Thursday, March 11, 2004

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Blogs, politics, and gender

Henry Farrell argues that during the current campaign season, blogs will funnel more money to Democrats than Republicans. His reasoning:

Regardless of whether the blogosphere tilts left or tilts right (your guess is as good as mine), the most-read blogs on the liberal-left side of the spectrum are much more closely aligned with the Democratic party apparatus than the blogs on the right are with the Republican machine. They also have the precedent of MoveOn, and of the Dean movement to build on. Rightbloggers, even the ones who support the administration, tend to self-identify as libertarians rather than Republicans, and maintain a little distance from the formal aspects of the Republican party.

Meanwhile, the political part blogosphere apparently does share one common trait -- gender. Brian Montopoli at CJR's Campaign Desk writes:

Women are responsible for as little as four percent of political blogs -- "sites devoted to politics, current events, foreign policy, and various ongoing wars" -- according to the National Institute for Technology and Liberal Education (NITLE).

When it comes to politics and campaign commentary, in other words, the blogosphere looks a little like your high school chess club: Even though everyone's invited to join, you could be forgiven for thinking that someone posted a "No Girls Allowed" sign on the classroom door.

Just for the record, I was not part of the chess club when I was in high school -- my captaincy of the math team took up far too much of my time.

More seriously, Montopoli seems to go a bit off the rails at the end:

If you accept the premise of the blogosphere as a true meritocracy, a place where our intellectual (and emotional) impulses can flourish unchecked, then you're buying into the concept of the blog world as a window into human nature. If that's the case, the blogosphere -- with perhaps just four percent female participation in poliblogs -- shows us that while women are just as interested as men in spouting off, they're fundamentally less interested than men in spouting off about politics.

But if the blogosphere comes freighted with the same cultural considerations and institutional biases that weigh down the rest of the world, then blogs offer us no more window into our natural inclinations than the mainstream media -- and the blogosphere's claim to be the great equalizer is nothing more than the emperor's newest clothes.

(link via here).

A follow-up question -- what about the readers of political blogs? Do they skew disproportionately male as well? That seems to be the (unfortunate) case among my commenters. [Maybe that's because they don't like posts like this one?--ed. I'll grant that as a possibility -- but I have yet to receive a single complaint on that front.]

Let me know what you think.

UPDATE: Megan McArdle, Amanda Butler, and Laura at Apt. 11D weigh in on the gender question.

posted by Dan on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM


Here in Asia everyone seems to be equally well-connected, if not more, and is especially true of ex-pats. Here is one short forum noting who is reading/writing and bothering to post—in English. [ ] Given the volume of folks, mainly kids, in the e-cafes (50-50) I’d say there must be plenty of competition among blogs to get their attention.

posted by: Michael on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

But commentors are just one step away from those that publish blogs, so it's unlikely that there will be a large difference in demographic between commentors and bloggers.
Blogs offer equality of opportunity, which is good enough IMHO.

posted by: Factory on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

“Rightbloggers, even the ones who support the administration, tend to self-identify as libertarians rather than Republicans, and maintain a little distance from the formal aspects of the Republican party.”

This is definitely true in my own case. Moreover, I often look upon the Bush administration as the lesser of evils. People of a conservative temperament shun utopian visions. We realize that our leaders are imperfect individuals. Political parties often serve as unquestioning fan clubs. I simply do not feel comfortable in such an environment.

posted by: David Thomson on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Dan,I think more males are interested in the political blogosphere, but politics is a form of war which would attract males more than females. Biological programming! Having said that, I'm interested as to why anyone would think females should be as equally interested in political blogs as males are. The blogosphere in general and the political blogosphere in particular is purely self selected, not mandated, not required. People read on the internet what they WANT to read and that's as it should be. Wow, I sound a little libertarian don't I? Thinking that women ought to be equally represented as a readership is PC elitism at it's worst. Sigh, PC has invaded the blogosphere. It had to happen I guess.

posted by: GMRoper on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

In the blogosphere, however, unless someone makes an explicit point of their gender, you don't know what it is... and I have noticed that unless someone explicitly states she's female, other bloggers/readers tend to assume male as default.

