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Where are Australia’s female political bloggers?

Something Crikey Editor Jonathan Green asked this morning on Twitter got me thinking. He asked:

serious question: why don’t women (proportionally the unbalance is weird) subscribe to crikey?

We see the same things with political blogs in Australia – the ratio of male to female comments here ranges between about 4 to 1 on a good day, through to 10 to 1 depending on the topic.

Pollbludger is similar.

Over at Catallaxy it’s nearly all male, Tallyroom is nearly all male – the only place on the Australian political net where the gender balance seems to be a little more equal is with some threads at Larvatus Prodeo.

So the big question is “Why?”

With your standard IP address not having a gender identification component, it’s impossible to tell if the skewed comment ratio is reflective of the broader readership, or whether females are just more likely to lurk rather than comment? Although, with Crikey having the same imbalance with their subs, it’s probably not the latter.

Something that has surprised me for a while on the gender balance of the Australian political net is the lack of big female political bloggers. We have Kim and Anna over at LP as a group blog, while Tigtog and Lauredhel at Hoyden touch on politics occasionally and do it well – but where are the dedicated Australian political bloggers of the likes of Wonkette or Pandagon that we see in the US?

Let’s do our bit to find them. Know any female political bloggers in Australia? If so, drop a link in comments and we’ll list them here – big or small, old or new – and hopefully give them some exposure. If you’re an Australian female political blogger, don’t be shy – tell us about your blog. I for one would like to see far more female political voices in Australia’s new media.

The place is getting a little too blokey.

UPDATE

Larvatus Prodeo has a related thread going, as has Hoyden. Fuck Politeness has joined the fray, as has Memes of Production. Anti Social Butterfly has also joined the debate in a rather unique way.

UPDATE 2:

Having just experienced a rather large lesson in the art of political definition over at Hoydens, and how different political subcultures and communities give far different political meanings and nuance to words like “politics”, to better explain what I was trying to get at with the original question and title of the post, let me rephrase the last part of the above question in a way that I hope will clarify what I mean to a wider audience that seems to be dropping by.

What I was effectively asking was “Where are the dedicated Australian political bloggers of the likes of Wonkette or Pandagon that we see in the US? Where is the Oz female blogging equivalent of Laura Tingle? Or Lenore Taylor? Or Adele Ferguson?

There are plenty of Oz female bloggers that exist across every other part of the political spectrum, but the absence of that core mainstream political angle in the Australian blogosphere seems to be an almost uniquely Australian experience.

The list of Australian female political bloggers – as they come in, we’ll put them here:

The Kings Tribune

Daiskmeliadorn

Hexpletive

Tellmeyourpolitik

North Coast Voices

Bernice Balconey

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  • 1
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    The Internet has always appeared to have a male gender bias Poss. While I don’t believe that to be true in terms of overall usage, I do think that many female ‘net users move in specific online communities that are not as prominent to the rest of the population. Social media reinforces this, as seen by the way Facebook’s user numbers are skewing more and more female.

    As for political blogging, lets use political participation as a yard-stick. There is certainly an entrenched male bias in politics, so it doesn’t surprise me that it is somewhat replicated in the community that takes an interest in it.

    I agree that more female voices online would be a good thing, but there is still the ‘shrill vs confident’ gender problem to overcome. Until online discussion as a whole becomes a bit more civil I think we’ll continue to see women ignore the rabble.

  • 2
    Jason Wilson
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Poss, I don’t want to preempt what will no doubt be a long list of female political bloggers, but is it possible that snark culture in big-p Political blogs might be off-putting for some women? Let me be clear, I don’t mind a bit of snark myself, but is it possible that it’s a macho mode of speech and interaction that a lot of women can’t be bothered with?

    Also, feminists might ask you to clarify what you mean by politics – and that’s to say that a lot of women might consider themselves to be addressing political concerns/issues even if they’re not talking about the circus down in Canberra very often.

    Anyway, good post – look forward to seeing how it pans out.

  • 3
    JaneShaw
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    Well, I’m a woman, a blogger and a regular shouter about politics. http://www.kingstribune.com/ (blogged today in response to this article) and I don’t think you’re going to get a simple answer to this question.

    It’s to do with lack of time, and how women choose to spend the free time they have. If I’m going to spend 10 minutes wandering around the internet, will I spend it reading Crikey or will I head to Facebook and find out what people I know are doing? I’m going to use my time effectively and, unfortunately, most people (male and female) don’t believe they can do anything effective in politics. Political manoeuvring is too distant, too silly and so utterly pointless, most women I know prefer to work with something they can have some impact on.

