. . . if you take a look at the Blogosphere Ecosystem, which for all its faults is probably the closest thing we have to a consensus measure of popularity for political blogs, you will find exactly three women in the top 30: Michelle Malkin, La Shawn Barber, and Michele Catalano. (There are a few group blogs in the top 30, but those are very heavily male dominated too.)And again the question is answered in the most self-serving terms possible--
That's a grand total of 10% of the most popular political blogs. And to gaze even more deeply into our collective navel, that 10% is 100% conservative. On the liberal side, Wonkette weighs in at #33 and TalkLeft at #48 — and that's it for liberal women in the top 100, unless I've missed someone.
So what's up? There aren't any institutional barriers in the traditional sense of the word, which means either (a) there are fewer female political bloggers and thus fewer in the top 30, or (b) there are plenty of women who blog about politics but they don't get a lot of traffic or links from high-traffic male bloggers.
My guess is that it's a bit of both, and the proximate reason is that men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it. Since I don't wish to suffer the fate of Larry Summers I'll refrain from speculating on deep causes — it might be social, cultural, genetic, or Martian mind rays for all I know — but I imagine that the fundamental viciousness and self aggrandizement inherent in opinion writing turns off a lot of women."Imagine" is right; there's certainly no critical thinking going on here. Having proposed the most supportable theory, that "there are plenty of women who blog about politics but they don't get a lot of traffic or links from high-traffic male bloggers," a theory supported by a quick review of his own blogroll, Drum concludes instead that the delicate flowers of blogdom are averse to the medium's "fundamental viciousness." What can you say to that beyond, "Bitch, please" . . . ?
I don't want to use myself as a counter-example, as I've more or less phased out any political blogging per se (and one of these days I'll get into why I've done that). Besides, I'm not a liberal blogger. But hundreds of other women bloggers on the left end of the spectrum write about politics every day. They're out there, for those who can be bothered to look.
As for whether conservatives are more inclusive in this regard . . . that may have to be a whole 'nother post. My short answer would be "yes and no." I don't think it's necessarily better, but it is different. I can't imagine, for instance, emailing the admin of a new blog portal for conservatives to request more diversity on the blogroll, and getting such a polite and (seemingly) well-intentioned response as this. More likely, I'd be lectured on how conservatives "don't go in for all that quota and diversity crap." And depending on the manners of the person administering the site, it might or might not be implied that I was a man-hating Communist feminazi who was simultaneously on her period and in need of a good lay. (I think most conservative men are civil and well-mannered, but the ones who aren't really, really, really aren't. Perhaps that's the "food fight" nature of the medium that my vagina makes me naturally "uncomfortable" with; yet I suspect that no one has ever suggested Mr. Drum was in need of a blowjob because he expressed an unpopular opinion.)
Then again, it's difficult for me to imagine needing to send that email in the first place, seeing as how Blogs for Bush, in contrast to PEEK, has no shortage of women on its blogroll. This, I think, is mostly because Blogs for Bush, unlike PEEK, was built from the ground up; willing participants simply sent in their URLs and got added to the roll. PEEK's hierarchical, we-select-the-best-blogs-for-you approach naturally hinders the diversity of that selection.
That's what's interesting to me about this--that a grass-roots approach, one you'd think would be a natural favorite on the left, seems to be more favored by those on the right. And there is the clue for liberal women bloggers: Link each other; force each other to "bubble up" through the Ecosystem. I first saw this approach taken by a conservative female blogger: Write up a link-collection post, aiming to include blogs with less traffic than your own; specify that you will include any bloggers in the next day's link collection who trackback that post (which they'll gladly do, if they're newer, smaller, or just that hungry for traffic), and watch your inbound links (and thus, your Ecosystem ranking) rise. Like the bubble sort algorithm it resembles, it's neither the quickest nor the most efficient way to pop to the top, but it has the benefits of being effective over the long term and inherently cooperative in nature, and these merits, I think, more than compensate for the drawbacks.Posted by Ilyka at February 22, 2005 01:22 AM in estrogen week