Mouse rant blog vent mouse.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Time again for the "why don't women blog" debates

This time we have Matt Stoller weighing in.

The thing that I never get is the reluctance to address sexism directly when talking about how women are under-represented in whatever field. Even well-meaning people tend to be eager to blame femaleness over sexism.

There's also the fact that the male political blogosphere doesn't help at all. It's obviously a boys club (with select girls who act like in specifically stylized ways allowed). For instance, my style of blogging is very male - I feel like I have to conclude everything, which leaves less room for the more deliberative communication patterns I find among women. That's common, but usually in a more extreme version. Guys don't really feel comfortable saying 'I don't know' or just going through inconclusive cognitive exercises. Jay Rosen does it very well, but he gets flamed quite frequently just for asking questions. The flame war pissing contest that motivates so many communities is another example of boys raising their hands in class and just generally being more aggressive. So Respectful of Otters gets ignored by the 'big boys', even though it's great. There's also the fact that it deals with uteruses and other stuff that boys don't have and don't think of, like career/family conflicts.

He gets awfully close to getting it and then misses the mark. Women aren't "deliberative communicators" compared to men. What they are is hesistant. And they are hesistant because when a woman opens her mouth and states an opinion, people are likely to get upset with her, especially if she says something others disagree with. And so most women have been socialized to make sure to eradicate potentially offensive language from their own speech--a broad category which includes pretty much all straightforward sentences. It's pretty hard to write a political blog when you've been brought up to strenously avoid expressing opinions outside of puppies are cute-type generalizations. I'm pretty opinionated, but even I catch myself couching my opinions with phrases like, "Well, it's just how I feel, but...."

Of course, the other problem is that there are a lot of female bloggers, but they go under the radar because prominent male bloggers won't promote them. (Unless they pull a Wonkette and put a sexy drawing of themselves in the banner, of course.) Stoller whips out the usual excuse that women write about "women's concerns", which is to say stuff that has traditionally been shoved on women so that men don't have to deal with it, like career/family balance issues.

Via des femmes.

51 Comments:

Blogger Astarte said...

Oh god, I can't believe that guy. That's such a load of crap. Career/family issues? Give me a fucking break. What about those of us who don't have a freaking family to really give a shit about? And uteruses? When was the last time you had a lengthy conversation on your blog about your uterus?

That's just another bullshit way of saying 'They're just underrepresented because they CHOOSE to be', which is utter and complete bullshit. Just in my blogroll ALONE, there are women bloggers who blog about politics MUCH better than most of the men who claim to have the bestests blogs in the (stupidest word in the century) BLOGOSPHERE.

Maybe it's because most of US aren't in it for money or fame, but because it's something we enjoy doing. Hmmm. We can reverse this little tangent, can't we?

Male bloggers get more press because men are more interested in getting cash and/or getting their egos boosted than women are.

Okay, now I'm just angry.

8/30/2004

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. The last time there was a women bloggers firestorm I said the guys would write their mea culpas, things would settle down, and the blogosphere would go back to business as usual. Then three months down the road some guy would bring up the "where are the women bloggers" question again as if it's a new thing and he's clueless or something.

I wrote that on my blog three months ago. I hate being right.

This women blogger thing never resolves, and it keeps coming back as if it's a brand new thing, even though it pops up every three months. I took a lot a crap when I jumped into the debate the last time. I don't wish for any woman blogger to be subjected to the hateful, misogynistic ranting that was directed towards me that last time.

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Astarte said...

I wish I knew who you were, Anon. :)

Maybe the problem is that there weren't a lot of women in that discussion? I mean, heck, I've read more women bloggers in the last month who are a ton brighter than any of the male bloggers that I've read, and they don't sell out.

Maybe we're just running in our own circles, and failing to see the bigger ones.

But god, this makes me so mad.

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Barbara Preuninger said...

I only started reading blogs around 6 months ago, and I only regularly read 2 that are written by men (one of them is "Alas, a Blog"). I just thought it was funny because my perspective is so different from the (apparent) reality. To me, blogging is a "female" thing. BTW, Mouse, I found yours very recently and I really enjoy it. Thanks!

