Femsplaining: a Safe Space for Women Online
After a few weeks of chasing I was finally able to catch the brains behind the new lady-centric website Femsplain. Amber Gordon is leading the charge for a site that is for women by women and just wrapping a successful Kickstarter for the site. Femsplain creates a safe environment for women to exchange ideas, voice opinions, and inject positivity into the world without hate. After incidents like Gamergate, Amber and her fem-comrades set out to build a troll-free community that allows women to express their opinions and experiences free of judgment. Here’s more incite into a website doing good things for lady-folk.
Sheilah Villari: Where did Femsplain come from? Why was it important to have a site like this on the web?
Amber Gordon: Femsplain developed for many different reasons. My friends and I constantly talked about the negative stories we were seeing about women on the Internet and in the media (off-line advertisements, etc). For me personally one of my main motivators to create a platform like this was because of my own personal experiences of dealing with harassment online, and not having a place to feel safe to turn to and to seek out help from friends. It’s so important to have a safe place like this on the web because the Internet is infested with unsafe spaces. We know what it’s like to not feel like you have a corner to go to, and so in turn we are dedicating ourselves to creating such a space.
SV: I love that you allow content from anyone who identifies as a woman. Was that always going to be apart of your posting policies when you created the site?
AG: Yes, 100% yes. When I was deciding what the site would be and what it would not be my number one thing on my list (besides safety) was to have an inclusive space for all. I didn’t see the point of creating one thing without including everyone. People who identify as women are women so they 100% should be included.
SV: How are you able to keep things so positive? The internet can be pretty scary these days, especially for women (i.e. GamerGate)?
AG: It’s not always positive on the back-end. I’m constantly banning people from our comments or even from accessing the content. On the front and every comment you see there is because we choose to have it show. We aren’t showcasing or highlighting anyone who has malicious intentions. We can choose to do this because it is our site and we are creating the rules. The Internet is so scary and it’s because people who have the creator tools don’t seem to be taking the users feedback (the people who are being harassed) into consideration, or at least we don’t see this.
SV: You’ve gotten some amazing web-celeb support on your side, like Tyler Oakley. Any others who have come out in support of the awesome things your site is doing?
AG: Camila from Fifth Harmony tweeted about us the other day. We somewhat expected this because we have mutual friends. But the fact that she took time to look at our site and see what we’re trying to do, and tweet about it to her million plus fans was so awesome. Also, Rachel Sklar and Anil Dash backed us which is pretty cool since they’re both awesome people.
SV: As Femsplain is a topic-based site changing month to month how are topics chosen and do you all have a specific list of topics you’d like to hit.
AG:Honestly it’s not as streamlined as you would think. The topics we choose are from a list, but we usually just end up going with our gut and picking a topic that we think a lot of people will be able to relate to somehow. Secrets and secrecy was chosen because selfishly I wanted to come out to my family and friends and thought that this was the best way for me to do it. ::laughs:: We try to relate the topics to things we’re going through.
SV: You are still a new site, only launching in October, what kind of traffic are you getting? Are you seeing a steady upward trend as word gets out?
AG: Yep, we launched on October 27th (same day Taylor Swift released 1989). ::laughs:: Every month we seem to be getting more and more traffic. We doubled our traffic last month from the previous month. It all really varies on the types of articles we are publishing. Some articles we know are going to get a lot of traffic and some won’t because they’re too personal, but they align with our mission so obviously we still want to publish them. Last month we had a little over 80,000 pageviews.
SV: What are your dreams for Femsplain? Where do you see this site going/growing?
AG: My dream for Femsplain is that one day will have a full staff of editors, event coordinators, and just people who can engage and moderate our community. I want to focus on events, as I really believe we can create a powerful community both online and off-line. I want to meet women who can become mentors for our community members and help them achieve their goals. I want to see real action and steps forward come from our strong network of doers. I want to see us change the conversation around women.
If you have time I highly suggest giving Femsplain a look-over and passing it along to your favorite lady pals. And for women if you like what you see reach out become apart of the community. Help grow and support a site for you, by you.
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