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Y’all, we are tired. The Feminist Wire is successful beyond our imaginations and expectations. In 2012, we had over a million visitors to the site. In any given week, we have from 30,000 to more than 100,000 readers. And we absolutely love that you are reading what we publish, and commenting, sharing, and engaging with the authors and artists.
But this very success has translated into a significant amount of work, particularly for a core group of us who do the majority of the reading, copyediting, and uploading of the wonderful words and images that people send us. There isn’t a day that goes by that the three of us as Managing Editors, along with a handful of others, aren’t on email, Word Press, or Submittable making TFW happen.
Behind the scenes, we call this invisible feminist labor. Because it is: TFW is an invisible labor of love. We do it because we love it, and we care about the issues. We want to fill your inboxes and computer screens with feminist, anti-racist, anti-imperialist critiques. And yet, the work itself is invisible. Many readers think we operate with a huge team; that we are corporate. That we aren’t up until 2 AM copyediting. That we don’t send fifty emails in a day. That we don’t miss other deadlines because we’re working on TFW.
But y’all, we are tired.
The Feminist Wire is our baby. But some of us have human babies, too. And aging parents. And chosen family and friends who need us. And day jobs, paid employment, commitments. And unpaid activist work, also an invisible labor of love. And some of us have extensive institutional privilege, while others of us do not. Some of us are not tenured, or are on the job market, or live hand to mouth without health insurance and barely make our rent every month.
While we have made TFW successful, with a significant following and a high degree of credibility, we have done so at a cost to our home lives, our work lives, and our physical and emotional health. We haven’t yet figured out how to make what we do sustainable. And so, we’re giving ourselves a winter break. We’re taking off the month of December to focus on some other projects, to take a good hard look at our practices, and to make some changes in how we run TFW.
What will you see in December? On Wednesdays, we’re featuring some lovely poetry and fiction, with thanks to our dedicated Arts & Culture editors Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, TC Tolbert, and Mariko Nagai. But other than these offerings, we won’t be publishing. We probably won’t be Facebooking or Tweeting much, either. And while you are welcome to send your work to us via Submittable, we won’t be reading it until January. (And this is noted on our submissions page and at Submittable.)
What will we be doing? Collectively and individually, we’ll be resting. Regrouping. Finishing other projects. Planning. Loving. Living. Traveling. Writing. And resting some more.
Why? Because we plan to return in January, better than ever. And hopefully, more sustainably.
So what can you expect in 2014? Sustainable feminist writing and activism. The kinds of feminist, anti-racist critiques you’ve come to expect from TFW. More cutting-edge forums, including one in January on “Mumia and Mass Incarceration” and another in February on “Brown Feminisms.” As we break and plan throughout December, we’ll also be thinking of new ways to 1) make our invisible labor not only visible, but also compensated so that the work of TFW can continue, and 2) incorporate breaks for ourselves more regularly.