Scobelizer recently pointed me to an interesting article from the Contra Costa Times asking why aren’t there more women on the A list of bloggers?
The Contra Costa article, “Call them equal opportunity bloggers”, explains that while there are more women bloggers than men bloggers, why are men the top among the “blogging celebs”?
There are no easy answers. But the plugged-in posse tends to agree: Blogging was invented mostly by men, so they defined how it’s done (posting blurbs with links to other blurbs versus other popular styles of blogging such as online journals).
When mainstream culture glommed onto the rise of this uncensored, outspoken citizen commentator as a new and powerful social force capable of influencing everything from rope lines to hem lines, blogging evolved from an outlet for pure self-expression into a golden opportunity for economic levitation.
And so the blog boom began. Name-brand celebrities and journalists soon overshadowed the no-names, who found it harder to compete for attention in this ever-expanding, free-for-all, tell-all universe.
Those who got there first were first in line to collect their 15 minutes of ink and air time. And, they’ve been racking those up like unlimited cell phone minutes ever since.
The article specifically cites the following reasons for why there are more men top bloggers than women:
- Men got there first and stayed.
- The search engine page ranking of winning by the most incoming links continues to weigh in heavily in the first-come-first-serve male bloggers side.
- The web reflects “reality” with the newspaper/magazine editorial world still mostly male, too.
- It’s a male dominated world. What do you expect?
Robert Scoble credits the low number of top notch women bloggers as:
- Lack of women directly involved in the business network of founding bloggers.
- Continued lack of involvement of women in the blogging industry at the higher levels for networking.
- Not enough women geeks and nerds.
These two aren’t the only ones talking about this. Washington Monthly’s Political Animal tackled the issue of why op-ed pages and top bloggers are dominated by men, concluded with “men are more comfortable with the food fight nature of opinion writing — both writing it and reading it.”
Surfette of Blogher also tackled this a year ago, starting a debate over why there aren’t more top women bloggers, asking the questions, “how do you want the world to learn about what you’re creating — if at all? Do you want to play by today’s rules or change the game?”
An interesting, and truthful, comment in the article mentioned how a lot of women bloggers are blogging “gender-free”, with no specifics as to their sex. Many people assume they are men, thus added to the “men’s list”. A lot of my readers on this blog assume I’m a man, as they do in most of my online experiences with chats, forums, and writing. Many are stunned to find out otherwise. It’s not a conscious decision, and it surprises me when they are surprised.
I’ve read many others who say that the reason women aren’t in the top bloggers A lists is because women tend to blog “emotionally”, writing more diary/journal blogs than focused editorial commentary and resource driven information.
Why Are There Not Enough Top Women Bloggers? They Got It Wrong
Still, I think they all have missed the mark.
It’s easy to blame the male dominated society, the good ole boys network, and the patriarchal society. The reality is that the majority of workers in the workforce, both in the United States, Canada, and most of the EU, are women. The reality is that women represent the majority of business owners.
According to the 1997 US Census, women-owned businesses totaled 5.4 million in the US. Women business owners employed 7.1 million people and generated USD $818.7 billion in receipts. According to research by the Center for Women’s Business Research (US), by 2004, there were an estimated 10.6 million privately-held women-owned businesses in the United States, representing over 50% of all privately-held companies, generating USD $2.46 trillion in sales. They employed 19.1 million people nationwide. The next US Census in 2007 is expected to reflect an even higher number of working and business-owning women.
Many women are highly entrepreneurial, starting home-based businesses they can do at home while raising their children, with some even turning those home businesses into multi-million dollar companies.
Where are all the women bloggers? Running a majority of all the businesses in the country, and working their asses off.
Women are raising children, running businesses, managing households, supporting male-owned businesses, and “doing all the dance steps backwards and in high heels”, to quote Ginger Rogers talking about dancing with Fred Astaire.
While blogging has become big business, and women are moving into the ranks of the blogging industry, it is still seen as a luxury and hobby. After all, who has all that time to sit around dreaming up babble to spew on a daily basis?
Women tend to be the supporters, encouragers, and motivators. They often take the jobs men don’t want, and they help each other along the way. Few women believe in stepping on heads along the way to the ivory tower, instead dragging their male and female co-workers along with them, slowing down their path to the tower. Many work in support and caring businesses, ranging from nurses to technical writers, keeping the business going with their careful eye towards detail and multi-tasking abilities. Even the businesses they own tend to be in some form of “helpful” service or products, not business for business-sake.
Women also tend to be highly socialized, but we aren’t very savvy when it comes to networking, tending to promote others better than ourselves. In this, Scoble and others are right. We’d rather be working our asses off on our work rather than hanging around conference and conventions. When we do attend, we’re often talking about how good the others are and self-deprecating our own high achievements. I have to admit that even I have done that, going the humble route while believing that my good works will naturally rise to the top to be noticed. We have to get past this and toot our own horns better.
Personally, I loved PoliPundit’s announcement that she is a female political blogger last year:
I just want to take this opportunity to point out that I am a woman. I know that Polipundit is a group blog and that I am the only female here, but my posts are linked to about as often as the other Polipundit bloggers’ posts are and we get decent traffic.
From that experience, I see no bias against female bloggers. I would even say that in the future, it could even be an advantage to be a female blogger because they are currently not quite as common as male bloggers are. We could enjoy something of a novelty factor, at least until we overtake the men. (Did I just write that? I may have just spoiled the secret conspiracy of blogging chicks to take over the blogosphere. Sorry, sister bloggers. ;-)
There are many top women bloggers out there. Most women are not too preoccupied with being on narcissistic, arbitrary lists. Though I did preen a bit thinking of myself as a “novelty blogger”.
I’d love to know what you think about the majority of bloggers as women, and the lack of women in the top blogger lists. Statistics show that there are more women bloggers out there than men, but less women bloggers on the “A List”. I’d also love to find out which blogs you read that you know are written by women. Do you read them because they are written by women? Or just because of what they say? Does the fact that a blogger is female make you more or less likely to read the blog? Is this something you consciously think about?
Why do you think there aren’t enough top women bloggers?
- Civilities – Media Structures Research – Promoting Women Bloggers – A Time line of Relevant Discussions
- Spotlight on Women Bloggers: Interview with Jory Des Jardins of BlogHer
- Guide Wire Group – A Blog of Her Own
- Conglomerate – Women and Blogging Part 72
- The Telegraph – Opening Up in Cyberspace – Women Bloggers in India
- Into the Blogosphere – Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs