Monday, February 28, 2005

On chick bloggers

Okay, so I was going to leave this one (and its followup this one) alone. Plenty of others have addressed it more eloquently than I ever could (and special props to Mary at Naked Furniture, who addressed it more succinctly and profanely than I ever could). But then, this weekend, I was told that I was smart and had a big vocabulary - but that was okay, 'cause I'm cute anyway. Blogosphere, feel my wrath.

It goes without saying that, whether or not Kevin Drum recognizes their existence, the Internet is chock full of blogs run by chicks or with significant female participation. The majority of them aren't terribly well-known; notoriety depends on gratuitous linkage from The Big Guys, and The Big Guys (who tend to be guys) tend to link to other Big Guys. For any blogger, regardless of gender, breaking into the cycle is a challenge; for whatever reasons, it's even more of a challenge for women.

Here, on my very own blog, I blather about politics. I like politics. I find politics interesting, I feel that I have a responsibility to know what's going on with the people who run my country, and it's nice to have a soapbox to stand on when I'm feeling particularly passionate about a certain issue. I also, on occasion, blather about non-political things. Religion is a favorite topic of mine, especially as it relates to politics, and there's also the occasional vent about family stuff, dating stuff, whatever - it's my forum and I'll gripe if I want to. Everything that I post is basically stuff going on in the world, filtered through my own personal viewpoint. That viewpoint is colored by a lot of things - my job, my lifestyle, my environment, my friends, my family, my socioeconomic status, and, yeah, my gender.

One of Kevin's more moronic commenters makes this point:
Women writers seem too often to address every issue through the prism of being a woman first and their self images as women whether it be as a feminist or a soccer mom. A litmus test should be this: a reader should be able to read an oped piece without knowing the author and should not be able to tell whether it was written by a man or woman. I believe Anne Applebaum would meet this test but I can't think of any other woman writer, certainly not Maureen Dowd or Susan Estrich.

I tend to be an open-minded person, and I don't throw words like "stupid" around lightly, but that is one of the most stupid, stupid, stupid things I've heard in my life. Why should we expect any opinion columnist to hide his or her own perspective in their writing? Newspapers are filled with writing devoid of bias; it's called the news. We turn to the opinions section to read what other people think about the news.

Wwren doesn't care about perspective; he's asking, "Why can't a woman... be more like a man?" Male opinion columnists are just as influenced by their gender as women are; it just so happens that, for whatever reason (and I could rattle off a bunch of them), in this still-patriarchal-after-all-these-years society, the male perspective is accepted as the default. My writing isn't identifiable as chick blogging because I make an effort to reference my ovaries in every post; I just have the occasional perspective that men can't immediately relate to, 'cause they're carting around a penis. Does this make my opinions any less valid than corresponding male opinions? Only, apparently, if you're Kevin Drum.

For the record, here are some invalid reasons that women are underrepresented in the top eschelons of the blogosphere:
  • Women don't enjoy the vicious atmosphere of opinion writing. Bollocks. I love it. I love love it, and plenty of other women do as well. The fact is, half the time that we speak up, our voices are interrupted and drowned out by the much louder basso profundo of men who have, like, totally important things to say. And when we finally raise our voices loud enough to be heard above the fray, we're the shrews, and no one is interested in listening to us because we must have PMS or something. Oh, screw you so much.

  • Women are slower at picking up the technology. Double bollocks. Blogger is as easy to use as Hotmail, and there tons of women who are bright enough to, like, type stuff into it and click "publish post." Why do these women not get linked by The Big Guys? You'll have to ask The Big Guys.

  • We're all off popping out babies. Must... not... crush... computer. Guess what? The archetype of woman-as-baby-factory was out of style as of WWII. Some of have jobs. Some of us have hobbies. And some of us - not me, but plenty of others - have kids and yet still manage to post regularly - even on non-baby topics. I'm sure this revelation will shake the very foundations of our society; please remember to credit Practically Harmless.

For me, it's not a big deal. I started this blog as a clearinghouse for my own opinions, and the fact that I wasn't actually getting any traffic didn't bother me, 'cause at least I was out there. In recent months, when my traffic moved from "nonexistent" to "not a whole lot" (and for all I know, that's just due to my mom hitting "refresh" a couple of times whenever she visits), I thought it was spiffy that people were actually reading it. I'm not saying that I'm on any kind of level with Atrios or Kos - or Kevin Drum, for that matter. But don't you dare look me in the eye and wonder where I am. I'm handing it off to Kevin's commenter Morgan to sum it up quite nicely:
Fuck you asshole. The reason there are no 'women bloggers' is because you ass-hat men are not linking to them. They are everywhere. I read at least a fifty women bloggers who have a lot to say about politics and religion. But you're to busy jerking-off to see it. It's called a search engine shithead, use it.

Isn't that the cutest thing? The girl has a little opinion-winion! Yes, she do! Yes, she do! Don't worry, Morgan; you're cute anyway.

Update: Check out a pretty comprehensive overview of the entire controversy at Victory Soap.

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