2009 A Year in Retrospect

12/31/2009 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments
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Dear internet, as you already know, we are approaching the start of a new decade. Gather ’round the warm glow of your computer or mobile device to reminisce about times past in an effort to temporarily forget about the chill weather & politically tumultuous atmosphere globally.

I hope you will forgive me, if, around the holidays and certain days important to me personally, I engage in some self-indulgence. (Although I suppose I there’s’ a pretty good chance that I already do that more frequently than I think I do… :/)

I have no resolutions for 2010. I have no personal resolutions, and I have no blogging resolutions. No thanks, I’m good, stay the course, four more years. So instead of taking an anticipatory look ahead, I’d like to take a look back to review some of the posts I’m most proud of here this year at Feminists With Female Sexual Dysfunction – as well as review some other interesting notes.

(Besides, at this time of year, everyone’s doin’ it! I’m trendy! Look at me, I’m doin’ something retrospective for end of year/decade!)

When I started blogging in 2008, at first I felt unsure of myself & what direction to go in. I had an idea of what I wanted to do – talk about feminism and sexual dysfunction, especially their intersection, as someone who actually identifies as feminist and who actually lives with FSD under the pain category. But I was afraid, too. Jitters. Vulnerability. Controversy. Secrecy. I figured that’s probably normal for new blogs. I may have started in 2008, but 2009 is the year I feel like I really started to find my footing & step out into the big wide world of feminist blogging.

I’m not the boss of FSD. I am not THE authority on the topic. I’m just some person with different experiences & perspectives. I don’t think any single person should have that authority to arbitrarily declare what does and doesn’t merit treatment for a sexual health problem, and what that treatment should be… except, perhaps, for the individual patient, for themselves. What I say is not the only answer, it’s just *an* answer, *a* response. Lowercase. It’s not THE answer. But maybe I can somehow reach out and help other people with sexual health problems, or change someone’s mind when they think of FSD. A challenger appears…

This year I feel like I finally started to find my Voice. On the internet, I found some particularly motivating posts and articles and started analyzing them, in my own way. I’ve also read some good books and watched some movies and similarly analyzed them.

Recently I’ve been joined by a few others who have contributed their thoughts as guests and I’ve had a few commenters here as well. It took over a year but I think we’re finally starting to put the “S” in Feminists With FSD. The guest posts stand out because these are real people talking, who are not me, not stats, not so-called experts. The three posts that have been written with the help of others are Guest Post – My Experiences with Vulvodynia and Talking about FSD: Listening to Patients (I call this a semi-guest post because I wrote some of it, but the real content was provided by someone else,) and Guest Post – Cat Introduces Herself. I really appreciate these guest posts. Maybe we’re not so alone after all. These are the kinds of voices I don’t usually get to hear. And so to those who have contributed to Feminists With FSD in comments and in guest posts, I would like to say – Thank You.

An interesting note about comments – I get spam, but, I think probably no more frequently than anyone else. Which is surprisingly given that it’s a blog about sexual dysfunction… I thought I’d be up to my ears in spam for Viagra and Cialis, but that… doesn’t actually happen often.
Instead, quite a bit of the spam I get is for yeast infection treatments! I think I get just as much spam for yeast infection remedies as I do spam for erectile dysfunction drugs. Sometimes the spam is links to porn sites, other times it’s just completely random & allover the place. Those all go in the trash.

My references page is all out of date now and it’s so far gone I just don’t know how I’m ever going to catch up to everything I’ve been citing. The citations happen within posts using links where possible though so hopefully that’s good enough for the blogosphere… still I’d like to go back and update the references page sooner or later…

Now I’d like to do a retrospective… Top 10 Posts I wrote in 2009. Top 10 for one reason or another. Maybe they get a lot of traffic, maybe they have sentimental value, maybe they go against the grain when it comes to discussions of FSD.

10. Any Blog Link Roundup – using the most recent one for an example. I do this because I know not all of my readers identify as feminist and so do not keep up with feminist perspectives of news, and would like to keep these readers in the loop, while possibly teaching a thing or two. Likewise, not all of my readers identify as having FSD so sometimes the blog links educate about that. I suppose most of my content achieves that though. Hopefully achives that goal.

9.  What is “Natural sexuality” anyway? – Okay I don’t know what that means so no one combine those two words in front of me. Especially since it turns out there’s quite a lot of different ways to define or explore what natural sexuality is, so who exactly am I supposed to belive is THE authority on it?

8. Movie review: Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate – I like this review because I think I went deep with it. Deeper than reviews of this movie written by other people.

