Bloggrrls (Again)

At first I thought I just didn’t have enough energy to respond to Kevin Drum’s asinine follow-up to his original post that claimed “the fundamental viciousness and self aggrandizement inherent in opinion writing turns off a lot of women.” (That’s right, I’m linking back to me, not him. I don’t feel a particular urge to drive more traffic his way, as it happens.) But it turns out I do have the energy, with a little help from my friend Linnet, who first notes that Drum’s observation that a search of popular male bloggers’ blogrolls finds a distinct lack of estrogen does not lead him to conclude any of the following:

-that popular male bloggers are overlooking the women, while the women are more impartial, giving the men more links than men give to women

-that women bloggers tend to write about different political subjects than men do

-that there are different "circles" of popularity in the blogosphere, and blogs like Mouse Words and Echidne of the Snakes belong to a different circle than, say, Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias

No. Instead, he concludes that there are fewer female political bloggers.

To that I would add that he also doesn’t consider that many of the popular male bloggers tend to favor bloggers who are already employed in a related field—consultants, political writers, professors, economists, etc.—and whose blogging is a natural extension of their day jobs (as it were), whereas female bloggers don’t seem to place such an emphasis on one’s paying gig; if you’ve got something worth saying, your bona fides as a paid observer don’t really matter. (And do they? It seems fair to point out that some of these same popular male bloggers were staunch supporters of Howard Dean, who went from doctor to politician, which is certainly a less traditional trajectory.)

So Kevin then responds to the collective outcry with this:

My critics certainly make a spirited – if anecdotal – case for the proposition that women have no problem being as nasty as men.
Says Linnet:

Kevin? This is what's called a bad way of convincing people that you're not sexist.
It certainly is. Part of the problem is the dismissiveness with which women’s issues are treated by the popular male bloggers (and their readers). In the comments thread at Drum’s place, Bitch, Ph.D notes:

As to the "why don't women read the big (male) political blogs?" question, I'll say, for my own self, one reason I don't do it is because I am so often irritated by the way that feminist and/or women's issues are completely not addressed, and/or marginalized ("I can live with restricting abortion rights in order to appeal to more voters"), or completely ignored. Which gets us back to the definition problem: women, by definition, aren't political--neither what they say, nor what affects them, is really all that important.
It’s a problem throughout the political arena (could that be why so many single women don’t vote, perhaps?), and it’s part and parcel of the assumption that we’re done with the whole “sexism thing.” I mean, hey—we’ve got a female GOP Secretary of State, right? How much can women really have to complain about?

Well, there’s the small problem of still earning less money for the same amount of work than our male coworkers. There’s the issue of abortion rights, which, while it may be an acceptable compromise for liberal men, isn’t something on which liberal women are willing to compromise…and we’re none too pleased that the men don’t back us up on that one, either. And there’s the tiny challenge we face each and every day of men who like to think of themselves as egalitarian who clearly are not, and instead of ever facing up to their latent sexism, attribute disparities to inherent traits in women, thereby making it our collective fault for lingering inequalities and implying that said traits are immutable, with reasonable rebuttals dismissed as anecdotal. Spirited, but anecdotal.

It is inexplicable that otherwise intelligent men cannot wrap their minds around how such an attitude is insulting, nor grasp that women’s issues are not tangential concerns of the overall progressive movement. The insistence upon marginalizing legitimate concerns of women is sexism at its very worst, and yet because dudes like Drum aren’t lounging around in a beer-stained wife-beater ordering their bitches into the kitchen, they somehow manage to convince themselves that they are infallible supporters of feminism (and feminists). Suppressing women’s voices, who are miraculously loud, plentiful, and in direct contradiction of the small-minded assertions that periodically bring them to the fore en masse, is not a minor thing, and continuing to feign innocence to its detrimental effects is not forgivable when there is so much evidence to the contrary.

There are plenty of boys who manage to be good to the girls in the blogosphere. The only difference between them and the boys who don’t is that their heads aren’t up their own asses. Maybe Drum and his ilk should consider coming out for a peek; they might be surprised by the plethora of interesting and amazing bloggrrls populating the landscape.

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