    Also, I’m far less likely to get involved in a debate about who is winning something than I am about why they are winning it. Male commentary seems to focus more on the competitive angle than the analysis of motivation. This is not a criticism or a put-down, merely an observation on why i think women find political debate less engaging.

    Having said all that, I love Crikey, read it regularly and am so relieved to find some genuine journalism amongst the spectacular decline of all our dailies.

  • 4
    Anna Winter
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    “Also, feminists might ask you to clarify what you mean by politics – and that’s to say that a lot of women might consider themselves to be addressing political concerns/issues even if they’re not talking about the circus down in Canberra very often.”

    …and more importantly they may actually be addressing politics even though it doesn’t look like it to those with a more narrow definition.

    It may also be the case that there are some women blogging with gender-neutral or male names and it’s just assumed they’re male.

    But I’d mostly just want people to consider that rather than suggesting that women are a particular way that means they don’t get into political blogging, perhaps it’s more the case that they are socialised to be a particular way. It’s a fine distinction, of course, but important to note if we’re going to get more women involved in political blogging and politics in general. There are quite a few women in politics now who are proof that it isn’t in women’s genetic make-up to shy away from the rough and tumble of politics, and at the same time there are quite a few men who do shy away from it. So let’s try and stay away from essentialist explanations.

  • 5
    daiskmeliadorn
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    i’m with jason – i always considered most of my LJ to be ‘political’: in the ‘personal is political’ way; when i was talking about my honours thesis on sexuality; when i wrote about my own or others’ activism; and when i occasionally discussed stuff that was in the (mainstream) news of the day/related to the “circus down in canberra”. of course there is overlap between all these aspects of ‘politics’.

    in my reading, hoyden about town is almost always political! (i’m not sure about the lolcats though.)

    also, dave: the internet may appear to have a male gender bias to male users; online communities that are more female dominated are prominent to a fairly significant (over 50%!) part of the population. Your comment assumes that the male experience is the normative and dominant one, and of course if this is true, then the internet and political blogs etc etc will be male-dominated. I suspect this is not objectively true (though I don’t know how you’d measure that).

    on the other hand, i think it’s true that there are plenty of obstacles to women participating in “traditional” or maybe “mainstream” politics, and dave is right that part of that is an entrenched bias. and there’s also the blokeyness of it that Jason points out – not just the snark, but the kind of one-up-manship of knowing lots of stats, throwing your weight around, etc. that’s that I find off-putting.

    wow. i haven’t felt moved to comment on a blog post for ages. interesting :)

  • 6
    confessions
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    don’t know if this is confined just to australian, but lists 500 women political bloggers.

    there’s also hexpletive.

  • 7
    Jason Wilson
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    @Anna – right – I wasn’t meaning in the least to cast doubt on the idea that this actually *is* addressing politics – just an awkward turn of phrase.

  • 8
    Jason Wilson
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Also, I wasn’t trying to essentialise, just to relate an attitude towards snarky comment culture I’ve heard expressed by more than one female blogger – I tried to qualify all my suggestions.

  • 9
    Anna Winter
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Of course Jason – I didn’t mean you when I wrote that. I was clarifying for others who maybe don’t understand the difference (not that I’m suggesting that there may occasionally be a lack of nuance on the internet!)

    But as someone who likes the traditional variety of political blogging, and who doesn’t shy away from a good stoush, I think it’s important not to put it all down to “women just don’t like that shit”.

  • 10
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Possum, that list of blogs above is pretty narrow in terms of ‘political blogs’. Actually, I would classify yours, mine, and Pollbludger as a subcategory as psephological blogs, even if we occasionally stray away from strict election blogging. In my experience, I have a lot of female friends interested in politics, but the people who are particularly interested in psephology and elections outside a specific policy context are almost all male.

    Contrast how our blogs spend all our time on elections with Larvatus Prodeo, where most discussion of elections is in a policy context or because of an upcoming election, while the blog is more broadly political. My experience offline is the interest in elections for elections sake, as a kind of sport (although that’s not to say that the people interested in it don’t care about policy outcomes, etc), is very male-dominated. Probably 100% male-dominated amongst people I know. So it’s not surprising that those sorts of blogs are male-dominated.

    But if you broaden the net to more blogs talking about politics, the gender imbalance is much less stark, although it’s probably a majority who are male.

