Feminism Is Not a Monolith and Neither is Double X

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
May 15 2009 1:33 PM

Feminism Is Not a Monolith and Neither is Double X

Our first week at Double X is drawing to a close. And we’ve heard all sorts of responses. We’re not feminist enough. We’re too feminist. We say we’re not feminist but then we talk a lot about feminism . We (and Slate ) are ghettoizing women . First, I want to second my co-editors Hanna and Emily in what they wrote yesterday and today about why we wanted to create Double X and its relationship to Slate . Second, I want to take this moment to clarify some things about the disparate points of view you’ll find on the site.

The spirit animating the site is the spirit of debate. We do not edit the blog posts before they go up, or read them over to make sure they all hew to a single party line. And so XXFactor blogger Susannah Breslin, for example, may have one take about feminism , while our essays reflect another. When we at Double X have said that we’ll have a "feminist" viewpoint, we do not mean that this viewpoint will be doctrinaire or singular-or even that every piece will have a "feminist" angle. For example, for our launch, we asked a range of women to answer our question, "What is the primary problem facing women today? What is today’s problem that has no name?" Many of the essayists in our symposium chose to point to the problems with feminism itself. We did not coach the responses, or set out to hack feminism off at the knees. The essays reflected the writer’s own views.

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And that’s, in our view, as it should be. We created Double X so that readers and writers would get to hear women’s voices raised in cacophonous debate-not in well-oiled agreement. As editors, we believe in the importance of discussing issues of women’s equality and identity, and we are not afraid of the word itself. But some of our bloggers and contributors might not agree with us. Maybe they’ll be cacophonous and contradictory for a while. So be it. That’s the reality of where we are the moment. Let the arguments continue.

Meghan O'Rourke is Slate's culture critic and an advisory editor. She was previously an editor at The New Yorker. The Long Goodbye, a memoir about her mother's death, is now out in paperback.