Feb 15, 2008

And the winner is...

I just found out my blog has been nominated in one of the categories for the Canadian F-word Blog Award. It was surprising to learn that my thoughts and rants were being appreciated somewhere in the blogosphere. Especially because I do this for no reason other than needing to express myself. Needless to say, the nomination came as a big surprise. But what wasn't much of a surprise was the category I was nominated for: Best Women of Colour-centered Blog.

The organizers of this event state, "these awards have been created to highlight and celebrate the best feminist bloggers (and their supporters) in Canada and the world." And that's cool. Though I don't necessarily identify as being a feminist, the content of my work would be marked as such. And that's cool too. But what makes the content of my blog different than other blogs that have been nominated for their "feminist" content? Is there something more overtly, or inherently, feminist about these blogs than those like mine? Do people see my blog as being Woman of Colour-centered within a wider feminist context? What makes a blog "feminist" and another Woman of Colour-centered-within-a-feminist-context?

There are 20 nominees for the Best Canadian Feminist Blog and only 5 for the Woman of Colour-centered one (with one blog also included in the former category). Only 5 of us? Really? I can think of at least 5 other canada-based women of color that are in my blogroll. You've got to seek us out. We're there. Often times, linked to one another's blogs.

Being othered in feminist spaces/movements is too familiar, a history of whiteness and othering that most of us know well. Women of Color have been challenging this for years. And we do it in different ways, whether overtly or otherwise. Every word and rant on my blog is exactly that. It has to be. Because that's where my heart is. Every poem, personal entry, drawing, song...

I appreciate the efforts of this feminist award org to put something like this together. I equally appreciate being nominated. I'm not taking issue with the organization but the wider discourse regarding feminist othering. The questions I'm raising are important to me. I'm assuming there are others out there who feel the same way.


Anonymous Prole said...

Hi Pomegranate Queen,

I'm really sorry to have offended you or anyone - to be honest, I had questioned the category also when we were putting this together. We consulted some other bloggers while coming up with the list, and the WOC category was insisted on, by a person of colour. We deferred to their judgement.

11:21 PM  
Blogger rabfish said...

it's just funny that we are in the 'special' category instead of in the general feminist category. it had struck me too. thanks for voicing this, PQ.

10:55 AM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

hey prole,

i'm not offended at all. i'm glad you've commented. i do have issues with the category and just because a person of colour insisted on it, doesn't give it the thumbs up for me. I'm sure there will be disagreements around this issue between women of colour. regardless of our positionalities within a politicized identity we don't all share similar views, politics or experiences.

I appreciate that you had concerns with the category, but to defer it to a person of color to make the decision is not taking responsibility...for an issue that affects all of us, not just women of color.

i would like to continue a discussion of some sort around this...

12:41 PM  
Blogger The Funky Ghetto Hijabi said...

Hello, this is The Funky Ghetto Hijabi.
Do I know you Pomegrante Queen? Like, in real life, not in the blogosphere where we go by Superhero names? In real life, my name is Chelby Marie Daigle. If you are on Facebook hit me up. You're name's not Anar Ranee by any chance? ;)
How did we end up getting nominated? I suspect it was May Lui's article: "feisty, intelligent, must-read Canadian feminist bloggers" All five of the blogs that have been nominated were listed in this article.
Check it out at: http://section15.ca/features/reviews/2007/12/13/blog_reviews/

2:34 AM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

hey rabfish, thanks for commenting. just wanted to put out there that your blog was a big source of inspiration for me to mine. through your blog i was able to connect to a whole community of WOC bloggers from all over. and that has been incredible in so many ways.

4:46 PM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

hello ms. Funky Ghetto Hijabi,

I'm not sure if we know one another outside the blogosphere. I wouldn't be surprised if have crossed paths, but I'm not recognizing your name. I'm actually not on facebook! Probably the only person I know who isn't. :)
If you hit me up on my pomegranatequeen at hotmail dot come, we can connect that way.
thanks for the article link!

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Prole said...

