Three years ago today, this blog launched. Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape had just hit the store shelves, and a whole slew of the contributors committed to posting to this blog to continue the conversations that the book started.
In the intervening three years, it has become clear that the book is a classic. Ms. Magazine readers called it the No. 11 feminist nonfiction book, and Publisher’s Weekly called it one of the Top 100 Books of 2009. Editor Jessica Valenti put our Purity Myth, which just edged Yes Means Yes to make the top 10 in the Ms. poll, and editor Jaclyn Friedman is now on tour behind her second book, What You Really Really Want, a workbook designed to give women the tools to achieve the sexual subjectivity necessary to make the world in the image that many Yes Means Yes contributors saw.
Most book blogs don’t last very long. I’ve seen many that have a half-dozen posts or less. This one is different. In three years, this little blog has seen over 320 posts, and over 3600 comments — Lilliputian compared to some of the large feminist blogs, but more by orders of magnitude than the history of book-based blogs would have predicted.
If my voice has been more prominent here (and it undoubtedly has), that owes a great deal to the fact that many of the other Yes Means Yes contributors have other outlets as their primary fora — Jessica and Jaclyn, or course, have other books on the stands and take regular speaking engagements, though Jaclyn still posts here and did so last week. Jill Filipovic remains at the helm of Feministe, Samhita Mukhopadhyay now leads Feministing and has her own book, Outdated, on the shelves, Rachel Kramer Bussel has a reading series and several more books of erotic writing, Kate Harding has written Lessons From the Fatosphere, Latoya Peterson, in addition to running Racialicious, contributes to Jezebel, The Guardian, and other outlets … and the list goes on. Many of the Yes Means Yes contributors were boldfaced names before the book, and many have received wider acclaim since, and all have done important work by making their voiced heard.
When Yes Means Yes came out, the two essays that received the most attention in reviews were Latoya Peterson’s The Not Rape Epidemic and mine, Toward A Performance Model of Sex. But I said at the time that mine wasn’t my favorite essay in the book. Blank’s, Bussel’s, Harding’s, Filipovic’s, Petersons and several others stand out in my mind. My writing isn’t my favorite writing in the book, or at this blog (where I’ve always pointed to Stacy May Fowles’s contribution, Because She’s Up For It, as my favorite post.) The quality of the book owes to the quality of the contributors (not overlooking the contributions of the editors).
Three years on, I remain proud to be associated with such a wonderful and important body of work.