Let’s Talk About Chicks, Man

A few weeks ago, my friend Megan Carpentier wondered on Glamocracy why there aren’t more prominent female political bloggers out there:

But does it have to be that way? Blogs are supposed to be populist and thus it would seem like women could more easily level the playing field here than in other media. Red State’s Mike Krempasky says, “You’d think the internet would be the great equalizer or the ultimate meritocracy. ‘far from it.” Looking at my blogroll, I’d have to agree.

Argh. How do we change that? How loud do women have to shout? Or is it sadly that we have to stop seeing politics from a woman’s point of view to get taken seriously?

The reaction from the blogosphere was striking: naked hostility from both sides. Markos Moulitsas sent his executive editor after her, claiming that because a woman edits Dailykos.com that women are fairly represented in the blogosphere (though I would consider myself of above average awareness in the realm and I still don’t associate Dailykos with a woman’s viewpoint).

Then a female right wing blogger—whose name for all the world I read at first as Café Sano, a favorite lunch place of mine in Reston, VA—told her to stop being such a whiny girl because she’s never experienced sexism… and then proceeds to brag about how nice it is to give her male readers “something to ogle at.” Calling Ann Althouse.

Another interesting note: the left wing blogs spelled Megan’s name correctly, while the vast majority of the right wing ones did not. It is “Carpentier,” like a French word, not “Carpenter” like Jesus.

Anyway, in the midst of all the rancor, it isn’t an unfair question to ask. After all, politics—and power games in general—are still generally seen as a man’s game. That isn’t fair, and isn’t even reflective of reality, but that’s the way it is. What do you think? Does Megan have a point, or is she just being a silly girl about it?

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10 Responses to “Let’s Talk About Chicks, Man”

  1. on 29 Apr 2008 at 10:26 am Frank_A

    I think it has to do with a certain type of nerdiness that guys have, that is monomanically focusing/working on a certain topic for long periods, more commonly than females.
    Seems to me, it takes a certain type of person who can focus on that one thing, the blog, and is willing to spend hours of time adding/improving to it, even when it’s getting in the way of ordinary activities.
    Chalk this up to ye olde days of prehistory man stalking wild pigs in the Savannahs of Africa, and why men more commonly get autism/aspergers, and why guys are more likely to be better in math or geekery like comic books collections.
    Peg and Synova, you can tell me where I’m wrong, but I don’t see too many women willing to poopsock to get that extra raid on WoW.

  2. on 29 Apr 2008 at 2:30 pm synova

    Ha! What sort of dweeb plays WoW. Poser! EQ2 all the way. But no… no poopsock (!) and when we go fishing we won’t pee in a bottle either.
    My serious opinion on the matter?   I think that the problem is “from a woman’s point of view.”    Men don’t political blog “from a man’s point of view.”    They blog from *my* point of view.    A whole lot of women seem to marginalize themselves by focusing on “a woman’s point of view.”    How about having a person’s point of view?
    Anytime someone says, “As a gay person, I think…”  or “As a Native American I think…” or “As a woman I think…” they’ve marginalized their opinion to some extent.    I don’t want to speak for women, particularly as I’m as likely to disagree with them as with anyone else, and I get annoyed when someone tries to speak for me because of my plumbing.    I’m really not interested in women’s opinions.    I’m interested in opinions.    I’m interested in arguments.
    Oh, sure, Malkin doesn’t pretend not to be Filipina.    But she doesn’t run a blog about her unique perspective as a woman of color.    She runs an in-your-face political opinion blog and pisses a lot of people off, too.
    Which brings me to a second point and one closer to hyper-focus geekery…  in my experience, when I’ve posted to a female run blog, my comments get deleted.    Oh, Althouse never deletes me, but if I’ve ever posted even a mild disagreement on a feminist blog (seemed mild to me!) my comments go bye-bye.
    I think there is a temperament difference between men and women.    In my experience of years of usenet news arguments, heated discussions and flame wars, those who seem to truly enjoy leaping into the fray are almost all men.    At first I’d get so upset arguing my point of view that I couldn’t sleep.   Then one day I decided to disallow getting involved at that level and overnight, like someone flipped a switch, it was fun for me, too.
    I don’t think that the answer to participation by women is imposing civilization on political discourse in order to make it nicer for girls.   I think that political discourse requires the rough and tumble and it’s worthwhile to adapt a more masculine mode.

  3. on 29 Apr 2008 at 2:32 pm PogueMahone

    Politics is a sport. Guys dig sports more than women do.
    Politics is like a long basketball game. Up and down the court taking and defending shots complete with fouls, three-pointers, free throws, and half court shots at the buzzer.
    Guys just dig that shit.

  4. on 29 Apr 2008 at 2:44 pm synova

    “There’s this rich and broad feminist blogosphere, which is heavily female and very political, but considered a different sort of animal. Is Jill Filipovic a political blogger? Ann Friedman?” he [Ezra Klein]says. Male bloggers are seen as talking about politics with a universal point of view, but when we women bring our perspective to the field, it’s seen as as a minority opinion.
    Note that the female bloggers Megan quotes are the author of Third Wave and someone from Feministing.
    It seems sort of disingenuous to claim that the political opinion on Feministing  or Third Wave is “universal” when it’s clearly, deliberately, feminist.    Expecting the male readership to flock to Feministing is like expecting the primary audience of the Man Show to have breasts.

  5. on 29 Apr 2008 at 2:58 pm PogueMahone

    Girls Jumping On Trampolines
    Genius… pure genius.

  6. on 29 Apr 2008 at 3:27 pm ChrisB

    first sliders and now the man show. Synova makes the best pop culture references in her comments.

  7. on 29 Apr 2008 at 3:33 pm synova

    It was the only example of masculine programming I could come up with off-hand that is truly exclusionary.

  8. on 29 Apr 2008 at 4:32 pm Joshua Foust


    Actually, I know more girls who play WoW than EQ2. I’m jus’ sayin’. Then again, the girls I know are all nerds — one beats her husband at foosball tournaments and Super Bomberman and used to belong to a Team Fortress guild, the other met her husband at a weekly Halo tournament. My sister met her husband by beating the crap out of him at Tekken 3.

    Good lord we’re moving beyond this post. Synova, I think your analogy is apt, if all reporting by men was considered to be of the Man Show variety—i.e. focused and intended solely for women. Malkin is notable for adopting a man’s style of blogging (for lack of a better term)—her syntax, rhetoric, and temperament are decidedly more masculine than the typical female writer’s. That, however, does not make her any more or less insightful… but it does gain her a much larger audience.

    I think that’s the dynamic Megan was going after.

  9. on 01 May 2008 at 5:42 am newshutz

    Its all about standard deviations.

    Even though it is common wisdom, that women are better at expressing themselves verbally than men, that is the statement of a mean.
    Way out on the talented tail, the standard deviation predominates. It has been suggested that in many areas, men have a much wider standard deviation than women. If this is true in an area where a very few very talented dominate, then we should expect a disparity.

  10. on 01 May 2008 at 12:36 pm synova

    This assumes that political commentary tends to select the most talented.    Rush Limbaugh is certainly a talented fellow but I doubt his ability with words is what people identify as the key to his success.

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