Thursday, July 7th, 2011

miss_s_b: (Mood: Destructive)
Much of the furore surrounding Richard Dawkins' asshattery this weekend has involved accusations of sexism. Now, yes, his basic premise involved a startling lack of empathy for the woman he was denigrating, and he used a huge number of logical fallacies in his attack on her quite reasonable statement. But I think that accusing him of sexism based on this is possibly a leap too far. I think Dawkins would have behaved in exactly the same way - derailing, using straw men, invoking whataboutery - had he disagreed with a statement made by a man.

Dawkins does not specifically target women whom he disagrees with. He sees everyone as an intellectual inferior, male or female, black or white, wherever they fall on the queer spectrum, and whether or not they are ablebodied.

And to be fair to Dawkins, he probably has some justification. A lot of people are intellectually inferior to him. Where he gets it wrong, IMHO, is to use this as a starting premise. This person disagrees with me, they must be wrong is very rarely a good place to entrench oneself. I'm not saying I have never done it, but I do recommend this person disagrees with me. I wonder if they have just cause to do so? *examine evidence* * evaluate evidence* *come to conclusion* as a much less fraught way to proceed in a debate.

Just sayin'.
miss_s_b: Captain Kathryn Janeway (Feminist Heroes: Janeway)
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.

About This Blog

Hello! I'm Jennie (known to many as SB, due to my handle, or The Yorksher Gob because of my old blog's name). This blog is my public face; click here for a list of all the other places you can find me on t'interwebs.

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