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  • Women & The Blogosphere

       February 21, 2005

    Ann Althouse links to a Kevin Drum piece questioning why there aren't more women in the blogosphere. Drum says:

    Although its geeky Usenet roots were (and are) testosterone laden affairs, there are still no formal barriers to entry here, no old boys club in the usual meaning of the word. Yet if you take a look at the Blogosphere Ecosystem, which for all its faults is probably the closest thing we have to a consensus measure of popularity for political blogs, you will find exactly three women in the top 30: Michelle Malkin, La Shawn Barber, and Michele Catalano. (There are a few group blogs in the top 30, but those are very heavily male dominated too.)

    That's a grand total of 10% of the most popular political blogs. And to gaze even more deeply into our collective navel, that 10% is 100% conservative. On the liberal side, Wonkette weighs in at #33 and TalkLeft at #48 and that's it for liberal women in the top 100, unless I've missed someone.

    So what's up? There aren't any institutional barriers in the traditional sense of the word, which means either (a) there are fewer female political bloggers and thus fewer in the top 30, or (b) there are plenty of women who blog about politics but they don't get a lot of traffic or links from high-traffic male bloggers.

    First, I think looking at the top 30 blogs is an incredibly limited view of the blogosphere. The whole point of the internet is the breadth of options available, not to limit yourself to just the most popular ones. Just looking over at our blogroll, I see plenty of popular (more or nearly as popular as us) female blogs like Althouse, Rachel Lucas of Blue-Eyed Infidel, Risawn, e-Claire, Ambra Nykola, Sondra K and Cathy's World. That's not an insignificant sample. So, I'm not sure that there is a shortage of women in the political blogosphere. There's no need for some well-meaning liberal to set up a foundation and give female bloggers a financial incentive in order to have a "diversity of viewpoints" on the web. Although, if someone would like to bankroll me, I'm not saying I would resist :-)

    Drum's hypothesis is that opinion writing on the web is too vitriolic and rough for delicate females. Clearly he's never read one of Lucas' takedowns of Michael Moore. But, all kidding aside, he may have a point. Sometimes the comments on the site do get pretty rough. The language is nasty and personally, I refuse to deal with that. Luckily, I'm quite sure that John & James would be willing to take care of such nasty visitors. Althouse says:

    Each blog is a place unto itself, where a writer establishes a tone and a voice. As long as you keep the comments function off, you control your own space. A thousand vitriolic male blogs don't prevent one woman from setting up her own blog and making whatever she likes of it.

    That's true, but getting comments and feedback is, to me, an integral part of blogging. I think that interaction leads to links from other bloggers. If you're not getting links, you can't blame it on the fact that you're male or female. Either your content isn't interesting enough or you don't make an effort to get known by linking to and commenting on other people's posts. For as much of a loner sport you might think blogging is, you can't overlook that whole social aspect of it. To be a popular blogger, I think you do have to put up with, or be able to ignore, a certain level of asshattedness. But that doesn't have so much to do with your sex as it does the thickness of your skin.

    Finally, female bloggers have a huge advantage over their male counterparts. If they do get desperate for traffic, they can always post a glamourous picture of themselves. Somehow, someway the blogosphere can always be counted on to pass along a little T&A.


    Posted by at February 21, 2005 09:25 PM

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    Comments

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Joe R. the Unabrewer at February 21, 2005 09:54 PM

    I also think Catalano will balk at being called 100% conservative.

     
     
    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Daddy at February 22, 2005 12:45 AM

    So Kris....when can we see that pic? :)

     
     
    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: kris at February 22, 2005 06:56 AM

    Well, I'm certainly not desperate for traffic ;-)

    But seriously, this is one thing the article didn't mention, which is that women bloggers can develop male fans based on a picture or something. I'm sure Malkin has it and I know it happened to Risawn when she posted the pics with her gun. While it might be flattering in a weird way, the flip side is that the first time someome disagrees with you, you can be sure they'll go personal and call you fat or ugly or whatever in addition to being stupid.

    I can defend my ideas, but what in the world do you say when someone starts talking about how you were beaten with an ugly stick? That kind of crap will stop a lot of female bloggers in their tracks.

     
     
    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: Daddy at February 22, 2005 11:13 PM

    I can defend my ideas, but what in the world do you say when someone starts talking about how you were beaten with an ugly stick?

    How about, "I can always go on Extreme Makeover, but you'll still be an asshat". (ASSHAT!! I love that word).

    Consider who might be reading--and then commenting on--blogs. Get an image in your head.


    Was the image Brad Pitt?

    Didn't think so.

    Irrelevant as it is, comments about one's looks are going to hurt their feelings if they're insecure about the way they look. I suppose the key is being comfortable with your appearance.

    Ah, the whole thing's irrelevant, anyhow. There's no need to publish pictures.

    (Besides, I spent some time as a 14-year-old boy....believe me--you don't wanna know what they're doing once they've been set off!).

     
     

     

     


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