Duke Offers Feminist Blogger Workshop

The Duke Women’s Center has launched Write(H)ers, a semester-long “initiative to create a community of feminist-oriented writers”. Its 23 initial members will attend four dinners with visiting feminist journalists and must contribute three blog posts during the semester to one of two Duke blogs.

Senior Sarah Van Name, a member of Write(H)ers and a contributor to Duke’s feminist blog Develle Dish, said the program serves to train young women and better equip them to be activists when they need to be.

“This program was a dream come true for me because I read a lot of feminist blogs and several of the women who write these blogs now have the opportunity to come to Duke and explain to this new community how to follow in their footsteps,” Van Name said.

I’m a little skeptical about this, for two reasons. Firstly, learning to write well and learning good feminist ideology are two different things, and I can’t tell which of those things this program is trying to accomplish. Maybe the program assumes good ideology? If so, that seems like a recipe for confusion.

Secondly, even most of the amateur feminist bloggers I know write three posts every week, not every semester. Some of them aren’t terribly good writers, but they will be soon, if they keep up that level of output. On that I feel like I can speak authoritatively; if Duke wants to develop strong feminist writers, they need to make those little feminists crank out a massive volume of content.

Still, it’s good that the university is pushing feminist activism as a valuable endeavor.