Are men better bloggers than women?
“Why are bloggers male?” Margaret Wente wonders in the Globe and Mail.
“People often ask me why I don’t start a blog,” she confesses. “The answer is pretty much the same as why I don’t get a souped-up snowmobile and drive it straight up a mountain at 120 kilometres an hour into a well-known avalanche zone. It’s more of a guy thing.”
Well, what the hell am I doing blogging then?
According to Wente, blogging is the intellectual version of competing mano-a-mano or chasing an adrenaline rush, which, she says, are the province of men. Writing a post that prompts a slew of outraged comments, starting a storm of political debate in the blogosphere teapot, the public assertion of one’s personal opinions — these are that at which men who sit in front of computers excel.
But what of lady bloggers? Blogging goes against their nature, Wente asserts. “Not many women are interested enough in spitting out an opinion on current events every 20 minutes.” Blogging is little more than a glorified pissing contest, she says, and women don’t do well at competitive pissing. In fact, the fairer sex is better at listening than shouting, more invested in “relationships” than fighting. Ergo, women suck at blogging.
I wish someone had told me this eight years ago, when I started blogging, because then I never would have started.
The thing is that Wente, who likely sent the bulk of the women’s blogosphere into a series of seizures with her politically incorrect proclamation, is to some degree right. By and large, successful male bloggers are masters of their niche or churn out op-ed content like there’s no tomorrow (see: Andrew Sullivan), whereas most successful female bloggers are masters of their niche (see: Dooce) or blog like men.
I should know. I’m a woman who, more often than not, blogs like a man. Sure, I’ve sometimes been known to tread into the dreaded territory of “feelings” and “relationships,” posts I often regret having posted. I’m far more comfortable weighing in on topics and in ways I venture Wente would deem more “male”: current events, heated debates, racy subjects. I blog like a man.
For the most part, I’ve found, women bloggers fall into three categories: “mommybloggers,” “ladybloggers,” and “women who blog like men.” The first category includes those who have made careers out of writing about the perils of raising a family, being married, and getting stuff off the kitchen floor. The second category includes the group of blogs that self-describe as “feminist” and which seem to have decided that blogging about purportedly widespread sexism and instances of misogyny in our pop culture a neo-feminist movement makes (NB: it doesn’t). The third category includes those few women who blog about politics, technology, and other more “male” topics with a scathing wit and piercing gaze that put their male blogger rivals to shame.
What the blogosphere needs is fewer Martha Stewarts and more Danica Patricks, more real debate and less positing women as the victims of a patriarchal society gone bloggy-wild, more men that blog like women and more women who blog like men.