Come to that, even when someone does make an explicit point of their gender, you have no idea if they're telling the truth or not unless you meet them in real life.

posted by: Jesurgislac on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

As much I would like to claim that the blogosphere greater alignment with Democrats than Republicans is due to the greater intellectual vigor in Democratic policy, I don't think that is what we are seeing. Nor do I think it is because the GOP has no need for grassroots money because they get all they can spend at $2000 a plate fundraisers for energy company executives.

Rather blogs are a way for people to vent and complain. It is much easier to vent and complain when you are out of power than in power. The rise of blogs has just happenend to coincide with GOP control of the White House and Congress. If you are a loyal Republican than what are you going to complain about. Meanwhile the Democrats have anger and can direct that towards fund-raising efforts to throw the bums out.

It will be interesting to see if this changes if (or hopefully when) political control of our government changes.

posted by: Rich on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I would love to know how they arrived at that 4% number, quite frankly I suspect they pulled it out of a hat. I've noticed no shortage of female poli-bloggers, though I have noticed a tendency of women to link to and read other female bloggers and men to mostly link to and read other male bloggers. For whatever reason men seem to be particularly bad about assuming that their sphere - those 'blogs they read, link, and trackback to and those that do so to them - are representative of the whole when often that is simply not the case.

I don't imagine the gender breakdown is anything like 50/50, but women only 4%? Sorry, don't buy it.


posted by: Myria on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Farrell notes:

Regardless of whether the blogosphere tilts left or tilts right (your guess is as good as mine), the most-read blogs on the liberal-left side of the spectrum are much more closely aligned with the Democratic party apparatus than the blogs on the right are with the Republican machine.

Well, that's been true in the past, too... any outspoken Democrat is going to be more closely tied to the DNC than will his rightist counterpart. This is simply the product of their political line of thought; Republicans tend to be more independant-miinded, whereas Democrats tend to only thrive in situations where they can be driven by some authority or other. Nature of the beast.

Yet, of late, the Republicans seem to be doing OK in the Funding Dept...(Consider: Despite the worst efforts of Soros and company, and China, and Iran, you hear of the DNC in financial trouble almost as a matter of routine... when's the last time you heard anything of the like for Republicans?)

As for the suppsed Blogging Gender Wall, I have my doubts as regards the numbers presented. I look at my own blogroll,and I see Greatest Jeneration, Dizy Girl, Right We Are, and a few others, and wonder if the only places whey were looking is on the left. Aside from Wonkette, where are the female bloggers on the left?

As to Montopoli's rant, this is just so much PC.
The fact is that computers as a hobby have to the largest degree been a male dominated thing; BBS's were much the same a few years back. (I ran a GT net BBS for years, and a C=64 based board before that.)

These days, like the BBS's, most blogs, my own included, are set up as a hobby. This is not due to any sexism on the part of the males within blogging, or on the part of the readership, for that matter. It's simply an extension of who spends their time in front of these whirring blinking boxes.

As such I find the implication of sexism questionable at best, exemplifying a lack of understanding of what's what both currently and historically in the hhobby... It sounds good on paper, it sells newspapers and it puts food in the author's table... but in truth, as with many technical issues, they don't know what they're talking about.

And, I wonder, too, if the conclusions Montopoli seems to be coming to aren't arrived at because it seems to fit in with his own political view of the world. Seems to me that he operates from ignorance, here, and because it fits with his worldview, he doesn't question it.

posted by: Bithead on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

"The most-read blogs on the liberal-left side of the spectrum are much more closely aligned with the Democratic party apparatus than the blogs on the right are with the Republican machine."

