YouTube and Rogue Wave Feminism

Kathleen Sweeney here!

The term Rogue Wave Feminism came to me after attending the WAM! conference at MIT at the end of March 2008, which brought 600 multi-age, multicultural women (and some men) under the big tent of journalism, media, women and activism. This conference has been in exisitence for five years now, the brainchild of the former executive director of the Cambridge, MA bookstore/community center/activist site, Center for New Words. It occurred to me that the very multi-platform atemporal nature of Internet, blog/vlogosphere communities renders the chalk-in-the-sand delineation between feminism generations obsolete. The intergenerational inspiration matrix of WAM! reflects this rogue sensibility in which activism can be inspired by historical evidence of movements from the First Wave, Second Wave and Third Wave but also reverberates between these ideologies and occasionally rides a wild tsunami over all the waves. In fact Rogue Wave feminism on the Internet has a possibility to transform media making practices across gender lines as an end run around corporate media’s celluloid ceilings. Can YouTube uploading have an impact on the images out there of women and girls, or do we need our own Girl-i-vision network on the Web?

I tossed out the term Rogue Wave feminism at the recent Console-ing Passions Conference hosted by UC Santa Barbara’s Film and Media Studies Department, and some girl-pirates of the waves seemed kindred with the language. Surf’s up, girls!

Email me if you have some thoughts about this: [email protected] or check out my blog:

To situate me, I make media and teach media as a video artist, visiting artist (NEA residences at Reel Grrls and other projects at DIA:Beacon) and Adjunct Professor (The New School most recently)….I recently wrote Maiden USA: Girl Icons Come of Age, a book that explores Girl Culture since the 90s.

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1 Comment

  1. Hi Kathleen: Welcome to the site! I love the idea of Rogue Wave feminism. You are raising one of the key components I hope we can engage with on this site. That is, the time has really come to re-think a number of these old boundaries across generations, categories of activities (creative/critical) and spaces of engagement (the academic vs “popular” forms and institutions). I encourage everyone to take a look at Kathleen wonderful site, which “remixes” all these terms for us in interesting ways.
    Many thanks Kathleen for your contribution to the conversation.


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