Every comment is a brick in the bridge to whatever comes next for us.
You may have noticed that not everyone on xoJane agrees.
I’m not just talking about comments here. I’m talking contributors and editors too. The writing here demonstrates a vast diversity of opinion and experience, even amongst those of us working together to bring you fascinating posts every day.
Back when I began envisioning what xoJane would be, I felt that like Sassy and Jane before it, it should be written by a group of women with strong voices, identities and opinions, many in direct opposition to each other.
There is no singular voice here -- what you may not realize is that it’s common practice for most publications to have a particular voice that writers are expected to reproduce. And hey, in many circumstances, it makes perfect sense. People read The New York Times because they want information, not because they want to hear personal editorializing.
Having one consistent voice also makes a publication easier to read; one voice means that readers don’t have to adjust their thinking to account for the position and background of the author. It helps to manage expectations. “Real” journalism -- although what does that even mean these days? -- demands a voice that attempts to be free of bias in the interest of bringing you the bare facts and letting you make up your mind about them.
At xoJane, we’re into bias. We like dissent. We’re down with conflicting opinions. We dig on people who have different positions and different politics and who own them. We want folks to tell their stories and explain how those experiences have shaped them. And we also want you to make up your own minds about stuff.
We want all this to happen even at the expense of having a predictable, identifiable, unchallenging “voice” that we all attempt to share, because that’s all it can ever be: an attempt. It’s impossible to ever be truly free of the little details that make us who we are, and at xoJane we believe that these differences are valuable, and we want to see them.
The thing is, the world is full of diversity. We’re surrounded by it every day. We all have family members and friends with whom we disagree on important issues; we deal with it because we recognize that differences are inherent to human existence, and that we are all better off learning to listen to one another and to disagree civilly on matters, lest we go on fighting forever.
Each individual post on this site is a reflection of an individual writer's opinion or experience; its publication here does not indicate our approval (nor our disdain), not on my part, and not on the part of any other writers or editors. If it indicates anything, it demonstrates our commitment to giving space to a variety of voices.
We believe in giving each woman the agency of her own story, and the freedom to be whatever kind of woman she wants to be. We don't ask our writers to change themselves to fit any mold. We do ask them to be honest, and willing to expose their own mistakes and flaws. We have no "expert" perspectives. Every story is a personal story.
Women are not perfect. Even feminists live in the real world, and sometimes feel bad about our bodies or make irresponsible choices. We are products of the same society we may not always agree with. We are ambivalent. We don't want to censor that ambivalence out of writers' lives or work.
xoJane is not a bullhorn by which our writers dictate ideas and positions to a captive audience; it’s more of a dinner table, a place where we all sit and talk together. Sometimes we agree; sometimes we don't. Just like real life. We want to hear from you. Do you want to see more posts on certain subjects? Let us know. Has something pissed you off? Email us. Want to speak up in a post of your own? We want to talk about that. We welcome your feedback, because this isn’t just our space -- it’s your space too.