When we first checked out teen feminist blog The FBomb back in July, we were bummed to find so many adults bickering in the comments. Now, three months later, the site is finally becoming a community for teens.
The FBomb has been online since March, and through the summer, most of the posts were written by its 16-year-old founder, Julie Zeilinger. But as she told Nikki Darling, her goal was always to provide a space for young feminists to express themselves, not to be the sole voice on the site. She explained:
The fbomb doesn't actually have any "regular" writers (as of yet) — I take submissions from anybody who wants to post. That's how I want the fbomb to be different. It's not my blog. I may have started it, but I really want it to be open to all teenage feminists, give them a chance to say whatever they want.
In the past few weeks, the site has come closer to meeting that goal. Zeilinger still posts frequently, but there are more items written by other contributors. While the site drew some negative comments from adults making tired arguments about the definition of feminism early on, the commenters now seem to be a younger, yet still diverse, group that adds thoughtful discourse to the site.
Last week Zeilinger posted a question about dating sent to her by a reader named Tinnie, who said,
My mother never taught me how to test a guy for closeted sexism or male supremacy. I want to know if any of you younger feminists have a theory on how to address this and if it worked.
Among the many commenters who weighed in with their advice and shared their stories was a high school student from the U.K., a girl from the Middle East, college students, lesbians, older married women, and a male high school student who calls himself a feminist.
Other contributors have brought up issues that teens who are in high school or starting college deal with every day, but that adult bloggers may not address in a way that's relevant to teens. Nellie B wrote that she feels uncomfortable when her high school teachers call her "sweetie" or "hon." She says:
These uncomfortable "terms of endearment," as I suppose these patronizing monikers qualify as, are not meant to be degrading and uncomfortable. I'm sure the intent is that us gals should be flattered that we are called pet names. However, as I'd like to remind them, I am not a wife, girlfriend or daughter. Every student deserves to be addressed respectfully. Inappropriate affection should not be mistaken for respect. Notice, also, that male students are not called "honey" or "babe." No, if they are called nicknames at all, it is something like "buddy," or "pal"– something that signifies their status as an equal to the teacher.
A dance on Leah RD's third day of college led her to proclaim that "the 'grinding' phenomenon demands a discussion." She writes:
Let's be honest: grinding is basically simulated sex on the dance floor. I try to be sex-positive and am generally comfortable with open expressions of sexuality. But isn't dry sex in a public setting, and with someone who you've known for less than a week, just kind of awkward? For me, yes. Maybe for some it's not, but this questions leads to the broader idea of consent and its applications. Consent doesn't only belong in the bedroom; consent should follow ambiguity wherever it may lead, which, in this setting, is the dance floor.
Sheridan T shared a personal story about becoming a feminist after she realized she and her friends spent too much time trying to perfectly apply their makeup and attract boys. She said:
My mother was the epitome of the middle-aged feminist. She gently pushed to help me make the right decisions. But I didn't listen to her because she wasn't like me – she was old and wrinkly and had bad hair and too much cellulite. Or so I believed… And then it dawned on me. My mother is a beautiful woman. A few months ago, I read The Beauty Myth. And I cried. Because what I was living wasn't rewarding in the least. And then I realized that the friends I considered beautiful were also the most fucked up. They have perfect body and facial preportions, but they aren't happy.
Other posts highlight awesome projects other young women are working on. Diane A writes that she and fellow FBomb contributor Nellie B are in a Women's Advocacy Group at their high school in Maryland and shared photos (including the one at the top of this post) of some of the signs they hung up for their school's Homecoming week. She says:
Our decorations didn't exactly fit into the designated "Las Vegas" theme, but they definitely caused a stir... Little groups would gather between classes to read all the posters, and I heard a lot of people say things like, "Wow I had no idea." This hallway represents one aspect of our group's mission to make sure "feminism" is not a dirty word in our high school. Plus, in the first few days no posters were torn down and there was only one act of vandalism, which is definitely a record!
In an interview with Bust Zeilinger said she was inspired to start The FBomb because she enjoyed adult feminist blogs but felt they were missing the teenager's perspective. She explained:
I think in a lot of ways this is because most teenage feminists aren't as comfortable or confident in their feminism as older feminists are, and don't tend to put themselves out there as much, but that's exactly why we need the fbomb - so young feminists can be confident, express themselves, and so we can build a community.
As the blog attracts more contributors and commenters, it's becoming not just a place for young feminists to voice there opinions, but for teenagers to help each other figure out where they stand and how feminism relates to their lives. We hope to see even more teens - female and male - dropping FBombs in the future.
Speaking Of Heroes... An Interview with FBombs Julie Zeilinger [Nikki Darling]
How Do Young Feminists Make Relationship Possible? [The FBomb]
Dealing with "Terms Of Endearment" [The FBomb]
Grinding [The FBomb]
The Development Of A Feminist [The FBomb]
Homecoming Week Montgomery Blair High School Style [The FBomb]
The FBomb: A Blog Young Feminists Can Swear By [Bust]