Monday, February 21, 2005

Women Bloggers

Lashawn Barber writes about women who blog, and the story by Kevin Drum lamenting their relative lack of numbers. Lashawn tweaks Kevin some, by pointing out that he talks about women bloggers, but doesn’t link to them. That started me thinking.

First off, as to my own credentials. I have annoyed some people in the past, by not choosing to automatically link to everyone. My blogs is pretty small in readership, but I’m pretty picky about who I link to. That is, if someone is on my blogroll, I consider them pretty darn good. With that thought in mind, let’s look at my blogroll. I link to 21 blogs, and three of them are women bloggers (Betsy’s Page, Byrd Droppings, Kitty Litter), and the group blog I write for, Polipundit, has a women on our staff of five. Given the pickings, that’s not too bad. Also, I have mentioned Michelle Malkin and Baldilocks more than just a couple times in my work. My point is not that I am somehow a leader in the equality vanguard, but that I am reasonably familiar with the work of leading women bloggers, enough to speak to the matter.

First off, the obvious: Being man or woman is almost never a quality factoring into the quality of the article. There are some perspectives and experiences unique to the gender, but on the whole, man or woman has nothing to do with the quality of their blog. Looking at the medium, I think I see something more illustrative. Talk Radio is dominated by male personalities, especially the political side of it. I think this is in part, because of the active and energetic dialogue between the host and listeners. And bloggers are very similar to Talk Radio in their method and demographics, except that Air America seems less successful with the sort of outrageous lewd behavior that Howard Stern thrives on. Women, it appears, are more interested in presenting a finished product, free from static or distractions, than men, who are more happy with the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of disjointed debate. You get your insights in more depth from the women bloggers, in shorter shots from the men.

I also notice that there are not only a small number of female political bloggers relative to men, but also the women bloggers are less inclined to allow comments. Michelle Malkin, in particular, has chosen not to allow comments, for the valid and disappointing reason that she receives an inordinate number of profane and insulting attacks from trolls, enough that she has decided to do without comments on her work. Malkin would rather readers focused on what she is saying, and weighing her arguments without the distraction of having to step past pools of vitriol.

Malkin, as I noted, has presented an article explaining her need to exclude comments. In the piece, she printed some of the comments attacking her personally. As uncomfortable as this must be for Ms. Malkin, it also highlights an unfortunate disparity in the mater of blogger respect. To illustrate, I would like to compare Malkin’s blog to another favorite of mine, Vodkapundit. Both Stephen Green and Michelle Malkin, to judge from their photos, are extremely attractive people, model-quality (I leave my own photo off, in order to avoid Quasimodo comparisons). Both are exceptionally intelligent and articulate. Yet Green (whose Site Meter shows more than eight thousand visits on an average day) doesn’t seem to receive the sort of personal attacks and insults that Malkin (forty thousand plus a day) receives. Is it the price of fame (Malkin was an established columnist and well-respected author in her own right, when she first began to blog), or something more due to Racism and Sexism? It’s an old saying that many men fear a woman with a sharp mind and a bold identity; could it be that simple and antiquated?

Whatever the cause, two remedies suggest themselves to this pedestrian-traffic blogger. The first will take care of itself; bloggers cannot help but promote good ideas and arguments, and all bloggers can hope for eventual success if their work is good enough, although the time frame depends on who notices you and when (such is Life; my obvious brilliance is known only to a few, and outnumbered by those who find me delusional). As for the second, I will be upping my blogroll by three sites this morning. It’s an unfortunate oversight that I have not done so before, but considering how often I visit their sites, I need to add Lashawn Barber, Michelle Malkin, and Baldilocks to my roll, and I would commend the reader to consider your own list of recommended sites for an update. The Blogosphere is a community, after all, and we can correct a lot of things on our own.

UPDATE: Reading through this thread, I should also like to note a few other blogs by women that you might consider worth your attention:

The Anchoress ;
Terrorism Unveiled (proof positive I am losing my mind, to have left out this mistress of world events!); and
Insane Troll Logic.

I apologize for being remiss in these acknowledgements of leading and throughly professional bloggers.

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