Women Bloggers: not weaker, just different...

Jonathan from Liberal England is worried that women’s blogging awards will just serve to position women as the weaker sex. But, is offering a platform for an underrepresented group to get increased profile really such a minefield? Are women Lib Dem bloggers (and beyond) really so in danger of being patronised and undermined? Surely, the good female bloggers such as Alix or Charlotte, to name just a couple, don’t need a special award…surely they can compete in the full blown Booker of Lib Dem Blog awards?

I think Jonathan is worrying unnecessarily; I think it’s a great idea and I don’t feel in the slightest bit patronised or undermined. The Lib Dem blogosphere, at least, is very male in terms of gender and in terms of sex. It can be a pretty macho, testosterone fuelled place in terms of those writing. It’s hard to know what the readership is in terms of sex but I would guess that it mirrors the proportions of those who write.

This means, inevitably, even with the best will in the world, the subjects that get written about most are the priorities of those men writing from a male perspective. This is not to say that many, many of the things that are written about don’t interest women readers, they do. However, some subjects are not written about as much or prioritised as much.

It’s one of the reasons that I started writing my own blog; there were things that were interesting to me that rarely got mentioned on Lib Dem blogs and still not get the attention I would like them to have. Now some of that may be down to the quality or frequency of my writing but I think some of it is definitely that often I will choose ‘feminist’ topics to blog on.

What I do notice, from Lib Dem Voice’s weekly round up of blogs is that the posts that get the highest number of hits are usually focussing either on Westminster gossip or internal party politics.

Jennie , is quite right when she points out that the blogosphere is full of women bloggers and that their blogs tend not to be so overtly or acutely political. And I would say that was a fair reflection of many women’s approach to life…politics is part of it but not everything. Jonathan also references the excellent Philobiblon who not only hosts the Brit Blog Round Up but is also the founder of Carnival of Feminists which is proscribed reading for me, even if I don’t agree with every contributor!

However, it seems to me that there is a space for political female bloggers in the Lib Dem Blogosphere but it’s not currently very big. If we need these awards to elbow our way into higher profile, particularly with women who perhaps don’t read any of our blogs at the moment then I think they are a good thing!

Right, I’m off to Selfridges for the last time before Christmas…I wouldn’t be blogging now but for the fact that I broke my computer a week ago and a suddenly opportunity came by to access my blog and post something, rather than just read and comment on others! Who knows when I will be back; no doubt when my Sony comes back from laptop hospital after Christmas but maybe, hopefully before!

5 comments:

Meral Hussein Ece said...
21 Dec 2007, 19:45:00

Jo, I agree its a very select male world in the lib Dem blogosphere.
In terms of bloggers from BME background, we are and endandered species...

James Graham (Quaequam Blog!) said...
22 Dec 2007, 03:59:00

Jo, can I persuade you to take part in my meme?

Alix said...
22 Dec 2007, 09:52:00

"It can be a pretty macho, testosterone fuelled place"

Sorry to be awkward (story of my life) but... are we talking about the same blogosphere here?? Male Lib Dem bloggers have to be some of the most gender-balance-aware people in the history of humankind. The internet as a whole, on the other hand, is positively rife with chauvinistic nastiness, so let's direct our fire where it's deserved. Surely we can celebrate the contribution of women bloggers without resorting to dismissive characterisation like this.

Jo Anglezarke said...
24 Dec 2007, 11:10:00

I think this award should be looked at, not only as an award in its own right, but as a way to encourage new female bloggers. I want to read more intelligent female bloggers to inspire and encourage me...and so the dominoes will continue to fall ;@)

That issue is what inspired me to write my original post.

Jo Christie-Smith said...
2 Jan 2008, 20:47:00

Alix,

I'm not suggesting that indvidual lib dem male bloggers are chauvanistic at all.

But I don't see why as a group they should be any different to any other group which has significantly fewer women than men. Or that the Lib Dem blogosphere should be any different from politics as a whole!

Anyhow, one can argue the toss over whether it does or does not whiff of testosterone from time to time but actually what counts is the perception; and that's my perception of it. It going to be a difficult thing to prove either way really, isn't it? :-)

I know that other parts of the blogosphere are absolutley horribleble and filled with vitriol and mysogyny but I also blog in other blog communitities that feel somewhat more supportive than how the Lib Dem blogoshpere feels to me.

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