Tuesday, June 17, 2003

A chicken in every pot and a man running every blog

I did a quick check on the all the Cal blogs that I could find (those linked from the half a dozen or so blogs that I read daily), and I conspicuously didn't come across any pages run by females.

But it is not as though our campus is short on women who are intelligent, well-written, and most importantly engrossed in (campus-wide, national, or otherwise) politics. There is no reason that if a male student and female student had equal qualifications that the man would choose to share his ideas online while the woman would not, yet that seems to be the trend. Furthermore, if a woman does venture into the blogsphere and generates entertaining or informative material, I don't believe that her male blogging colleagues would be less likely to put links to her site on their pages simply because of her gender. If I may use myself as an example, it only took a week or so before my blog was being visited by people who had linked there from other sites. Admittedly, I did have the distinct advantage of being listed on Kevin's site because he is a friend of mine. BUT the other bloggers did not decide to omit my site from their list on links because I am a woman. And if a female who did not already have connections into the blogzone wanted to break into the scene, she could always leave comments (and a link to her site) on one of the prexisting blogs; the only condition is that her comments would have to be interesting/humorous/entertaining/incindiary enough for people to want to read more from her. But these are the same difficult conditions that face male potentials. The current male bloggers also probably have their share of intelligent female friends, and they would probably be more than willing to create a link to the woman's site if she wanted to start a blog. Though I can't say with confidence that all male bloggers always give equal creedence to women's opinions, I'm fairly certain that these men are in the small minority. I would like to very, very strongly supress the notion that the lack of females on the blog circuit is the fault of the males who currently dominate the venue.

In short, there are no real barriers between women and superblogdom. But though there may be no real barriers, there may be some self-imposed limitations.

Here's one theory. It seems to me that women feel obligated to write about "woman" topics. The same preoccupation that infiltrates females' comedy, art, poetry, prose, and politics is probably also present in blog-penning. We women are a traditionally under-appreciated and dare I say oppressed sub-group, so understandably the women in these fields would like to use their talents in the pursuit of equality. Unfortunately, it seems that many women feel the road to equality is paved with jokes about tampons instead of commentary about things everyone can understand. This focus on a more narrow set of topics might preclude someone's discussion from being of campus-wide interest.

Another potential reason women would not even attempt to start a blog is that they assume they will be discriminated against due to their gender. Because so many men out there are genuine jerks and very genuinely belive that women's opinions are less valuable than men's, many women may fear that entering blogville would subject them to this sort of discrimination. This is the same reasoning that keeps so many funny women from trying to join the Heuristic Squelch magazine team. (Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to keep all the unfunny women from submitting articles. And no force on the earth could keep horrendously unfunny men from submitting articles.)

My solution to this problem will be the same one I suggested for getting more women and minorities involved with the Squelch. There's no reason any readers should alter their standards for female bloggers, but the current bloggers/readers could encourage their witty and/or politically interested friends with fallopian toobs to enter the scene. The recruitment base could very easily be expanded, perhaps with a little extra nudging towards our writers lacking vans deferens. You don't have to pretend to like content that you actually don't, but let them know that the door is open.

Update: Eagle-eyed Jeff points out that there are some other ladies who run blogs in this town. They haven't been updated in a while, but even the best of us get preoccupied with matters more pressing than the blogs.


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