Putting a female face on blogging

According to Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail, only men blog.

Blogging, Wente says, is just a way to blow off steam, something men do more than women. Women like to give their opinions, she notes, but they don’t feel they have to do it for all the world to see on the Internet. Men have to give their opinions instantly, while women tend to think about something before just spewing it out (so then, I guess all Twitter  users are male too?).

Well then, I guess my secret is out thanks to Margaret Wente — I must be a man! (Just don’t tell my boyfriend, that fact may surprise him a little bit).

To be serious though, I completely disagree with Ms. Wente. And not just because I blog, or because many of my friends blog (see my blogroll below) but because in this article, Ms. Wente is basically arguing about the type of women we are.

She’s not saying some women don’t blog because “women tend to be more restrained and less concerned with public displays of prowess. We are just as interested in listening as in talking, and more interested in relationships than scoring points. We also tend to lack the public confidence that comes so easily to many men” — she’s saying ALL women don’t blog because of this.

If I understand Ms. Wente correctly, because I blog I am not that type of woman, but instead I am more male. I must fit in with an “urge to blog (which) is closely related to the sex-linked compulsion known as male answer syndrome. MAS is the reason why guys shoot up their hands first in math class. MAS also explains why men are so quick to have opinions on subjects they know little or nothing about.”

I can’t speak for all blogs. There are some that are ridiculous that do spew about nothing. I don’t read those. I read intelligent blogs, ones that make me think, make me laugh and even, sometimes, make me cry.

I don’t know where Ms. Wente has been for the last five or 10 years, but blogs are mainstream now. Everyone is doing it. Not everyone is doing it well, but that’s the Internet for you. I put thought into my posts. I don’t post about anything and everything just to get hits, I think about what I want to write about before I write about it.

And while many of the posts here express an opinion, I do try to think about what I am writing before it just goes online. Last month, I didn’t immediately judge Adam Giambrone for his alleged affairs. Similarly, with this post, I am not simply saying “Margaret Wente is an idiot” (as she suggests we can do to get instant gratification), I am instead trying to explain why I feel her opinion is wrong.

I would have no problem with Ms. Wente’s piece if she said she didn’t blog because she is not the type of person who would blog. That to me makes sense. But to brush an entire sex a certain way, just rubs me the wrong way.

I know the Internet is full of immature content, and that’s fine. I don’t pay attention to that. One could also argue that “real” newspapers are full of idiotic content too. For example, in Toronto there’s a hierarchal way that people look at the four papers in this city, and Ms. Wente is lucky to work at one that is usually near the top of that totem pole.

I want to make it clear why I blog — I don’t blog because I’m more female or male, or because I need to get an opinion out every 20 minutes. I blog because I’m a writer — it’s what I do, it’s who I am — I blog to fulfill that need. And to me that is something that transcends my sex.

  • Guy

    Here are my opinions, dammit:

    1. Wente appears to be using a very narrow definition of “blog.” Sounds like she’s referring almost exclusively to those that are political or issue-oriented in a narrow way.

    2. Even though she consulted her 24-year-old friend, it sounds like there is a generational divide in her belief.

    3. Let me too make a sweeping generalization: Women blog to start a conversation (with stories and opinions); men blog to end one (Man: “I have read a bunch of things on this issue [or not] and here is my take, which should put a cap on this for everyone.”).

    4. There is one grain of truth in Wente’s argument: I would bet cash money that men comment on blog posts way more than women.

    5. Wente needs to read her some Dooce. http://www.dooce.com/archives

    • Sarah Millar

      I totally thought of Heather Armstrong when I read Wente’s piece too. And I love when you get all fired up Guy.

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