I agree. The leftist blogs are hackish arms of the Dems (see Atrios, Marshall, CalPundit, and Yglesias). The rightish blog, on the other hand, are more about ideas and arguments than promoting party (see Drezner, Reynolds, Volokh, and Den Beste).

What does this tell us about the right and left?

posted by: Kerf on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

There we have it--8 comments, one by an "obvious" woman. That's about par for Drezner's blog (which, Dan, we know I LOVE).

Question 1: Do women have less interest in the sport/battle of politics than men? For the most part, yes. Semi-freaks like me, political junkies, come to blogs like this SPECIFICALLY because my girlfriends have minimal interest in topical discussions (though they all read "serious" papers on a near-daily basis--you gotta have standards, right?). My husband works hard and can't be relied upon to listen to a harangue about something I just read in the BLOGOSPHERE--I gotta vent somewhere. Thank God for blogs with comments.

Question 2: Why don't more women get their own blogs? In my case the answer is two-part, fear and laziness. Not so much fear as anxiety--I don't want a lot of wierdos knowing my email and sending me hatemail. I respect women like Michelle at Small Victory, but I don't want to be her. I think guys are better at not letting attacks (political or personal) get to them. I would brood. Ick. The laziness thing can also be defined as overcommitment--there are things like childcare, housework, jobs, cooking, working out to interfere with the keeping of a really good blog. I can't keep my bathtub clean as it is.

As for nicknames and not knowing someone's gender: what woman would pick a webname like Jesurgiclac or Bithead? I have a hard time believing that even the butchest of us would go there. But then, "Dave Thomson" is just innocuous enough to be a covername...

posted by: Kelli on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I've just read three folks upthread claim that they are, in so many words "independent free thinkiers of the right" while people on the left are "mindless hacks of the democratic party".

Talk about buying into your own fantasy! :)

PS sorry , time for my next thought control session!

posted by: TexasToast on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I would agree with Farrel that the blogs of the left are more aligned with the Democratic Party than the right blogs are towards any party. Kerf points out the obvious. A lot of left blogs draw their talking points directly from the newsletters of the politically linked left. Now they may argue otherwise, but suppose we did a study comparing say Atrios' posts/DNC Newsletter and Instapundit/RNC newsletter. Which blog would you guess is more intertwined?

The fact of the matter is many independents vote Republican because they are fiscal conservatives. Independents that lean left, are left and want nothing to do with anything else are unlikely to vote for Democrats. I'm a registered Republican for the free drinks, but when required to choose between the "R" or the "D" nine times out of ten I'm picking the "R" because I'm 99.9% sure I don't want the "D".

JMM, Atrios, Yglesias or Calpundit would probably take the same view except exchange my "R" and "D". Furthermore, JMM writes for Washington Monthly, Atrios is anonymous, Calpundit is now a contributor to the New Republic - in other words, besides the mysterious Atrios, they have credentials to gain access, especially JMM.

JMM also had "readers" finance a trip to cover the New Hamphire primary. Are you buying that bullshit that "readers" paid for the trip? I am, however, I think his readers are the same financiers of the 527 ABB alliance. Considering that Atrios refuses to disclose practically anything about himself the accountability of such a character is cause to completely ignore his blog altogether.

posted by: Brennan Stout on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

this stuff about girls and the chess club brought back painful memories of my tenure as president of of my high school chess club. Far from having a "no girls allowed" signed we had a sign, "girls needed! find a mate!". In retrospect a "girls not allowed" sign might have been more successful...

posted by: Morris on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I just did a quick scan of Blog Ad/Sponsors for the blogs of the left. You decide.

These are the ads each site is running. Nearly all going to Democratic hopefuls.

