As part of my assignment for a class I had to pick a website, then observe and assess whether or not it was a feminist (of color) and racialized space. The site that I chose to observe and study was Craigslist. Specifically, I am examining the Queer forum space within the social/discussion portion of Craigslist. While inhabiting this space I observed three key aspects that defined the space as non-feminist and race blind. Within the Queer forum I expected to find flourishing conversations about sexuality, non-normative topics (e.g. fetishes), and individual stories. As I explored the space the mentioned topics of conversation did exist, but within the periphery. Instead, the dialogue on the Queer Forum was dominated by personal attacks. A thread may begin with a general topic, a plea to build community, or current news, but shortly it becomes an attack on one of the replies or toward the individual. Second, those who were established within the space would regulate entrance and acceptance. For example, I initiated a thread introducing myself to the space and creating transparency between others and myself. As a response I was told to remove myself and find another “appropriate” forum for my topics of conversation. Thus, the veteran members of the forum regulated who could join dominant conversation and the space. Lastly, building community and gaining knowledge was not an aspect of this space. Again, threads on average transformed into a dialogue of attacks between veteran users who have established personal connections between themselves.
Aside from my personal examination, the cross comparison of my analysis with a fellow classmate’s brought up observations that I should make. In the compare and contrast analysis I found that voice should be analyzed. For my colleague, when she would post a thread regarding race or gender she would not receive a reply and be ignored. The ignoring of her post gave me insight into the way voice is working. It shifted my perception of voice as only being active. Instead, now I also see voice as the silencing or ignoring of someone else’s voice.
I will continue to observe and participate within the Queer Forum even though I have been meet with negativity. The reason I am still able to engage within this space is because of its minimal regulation and public access. Even so, I must tred fine water and not surpass any boundaries. As a result, making my research unethical to the sample. I am interested to continue engaging in this space because it will allow for me to gain a deeper understanding of the ways in which those who have been excluded from dominant groups create and manage spaces online.