miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
Women are the majority, in blogging as in life. You wouldn't know it from a casual glance at either, though. For some reason (or, more accurately, a vast swathe of reasons) even though more women are out there saying stuff, the men get more attention. This is something I have been banging on about for quite some time. Of the top of my head, some of the reasons are as follows:
  • women do not tend to be as self-promoting as men. People who shout about how awesome they are get more attention, even if it is others shouting back no you're not.
  • men are in almost all the positions of editorial power and they (consciously or unconsciously) tend to link to and promote other men.
  • the atmosphere of what has been christened The Blokosphere can be toxic and unwelcoming to all who do not wish to be adversarial and shouty.
  • The definition of political tends to include male-centric things and exclude female-centric things
This morning, as you may or may not know, a report came out on lack of female participation in the political blogosphere. One of the report's authors (all men) was someone whom I have been talking to about this issue for quite some time. So far He Who Shall Not Be Named's sole response has been to cherry pick what I told him, discard the rest, and take credit for his research (i.e. what I had told him) when talking about the issue.

However, I don't wish to demonise this man. All he has done is make the most of the opportunities offered to him in the way he sees fit. The fact that the way he sees fit is not the way I would have done it is not really something I can complain about. And I have been guilty of cutting my nose off to spite my face in some regards: for example, I have refused to write for or link to Lib Dem Voice because they accept money from an advertiser I disapprove of (pro tip for firefox/chrome users: install ad block plus). High-minded principles are all well and good, but this is not helping the representation of women in the blokosphere.

So I am going back on my word. If I want to increase female participation in the political blogosphere I am not going to do that by refusing to participate in one of the top ten blogs. The greater good requires that I sacrifice my principled stand. I want to put on record that I still do not approve of MessageSpace or their management (for examples of the reasons why see here and here), and I understand that some people will think the less of me for making this decision. It is not a decision I am taking lightly, but I am taking it none the less.

I hope that any other ladies who are reading this who are Lib Dems will also consider writing for Lib Dem Voice in the near future (you can submit stuff to voiceATlibdemvoiceDOTorg any time you like - or helenATlibdemvoiceDOTorg if you'd rather a person). The men aren't going to help us on this, although some of them might hand-wring from time to time, so we have to help ourselves. Let's show them we have voices. Let's show them we can say interesting things, and that we deserve to be heard.

*I* don't think less of you

Date: Friday, July 8th, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
po8crg: A cartoon of me, wearing a panama hat (Default)
From: [personal profile] po8crg
Realising that what you said wasn't achieving what you wanted to achieve and deciding to go back on what you said?

And you think people will think less of you for doing that? Really?

I certainly don't! The ability to recognise that you tried something and it didn't work is a very tough-minded sort of rationality. Well done, and I hope it works.

Re: *I* don't think less of you

Date: Friday, July 8th, 2011 06:53 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Richard puts it very well. Look forward to reading your future contributions to Lib Dem Voice,


Date: Friday, July 8th, 2011 06:13 am (UTC)
sashajwolf: photo of Blake with text: "reality is a dangerous concept" (Default)
From: [personal profile] sashajwolf
I'm not going to think any less of you for deciding to prioritise one legitimate political goal over another. But.

Self-Exclusion Doesn't Work

It depends what you mean by "work", doesn't it, or rather on what your goal is? My goal in not writing for or linking to Lib Dem Voice is not to change their minds, and certainly not to increase participation in the political blogosphere: it's to avoid sending my friends to a site where they will encounter right-wing advertising. It achieves that goal very well, so I'm going to keep on doing it. And to the extent I exclude myself from other spaces, it's to maintain a reasonable match between my stress levels and my available spoons, and it usually achieves that quite well too.

I don't think I've ever seen anyone suggest that self-exclusion was going to achieve some sort of sea-change in the way the mainstream does things; most women are not that naive. Usually, it's some variant on "I can't do that no matter how much I'd like to", or "I don't care what it might achieve, I'm not going to dirty myself", or occasionally "fuck the mainstream, we'll do our own thing". I don't like the value judgement inherent in saying that the "greater good" requires you or anyone else to do it anyway, or the implication that the solution to sexism is for women to try harder.

Date: Friday, July 8th, 2011 10:29 am (UTC)
ext_550458: (Clegg checks the omens)
From: [identity profile] strange-complex.livejournal.com
I must admit to having been blissfully ignorant about the issues around advertising on Lib Dem Voice - partly because I do use AdBlock Plus. Now that I've looked at your links about it, I understand your concerns. But I think you're making the right call here in defining whatever you can do to enhance the impact of women's voices in the political sphere (online or off) as a higher priority. As you've said yourself, these things are self-replicating, so I'm entirely confident that if you are on there blogging regularly, it will help to encourage other women to do the same. I'll look forward to reading your posts there. :-)

Date: Friday, July 8th, 2011 11:56 am (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
FWIW I submitted a post to LDV earlier this week and am waiting to hear what they thought of it ...

Date: Sunday, July 10th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
hollymath: (me)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Like Richard et al I think you're doing the right thing here, but I know it's complicated, and good on you for acknowledging that and coming to terms with it rather than just ignoring the issue and claim it's "sticking to your guns" or "refusing to compromise" or something else that's supposed to be laudable but isn't.

Just one thing though; is there a reason your things-in-brackets can't be the same size as the rest of the text? I end up squinting mightily when there are as many as in this post, and it really suffers in readability for me. I know I can increase the text size in my browser, but I already have increased it enough that much more is cumbersome and kind of still leaves me feeling it's not very readable for me. I thought something being in brackets was already enough of an indication that it was secondary. The smaller font paradoxically makes me pay more attention to it because it is harder to read.

Though this makes it sound like I am asking you to change a long-held stylistic convention for the sake of one person -- who has been reading your blog for years without complaining... I don't like that either. Argh. Don't mind me; insomnia and headaches make me gloomy.

Date: Sunday, July 10th, 2011 09:18 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
That makes sense; I knew there had to be a good reason and there is :) I don't want to single-handedly alter your life in ways that are buggy for you, but I do appreciate you being someone I feel I can talk about this with, without it being a big deal. <2

Date: Sunday, July 10th, 2011 09:24 am (UTC)
hollymath: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollymath
Ha, I'm so tired I didn't even notice that was a 2 instead of a 3. ::headdesk::

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