Saturday, November 15

If you're a feminist, you must have a voice. (huh?)

I had a lot of visitors here last week from the terrific blog "I blame the patriarchy." Twisty Faster is a past Don't Sugarcoat It Award winner and she's blogrolled here, too. But many of her visitors were lurkers, and none of the few who felt bold enough to comment left a link to any "blog of their own" or contact info. I didn't like getting sniped at by anonymous feminists, and turning off anonymous comments is not an option, because some non-bloggers use that option and then sign their comments and also email me off list. (Thanks, OG.) Eventually I turned off comments at the posts in question, because it just depressed me to see women who clearly had something to say, deny themselves the right to own it or actually engage in a dialogue with me. I'm right here, sisters.

I feel really bad about the whole deal, because if a feminist can't feel safe to criticize, vent, suggest, or applaud with their own hands, EVEN at a four-year-old blog written by a woman who has, in contrast, gone quite public, that there's some serious fear. Don't get me started about why don't these women have their own blogs. It's such a male-dominated blogosphere and yet, don't we have modems, too? If they were just being polite by not criticizing me at my own home, why not post a link to my blog and say "what gives with BG?" That's what the commenter at Twisty's did, but then commenter hasn't updated her own blog in over six months. Don't get me started.

If we want to LIVE as equals, we'd better start sometime, and that means eradicating the fear that keeps us hidden and silent. If the fear is defensive, we must nurture its victim. If the fear is just unwarranted anger in disguise, or worse, laziness or avoidance of responsibility, we must confront it.

h/t Tyrant of the Seven Seas, who was kind enough to ask the question, and not in a Neil Cavuto way.

UPDATE: Here are articles on male predominance in the political blogworld, both in terms of audience and writers.


  1. I'm surprised to hear that the blogosphere is "male dominated," partly because my commenters (few though they are) are overwhelmingly women, as is my blogroll, and partly because I lack the e-chops to suss out such a statistic.

    I heard a speaker on the radio (from the Chatauqua series?) talking about AIDS in Africa, whose strongly held contention was that none of the world's great problems will be solved until we acknowledge and overcome the paradigm of Gender Inequality.

    Pretty strong words from a man speaking on an ostensibly different topic.

    Thanks for not just adding your important voice to this issue, but for showing us all The Way.

  2. I always felt fortunate that my 'audience' (or co-conspirators, as one prefers) had a semi-balanced gender demographic. Alienating one or another side of that equation would have been anathema to me, and inconceivable as any type of publicity stratagem.

    I have long held the opinion that if one does not advertise gender as a component of an online identity, the viewership will find it very difficult, if not impossible to make a distinction between a 'male' or a 'female' writing voice...But the reality is that as soon as such an identity is determined, subjective preconceptions come into play.

    Not very evolutionary, unfortunately...But neither is the human species as a whole.

    Collectively, we really need to prioritize putting any ideas of superiority or inferiority based solely on gender behind us, as we need to also do for race.

    It liberates the thinking and allows for a deeper appreciation of other viewpoints, without all the self-limiting that stunts true communication.


  3. Anonymous12:35 PM

    Thanks for saying so, and thanks for the ongoing intelligent participation in the conversation of political/cultural change. I value your voice, along with any voice that brings evidence, sound argument, clear vision and insight to the market place of ideas. And who invites engagement in the discussion.

  4. Anonymous1:13 PM

    Good food for thought. As a young woman, I embraced Mary Wollstonecraft's brand of feminism: "I do not wish them (women) to have power over men; but over themselves." and Harriet Taylor Mill, "We deny the right of any portion of the species to decide for another what is and what is not their "proper sphere." The proper sphere for all human beings is the largest and highest which they are able to attain to."

    For me, these early feminists were the Plato and Aristotle of women's rights. Anything any other modern feminist said seemed superfluous...until in my late 20s I'd read a passage from Hillary Clinton who said, Women's rights are human rights.

    Sarah Palin gave me recent cause and pause for cringing with her lip service to feminism. She has a voice, but she is not a feminist. She denies a woman dominion over her own body and does it while kneeling to a patriarchal God with a sadistic, misogynist agenda.

    And I won't prattle on except to throw a little praise in your direction, Blue Gal. You have offered your readers Wollstonecraft's and Mill's ideals on feminism in having power over you and forging your own sphere. It's warm, friendly, funny, and smart. It's caring and thoughtful. So, thanks for your example.

  5. Anonymous2:31 PM

    Twisty should be read by everyone due the simple fact she one of the best writers on the web.

    When she went though her
    mastectomy she shared pictures with her readers. It took ovaries give her readers a front row seat to the most personal of tragedies, it was also incredibly courageous.

    Twisty is apologetically hard core feminist, so her readers tend to track that philosophy.

    The joy of the internets is finding good writers no matter their persuasion.

    PS BG I loved your silent film on


  6. The simplest reason for fewer women being bloggers is that there are more male geeks, nerds, and dorks than females of the species - though the numbers are shifting. Frankly, we dick around *ahem* with toys, and that's a lot of what blogs are. If they also happen to give us instant gratification, well so much the better!

    Speaking of Male Ego, I'm going to tell a story about myself:

    Some years ago, my dad (divorced decades before), my brother (older), his girlfriend (my age), and I were gabbing away when the issue of my mom being a "hard-core feminist" came up. The girlfriend protested that she wasn't, and the three guys countered that she certainly was. Of the four of us, I was the one who didn't consider it an insult.

    There seems to be a real dividing line in age among women: the younger ones avoiding the term 'feminist' and the older ones fighting tooth and nail for it. [Side note: if you're over 30, you're old. Now get over it and worry about something important.] I wonder if it is just the term being avoided as old-fashioned (no surprise - you don't hear a lot about suffragettes nowadays) or the philosophy itself. Refusing to comment on feminism by saying you're 'beyond it' is certainly an easy out - much easier than risking confrontation - and I wonder if post-feminism is more of an excuse for many than a philosophy.

    I do think feminism is going to be under a renewed attack in the next couple of years, by the same crowd that insists that now that one of *them* is in office, we don't need to enforce equal rights or affirmative action or minority hiring or or or...


  7. I find absolutely nothing objectionable about an increased female presence out here in Le Blogosphere---much of my readership is female.

    I think part of the thing we're fighting against are women who have been encouraged not to hold strong opinions, not to advocate for themselves, and to defer to men when they would be better served being more assertive.

    Still, I do get occasionally annoyed by the kind of naval-gazing inside the feminist community, particularly with the second-generation. I believe activists have a duty to be responsive to many causes and to limit yourself to just one makes you seem not unlike a broken record, and one that doesn't ever entertain the idea that society can evolve and that people can change over time.

  8. I'm sorry for the reasons you mention - you've certainly championed feminist causes (among many others), and been open to discussion with sincere people. So "blogger-shaming" from anonymous commenters is unfortunate. I hope any in the sincere crew do go on to make their own blogs and add their voices.

  9. I must confess I've been a bit busy the past few weeks and I don't have a clue what you are posting about. And you know how I hate being late to the party!



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