Growing up in the suburban Northeast, I didn’t fit in. At my large, mostly-white, upper-middle-class high school, I wasn’t the funniest, the smartest, the most charming, or the prettiest: therefore, I didn’t really exist. Other kids cared about their Abercrombie & Fitch polos, what went down at the last Dave Matthews Band concert, and the Jettas they would pick out on their 16th birthday. That wasn’t me at all. I had tons of books on my shelves, a stud in my tongue, and every single Ani Di Franco album in existence. For three whole years, I mostly just rattled around in my own head.
Then, in the year 2000, when I was 16 and in junior year, my dad put the computer in our family room on the Internet. (This was back in the the Dark Ages when a family usually had one computer, it was shared by everyone, and it was usually a desktop.) I don’t know how I found my way there, exactly, but I soon discovered gURL.com, “a teen site and community for teen girls.” On gURL.com I could read about dating and sex and birth control (not that I had use for much of that information just yet) and talk with other teen girls in the site’s chat rooms. And through links on gURL.com, I found my way to other websites that interested me. Pretty soon, my budding-feminist-self read all about things they didn’t discuss in school — abortion rights and the Taliban — on Salon.com and websites for the Feminist Majority Foundation and Ms. Magazine. Keep reading »