Duncan Riley> I’ve been tossing up a post along the lines of Blogging: geography is dead for the last week, but time limitations meant I never got around to writing it. Then on the weekend I was reading about the BlogHer Conference, and reading on Arienna’s blog about some of the speakers and the topics. Whilst there was, by all accounts, some excellent speakers and discussions, there was also touches of debate that centered on socialism and concepts of women as victims that I just felt unconfortable with, and not just as a man, but as a blogger. Why? because the blogosphere doesn’t play by these rules, and if you are, you should leave the building right now because you’re not going to like what I’ve got to say.
And here it is:
The new world paradigm of blogging is that everybody is created equally, irrelevant of race, sex, sexuality or religion.
The only areas that prohibit all of mankind having the opportunities that blogging presents are access and language.
Talent, determination, patience, and creativity are the measures of one blogger to another, not whether they are a man or a woman.
You know, when I think of bloggers, I don’t think of their nationality, their race, religion (unless of course they are preaching it), their sexual preferences or whether they are male or female. I consider one blogger to another based on what they write and whether its of interest to me. Occasionally I might note, through a post or localized reference, that a blogger is from a particular area, region or country, but it makes no difference to me where that place is. And I’ll draw an even longer bow here: neither do 99% of other people either.
The whole conspiracy theory, A-Listers are all men and are keeping us out, companies are evil, and the blogosphere is a glass ceiling women can’t break through is utter nonsense, and I hope the few people at the BlogHer conference sprouting this crap were given a cold reception, although I am unable to clarify from the notes exactly what the reaction was.
Women are successful in the blogosphere, there isn’t a glass ceiling, and more and more women will feature amongst the so-called A list over time.
If we must pull apart the imbalance between women and men amongst the Top 100, or A list or whatever (and here in lies another problem, there is no agreed list for this either, Im in the Top 300 at Technorati for example but I was No 97 on Blogpulse yesterday). Blogging emerged out of geek culture, and rightly or wrongly, geek culture was, and remains dominated by men. Don’t believe me, check out some of Jason Calacanis’ photos from Defcon. Geek culture spawned blogs, and that’s why you’ve still got more men then women at the top because more men got involved with blogging earlier on, and given the lead in time have had longer, and a head start if you like, in building links and profile. This is changing as the blogosphere and blogs go more “mainstream” if you like, and those reading blogs change from geeks to everyone else as well.
Secondly, making statements about an imaginary glass ceiling, and about A Listers excluding women, insults every women who is currently on one of these lists, because it totally ignores their achievements, not based on their gender but based on their talents. No 1 blog in the Technorati Top 100 today: Boing Boing. Editor: Xeni Jardin. No 10: Dooce: Heather Armstrong. I won’t go through the whole list, but credit where its due, any one of the main Gawker Media sites has featured women of stature and immense talent such as Jessica Coen, Ana Marie Cox.., others include Michelle Makin and Singapore blogger Xiaxue, and there a probably others as well.
If we want to talk about gender issues lets talk about how to resist the small minority who are obsessed with notions of gender and race. I can remember reading Michelle Makin a while back where she wrote about some of the hate mail she was getting, how people were referring to her as an Asian whore and far, far worse. You know what, I think it actually made her stronger, where as others, irrelevant again of gender, race etc… may have wilted from the horrid nastiness of what she received. These are the challenges facing some women bloggers, and it would be far better to focus on these problems that the rubbish sprouted by some at Blogher who clearly have hidden political and social agendas.