  • 11
    Matthew Rodd
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I write a blog that is exclusively about Australian Politics. Oddly though, well over half of my readers/followers/commenters are female. It should be pointed out that the blog is satirical in nature. I don’t know if the lack of seriousness plays a part in that.

  • 12
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    Here’s a female political blogger: http://tellmeyourpolitik.wordpress.com/

    She also is one of the bloggers at http://publicpolity.wordpress.com/

    Now that I think about it, it’s not so much better when you get away from the strict psephological arena.

  • 13
    BH
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Poss – I think it is partly time constraints. Working life, family life, keeping relationships in tact, etc. take a fair amount of time.

    Many women are also heavily involved in voluntary work with different community or women’s organisations – especially after retirement. It doesn’t mean that they are not politically aware or interested but blogging means you need to have the time to sit at the computer frequently. I can only do that when I am working on some volunteer work at home.

    Personally, I love reading political comment and ideas which become discussion points with OH and friends who don’t want to bother to read anything on a computer (retirement age, of course). I thank my lucky stars for sites like yours, PB, LP, Piping Shrike, Political Sword, New Matilda, and many others. The observations and comment offsets the mindlessly ‘follow the leader’ comments of the MSM.

    I have been a contributor to crikey for a number of years and I look forward to it everyday no matter whether I agree with the comment or not.

    My daughter and daughtersinlaw just do not have any time in their busy working/home lives to indulge in the way I do. But they are very, very politically astute.

  • 14
    Jason Wilson
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    @Anna – then we agree! Great.

  • 15
    JaneShaw
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    There appears to be many politically astute and well informed women (as above) around, most of us reading Crikey through other’s subscriptions (sorry)? So is the problem not that women are not reading about politics, it’s that they’re not writing about it?

    Reasons: Blokey environment? Women being less assertive and therefore less likely to throw their opinion out to strangers and expect it to matter? Lack of time and convenient space fro discussion?

    Crikey, is this something that someone with the space and resources can address? Could YOU create a female-focused political blog and encourage women to join political debate? Seems to me you’d be the perfect venue for it. I’d be there with all my bells and right wing opinions on!

  • 16
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Maybe Double X could be a model that could be of interest to Crikey.

    http://www.doublex.com

  • 17
    fredex
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Some good points made above by several persons including Anna, Jason, daiskmeliadorn
    just to name a few.
    My wife [pardon the possessive] is extremely active politically, as are the couple of hundred women that she communicates with on a regular basis about a whole series of topics and issues most days.
    Most of these issues receive minimal if any attention from media and politicians, it was noteworthy that several major issues that have direct ramifications for women were pointedly ignored during the last election by all parties and just about invisible in the media.
    When these issues [and I'm trying not use the confining and narrow phrase 'women's issues'] do poke their noses up in the public arena the mass of ignorance and what is euphemistically called ‘snark’ is incredible in its mind blowing vaccuuous.
    I have seen discussion at a couple of women’s political blogs as to whether it was actually worth the effort to go over to LP and engage in what was seen [rightly in my opinion] as generally pointless argy bargy point scoring based mainly on ignorance and a limited world view.
    A lot of political energy goes into combating myths and fallacies at the points where they originate and/or are promulagated.
    Why bother to enter into a pointless slangfest on a blog site, like this one or any other of the many I frequent, when aggression and ignorance is all too common?
    Having to constantly re-invent the political wheel in discussions is boring and timewasting.
    I have seen on women’s political blogs reference to males playing ‘bingo’, that is resorting to tiresome myths and oneliners that go nowhere, covering some or all the usual snarky comebacks, ‘get a life/ you’re ugly/no sense of humour’.
    Its boring, most, actually all of the hundreds of politically aware and active women I know, are too busy at actually doing politics to worry about such mindless trivia.

    If the so-called political blogs want to include women more they need to lift their eyes and widen their concept of what constitutes politics.

    Not having a go at this site specifically or even you Possum, but there is in fact a very lively political conversation going on between women in Oz, its just that most males are not aware of it.

  • 18
    Anna Winter
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I don’t agree that a Double X style “women’s blog” would be in any way a useful response to the lack of women participating in the blogs we have now.

    Women are blogging about politics in very high numbers now, it’s just that they are being ignored or not counted as “political”. A new women’s blog won’t stop that, it will only help reinforce the reasons many women don’t feel welcome in the more male-dominated commenting spaces if a new space is created just for them; and I doubt it will bring in any of the blokes who’ve been ignoring the huge number of female bloggers who already exist.

