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Equal Writes blog to return, hopes to publish more diverse opinions

Rebecca Basaldua ’15 and Nadia Diamond ’17 are spearheading an effort to revitalize “Equal Writes,” a campus feminist blog founded in the spring of 2008 by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux ’11 and Chloe Angyal ’09. Basaldua, now president of Equal Writes, explained that the site has had no new posts since February 2013.

Stories will begin coming out in early May, and “writer manager” Erica Turret ’16 said she thinks the resurgence of Equal Writes will be very important for campus discourse.

According to its new statement of purpose, Equal Writes is a publication dedicated to advancing gender equality by discussing gender and sexuality and how they intersect with race, socioeconomic class, religion, ability and other issues.

Basaldua explained that while previous editors of Equal Writes focused on commenting on previously published content, the new board of Equal Writes also wants to publish original, journalistic pieces. Both Basaldua and board member Lily Gellman ’17 noted that they want writers to tackle issues one aspect at a time, rather than to make broad sweeping statements.

Another new development for Equal Writes is the creation of an editorial board separate from the core writers, Basaldua said. She noted that though the board originally consisted of five people, all the members later agreed to expand it to 10.

“We thought if it were just five people, that each person would be a token for a certain identity, which I didn’t agree with and many people on the board raised problems with,” she said.

Diamond said many of the changes made to Equal Writes have to do with making sure the board covers a range of perspectives of all races, genders and sexualities.

“I think the original publication was a little more homogeneous in how the writers though about these various issues,” Diamond said. “We’re making an effort to provide a spectrum of different beliefs.”

Basaldua said that while Equal Writes is still looking to fill the last couple of seats on the Board, there are over 30 committed writers already. She also said they are looking for diversity in their pool of writers, noting that they are reaching out to groups such as the Anscombe Society and Princeton University College Republicans.

Equal Writes will welcome outside submissions, which may or may not be published, Basaldua said. She added that it may be useful to publish rebuttals alongside articles to get people thinking about an issue.

“The one thing we don’t find acceptable is just completely offensive views on something,” Diamond said regarding submissions.

Equal Writes will be collaborating with the class GSS 397: Feminist Media Studies/Media Representations of Feminism, taught by gender and sexuality studies professor Melissa Deem. Students in the class will submit their final papers to Equal Writes to be published. Deem said that she thought it would be a good opportunity for her students. She also said she would like to eventually become a faculty adviser for the publication.

Basaldua said writers will commit to writing an article every four weeks, and the blog will use four cycles or groups of writers staggered so that a different group of writers publish their articles every week, under the leadership of Turret.

Basaldua said she first heard about the shelved blog this past February from a post she saw on “The Stripes” Facebook page.

“I had read the Stripes, and I was a big fan of that, and I was wondering why there wasn’t a similar publication dedicated to gender,” Basaldua said. “And then I found out that there was, but it wasn’t currently active.”

“We’ve talked about how The Stripes blog has done an amazing job of stirring discussion about racial issues on campus, and there definitely needs to be a dialogue about gender issues as well,” Turret said.

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