Blogger Smackdown and Gender
I read this a couple of days ago on Jennibee and it really stuck with me. I offer it up now because I think it says a lot about why so many male bloggers are trying to punch out the only super-successful female blogger Wonkette, and why many women (myself included) have a hard time seeing it as anything other than blatant sexism:
Offering opinions is a competitive activity. It isn’t enough to write up an opinion piece; you have to systematically destroy your opponent in order to really be an interesting blogger. First you have to find an opponent, of course. AmericaBlog has Little Green Footballs. Eschaton has Instapundit. Altercation has Jarvis. And who can forget the Juan Cole / Jonah Goldberg smackdown? Most of them don’t know who their True Opponent is – in fact, they actually get noticed and linked to long before they find an opponent of an appropriate stature, but sometimes I suppose ante hoc ergo prompter hoc, if you’ll forgive my latin. Those men are real political bloggers by virtue of being willing to engage in competitive shouting matches, whether they actually have yet or not, because exchanges like that are what make a political opinion blog. They write back and forth, basically high-level trolling each other, cutting and sniping and everybody claims with every post that they’ve absolutely proved that they’re right, and then they write about how embarrassed they are for their opponents because the other guy is so stupid that he just persists in being wrong. And these comments go both ways, with nobody ever conceding any point, no matter how minute. That’s competitive. If women blogged at eah other across the political divide, we’d be writing cooperatively, trying to establish dialogue and better understanding of each other’s positions, in an effort to build mutual respect and bonhomie.
I am particularly intrigued by her deconstruction of the right/left jousting of equals that male bloggers seem to gravitate to. I always read them and I think, why do they irritate themselves by reading each other if it bugs them so much? It always seemed more to the point to write about the issues themselves, rather than get waylaid by the personalities involved in who said what. Never occured to me that it was a gender specific thing, but now that she mentions it…