    My feeling is that the number one reason women either stay away from the hard politics blogs or don’t identify as women on them is the sexism that they frequently encounter, whether from unfair and irrelevant comments about their appearance, their “shrill” and “angry” tone, and the dismissal of women’s experience, to the more apparently benign but still as frustrating sense that women are “above” that sort of thing that makes them feel judged as being unwomanly if they appear to enjoy it.

    The women aren’t missing from the political blogosphere. If there are men here who are noticing their absence from wherever you are, then perhaps the more relevant question is why they are avoiding you and the places you go.

  • 19
    polyquats
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    OK, as a woman reader, I just checked out the blogs on your mini blog roll.

    Jane. I don’t need all that anger. How do you live with it?
    daiskmeliadorn. I’d add you as a friend on LJ, but I’ll probably forget who you are by next time you post. Thought I was slack.
    Hexepletive. I had to barge my way through the uni’s filter to get to your site, but have taken a RSS feed. Going to check out your articles on Feministe later. Love the pouch.
    BNE. No facility on your site to grab a feed? There is a widget for RSS feeds in WordPress.

    As for comments. It can be tough, especially on sites like PB. The first time I commented I had to go away and lick my wounds for a while before I ventured back. But there are lots of good comments on PB, including from female participants, and you learn to skip the garbage.

  • 20
    Nick Casmirri
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    This is really curious, worthy of some in-depth research.

    On the specific topic of psephology it’s certainly my observation as well that, for some reason, it seems to be almost exclusively men who are interested. Whilst I know more women, online and offline, with much deeper interests in politics, and particularly policy issues, than men, the only people I know who seem to have any real interest in ‘electoral nerdery’, and understanding how voters behave, are all men. Why should this be so?

    Maybe psephological nerds share a defective gene that’s only carried on the Y chromosome? :-)

  • 21
    Kersebleptes
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Anna Winter,

    ‘Tis not our fault!
    Mind you, I suppose after a couple of twisted ankles & smashed elbows, courtesy of slipping in one of the pools of discarded testosterone & warpaint lying about the blogosphere, some might consider taking their attention elsewhere…

  • 22
    Justin-Paul Sammons
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Hi Possum,

    May I suggest you use the terms ‘woman’ and ‘women’ instead of ‘female’ and ‘females’? The latter is awkward and overly scientific to say the least – i.e. “according to my observations, the female of the species does not engage in much political blogging”.

    It also places the emphasis on gender in a way that men become the default. Compare the following:

    “I can’t think of many political blogs written by women.”
    “I can’t think of many female political bloggers.”

    It’s like when people say “male nurse”. The assumption is that nurses are/should be women. Hence, referring to ‘female’ political bloggers is setting it up to look like political bloggers are/should be men by definition.

  • 23
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Anna went:

    My feeling is that the number one reason women either stay away from the hard politics blogs or don’t identify as women on them is the sexism that they frequently encounter, whether from unfair and irrelevant comments about their appearance, their “shrill” and “angry” tone, and the dismissal of women’s experience,

    What’s interesting with that, is that both here and Pollbludger that stuff either doesn’t exist at all in comments or gets idiotbinned ASAP when it does pop up. So even though it’s true and can be seen readily at particular places, even where that doesn’t occur, or at least at a far reduced level, the result in terms of gender balance remains the same.

    Having just had a squiz through the archives, what’s also worth mentioning is that during the election campaign in 2007, especially the last week, the ratio of male to female comments changed fairly dramatically here (or rather at the old wordpress blog), in some threads reaching parity.

    Polyquats,

    Just wondering, was the licking of wounds because of outright sexism or just the general argy bargy that is given to all and sundry?

    Justin – sorry, habit! It’s pretty funny when you put it like that.

    I’ve always had delusions of David Attenborough grandeur.

  • 24
    Anna Winter
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Justin – I always see it the other way. “Woman blogger” is just ugly language, just like “man blogger” would be. Or “man nurse”.

  • 25
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Pollbludger is a pretty terrible blog for new people, or even experienced people who only want to dip into the conversation briefly, to engage with, at least in the comments (the posts themselves are great). It’s a small group of people who comment a LOT. I usually only comment on a specific thread on a narrow issue where the comment numbers are manageable.

