Why I Love io9. For Reals, Y’all.


I’ll preface this article with a small warning. Ahem.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of all citizens of the Jungle of Death (i.e. Nissa and Lindsay).

Here’s the thing most women don’t want to talk about – being a feminist is exhausting. You can never stop because the problem will never go away. On some level, even optimists like myself, can’t help but feel like this is a never-ending battle that we will forever be fighting and the internet doesn’t exactly make it any easier.

I’m also looking at you, Gawker.

Gawker, in case you don’t know or have been hit over the head with an incredibly large object and spent the last several years in a coma, is a blog conglomerate consisting of a series of smaller blogs that all provide commentary from specific viewpoints on the news or pop-culture topics of the day.

It is a strange beast. The title site, which deals with more straightforward news, is frustratingly pompous at times with a comments section that makes Reddit look down right feminist. Deadspin – the Gawker version of ESPN – and Kotaku – a gaming site – are usually not as bad but there are some definite head-bang-against-wall-type moments. Lifehacker – the DIY and technology site – is neutral territory for the most part, but also features drier informative articles as opposed to opinion pieces.

Jezebel therefore seems like the safest place for a girl geek to get her blog on within the Gawker family. If you aren’t familiar, Jezebel is a blog dedicated to feminist concerns and the issues in which women are interested; Mostly straight women mind you as there aren’t nearly as many articles written from the LGBT POV as there are expounding on the – understandable though it may be – magnificence of Ryan Gosling’s abs.

Yet the amount of judginess about who wears what and what constitutes being anti-feminist is singularly exhausting. I already feel like I have to think about these things 24/7 and it’s a little insulting that a site purportedly for women spends so much time deciding which women are worthy of scorn and which are worthy of praise. It’s such a huge issue on the site that Tina Fey even included a subplot in 30 Rock episode lampooning the blog.

There are of course alternatives to Gawker like The Awl’s circle of blogs which includes The Hairpin – a feminist site we here at Babes like a lot. There is also The Mary Sue – a girl geek website that I think is FANTASTIC. Still, even with websites dedicated solely to a woman’s point of view, I found myself wanting something a little less focused on my own feminism. I wanted a safe space where I could be accepted as a woman who loves nerdy things, but not constantly be talking about how I was a woman who loves nerdy things.

That’s when I discovered io9 – the unlikely middle brother in the Gawker family tree.

We talk a lot about io9 here at Babes partly because it offers such a wide variety of material.  You get your NASA news, your scientific discoveries, and you get to debate the merits of JJ Abrams’s penchant for lens flare, and for the most part no one sits in judgement on your feminism as a result. That’s not to say there aren’t trolls, but there do seem to be real life geek girls tackling a number of these subjects and the commenters don’t batt an eye at their gender or use it as a jumping off point as to why someone is wrong on a particular topic.

And then, as if to prove to me that I can always love them more, they bring this beauty to my attention.

That’s right. It’s an article about a Japanese vibrator that you build from a kit whose box looks like a Pokemon screenshot. Obviously, this is hilarious and the article rightfully focuses on the product’s packaging but how great is it that on a site dedicated to topics traditionally thought of as male dominated we get an article about a bullet vibrator. I’m just sayin’.

So, for being a nerd girl’s best friend, io9, this is for you.

–Rachel (aka Flumpy)


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