August 8, 2006

Does being a female blogger mean anything?

Melissa Clouthier thinks not, and she observes that I didn't seem "overly impressed" by the BlogHer convention. Here's my main BlogHer post. What do you think?

Per Clouthier:
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.


Steve H. said...

In the Blogosphere, tits = hits.

Except on men.

Icepick said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Icepick said...

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.

Rather, it's evidence that the internet is for porn.

Freeman Hunt said...

Does being a female blogger mean anything?

Yes. It means that whenever Glenn Reynolds links to you, strange men will send you emails proposing marriage.

Other than that, no, I don't think so. Aside from it being just another characteristic about yourself that people use to create a mental image of you.

Dr. Melissa said...

Thank you so much for the link. For the record, I'm 5'10" blonde, blue-eyed, 36-25-38 bombshell, who just doesn't want to intimidate the rest of the 30-something mothers of toddlers out there. Just want to make sure you have an accurate picture. Ha!

I do believe that gender is an aspect of who we are and how we approach things, and for some people gender defines their blog. And I recognize that Kos, Glenn, the Boing Boing guys and the PostSecret dude are the big blogger guns, but I think it is that their ideas and takes set them apart....not their um, private parts.

Thanks again!

Ann Althouse said...

Hi, Melissa: I definitely agree that you need the writing and the substance to get very far in blogging.

Goesh said...

-give me a bulldozer driving mamma any day

AFFA said...

I can't think of a concise way to explain this...

Blogs aren't filtered quite the same as real life. Some bloggers write things that they would not ordinarily say. In find some blogs by women interesting precisely because they type things that few women would say to me in real life.

Maxine Weiss said...

I think women are more talkier, more chattier, more chit-chat, more confidants to confide in, than men...

....but that's in real life.

So maybe the blogosphere provides for men, the social network, that they can't always obtain in real life, allows them to be more confessional. It really give men an outlet they really need, and may not be getting.

For women, I think it's just a substitute. Instead of mindless yapping on the phone, you can just put it into your blog.

And, believe me, if left to my own devices, I could talk for hours over the phone.

This just saves me money, plus I don't have to repeat myself.

Peace, Maxine

Anthony said...

I'm with Ann: I have a Hollywood view of people I only know the names of.

I posted my pic once at ArchaeoBlog, which was probably a mistake since I feel certain that most readers have an image of Indiana Jones firmly in mind while perusing said blog.