    My feeling is that the number one reason women either stay away from the hard politics blogs or don’t identify as women on them is the sexism that they frequently encounter, whether from unfair and irrelevant comments about their appearance, their “shrill” and “angry” tone, and the dismissal of women’s experience,

    I don’t know what a ‘hard politics’ blog is, but none of the blogs I’m thinking of can be fairly characterised that way. I’ve never even seen anything like that here or on my blog. Maybe some of that is on Pollbludger, but Pollbludger’s comments threads have much bigger problems for new people than that.

  • 26
    jen
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Hi ya Possum -
    re bloggers- Catrina at Politics101 by far produces the most blogs there. The rest of us have the odd go but she takes most of the responsibility for it. My own experience has been that being in the minoroty can be fun at times, but can also make one an obvious target. I haven’t found overt sexism (apart from one creepy cyberstalker -type bvt I was well protected by the other bloggers). Personally I found rather that some of the more attacking stuff can be hard to take, and I wonder whether for lurking women that could be offputting. I know it took me a long time to get the courage to hit the Submit button when I first started reading PollBludger but for the most part it was a hoot (till sadly, there was a parting of the ways for some of us – no need to reahash all that though..) . Some of my hesitation was that my interest in politcs is issue-focused rather than statistical analysis and that was the main focus of most of the blogs I came across so I just felt too ignorant to participate. However I learnt a bit along the way and for the most part my lack of knowledge was tolerated and I got lots of helpful explanations whenever i asked.
    So, glad your blog is going so well. Still can’t read the graphs though :wink:
    Cheers, Jen

  • 27
    Fulvio Sammut
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Possum, just a few thoughts.

    Most posters use pen names, and net addresses do not reveal the sex of the poster.

    Many posters do not reveal their sex when posting.

    Many home internet accounts, especially amongst the older community, are opened in the husband’s/male partners name.

    My assumption is that a significant proportion of political posters are over 50.

    Could it be therefore that in many cases what you assume is a male poster from the male name of the account owner, is in fact a woman?

    I know this would not likely disprove that most posters are male, but surely it would affect the percentages?

  • 28
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    For those following through the comments RSS, Larvatus Prodeo has a related thread going, as has Hoyden.

  • 29
    Nick Casmirri
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    I just don’t even bother reading the comments threads on PB unless it’s one of the more specialist topic threads that gets less comments. Just too many comments to keep up with – by the time I decide I want to post something, there’s another 10 comments to read – so about two years ago I just decided not to bother and just stick to reading the posts. I can’t believe that some of the regular commenters actually hold down day jobs and have lives away from their computers!

  • 30
    jen
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    OOps – meant “most posts” not “most blogs”…. whatever :roll:

  • 31
    confessions
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Possum: apparently Margo Kingston’s webdiary is still going – there is a link from someone at PB today (can’t be bothered scrolling thru 100s of comments to find it tho).

  • 32
    daiskmeliadorn
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Re-commenting a brilliant suggestion from Anna at Hoyden About Town that there’s a whole down under feminist carnival you could check out, for starters…

  • 33
    jen
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    poss- Pimpin for Freedom is a boy blogger

  • 34
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Is it Jen?

    The person who sent me that email is now officially in trouble! :-D

  • 35
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Actually, it seems not – female blogger it is then.

  • 36
    polyquats
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Poss, It was argy bargy that was a bit personal and OTT. Around election time, when passions were a bit heated.

  • 37
    jen
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    re 34
    ” I am a young libertarian Aussie male.” in the About Me bit.
    sorry if I got it wrong but that’s why

  • 38
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Apparently it’s a joke Jen. The author over on the LP comments thread said so anyway – who am I to argue!

  • 39
    hobjobbles mum
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    How are the numbers on housework by gender going? Are we near parity yet?

    Since blogging is something people mostly do in their spare time, that could have something to do with it.

    Also, the community thing that makes some blogs hum can be off putting. Commenting sometimes feels like butting in.

    When the majority of that community are men, or seem to be men, it’s a bit like trying to get into conversation with blokes standing around a barbecue. They might humour you, but they’re never going to let you turn the sausages.

  • 40
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Not a day goes past without my blogs/comments appearing in Crikey. Ditto Huff Post, New York Times, Times on Line, Washington Post, et al. Politics happens to be the only subject-well almost the only subject I rabbit on about, with the exception of First Dog who is political anyway.
    I’m not terribly conversant with graphs. But if you doubt my input please look at Guy Rundle’s article ‘Inglorious Basterd Scheungraber Captured. Hooray?’ Wed 12 Aug 09.
    You may not care for my comments, but no one has ever doubted my sexuality! Olé. :)
    NICK CASMIRRI How dare you sir! Psephology for me is right up there with sex, sin and sapphires.