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Mark said...

I agree with Barbara. I have been blogging for only a week, but have got the impression it is dominated by women (no bad thing). I bookmark sites that I find have good content, and I'm sure most others do too.

Also, I think the blogging medium suits 'work in progress' stuff perfectly. I'm an academic, so to visit sites which present ideas and thoughs, unfinished as it were, is so refreshing!

(you have been ctrl+d-ed BTW!)

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks, all! Yeah, about 1/2 of my links are to women, I think, though my blogroll is haphazardly managed, to say the least.
My guess is Anon might be Trish--I remember her writing about the 3 months thing. ;)

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Trish said...

Yeah, that was me, Trish Wilson. I will never get used to Blogger's comments... ;)

You should check out Matt Stoller's blog now. I responded to him in what I thought was a thoughtful manner and he got all patronizing on me. Sheesh. I replied in what I hope was still a respectful manner. I'm thinking about what Funnie wrote in my blog when I posted about male feminists having to abdicate the power they benefit from so that their talk about equality isn't just talk - she wrote to the effect that a lot of feminist men talk the talk but don't walk the walk. Boy, was she right!!

I took a lot of heat three months ago and I'm not looking forward to it again. Looks like I'm getting it anyway. ;)

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Astarte said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Astarte said...

PS - Trish, good comments ... I'm going to post about this some day, but I'm still reading. I'd have to agree. Matt's got a lot to learn if he wants to call himself a feminist and claiming that feminism isn't owned by women? Ummm... okay. It may be participated in by men, but I do believe us girls started it and have a pretty good stake in owning it.

8/30/2004

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, God, YES. Whenever there's any kind of a difference between men and women in terms of representation, people kind of dance around the point and talk about "male" ways of doing things vs. "female" ways of doing things...never even *mentioning* sexism. Sexism isn't always the problem--though it often and perhaps even usually is--but even if it ends up not being the problem, it ought to be CONSIDERED! And not just hastily-considered and then rejected, either--seriously considered.

It's not just men who do this. There are some women--bright women with liberal political views--who somehow have an instinctive aversion to talking about sexism, and I can sense this disgust they feel to other women who do talk about it. It's like they think it's whining, and to do it would be to put themselves in a ghetto. Whatever--they need to stare facts in the face. Though it's difficult to get them to do that if they're likely to dismiss you as a nutcase at the first sign of feminism in you.

8/30/2004

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, God, YES. Whenever there's any kind of a difference between men and women in terms of representation, people kind of dance around the point and talk about "male" ways of doing things vs. "female" ways of doing things...never even *mentioning* sexism. Sexism isn't always the problem--though it often and perhaps even usually is--but even if it ends up not being the problem, it ought to be CONSIDERED! And not just hastily-considered and then rejected, either--seriously considered.

It's not just men who do this. There are some women--bright women with liberal political views--who somehow have an instinctive aversion to talking about sexism, and I can sense this disgust they feel to other women who do talk about it. It's like they think it's whining, and to do it would be to put themselves in a ghetto. Whatever--they need to stare facts in the face. Though it's difficult to get them to do that if they're likely to dismiss you as a nutcase at the first sign of feminism in you.

Linnet

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Amanda said...

Linnet, I think that it's that women, especially straight women, are reluctant to deal with male culpability, particularly that of liberal men like Stoller. I think the fear, at least how I've experienced it, is that we will run men off by actually asking them to reconsider their own actions.
The other part of it is that it's difficult for liberals to consider their own prejudices. This particularly sucks as of late, as conservatives have ably used this to "expose" liberals as hypocrites.

8/30/2004

 
Blogger Roxanne said...

Notice they never dare to ask, "Where are the African-American bloggers?" or "Where are the Latino bloggers," etc.

8/30/2004

 
Blogger sofie said...

I couldn't resist wading in there after the last comment, I had been sitting back and enjoying seeing some intelligent comments from some of my favourite women bloggers. I wasn't around the last time this was discussed but I can see it must be tedious for those that were!

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