Friday, August 10, 2007

Bloggng + Gender. Again.

Another year another rant. Last year it was Kevin Drum saying the blogosphere is no place for a woman. This year it's Ellen Goodman saying men don't make the blogosphere friendly to women. Women are "scared silent":

I began tracking the maleness of this media last spring while I was a visiting fellow at Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy. An intrepid graduate student created a spreadsheet of the top 90 political blogs. A full 42 percent were edited and written by men only, while 7 percent were by women only. Another 45 percent were edited or authored by both men and women, though the "coed" mix was overwhelmingly male. And, not surprisingly, most male bloggers linked to male bloggers.

Yes, this is the kettle of the MSM -- mainstream media -- calling the pot of the netroots male. In fairness, half of all 96 million blogs are written by women. But in the smaller political sphere, what is touted as a fresh force for change looks an awful lot like a new boy network.

Please. The blogosphere isn't fair to women. Really? My biggest link champion is a guy. Again, thank you John Hawkins, you feminist, you! I'm not the only one who sees Goodman's take as absurd. Ann Althouse weighs in, here:
Goodman doesn't really have too much to say, but I note that she doesn't come up with one idea that's not about how men are a problem. Somehow women never have any shortcomings. It's really a shame, because if you're a woman, then there's nothing you can change about yourself to do better. But Goodman is just following that lame old rule of journalism about gender difference: men, bad; women, good.
Has Althouse's perspective changed since last year when she disagreed with me when I said this:
Her [Kathy Sierra's] take is spot on. In fact, one of the reasons I like the Internet generally and blogosphere specifically, is that it is the take, the expertise, the style, the clarity and the content that counts. No one (save my friends and family who read this) knows what I look like. Who cares? It's irrelevent anyway. You either like what I say or don't. You either appreciate my expertise or you don't. Great either way.
Seems that her view might have have evolved. Here is what she said last year (almost to the day):
This is why BlogHer has a reason for being. Males do dominate in the blogosphere and no blogger's linking behavior is objective. It's instinctive. This can favor women or disfavor them. Who knows? I think it's worth it to note when some bloggers seem blind to women bloggers and to point it out. It can get a good response.
While it's true that the bloggers with the most readership are male, it's a stretch to say the blogosphere is just a new "old boys network", as Goodman does. I wonder if Ann still points out to male bloggers their biased linking? I wonder if she still believes that the linking bias is a problem. I wonder if she's analyzed her links for gender.

Hmmm.... that gets me to thinking. I wonder if I link more to men or women? Here's my own short analysis:
  • Socratic Corner (my most visited blogs): 6 men, 4 women
  • Provocateurs: (also visited daily): 4 men, 5 women
  • Experts: 16 men, 7 women (uh oh)
  • Psychology: 2 men, 2 women
  • International: 5 men, 1 woman
  • Military: ummmm.....buff, hot men in uniform, dang! I can't help it!
  • Business: 5 men, 3 women
  • Homeschooling: 1 married couple, 6 women
  • Science: 1 man, 1 woman
  • Technology: soft bodies, big brains, all men
Most of the rest of my links are to men. Sigh. I guess I'm sexist and part of the "old boys network."

To me, the blogosphere is the ultimate free market--as Captain Ed also notices.

Or maybe, it isn't. Maybe I need to focus more on my lack of reciprocal relationships with men. Maybe I'm too nice to them. Maybe I've been brainwashed and don't even realize that by blogging I'm objectifying myself and selling out to the man. Maybe, if Ellen Goodman would stop writing and I would stop blogging we could begin an intellectual boycot and not participate in the unfair marketplace.

Yeah, that's the ticket! That will work.

1 comment:

David said...

"the top 90 political blogs"...studies like this do tend to focus on political blogs. I don't know how they define "political blog" but suspect that it has a lot to do with "inside baseball"--who's winning/who's losing, political tactics & gamesmanship, etc. "Issues" in such blogs (and old-media articles) come in predefined chunks.

If the definition of "political blog" is broadened to include those that are principally concerned with issues in the deeper sense, then I suspect the female contribution goes up considerably.