On International Women’s Day, 2010, we launched the Ms. Blog—so today we celebrate our fifth anniversary. What a great time we’ve had covering a global spectrum of women’s news and analysis, from politics to the arts, from justice to media, from work to sex. We’re thrilled that we can augment the quarterly, longer-form coverage in Ms. magazine with daily reports on topics of feminist interest.
We’ve put up nearly 4,000 posts, approved more than 30,000 comments, and our pages have been viewed 16.5 million times by people in 239 nations. Whew!
Are you curious about which posts have received the most attention? It always surprises us which ones go wildly viral—but here are the top five:
Number 5: “10 Things That An American Woman Could Not Do Before the 1970s,” by Natasha Turner. Inspired by a piece on things that Irish women couldn’t do before the 1970s, we explored ridiculous restrictions on American women and came up with some doozies. Here is one of the 10 no-nos:
Refuse to have sex with her husband. The mid ’70s saw most states recognize marital rape and in 1993 it became criminalized in all 50 states. Nevertheless, marital rape is still often treated differently to other forms of rape in some states even today.
Number 4: “My Little Non-Homophobic, Non-Racist, Non-Smart-Shaming Pony: A Rebuttal,” by Lauren Faust. Little did we know that when we posted a (slightly tongue-in-cheek) criticism of the cartoon show My Little Pony that we would upset not only its legion of fans—most notably its male “bronies“—but even its very feminist creator, Lauren Faust. So we asked her to write this very popular answer piece. Key quote:
Cartoons for girls don’t have to be a puddle of smooshy, cutesy-wootsy, goody-two-shoeness. Girls like stories with real conflict; girls are smart enough to understand complex plots; girls aren’t as easily frightened as everyone seems to think. Girls are complex human beings, and they can be brave, strong, kind and independent–but they can also be uncertain, awkward, silly, arrogant or stubborn. They shouldn’t have to succumb to pressure to be perfect.
Number 3: “At 11th Hour, Georgia Passes ‘Women As Livestock’ Bill,” by Lauren Barbato. You want outrage? We’ll give it to you! In passing a bill to criminalize abortion after 20 weeks, Georgia state Rep. Terry England compared pregnant women carrying stillborn fetuses to the cows and pigs on his farm. According to England, if farmers have to “deliver calves, dead or alive,” then a woman carrying a dead fetus, or one not expected to survive, should have to carry it to term. Key quote:
If this makes its seem like Rep. England and the rest of the representatives looked beyond their cows and pigs and recognized women as capable, full-thinking human beings, think again: HB 954 excludes a woman’s ’emotional or mental condition,’ which means women suffering from mental illness would be forced to carry a pregnancy to term.
Number 2: “Mattel’s New Monster High Dolls Play on Old-School Stereotypes,” by Elline Lipkin. Who knew that there were a huge number of these dolls’ fans who wanted to defend them, despite our blogger’s critique of them? Key quote from the post:
The series has the potential to use its supernatural characters to comment on the pressures of fitting in. But recycling themes about popularity, fashion, competition within cliques, appealing to the opposite sex and stylized femininity/sexiness is a disappointment.
(drumroll) Number 1: “What Do Dress Codes Say About Women’s Bodies?” by Marinda Valenti. Our readers had a lot to say about this topic—who knew dress codes were so fraught? Of course the arguments were not so much about school standards as about whether young women should be policed in the first place. Key quote from the post:
What we fail to consider when enforcing restrictions on skirt-length and the tightness of pants is the girls themselves—not just their clothes, but their thoughts, emotions, budding sexuality and self-image.
As for the future on the Ms. Blog, there will be more of the same—critical thinking, smart analysis, a wide-ranging feminist lens on everything we see. And look for some changes to come, as we plan on resettling the blog within an updated msmagazine.com website!
Thanks to our bloggers (including our fabulous Ms. interns, who wrote three of these five posts), thanks to our readers and commenters—and happy International Women’s Day, the perfect annual reminder of where we are as women of the world.