Calpundit: DNC, Joe Hoeffel, Doug Haines, Jeff Smith

Josh Marshal: Stephanie Herseth, Joe Hoeffel(a bunch of times down the page), Atrios, Doug Haines, Brad Carson(a bunch of times down the page)

Atrios: Stephanie Herseth, Doug Haines, John Barrow, Joe Hoeffel

DailyKos: Earl Pomeroy, Doug Haines, John Barrows, Mike Nelson, Joe Hoeffel, Tony Knowles, Joe Donnelly

On the right(my definition)

Sullivan: No ads

Instapundit: John Thune(only Republican ad), Doug Haines

If you have other bloggers on the right I'd be happy to take a look at their ads.

Lastly, if you view some of these candidate's website you will also notice that they suggest you end your donation with a specific total so that the candidate knows where the donations are coming from.

posted by: Brennan Stout on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I think the 4% number is highly suspect. To the extent that 'political blog' means a blog that is concerned with political *issues,* women seem to me to be as well represented as men.

Perhaps 'political blog' in this context means a blog which is primarily concerned with political maneuvering, ie 'inside baseball.' In this case, there probably are more men involved.

But in terms of exerting influence on people's opinions, blogs of the first type probably accomplish much more.

posted by: David Foster on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Well, I suppose one could start with Drudge, but is he a blog, and is he rightist? The leftists would likely claim yes, at least to the latter.

posted by: Bithead on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Brennan Stout suggests an interesting idea. Suppose the leftish blogs greater closeness to the Democrats is due less to the blogs than to the Democrats?

Democratic campaigns, starting with and led by Howard Dean's last year, appear to have made a concerted effort to use the internet as a means of organization and fundraising. Discussion of ideas happens, but as far as the campaigns are concerned it's of secondary importance -- if you work on a campaign you want to win, and anyway candidates' positions on issues are mostly going to be dictated by the relevant interest groups.

Rightish blogs haven't been used by the Bush White House or Republican campaigns generally not because of their philosophical orientation but because the GOP campaign apparatus hasn't had the need to find new ways to raise money. It is also pretty happy with the tactics it is using to get its base to the polls -- tactics, to be fair, that do rely heavily on e-mail, just not on blogs. Finally there is the fact that for about two years the GOP coasted on Bush's high approval ratings (as it did, by the way, after the first Gulf War). Campaign through the blogosphere? What for?

I think you will see the pendulum swing a bit, if not as far as the White House is concerned at least with GOP candidates getting into blog ads and that kind of thing. A great thing about internet fundraising is that unlike the traditional kind it needn't absorb huge amounts of a candidate's personal time, and some GOP candidates will start doing a lot more of it as soon as they figure this out.

posted by: Zathras on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

affirmative action for blogs NOW! Congress should enact legislation to force the blogosphere to be 50% women! ISPs are responsible for seeking more women bloggers and must reserve 50% of their bandwidth for women!!!

posted by: peter on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I hadn't noticed because I stopped reading the left sites running blog ads, but Atrios started last week dedicated Thursday as "Ask for Money" day. Every Thursday he has established a goal of raising $1000 for the Kerry Campaign.

On March 4 alone Atrios says that $20771.28 was raised from 195 donations.
Atrios congratulating himself link

In the comments I'm reading that people are giving $50 here, $100 there and $250. Is this something I worry about? Not on the fundraising side. If Atrios wants to be a Kerry Pioneer that's fine with me, but I don't want to see bloggers turn into internet pandhandlers for political campaigns. Sullivan's approach is reminiscent of the way NPR and PBS raise money. Once a year run your fund raising campaign so that ads don't color your reporting.

We'll see how much Atrios reader raise this Thursday.

posted by: Brennan Stout on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

This is an eye opener. Women must be doing quite well, if they are content to let males dominate the political blog scene. If radical feminists were right about the sad state of women in america, wouldn't women be dominating the blogs to express their discontent? Women under 10% of political bloggers implies that women are fairly content.

posted by: Rene on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Gender and blogging.
The measurable statistic is how many women maintain websites.
Women can post under a variety of names and using a more "masculine" style; they won't be counted.
Who knows how many are reading and not posting?

posted by: scotus on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

“But then, "Dave Thomson" is just innocuous enough to be a covername...”