Hi Pomegranate Queen,

I just wrote a lengthy comment and I think the internet ate it, so I'll start again. Sorry if there ends up being a double post - just delete one if so, please.

Again, so sorry to have caused a feeling of separation with the category. I will take responsibility as an administrator of the awards, because I didn't follow my instincts and rather went with the advice of someone else. I had an uneasy feeling about the Women of Colour category when it was suggested, for exactly the reason you've said - the "otherness". Look, I'm as pasty-white European descent as they come, so I don't have the experience or perception of a woman of colour, and I didn't want to assume anything.

I think the intention of the person who suggested the WOC category was to celebrate the unique voices of women of colour in the blogosphere, but has had the unintended consequence that I feared. (They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, hey?) I realize too that women of colour are not a monolithic block who all speak with the same voice - just like all people. If we do the awards again, we won't include a separate category for WOC or LBGTQ. It has been a learning experience in many ways, and this is one of them.

An interesting thing about the nominations, which were all done by individual bloggers (administrators were not allowed to nominate). There were a lot of woman of colour-authored blogs nominated in the best International Feminist Blog category, that weren't nominated for the WOC category.

I'd like to write about this at A Creative Revolution next week after the awards are finished. I'll let you know when something is posted, and I'd love it if you came over and participated in the discussion. I hope it's ok with you if I quote from you and of course, provide a link back here.

P.S. I'm very glad to have been guided to your blog.

3:28 PM  
Blogger rabfish said...

wow, that's interesting. i wonder what makes some blogs get nominated as 'woc centered' and others as 'international.'

i wonder how i would do this, were i running such a thing. i guess i would take my cue from how poeple self-identify. i know that the radical women of color blog ring is what brought a lot of us together initally--so i was clearly identifying as a 'woman of color' centered writer. maybe i would make some kind of choice in consensus with whoever else was running the deal, and also makea point to articulate our reasoning, post it above the actual category itself, and invite feedback.

yaya for blogging community, and thanks for the dialogue! rabfish

5:31 PM  
Blogger rabfish said...

and just saw your previous comment. thanks PQ. :)

8:08 PM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

hey prole,

thanks for continuing the dialogue. i fully understand where the suggestion for the category was coming from. and i appreciate the importance of celebrating unique voices. good intentions are what many of us are about, and so is critical reflection and dialogue. which is exactly what we're doing here. which makes me so happy/hopeful. not just in terms of this particular incident, but for solidarity building within a movement that affects us all.

i think it's awesome you want to post something about all this: an outcome of reflecting and dialoguing. that's great. I will most definitely participate in the discussion and i have no problems with being quoted.

1:50 AM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

hey rabfish,

organizing something like this is difficult. taking cue for how people self-identify is one way of approaching it. but it's a tricky thing here, because ultimately we identify as WOC bloggers, taking on this politicized identity as a form of solidarity/support/mobilization/resistance/protest in relation to experiences of racism, exclusion, othering within feminist spaces and other so-called progressive spaces.
but if we're talking about a movement that is committed to inclusivity, anti-racism and meaningful solidarity then we need to move beyond "celebrating" and start thinking of ways to realize those commitments.

this would require thinking about the F word and what the heck is this word/concept/movement really commited to? And in terms of this award, there would have to be a clear set of criteria for "best Canadian feminist". Because in the end, there should only be one category for Best Canadian Feminist, along with other kinds of specific categories. But by specific I don't mean identity-based. That's how I would go about it, I think...

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Prole said...

Hi again! I'm writing the post right now, and I hope you'll come over when it's posted later on today and give your thoughts. You'll need to create an account at A Creative Revolution, but it's easy, free (of course) and we will never give your email addy out, promise!

Sorry it's taken so long. It's been difficult to put it all into words.

12:05 PM  
Blogger pomegranate queen said...

hi prole,
i'm currently away and dealing with a nasty flu. i'll check your post as soon as i'm feeling a bit better. thanks for letting me know.

7:41 PM  

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