01 January 2008

Britblog Roundup and more patronising of the female folk

The 150th* Britblog Roundup is now up on Redemption Blues and my post on the Gender Balance Awards gets, well, it gets a roasting (and not in the good way) from The Chameleon (as well as on this week's BBC Pods and Blogs).

Since I saw the post yesterday, I can't help thinking of two words that perfectly summarise the opposing argument laid down by The Chameleon. I've been debating whether to post it, as I'm sure there will be people that won't like the insinuation, but here goes - "victim mentality".

But to prove that this isn't just an unfair smear on a reasonable viewpoint, let's take a look at what The Chameleon says:

Women have only too readily been pronounced incompetent in matters of technology on the basis of the ancient slander associating women with emotion/intuition and men with reason/logic. The computer industry remains male-dominated, the geek by definition male. A woman might not have much time left over for blogging, too busy ironing his shirts and socks after a hard day at the office whilst he vents his spleen over a hot keyboard in the knowledge that when his stomach starts rumbling his dinner will be on the table. Whereas a handful of women bloggers might have secured book deals these are almost completely confined to the “personal”, “autobiographical” or “confessional” categories. If you don’t write about your sexual exploits, your boyfriend’s foibles (however charmingly), child-rearing or dieting you don’t stand much of a chance of receiving any recognition (whenever the mainstream media devote a column or two to the personal publishing revolution or whatever new coinage has become fashionable you will only ever see a token woman).

In the realm of “political” blogging women are particularly thin on the ground. This is not because we prefer to discuss Gordon Brown’s dress sense rather than his policies, but because the “political” is routinely defined too narrowly along Party lines with feminism automatically discounted (just peruse the sidebars of a few of the better known political bloggers for corroboration of this). Natalie Bennett, for example, founder of the Carnival of the Feminists and regular host of the Roundup only began to attract attention when she joined the Greens. Quite iniquitous. “Intellectual” women, women able to argue a point are assiduously ignored (glance down the index of one of the compilations of political blogging articles), perhaps perceived as too unfemininely assertive, too threatening. In other words, the failing is not on the part of women, but on the part of those who airbrush them out.
(Emphasis added)

As you can see, they are trying to paint themselves as victims (and by doing so propagating the myth that an inherent bias exists in the blogosphere), which they believes justifies behaviour which in other settings we would consider unmerited. According to the Office of National Statistics, 71% of men are online, against 62% of women. Whilst men are slightly more prevalent, they hardly dominate the internet and clearly do not get the sole decision on what's hot and what's not. Although I have to concede that men certainly do dominate (statistically speaking) the political scene for the moment, as regrettably they do in the offline world, the problem can be far more easily remedied than in the "real world" - women have only to pick up the keyboard, plug in the internet and publish away. Rather than whinge on about how all the blogging men are bullying and ignoring them, they should ignore the haters, get down to writing interesting, thoughtful posts and trying their damndest to advertise them.

* Which sounds like a significant number and means the roundup has been running for about 3 years.

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