In fact, one of the reasons I like the Internet generally and blogosphere specifically, is that it is the take, the expertise, the style, the clarity and the content that counts. No one (save my friends and family who read this) knows what I look like. Who cares? It's irrelevent anyway. You either like what I say or don't. You either appreciate my expertise or you don't.I wouldn't say that. I think readers picture the writer and their subjective view of the writing is subtly and constantly affected by that picture. As a reader you take whatever shreds of information you have -- even if it's only the presumed sex of the writer based on the name -- and you swirl it around with whatever else is in your head. As I've said before, if I only have a name, I always picture someone good looking. I think that's because I'm an optimist. You should see the glamorous movie stars in my head when I'm going on names alone. But throw in a little cartoon drawing or a thumbnail photo and I extract all sorts of emotions that affect what I think. You think you're more objective? I'm willing to believe that you think you are but not that you are.
This is why BlogHer has a reason for being. Males do dominate in the blogosphere and no blogger's linking behavior is objective. It's instinctive. This can favor women or disfavor them. Who knows? I think it's worth it to note when some bloggers seem blind to women bloggers and to point it out. It can get a good response. And it's worth giving credit to the male bloggers who seem to go out of their way to promote women -- which I do in my talk at BlogHer (which will eventually be available as an audio file). I single out Glenn Reynolds (obviously) and Stephen Bainbridge (although I'm having second thoughts after he was gratuitously mean to me about wine!).
Clouthier's jumping off point was this post by Kathy Sierra. Read that one too. It starts off with a photo of a lace bra and panties. And if you click over there because of that, keep in mind that that is more evidence of my point that there is a big emotional component in internet behavior.