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June 08, 2004

I will speak until the death of gender inequality

My hair curled over a blog entry entitled Again with the "women and blogging" meme (in response to two entries). The tone is insulting, arguing that the topic of women and blogging has been done to death. It is precisely this kind of post that reminds me of how the blogosphere solidifies misogyny and prejudice rather than acknowledging that people are trying to process. Dismissing discussions about gender inequality permits the marginalized subjects to be dismissed.

There is no doubt that blogs can be clustered by gender, class, race and age simply by clustering based on subject or style. Guess what? Most knitting blogs are written by women and women make up the majority of personal blogs are written by women. Recognizing that style and topics are dividing factors, i'd still argue that the difference has more to do with audience relationships. How are people constructing expression for their audience? How are they seeking to attract/manage an audience?

Move away from the blogosphere. How many women do you know that seek to be heard concerning their political opinion ever anyhow? Proportionally fewer. Why? That's a damn fine question. Men do not dominate the political arena; they dominate a certain aspect of the political sphere, and that's often the most vocal. Go to Capitol Hill and you will see many fine women engaging in change. I remember asking my mother why she didn't run for office; she told me that she wouldn't want to put us through the ringer, having our past dredged up.

Marginalized populations have different issues at risk when they voice their opinion. And damn do you have to be strong when you have an audience who feels the need to berate you just because. That's hard for anyone, but imagine how it feels when you look around and feel like you're one of few, when you feel marginalized from the get-go.

Are women more protective of their stories than men? More protective of their voice? Do they have good reason to be? Cause damn it feels shitty to be told that your concerns are written to death.

Posted by zephoria at 03:00 AM | Permalink


Another reason to continue to talk about this is that when women bloggers experience on-line gender based inequity we know we are not crazy or alone.

Yesterday I wrote a post that I knew I would take some heat for. It suggested that people vote for Reagan for President again, depsite his death.

Only two commenters were nasty--one was an anonymous fellow who takes pot shots from time to time, the other was from a male blogger who basically told me I wasn't being "nice" in an amazingly smarmy and condescending way.

Reviewing old things he had written, both on my weblog and on his own, there was a clear pattern of this sort of gender mediated behaviour on his part. When men said something critical of him on his weblog, he ignored it or apologized. When women disagreed with him, he went on attack. Often he went to the women's weblogs to do this, but he never made critical remarks on weblogs belonging to men.

The other think I noticed is that several of my female blogging friends wrote short supportive notes to me off-blog, but none of them said anything publicly. My sesnse was that they did not want to become targets.

I am not sure I would have framed this in this way had I not been exposed to the issue of sexism and political blogging by women. And yet, there it is--clear as day.

Vicki Smith

Posted by: Vicki Smith at Jun 8, 2004 8:48:20 AM

Right on, zephoria! What's been "done to death" is silence on this topic.

Posted by: David Weinberger at Jun 8, 2004 10:27:53 AM

Yup, yup, and yup. "It's been discussed to death" means "I'm tired of hearing about it, I want something new". Well, lots of things take time to fix. Get used to hearing about them during that entire time, and probably for a bit after as the last folks in line say "wow, this is so much better than ten years ago".

Another possible gender difference is that men get bored of difficult topics quicker than women.

Posted by: Paul Hoffman at Jun 8, 2004 12:39:22 PM

I'm sorry. Dismissing the topic wasn't my intent. I should have omitted the phrase "done to death," because I don't believe that. I was rushing to express my exasperation with the street-corner level of analysis I was seeing. I poured a ton of links into that sentence, hoping to send people to better, informed discussion on the subject... and then missed the fact that the sentence carrying the hyperlinks undid that purpose.

Posted by: Pete Gaughan at Jun 9, 2004 6:10:45 PM

Wow. I'd just written about women and blogging again last week, had debated about posting it to Radio Free Blogistan (didn't because I was short on time0> Obviously I need to do so and quickly.

There's definitely more going on here than meets the eye. When more than half a population isn't represented -- or presented -- proportionally it deserves far greater attnetion.

Posted by: Rayne at Jun 10, 2004 10:24:34 AM


Posted by: news- at Aug 20, 2004 2:13:12 AM