  • 41
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    How are the numbers on housework by gender going?

    Very poorly in my household, as I’m so often and deservingly reminded!

  • 42
    Nick Casmirri
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    #41
    I’m well aware that there are plenty of women out there with an interest in psephology, but it is a simple general observation that there does seem to be relatively few compared with men. In my specific personal observation I was referring to people I know personally, and sure, I’m from the country, so I get to meet less people, but it is still strange.

  • 43
    madeinaustralia
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    was i Just censored by crikey???Geez….

    (No, you were deleted by me because your post was idiotic – Poss)

  • 44
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Dear Poss: Someone suggested-I know who but don’t wish to be offensive-that you/Crikey create a female-focused political blog. I would deem this to be a retrograde step because I’ve never felt comfortable with the idea that women, as a group, deserve a special niche to themselves. In a previous incarnation, as a photographer, I wouldn’t engage in a group showing of ‘female’ photographers’; but was more than happy to be included in a group of photographers. (As well as my own solo exhibitions)
    This whole ethos of imagining that because women are a different sex to men they should be cossetted by making a special group is, I believe, shameless ‘lookatmeI’mawomanandaren’tIclever-ism’. It tends to end up with editors appearing to be bending over backwards to be politically correct. The gesture of allowing this becomes, in my opinion, an exercise in tokenism. Perhaps it was not intended to be so but never-the-less it is so. Also it furthers the idea that women have special insights and it re-enforces the idea of separateness.
    We all, irrespective of our sex, have a ‘unique’ insight and if it’s a valid and/or interesting insight it will be a fine piece of commentary as it stands, not because it was, or was not written by a woman.
    Here I am not suggesting that men should be confined to not writing about the problems of being a housewife, or that women should be confined to not writing about male midlife paranormal behaviour per se. However, frequently this is the result. with the unhappy result of an article or book or movie looking like tokenism.
    In the area of movies women have become writers, producers, directors, photographers without demanding special attention because of their sex. Why not in political commentary? As for the suggestion that women have too many tasks as it is without tackling politics, horseshit! If something is needed badly enough, it’s do-able. Look at Julia Gillard!
    If any woman reading this should feel I’m anti-women they would have to have rocks in their heads. Men have, throughout history competed against each other. Why should women eschew playing by the same rules?

  • 45
    jen
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    I agree Venise A – I don’t want a special girlie-blog site, I am equally ok with the idea that women will disagree with each other as much as they will with men. I suspect it is the manner in which that happens thatmay differ at times. While most of my male blogging friends are delightfully polite and extremely entertaining, I have also encountered some extremely umpleasant ones, and that has not been the case with women (although statistically they are in way way fewer numbers).

  • 46
    marktwain
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s because of bullying, plain and simple.

  • 47
    jen
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    agreed marktwain.

  • 48
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Ms Twain, I was hoping you’d pop by!

    On the comments side of things, any chance you could expand on that?

    Rephrasing what I asked over at LP, we have Laura Tingle, Michelle Grattan, Lenore Taylor, Karen Middleton, Ashleigh Gillon, Annabel Crabb, Adele Ferguson, Janet Albrechtsen, Caroline Overington, etc as well as a bucketful more men in major media publications that focus on the legislative and ultimately electoral side of politics. Yet in the Australian political blogosphere we seem to get a much smaller ratio of female bloggers that look at the same tight set of issues. Any thoughts on why – on the actual blogging side of things – that’s the case?

  • 49
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Way back yonder Ben went:

    I have a lot of female friends interested in politics, but the people who are particularly interested in psephology and elections outside a specific policy context are almost all male.

    What’s interesting on the stats side of this where the blog becomes a bit gritty, is that the reader and regular commenter I couldn’t do without here when it comes to grinding through and tweaking some new methodology, is female – Caf

    Yet, I’ve experienced the same thing as you have on the pure psephology side – nearly all male.

    But on the Pollster side, it starts to get a bit different – same with the stats side with the ABS and university depts.

3 Trackbacks

  1. ...] Blokes at Crikey are wondering why they don’t have more female subscribers, and “Where are Australia’s female political bloggers?” [...

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