The Personal is Political

I really liked this comment from Christine at Ms Musings about the blog One Good Thing:

Here’s what I love most about OGT: The personal is political in the most meaningful sense of that phrase, as the blog gives the “simple” acts in Leigh Anne’s daily life — from sharing childcare duties to discussing safe sex practices with a customer in the store — a much larger context. It is informative, entertaining and brave.

Though there are occasional digs at Bush & Co., OGT probably would not be on most lists of political blogs. But I think it’s extremely political. Leigh Anne reveals that her entire life is immersed in the social systems continually shifting and changing around us and that her everyday decisions make a difference. OGT not only invites readers to experience one woman’s life, it challenges them to examine their own.

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12 Responses to The Personal is Political

  1. 1
    Elayne Riggs says:

    Leigh Ann’s posts are sometimes the highlight of my day. The latest about the drunk guy was great reading as usual.

  2. 2
    Joe says:

    Check out my site for a refreshing view.

  3. 3
    pdm says:

    Well, I’ve viewed OGT—and I don’t see (apart from a reference to pay toilets and feminism) any connection to the political realm in her personal writings.

  4. 4
    Morphienne says:

    I think perhaps what Christine meant (perhaps– I haven’t read all of her post, so don’t smack me, Christine, if I’m wrong) when she said that flea’s blog is political is not that it relates everything to politics, per se, but that it takes things that happen to flea on a personal level and shows how they are in many ways the result of of the complex political and social system we live in, and how people’s interactions as individuals with that system often produce some pretty wild results. Her writings are not *about* politics, true, but many, many, many of the things that happen to her are a very strong reminder that politics and non-political social forces have a very real effect on *everyone* every day, not just political activists, soldiers, and politicians.

    The fact that flea feels (unjustifiably) like a crap mother so often has something to do with the larger social realm around her. The trade show she went to where she had to cover her booth for one angry person– politics, and social forces, large-scale and small-scale, have an effect on whether flea can display adult toys in an area where children are likely to be present, and even whether she can sell or own adult toys at all. Her decision not to medicate her son, Alex– a personal decision, but one that takes place within the vast tide of the Ritalin/ADD/ADHD conundrum that is facing our society *as a whole.*

    I see your point, though, pdm: One Good Thing is not a place to go to find political discussion, at least not in the same sense that Alas is. It is, however, an excellent place to go when you want to leave political theory and see how allegedly social and political ideas, such as feminism, intersect with what’s personally important to an individual; and how allegedly social and political ideas, like feminism, are just as much, if not more, personal than they are anything else.

  5. 5
    Echidne says:

    At the risk of stereotyping generalizations, I think that many women who blog see politics differently from many men who blog: as a wider, perhaps more diffuse influence on our lives. Maybe this is because political ideas affect women more this way than they affect men. One Good Thing, for example, often mentions incidents where Flea is faced with the societal disapproval of women who act a certain way as mothers or as women, and this disapproval is something that the right-wing political values are actively contributing to. So what she writes about IS political, though not in the sense of talking about whether Bush lied or about election campaigns.

  6. 6
    Echidne says:

    Blah, Morphienne already said the same thing, and better.

  7. 7
    pdm says:

    Yeah, I see what you mean. One of the reasons I admire Bruce Springsteen is that he, too makes the personal political (and, for that matter, moral) through his tales of everyday working-class lives.

    But I still don’t get that from OGT—at least from the stuff I’ve read—maybe I should read the archives…….

  8. Morphienne! Get out of my head! : )
    No, really, that was great what you wrote, much more eloquent than me. Thank you.
    I read somewhere last month (for what feels like millionth time) about the small number of women who would be considered political bloggers. It quickly became obvious that the writer was wearing male blinders, because he skipped Amy Sullivan, Suburban Guerilla, Wampum, TalkLeft, etc. And I doubt he’d even consider Echidne and Elayne, as revealing and informative as their blogs are, because they swerve in and around politics, or MadKane, who (gasp!) uses humor to drive home her points, despite the fact their writings are very political. And forget OGT. Echidne is right-on as well, and I’d love to read more on this, if anyone knows of related articles (?). This topic of blogging/gender/politics practically deserves its own blog.
    What’s really cool, though, is that Springsteen and I are now mentioned in the same thread. I’m partial to the brooding darkness of “Nebraska.”

  9. 9
    flea says:

    I would have posted here earlier, but for some reason Alas, A Blog kept turning things at my house into Alas, A Frozen Computer. Seems I’m having better luck today.

    It isn’t my intent to do a political blog. I don’t have the time or the inclination to defend my positions on things. The bottom line is that the blog is more of a virtual scrapbook for me, with some other stuff thrown in there, too.

    I have a lot of readers that believe the garbage about feminism that is being sold in popular culture, and often my intention is to be very clear that I’m a feminist, and if they’ve believed that we’re all child and man-hating monsters, then they can see they’ve been wrong.

    Judging by the e-mail I get, this seems to work, but I definitely get my share of men who, knowing I’m a feminist, get dead set on reading the blog with the least generous interpretation possible.

    To be fair, I also get my share of flat out hate mail from self-identified feminists who don’t think I’m a feminist at all, and want me to throw myself under an El train.

    I appreciate Christine’s point that my blog shows how politics affect one’s personal life – how could this current political climate where the CDC is being forced to remove truthful information about the lack of connection between abortion and breast cancer in order to further a personally controlling political agenda as well as the insistance on abstinence-only “education” NOT affect someone who works in the sex industry to give accurate information? (That was a horrible run-on sentence, sorry.)

    I get an enormous response from parents, both men and women, when I post about strangers lecturing me on how to be a good parent. This, too, is a political issue, as it shows very clearly how our society is only interested in the “It takes a village” style child-rearing when the parent is doing something wrong, but when the parent attempts to do something right (provide a diaper, get an accurate diagnosis about a behavioral disorder, etc.) the doors slam shut and it becomes solely the parent’s plight alone.

    My blog isn’t the only one that becomes political in unlikely places – look at the letters Ms. Lauren at Feministe receives – the ones that insult her parenting ability solely because she is a young mother. If that doesn’t speak volumes about the desire to punish women for stepping out of the bounds of sexual propriety, nothing does.

    Most of the time, though, I really just want to talk about drunks and poo.

  10. Sometimes poo is just … poo.

  11. 11
    Jokes Page! says:

    Hey, i heard this today ;-)

    Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed.

    The other guy takes out his phone and calls the emergency services.
    He gasps: “My friend is dead! What can I do?”

    The operator says: “Calm down, I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.”

    There is a silence, then a gunshot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says: “OK, now what?”

  12. 12
    alsis38 says:

    [shameless drift from an NJ-born heretic]

    Calexico and Peter Case kick Springsteen’s ass.

    [/shameless drift from an NJ-born heretic]