Women should embrace the blogosphere

Posted: Jun 10, 2005 12:00 AM

No discussion of women bloggers would be complete without some gross generalizations and politically incorrect observations -- both of which I plan to include here.

The first time I read one of the many posts that have been written on various blogs about a shortage of female political bloggers, my first thought was to ask, ?What shortage?? Many of the bloggers I read daily, including Michelle Malkin, Betsy Newmark, La Shawn Barber and the Anchoress are women.  A look at blog rankings, however, shows the top spots are held primarily by men.  

There are, no doubt, multiple factors that have contributed to the numbers being what they are for women bloggers, and more than a few male bloggers have attempted to provide explanations.

 Kevin Drum once suggested the ?geek? factor might contribute to the small number of female political bloggers.

Although its geeky Usenet roots were (and are) testosterone laden affairs, there are still no formal barriers to entry here, no old boys club in the usual meaning of the word. Yet if you take a look at the Blogosphere Ecosystem, which for all its faults is probably the closest thing we have to a consensus measure of popularity for political blogs, you will find exactly two women in the top 30: Michelle Malkin and La Shawn Barber.

John Hawkins at Right Wing News has written on this topic at least three times and has offered his explanation for a shortage of ?A-List? female bloggers.

Women on the whole are less interested in politics than men, therefore less women create blogs, thus the female talent pool in the blogosphere is smaller than the male pool, which leads to the dearth of "A-List" female bloggers.

In other words, there aren't as many really successful female bloggers because percentage wise, there aren't as many women who are interested in doing political blogging. It's just that simple...

Whatever the reason for the small percentage of female political bloggers, I definitely do not buy the ?Woe is me, I can?t succeed in the blogosphere because I am a woman? excuse.  For those who do buy it, anonymity is an available option.  A blogger?s gender can quite easily be kept a mystery.

Like many southern women, instead of complaining that my gender is limiting me in any area, I choose to look at the ways my gender can be used to my advantage.  While I don?t go as far as my mother, who once faked tears when pulled over for speeding, to avoid getting a ticket, I am tickled to death to accept any good will that may come my way as a result of being a woman.

The Cotillion is a perfect example of one group of conservative female bloggers that is showcasing the uniqueness of their female voices and proving that ?chick blogs aren't just about what color poopy our kids had today.?

Some have complained that the most prominent male bloggers, or ?blog daddies? as Lucianne Goldberg refers to them, don?t link frequently to women.  I disagree and know that this certainly has not been true in my case.  I realize that not every female blogger will have the same experience I have had, but I do know through my example that the possibility exists for every blogger, male or female, to make a difference.

I am a stay-at-home mom with no writing experience except that which I got in college almost 20 years ago.  In just one year of blogging, an incredible world has opened up to me. I have been read by hundreds of thousands of people -- over 100,000 per day on some of those days just before the 2004 election. People that I have watched on television and read in newspapers and magazines for years have quoted things that I have written. I was even fortunate enough to have played a part, along with a Texas stay-at-home mom blog reader, in coining a term that might someday appear in my daughters? textbooks.  Best of all, I have received hundreds of e-mails from readers telling me that something I wrote encouraged them to contribute money and to volunteer hours to various political candidates and causes. The blogosphere has opened up a world of opportunities that I never expected and that just did not exist as recently as a few years ago. 

These opportunities are equally available to men and women, but the flexibility blogs offer stay-at-home moms like me is particularly attractive.  I can take my laptop with wireless Internet anywhere in my house and even outside onto my front porch or back deck and blog while watching my kids play.  Former CBS executive Jonathan Klein?s comment that a blogger is "a guy sitting in the living room in their pajamas" may have been meant as a slam against bloggers.   I, however, choose along with many others, to embrace it.  Because one of my favorite times for blogging is late at night when the kids are in bed and there is rare peace and quiet in my home, I frequently do blog in my pajamas.  What could be better than that?

Lorie Byrd lives in North Carolina where she worked as a litigation paralegal before becoming a stay-at-home to her two daughters six years ago.  She has written at her own weblog, Byrd Droppings, the group blog, Polipundit (http://polipundit.com), since April 2004 on political matters.  She is also currently a contributor at ConfirmThem.com (http://confirmthem.com) and MediaSlander.com (http://mediaslander.com).