des femmes

des femmes, defamed...

Forget about the women

Zoe VanderWolk says:

"Matt Stoller has a brilliant roundup of how the Left is doing on positioning itself as a viable opposition to the Right-wing juggernaut. Particularly interesting are his thoughts about mentorship of women in politics and the blogosphere."

I found his thoughts pretty lacking, more as though he was merely being polite.

[UPDATE] Zoe notes that "The comments that he made were actually in conversation with him directly (we became friends at the DNC), and not in his roundup of how the Left is doing."

Zoe continues:

"I agree with him that women are often afraid of looking stupid and are worried about getting into something new that they don't know much about. The confidence problems can only be overcome by meeting other women who are doing the same thing, that can tell them about what they're going up against and what they need to know to get started."

I read and reread the brilliant roundup and found only this comment:

"Women - that's an interesting question. I don't know. It's cultural, probably, combined with a severe lack of mentorship and role models."

Far too much is being read into his brushoff. (If he said more, I would appreciate being corrected.) I don't see anything about looking stupid or lacking confidence but a generic comment that could have come from Bush's mouth.

[UPDATE] So my previous comments were wrong (um, that crow tastes good) but so far I don't see any reason to change what follows.

My opinion about women's non-involvement: Working women with children don't have the time between going to work, fixing meals, taking care of kids, and cleaning house. Lucky me, I'm not in that position. But I have a personal problem* with people who call cowards "pussies" and denigrate others by calling them so-and-so's "bitch," and I've been seeing way too much of it in political blogs for me to feel like I'm welcome.

*I've been working so hard on managing my anger. [sigh] But the words "fuck you, jerk" bubble up whenever I'm called names. And yes, I do take it personally when the word "pussy" is misused.

And Zoe continues:

"We need more female voices in the blogosphere, and in politics in general, and I'd love to help it get off the ground."

If a woman blogs, and no men hear her, does her blog exist?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

(This is Zoe, by the way - I don't have a Blogger account.)

The comments that he made were actually in conversation with him directly (we became friends at the DNC), and not in his roundup of how the Left is doing. I stand by my opinion that it was a valuable piece of blogging that should help everyone who has an interest in building a response to the Right-wing media juggernaut. I apologize for not making that clear.

However, I also stand by what I said about women being afraid of looking stupid. I think both men and women are equally afraid of this, obviously, but I think it's more acceptable (however wrongly) for women to articulate this and to shy away from political discussions. For example, I have heard many of my female friends say things like "I don't want to talk about politics because it makes people mad." I've never heard any of my male friends express anything like this.

I think that the lack of time of working women is also a cultural problem. Male bloggers also have families and jobs, and yet they somehow manage to find the time to blog - and women my age usually don't have jobs or families to take up their time. If the problem is with working women, then at the college level there should be gender parity. There isn't.

I never really thought seriously about avoiding discussions that include the words "pussies" and "so-and-so's bitch". I guess either I am so inured to these terms from the music that I listen to and the language that's spoken on college campuses that I find it hard to be outraged every time that someone says something like that. I did go nuclear on a commenter on Kos once for calling Maureen Dowd "Midol", though. I think that name-calling is something that someone should be called on, and hopefully isn't taken as a reason for intelligent female commenters to withdraw from political discourse. It's tough, and it is hurtful, but it has to be fought with intelligence and wit rather than more name-calling right back - otherwise people will keep using these names that are hurtful and offensive.

A woman's blog will always be heard if she is writing interesting content. I firmly believe that. Like anyone, she has to do some legwork in getting her blog more visibility if she wants to have a wide readership, but so do men. There is nothing stopping women - both working and not, childless and not, busy or not - from taking over the web, and I would love to start a discussion on how to encourage more women to join in, and what is preventing them from doing so. You've articulated name-calling and time pressures. Women should be no more susceptible to those pressures than men, but the fact that they are is a cultural problem. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

August 24, 2004 8:26 AM  

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