by Brandy D. Anderson
Provocative: (adj) causing annoyance, anger, or another strong reaction, especially deliberately.
There are a lot of nooks and crannies throughout the endless Internet universe where you can easily find yourself spending countless hours surfing around when really you should be a) working, b) sleeping, or c) actually spending time with “real” people. However, there is no place like Tumblr when it comes to falling down the wonderfully addictive cyber rabbit hole full of gifs, videos, fangirl/boy postings, and some surprisingly vitriolic “shipper wars”. Tumblr also seems to house some of the most intellectual and thought provoking blogs online. Here are 5 of the most provocative blogs you’ll find on tumblr:
According to this page’s info tag, you will find: “suffragettes, war workers, factory girls, socialites who got stuff done, ladies who ruled countries, and women who changed the world, even if it was just a little bit.” This page is frequently updated with an eclectic mix of both flashy and subdued gifs, photos, videos, and commentary on anything and everything related to the celebration of women and feminism in general. My favourite recent posting is an advert that ran in TIME magazine in 1967 for Viterbo College. A “four-year Liberal Arts College for women”, Viterbo claimed that they “teach the usual things that young ladies go to school to learn – everything from art to nursing. But there’s one thing we teach that may come as a surprise. We teach femininity. We try to show our students what it is to be a woman… We encourage them to use their abilities to complement, rather than to compete with, men”. The admin(s) of this tumblr page merely commented: “Apparently the ‘femininity’ campaign was unsuccessful as Viterbo went co-ed in 1970”, leaving tumblrs to largely interpret the vintage ad for themselves. If you’re interested in feminism and the evolution of womens’ contributions to society, this is definitely a page you’ll want to check out.
Most of you are probably familiar with this comedic news staple, but just in case you’re not, here’s their info tag: “The Daily Show is a nightly news parody that takes a reality-based look at news, trends, pop culture, current events, politics, sports, entertainment and the media. In each show, Stewart and a team of correspondents (including Canuck duo, Samantha Bee and Jason Jones) comment on the day’s stories employing actual news footage, tapes [sic] field pieces, in-studio guests and on-the-spot coverage of important news events.” While, at its heart, The Daily Show is a comedic news show, it is surprisingly more balanced than most “real” news shows out there. Stewart and his team aren’t afraid to take jabs at politicians, or to ask the hard hitting questions, and they often illuminate the hypocrisy that many other news stations seem to take particular pains to avoid. This tumblr page reflects the show’s atmosphere and is well maintained, featuring a constant update of posts, video clips, and links to the show’s recent stories.
Political Campaign Action Fund is about “Holding politicians accountable for the work they do on behalf of their campaign donors and working to raise the voices of everyday people in our political process.” This blog is full of daily aggregate US political news bytes scoured from around the web. Some of the posts are straight-forward links to various news articles, but a lot of them are accompanied with a humorous comment, gif, or photo. For instance, the page’s admin posted the colourful invitation from Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy for his annual June Ice Cream Social in Washington, D.C. The paper is printed with a Grateful Dead tie-dye Teddy Bears background. The invitation begins with: “Summer is here and that means that Senator Leahy is looking forward to an evening surrounded by friends, Grateful Dead tunes, Magic Hat Beer, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream… We hope you can be there to join in the fun!” The page’s admin quipped: “Is this an invite to a Congressional fundraiser or a child’s birthday party?” This is the perfect page for political junkies with a good sense of humor.
“This is a site celebrating street art and the post-graffiti movement. The guerilla art movement is one that challenges the perception of an ‘art space’ by placing pieces in unconventional contexts. Unlike mere vandalism, guerilla art strives to convey a specific message or bring ones [sic] attention to a space they wouldn’t normally look at. Guerilla has been often referred to as the ‘post-graffiti’ movement, and can involve projections, sculptures, moss painting, and knit bombing as well as the use of spray paint.” So that’s a pretty long intro, but I thought it necessary for any who may be unfamiliar with the term “guerilla art”. Like any art, the purpose is to make a statement, but with guerilla art, that statement is unusually bold and particularly provocative, more so than many other artistic genres. This page contains an impressive collection of guerilla art from around the world, and it’s guaranteed to make you pause and think about the images presented.
Now, this is a very provocative page sure to fire up a whole lot of tension and anger. This page is full of photos women send in with a handwritten message about why they “are against modern feminism”: the particularly curious thing here is that most of these women appear to misunderstand what “feminism” means. The majority of the reasons they give for being against feminism suggest that they are, in fact, feminists themselves. For instance, many messages share the common comment: “I’m against modern feminism because I believe in equal rights for everyone” – er, that is precisely what feminism is. Feminism is the belief that everyone deserves equal rights regardless of race, status, gender, biological sex, religion, etc. The admin for this page gives a long list of reasons why he/she is “against feminism”, but again, the term “feminism” is being grossly misinterpreted. At any rate, misguided or not, this page is certainly sure to evoke a lot of strong feelings and reactions, making it the number one politically provocative page on tumblr.