feminist writer and blogger. She is the founder and editor of the popular blog and online community, Feministing.com, and the author of three books: Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters, He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut…and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, and The Purity Myth: How America’s Obsession with Virginity is Hurting Young Women. She is also a co-editor of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, which was named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 100 Books of 2009.
Question: What is an ethical dilemma you’ve faced?
Jessica Valenti: That's hard! I think -- when I started blogging, it was -- and the site's readership was very small -- it was really important to me that our comments were just completely open, right, and anyone who wanted to comment, whether they disagreed really strongly or not, could comment on the site. And it was really important to me as a feminist to talk to each and every one of them and to try to have a conversation with all of them. And even if they were completely anti-feminist or misogynist, I kind of had this idealistic point of view that if I just spent five minutes talking to them, they would understand why this work was so important. And as the site got bigger, we kind of ran into this problem of is this realistic, and is this the best way to serve our community? You know, to have this kind of complete openness in comments. And now I am of the opinion of moderating more and more and more. But that initial hurdle to make comments moderated and to kind of curb people's voices when they were hateful or anti-feminist or not progressing the conversation was a really difficult hurdle for me to get over. But now that I'm over it, I'm really over it.
December 11, 2009
The founder of Feministing.com had to make a tough decision to censor some of the more hateful comments on her blog.
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