(One very important edit, see below...)
We talk a lot, in the momosphere, about empowerment. About how blogging has, quite literally, changed our lives. About how we've found strength and inspiration in other women (and men) who are struggling and cheering their way through the incredible and incredibly challenging experience that is parenthood. About how we've found our voices.
When MBT launched its BlogHer Or Bust! contest, the writing prompt that we chose for that challenge was, we felt, in keeping with the spirit of blogging, and of BlogHer more specifically. How does (does?) blogging empower women? we asked. We asked this because we believed that if you're participating in this community (and especially if you're participating enthusiastically enough to want to join a gazillion other bloggers in person in Chicago to celebrate blogging) you'd probably have something to say on this topic. And, hooo boy, did you ever. (Find and read - read, read! - the full list of posts HERE.)
You talked about how blogging gives you an outlet for all the rants and raves and reflections that crowd your hearts and minds, even if you never end up putting those rants and raves and reflections on the screen. You talked about how blogging makes you better feminists. You talked about how blogging makes you better humanists. You talked about how blogging kept you sane during some really, really rough times (I gave Miss Robbin a Perfect Post Award for her post about blogging through the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, because it made me cry). But you also talked about how you worry, sometimes, that blogging might become, as Moondance put it, "a ghetto of self-expression." And our own Sandra expressed such concerns most forcefully when she said that "the statement that 'blogging empowers women' implies that we are talking about all women. Which couldn't be farther from the truth. Because that statement cannot even be applied to most of the world's women."
If we want to talk empowerment, she said, we should be talking about how we privileged bloggers can help to empower those women who are less privileged. We should be talking about how to make a bigger difference. We should be talking about how we can act.
We remind ourselves of this pretty regularly - remember late last summer, when Gloria Steinem insisted that we remind ourselves? And my own mother (no Gloria Steinem, but awesome in her own right) keeps pestering me to remember that *blogging* in and of itself is not *acting,* regardless of how many Call To Action or Mommy Blogger Love-In round-ups I organize or how many posts about privilege I write. We beat our collective chest and we write and write and write, but where's the action? Real action, not just the action of putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard (which is not to be discounted - who can deny that the Just Posts, with all of their heart and soul, make a difference? - but still.) Shouldn't we be acting?
Well, BlogHer is acting, as most of you probably already know, through the fantabulous initiative that is BlogHers Act, which is encouraging women bloggers to come up with global and US-based plans for action on causes to be decided upon at the conference. And, now, MBT is teaming up with them to spearhead a Canadian version of this initiative.
That's right. We're getting in on the action, Canuck-style.
Our immediate goal is two-fold: to come up with a list of causes that women bloggers (not just mom-bloggers) from around Canada want to get behind, and then to narrow down that list to at least one cause (maybe more? can we do it?) that we will act upon directly over the coming year. The long-term plan? To bring Canadian women bloggers together to take real action. To effect real change.
Check out MBT's Mama Karma page for full details, and have your say. What action do you want to take? How do you want to change the little corner of the world that is Canada? Go, speak your cause in the comments at Mama Karma, or write a post and leave a link. You know the drill.
And the rest of you? What do you think? There's no disputing that action is good, but does our own empowerment - does empowerment in general - require that we put feet to pavement and placards in hands and that we march and protest and lobby and fight? Can virtual action (see, for example, what a lot of love and a little auction can do to help save the lives of little boys) be as powerful as real action?
We do better holding hands.
*(cross-posted with some amendments at MBT)
**EDITED TO ADD: Some of you might not know WhyMommy of Toddler Planet, but you totally should. Because she's one of the nicest ladies around, and, now, because she needs all the love and support she can get. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, and she's blogging through it with grace and aplomb, but she could still use a virtual hug or two. Also - BIG ALSO - she's giving away her BlogHer registration, and her reservation (just the reservation) at the now-totally-booked-up-you-can't-even-lick-the-windows-W-hotel. She has chemo that weekend, see, and can't go. But you could go, and join us while we raise our glasses to her and send her our biggest bloggy best wishes.