I just posted my thoughts on feminism and women in the form of a comment to Naomi’s post, but re the process:
I agree with Laura about wanting to hear the point of view of men. All too often books that are perceived to be “feminist texts” are relegated to feminists or women. I liked when men commented on the forums and wished there was one “in the mix” commenting more readily.
I too have a feeling that this was more useful for us than onlookers, but I don’t see anything wrong with that. I think this would work ideally for students, since none of us seemed to have consistent time to do this (with the exception of Naomi–I was superimpressed by her commitment!). As a result, the conversation was at times staggered, with unexplained gaps and pauses. If it was a more central part of the participants’ lives, the experience would be a lot richer.
That said, I do feel that this was an extremely valuable experience, as someone who has been out of school for a few years and as a result has been slacking on novel-reading. Bottom line, this project propelled me to read more critically and avidly. I was excited to comment, and to see who had answered me! It also forced me to finish a book I didn’t necessarily like–I (and many other people I know) often abandon books midway through, and I think that’s a definite feature of the frazzled, internet, short-attention-span culture I was brought up in. In these two ways, the project was a success, and I feel pretty confident that it could be brought to a less handpicked group of readers, too. (Of course, they wouldn’t have a monetary incentive, but I’m trying not to be TOO cynical…)
One more small thing: it was also hard for me to have met these women once. My gut tells me that participants should either be strangers that only know each other through the internet, OR people that interact every week in a seminar or class. The random meeting/dinner party in the beginning was very enjoyable but it gave the TGN conversation a layer of judgement that I didn’t necessarily want later.
What do you all think about this last point?