The buzz about women bloggers
It seems to be a hot topic today: Jeff Jarvis and Roger Simon are both writing about Steven Levy's charge that the blogosphere is a white male bastion of power.
As that rara avis, a female blogger (although, in the interests of full disclosure I also hereby state that yes, I am white--mea maxima culpa!), I thought I'd weigh in on the subject. Levy's article seems to suggest it's an old-boy-network sort of thing. And it's true that, in the blogosphere, there is a bit of the "I'll scratch your back you scratch mine" arrangement going, at least in terms of blogrolls.
But it's really not much of a factor. Most bloggers (even lowly ones such as myself) only link to people they genuinely like and admire. The blogosphere is indeed a meritocracy. The writing is pretty much everything.
On the other hand, as in anything else, there are certain elements influencing which writing is likely to attact the greatest readership. I hereby submit (at the risk of being Larry Summersed for being un-PC) that there is something about the meritocracy of the political blogosphere that appears to favor male writers, but that it's not any sort of discrimination, nor is it something to be condemned.
Here's my disclaimer: I've done no research on this, it's just my personal observation, yada-yada. If fewer women write political blogs it's because fewer women want to, for whatever reason. Maybe they have better things to do with their time; I don't know. Maybe more women tend to favor the more comtemplative medium of the blog devoted to personal observations. At any rate, the fact that fewer females decide to enter the particular arena of political blogging is no one's fault, and so what if they don't?
But "arena" it is. There are so many political bloggers (and I assume this is the area Levy is really speaking about) that to emerge from the pack one needs to have something really distinctive. Sometimes it's a specialized audience, sometimes it's just really fine writing, sometimes it's the quality of the thinking. But I've noticed a tendency that favors the quick sharp jab, the brief but pungent remark; and perhaps (note the qualification, folks; I really don't know) this comes more naturally to men than to women. There's also a number of angry in-your-face blogs that seem to fit a need and attract a lot of readers, and perhaps (there's that "perhaps" again--I'm just speculating here, so be kind!) that's a more natural mode for men, too, although it certainly doesn't rule out women.
If in fact this is true, it's no one's fault, nor does it need remedying--it's simply the nature of the medium. People have only a certain amount of time to read blogs, and they select them on the basis of what appeals to them. If the work of men appeals to more people, so be it.