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Invisible Again

646980-lg.jpgI can see that this is only going to get worse, with people like Bonnie Erbe trying to promote themselves as MSM “concern trolls” while clubbing the very female bloggers they purport to be supporting over the head.

Thanks so much, Bonnie. Next time let’s just not and say we did, okay?

Reader Lauren forwarded me this:

MEDIA APPEARANCE: WIMN’s Jennifer L. Pozner on PBS’s “To The Contrary with
Bonnie Erbe” this weekend (check your local listings for airtimes)

Jennifer L. Pozner, Executive Director of Women In Media & News, will be
appearing this weekend on “To The Contrary with Bonnie Erbe,” PBS’s women’s
news and public affairs debate show. Topics covered on the half hour program
will include:

– in light of the overwhelmingly white and male participation at YearlyKos,
the recent convention of progressive bloggers, is the blogosphere
replicating the old boys club as a new boys network online?

– new census data shows that people of color are the majority in one out of
ten U.S. districts, and anti-immigration sentiment is rearing its head in
many regions…

– women are 75% of “sandwich caregivers” (providing health, mental health
and day to day care for both children and the eldery simultaneously) and the
financial, medical and emotional toll it takes is extreme…

Guests will include:
1. Jennifer L. Pozner, Women In Media & News

2. Conservative commentator Tara Setmayer

3. US News and World Report’s Dr. Bernadine Healy

4. Former National Women’s Political Caucus chair Irene Natividad

What do I look like, a friggin’ lab rat who needs someone to speak for me? Some special needs child whose hand needs to be held gently while Those Who Know Better patiently explain what my world is like? I don’t know how you have a media panel on women in the blogosphere with no actual woman bloggers, and yet they do.

I think Adele Stan has a much better handle on where the sexism that women in the blogosphere face is coming from:

The problem stems from the fact that power begets power that resembles itself. White, male bloggers receive institutional support in ways that non-whites and women do not, be it in the form of funding, linking, quoting or bookings on political talk shows. The moment that the middle-aged white men who hold the power and the purse strings of progressive politics decide it’s a priority to see the movement’s values reflected in the attributes of its anointed messengers, the problem will cease to exist.

Thanks so much, Bonnie, for being part of the problem. People who live in glass houses should fuck in the basement. (And BTW, it’s not an “us against them” situation. There aren’t nearly enough bloggers on TV period, male or female, especially when compared to the ubiquity of the “very serious people” who brought you the War in Iraq. It was great to see Markos on MTP this morning.)

The sexism that makes it more difficult for women to keep a blog going does not come from Markos or Duncan or Stoller or other “big boys” of the blogosphere that these analysts are too ignorant to name (but do so by implication). It was Jose Vargas in his Washington Post article who called FDL “a blog about women’s issues,” which just may be the most patronizing thing aimed at us in this particular discussion. And Vargas is actually someone who is trying to understand what’s going on. He (and others) are being fed a bunch of junk by people who aren’t bloggers and should really take a look at what their own organizations are doing to promote women in the blogosphere before firing arrows into our backs.

Is your organization taking out advertising on women’s blogs? Because the sexism we face from the Blogads organization is the worst I’ve encountered in my life and probably the biggest single challenge to keeping this blog going. Are you honoring women bloggers, promoting their blogs to your membership? Are you thinking twice about clubbing the only messaging machine that the left has by feeding into this kind of destructive, patronizing bullshit? Do you really know what it’s like to run a blog and post every day as your job, and if you don’t, do you think you might ought to defer on the subject to somebody who does rather than running your mouth about something you obviously don’t know much about? And through your insinuations, are you slyly suggesting that we built this blog not on merit but via “something else?” (Wink-wink nudge-nudge know what I mean, hey Amato, BTW man, you were great).

Garance Franke-Ruta writes about a primary example of the “institutional bias” towards men that makes it more difficult for women to keep the doors open (and yet somehow we do). When Barak Obama had a one-on-one with bloggers at Yearly Kos, there were 20-25 people attending and only one — Ali Savino, who I like a great deal and who is really smart but not a blogger — was a woman. (Note: I spoke with Arianna, who said that a woman from the Huffington Post was also in attendance.) [Update: Garance now says there was only one woman there, from the Huffington Post, and another attendee puts the count more reliably at 10-12.] Now I don’t think for a minute that the Obama people sat down and said “let’s not invite any women.” What they were obviously going for, based on Garance’s information, were wonky, “serious” bloggers like Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein. Which is fine, they can invite whoever they want, but the fact that this group was almost exclusively men is more reflective of the fact that those “serious” institutions are comprised mostly of men. And those people do get support in a way that we women in the blogosphere absolutely do not. Much like advertisers who think we’re not “serious,” the organizations that support, promote and sustain men — which are completely external to the blogosphere — are a much bigger problem than Duncan or Markos’s linking habits.

Until someone shows me proof that “men link only to men” in the liberal blogoshere, all I have to go by is our Technorati ranking (total number of links), which says we have more links than Atrios or AmericaBlog where the traffic is often higher. We’re at 195. Digby is at 387, much higher relative to her traffic than many male bloggers. Arianna’s is, of course, is the most linked blog in the political blogosphere, left or right, at #5 on Technorati. Believe me, when your advertising revenues are dependent on what that traffic is, you’re pretty cognizant of who is and isn’t linking to you, and when we discuss things amongst ourselves the whole “boys don’t link to me” is not where the problem is coming from.

I contacted Ellen Goodman of the Boston Globe and asked her for information on who generated the vague statistics she quoted in her article, but so far have not had any success at tracking this study down. You would think it was inscribed in tablets of stone though the way this crap is being pimped throughout the MSM.

Next time, ask a woman who actually blogs, okay?

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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