Happy Women’s Day! – My Views on Blogging and Gender

LET’S FACE IT. Being a green beauty blogger, I am the stereotypical female blogger. All I would need is some food recipes and pictures of outfits and my (nonexisting) children, and I would be women’s blogging in a nutshell. As I have recently started taking courses in gender studies at the university, this is something that I have started thinking about to a higher extent. So, in honor of International Women’s Day, let me share my two cents about questions of gender in the blogosphere.

I found two statistics of the gender breakdown in bloggers, Symosos analysis from June 2010 which claims that the numbers are more or less 50-50 (with a slight majority of women, 50,9%), and the blog search engine Technorati’s analysis of their blogs from October 2010 wherein only 35% are women. I suppose Technorati’s analysis says more about the people who list their blog in technorati than it does about the whole world wide web (on a side note, I’m also kind of annoyed by the fact that they have one page with “women” blogs and then a whole bunch of pages with the real stuff like technology and business). Therefore I assume that the analysis by Symosos, where they analyzed over 100 000 000 blog posts, would be more accurate.

SO, LET’S ASSUME that there are about as many male as there are female bloggers out there. I am, however, pretty sure this wasn’t always the case. I think that women occupy more and more space in the blog world, and that time by time women are making blogging their medium.

A lot of the blogs that I stumble upon (I’m not much of a blog reader, really), seem to be by housewives or part-time workers who take care of their children and enjoy cooking and gardening, and blog about that on the side. This is what, to me, makes blogs so fascinating. Anyone can start up their own blog and share their thoughts on the things that they find important. It’s also a chance for people to find others who share their interests and their problems. It’s simply a chance to take the space one needs to make ones voice heard, even though most of the time is spent in the home.

BUT THEN WE arrive at the point where we make distinctions between genders. Women are interested in caring for children and doing housework, hence that’s why they blog about such topics. Even in the space that should be ultra-democratic and equal, where everyone can talk about whatever they like, we find that women tend to write about household tasks such as food or being mothers. Naturally I am making a huge generalization here, but really, how common is it with daddy blogs or men writing about their raw food diet?

Actually, and please don’t take this the wrong way now, I think that this has a lot to do with the fact that women make such a big deal about separating themselves in the blogworld. There are tons and tons of directories with blogs for women, such as BlogHer, Blogs by Women and so on, and so on. This is where most of the blogs about food, gardening and childcare gather. Is it then any wonder that the men who possibly would like to write about these topics find themselves left out? Not to mention all those people who don’t  like to identify themselves as neither. If (and this is nothing that you have to agree with me on) one is to assume that we do live in a patriarchal society and that one of the many reasons to this is that women are bound to caring for their homes, then not letting men in on this wouldn’t exactly help the situation would it?

LIKE I MENTIONED in the beginning, my own blog is very much a “typical female blog”, and I definitely do not discourage women to write about the things they are interested in, be they organic cleaning products or football. But I would like you to think about the audience you are speaking to. I know for a fact that I have many non-female readers, and when I think about the people who have spontaneously told me they enjoy my blog in person, it’s about 50-50 women and others, possibly even a bit more people who don’t define themselves as women. Which is one of the reasons to why I tend to keep my blog as gender neutral as possible.

But of course, it’s also very difficult for women to take place in the “typical male blogosphere”. I’ve recently come across a couple of very interesting blog posts about this. Read about Jann who had to write under the name of James to find that her blog counted here, and about sexism in science blogging here. Edit: seems to be a problem with Well the text was about a woman who found that she’d be getting tons of comments from men to her serious posts, all about how hot she looked.

What are your thoughts on “female” vs. “male” blogs? Do you agree with me?

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