7. Lies my sex ed teacher taught me – Catharsis, a look back on counter-productive lessons in Sex Education. Hint: It wasn’t a problem because of old timey myths like, it made me want to have sex or because it corrupts students innocent minds. It was harmful because it omitted so much information. It was so incomplete.

6. My experience with alternative treatments for vulvodynia – This is a popular post; a lot of people find it searching for “Vulvodynia homeopathy,” “Vulvodynia alternative meds,” etc in search terms. A lot of people must be interested in alternative treatments for vulvar pain!

5. Healthcare and Vulvodynia – Timely in light of US health care reform, this is what it was really like for me, financially, when I sought treatment for vulvodynia. It can get expensive!

4. The post 20/20 vulvodynia discussion – One of the most popular posts on Feminists with FSD; traffic spiked immediately following the 20/20 episode in question. No wonder – if you google 20/20 vulvodynia, as of 12/31/09, this site is second only to the NVA’s official page!

3. The ugly things people say about FSD – [potentially triggering] A popular post in terms of traffic. I collected several of the most egregious comments I saw posted on other websites & posts discussing female sexual dysfunction. I still believe that attitudes which claim FSD isn’t real, isn’t valid, contribute to these kinds of statements. Unfortunately the view that FSD is a fake “Disease” invented solely by Big Pharma is a surprisngly popular & enduring view, so I know I’m going to run into this kind of thing again eventually.

2. An example of an article about FSD – not as fleshed out as its successor, Talking about FSD: How not to, and Part 2 but for some reason this original reaction got quite a bit of traffic.

1. Vaginismus – A Response to “Open Sesame” – I consider this to be the post where I really found my Voice. This is what got pointed me in same direction I have followed for the last several months. It’s also the post that started to turn a few heads, including FigLeaf’s. Unfortunately I had to close comments because this is the one exception to the relative lack of spam… This vaginismus post was getting spam every few minutes every day so eventually I gave up trying to keep it clear, and I just closed comments. It’s not to stifle conversation, really. It just kept getting swarmed. I think the spammer was either a bot or else a really lonely person with nothing better to do.

And that’s where I’ve been for 2009, in relation to blogging. Where I’ll end up going in 2010, I don’t know…

But as I’ve said before, there is still much work to be done.

Happy New Year, folks. Hope it’s safe & exactly what you need.


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  1. I was reading your #1 and wanted to comment but comments are closed so I’m putting it here 🙂

    I come across that “channeling” stuff all the time – and I’ve come to the conclusion that it is possibly more damaging than actual people who might call a person a ‘whackjob’. It’s supposed to be OK because “feminists” are saying it. Except it’s not OK – it’s plain old shaming and bullying and hate and all it takes to get away with it is claiming to care about women.

    I don’t see those tactics as any different than any other sort of oppression, it’s the same oppression of women that it has always been. The “sexualization/objectification” stuff, and how dominance feminists say that women who self – sexualize are being used as tools by men – that is absolutely no different than a preacher in a pulpit saying that stuff to the young women of the congregation. “Nobody respects a slut” is the same thing whether it’s a ‘Purity Ball Christian’ saying it or a ‘Radical Feminist’ saying it. For the more religious folks it’s the ‘devil’ that confuses and tricks a woman to sin – and in the radical feminist arena it’s patriarchy that confuses and tricks women. Not a big difference.

    • Yeah sorry about the closed comments over there, one time I tried opening the post back up for discussion a month after I had closed it, but it just got swarmed with spam again.

      Nancy Friday, in one of the recent editions of My Secret Garden, she said, “No man can cut me as another woman can.” That’s what it feels like – In some ways it’s easier for me to dismiss actual bullies. I know not to take them seriously.
      But when I hear the same statements come out of someone who identifies as feminist, and so someone I thought I could trust (somewhat, …maybe “trust” isn’t the right word,) … they’re channeling to make some principled statement. They’re channeling, rhetorically.

      I don’t know if it’s worse than actual bullying from bullies but it’s, bad. Definitely. It’s like a betrayal.
      Channeling means revealing the bullies for who they really are… but sometimes it’s only a very few rotten jerks who are THAT bad. So if you make a channeling statement too general you wind up painting not-bullies as worse than they actually are, too. I don’t want to think of these not-bullies – allies & neutral parties – as villains too.

      Plus, how much, how long, can you channel, without internalizing some of those negative ideas…

  2. […] The 2009 retrospective The 2010 retrospective […]

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