Tuesday, March 04, 2008

John Hawkins: Blogging While Female

Yeah, I know. I thought John was a man, too, but evidently not. He disguises it well. Today, he has a very interesting piece up about women in the blogosphere. Are women treated differently in the blog-world than men are treated? Ann Althouse has mentioned in the past that she feels that there has been gender inequality in the blog world--men won't give links to a woman like they would a man. I argued against that point of view, but as I have blogged longer, I'm not so sure that she's not right about that. Although, I must say, that certain male bloggers have been hugely supportive of my work.

What women do contend with is being objectified and sexualized in a way that men bloggers don't seem to have to deal with as much. I say as much, because I'm recalling to mind the whole Amanda Marcotte and Deb Frisch assault on Jeff Goldstein's private parts and family. I have received nasty comments and emails but they have been balanced with kind and complimentary ones, too. The bigger bloggers, though, seem to be targets for drooling animus:

Pamela Geller:
...When they Google Earth my house and my car, that I thought was kind of sick, you know? Because what am I doing? I'm just voicing my opinion. ...What it's really about is a form of attrition, it's a form of harassment, where a normal person would say, "I don't need this sh*t. Who needs this? They Google Earth your house, the names that you're called, and the photoshopping." But you see, I want very much to leave the nation that I grew up in to my children. That's why I do what I do.

Amanda Carpenter:

There was a graduate assistant who had photoshopped 400 pages of pornography of me onto the university website that the administration would not do anything about...I had to print it off and take it to the police station because the...campus people said, well, you know it's free speech. ...Do you know how demeaning it was to have to print that off and take it somewhere? It wasn't me, but it was lifelike.

Michelle Malkin on the Kathy Sierra debacle (which I, too, noted and I agree with Michelle):

Michelle had this to say about Kathy Sierra, who got an enormous amount of sympathetic attention from the mainstream media because of some death threats she received.

The Kathy Sierra thing, I thought was amusing. Not to belittle her security situation, which was very serious...

But, that's like what? A Tuesday for you?

Yes!!! A Tuesday morning....the shock and the horror with which the tech elite greeted that whole debacle, to me, shows how out of touch and unplugged one side of our business and our world is from the other. There are a lot of double standards, and in particular, that conservative women just aren't seen in some ways (laughs) as human beings. We're just supposed to expect the level of vitriol that they look at with such horror when it's aimed at one of their people.

Blogging in general isn't for the faint of heart. First of all, when you say something stupid (and I have), you get corrected. Literally, one day, an astrophysicist read my blog and corrected my understanding of some scientific idea I had gotten wrong. Now, for me, that's fantastic. I love it. Who knew an astrophysicist would give a shit about what little old me writes? That's cool. Second, I don't expect everyone to agree with me, or to agree with me nicely, either. And while I like to think I've come to the correct perspective (otherwise why have it?) I also am open to the idea that I don't know everything.

The blogosphere is like one huge, free classroom and it's usually a delight to be a part of. The nasty comments and vicious attacks can set one back, though. When someone goes personal, I generally feeling vindicated though. The opposition has run out of arguments. Fine, denigrate me as a person. It's the refuge of a loser.

On pictures on the blog: I've been blogging for a couple years and resisted mightily putting a picture up. John Hawkins actually encouraged me to do so. And Ann Althouse chided me a bit, too, saying that we generally think people are better looking in our minds. Well, I have had whacked out people in my life and it's not fun being on the receiving end of unwanted attention aka stalking. However, I enjoy knowing what the person looks like who I read, but for me, it's not necessary. My favorite female bloggers are anonymous both in name and picture. I love them anyway. They're smart and funny and interesting. Who cares what they look like?

Ultimately, I do think the blogosphere is more equal opportunity than the real world, but not by much. Like Pamela Geller says:
I don't need equal rights....I'm already equal. I don't need somebody telling me something that's already a fact.
Amen, sister.