Transparency and Feedback
It is important to all of the contributors here at FWD that readers and commenters be able to provide feedback on the site . It’s also important to us that you can see the processes we use and know how we respond to that feedback and address it on the site. So even though we’re quite a new site, we’ve already received some valuable feedback which has caused us to make some immediate changes and wanted to share it with you in the interest of transparency.
When we announced the site going live this afternoon, we received some immediate feedback on the site’s blogroll and how it excluded an important perspective – that of women over 50. (I’m not identifying the person who provided this feedback publicly because I don’t know if they’d be comfortable with that – if they’d like to be identified, just let me know and I can swap it.) During the planning for this site, we had identified age as an important axis of diversity and made it our goal to include a range of perspectives on age and aging in our blogroll and our posts. We put together the blogroll fairly quickly and intended to continue to revise and supplement it as the site progressed.
HOWEVER – neither of those things were at all evident from the site or the blogroll, so the only way people could have known is with psychic powers. That is a failure of inclusion on our part, and we apologize for that. Many of us have experienced implicit exclusion from mainstream feminism sites on the basis of our disabilities, and sincerely regret causing that same feeling of exclusion to women over 50, bloggers exploring the issues of ageism, and anyone else who was offended or felt excluded. That was our bad, and it was bad.
Since then, we’ve been working on finding relevant sites that we can add to the blogroll and are planning to think and write more about the issues of age and how they intersect with both feminism and disability. Some of the site’s contributors are 40ish, but none are over 50 and I’m not aware that any of us focus specifically on issues of age, so that’s obviously an important perspective for us to seek out and make affirmative efforts to include on the site – not just saying “if you want to see it, write a guest post.” (Although of course if you want to write a guest post we’d love to have you!!)
This is not an appropriate time for me to talk about how ageism interacts with feminism and disability, because it’s obviously not an issue I have any business speaking on. But we will continue to be doing and research and reading and working to connect with older feminist disability bloggers to feature and include on the site.
This is what we hope the site can do – receive feedback, respond to it, and incorporate it into the site moving forward. While we certainly hope we won’t make too very many mistakes, it is inevitable that we will make some. Our committment to you is that when you raise them with us (and emailing is a great way to do it – either the author of a specific post or administrator [@] disabledfeminists [.] com for site-wide issues like this one), this is what we hope to do with feedback. If you take the time to identify an issue and highlight it for us, we owe you the respect of serious consideration of your feedback and a good faith effort to respond to it.