That’s it, I’ve got to immediately change my name. How does Stanley Kowalski sound? Furthermore, how dare anyone describe me as innocuous. I perhaps should go out and mug an old lady so that my image is protected.

posted by: David Thomson on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

It's not just the political blogosphere that exhibits a dearth of women, it's the world of political journalism--just take a cursory glance at your favorite online political mags (TNR, Slate, NRO, TAP...) and see proportionally how many women are writing about politics and policy. In general political commentary is heavily dominated by men, and many women who write about politics do so in a style that is somewhat self-consciously female (Peggy Noonan, Maureen Dowd.) I would buy the 4% number, if only because male bloggers are better about actually disseminating their work to the world at large. I wonder if it's not a socialized tendency on the part of women to be more reluctant to air their views to mass audiences?

posted by: Girl blogger on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

There is another issue entirely that should be discussed. How many liberal bloggers are discretely funded by George Soros? The singer Moby even encourages lying about President Bush:

“One of Sen. John Kerry's celebrity supporters is ready to pull out all the stops to get him elected. Republicans are shrieking over a suggestion by rocker Moby that Democrats spread gossip about President Bush on the Internet.

"No one's talking about how to keep the other side home on Election Day," Moby tells us. "It's a lot easier than you think and it doesn't cost that much. This election can be won by 200,000 votes."

Moby suggests that it's possible to seed doubt among Bush's far-right supporters on the Web.

"You target his natural constituencies," says the Grammy-nominated techno-wizard. "For example, you can go on all the pro-life chat rooms and say you're an outraged right-wing voter and that you know that George Bush drove an ex-girlfriend to an abortion clinic and paid for her to get an abortion.”

How many bloggers and commentators like myself are for real? Regrettably, this question is going to come up a lot more in the future. I can easily foresee a time when one will be compelled to identify themselves. Are you really “David Thomson” or a funded member of a conspiratorial group?

posted by: David Thomson on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

About the first part of Dan's post: some of you have already commented that the Dems seem more active because the blogosphere seems to have filled a void for them as far as getting like-minded people together and tapping them for moolah. Republicans have these places already (churches, corporate boardrooms, who knows--Masonic Temples and Elks Lodges?) while the Dems, who tend not to be "joiners" do not. My advice to Republicans would be to take a more active interest in the Blogosphere, as it represents a chance to expand beyond the narrow "base" are reach out to swingish-type voters like me :)

On the other hand, shaking the cup in your readers' faces on behalf of a partisan campaign (as opposed to a plea to hit the tip jar, or send money for Iraqi orphans) is a bad idea for independent bloggers because it turns off readers who like your style but don't agree %100 with your politics. I don't read Atrios, and now that I know of him as political shill I never will.

As for the gender thing, I still don't know if this is a problem in search of a solution or just the way women are. I'm leaning toward the latter, frankly. They don't like war, don't like hard-nosed arguments and have a hard time separating the personal from the political. Case in point, a girlfriend the other night told me Bush was too stupid to be president, and anyway she didn't like his family--his daughters didn't seem engaged enough (unlike who? Chelsea? Amy Carter? I was confused). This, apparently, was enough to decide her vote--Laura is a bit chunky and I don't like her shoes, it's settled!

posted by: Kelli on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

“In general, Ys talk to give information or to report. They talk about things -- business, sports, and food -- rather than people. They convey facts, not details. They are goal-oriented. They focus on solving problems and are less likely to ask for help or directions. Ys compete.”

“Xs, on the other hand, talk to get information and to connect or to gain rapport. They talk about people rather than things. They convey feelings and details. They are relationship oriented. They are quicker to ask for and accept help or directions. Xs cooperate.”

Which better describes a blogger?
Which better describes a political blogger?
Which better describes the commentators on this blog?

“One of the key differences is that women tend to articulate the process of their thinking and decision-making. Men go through the same processes, but internally rather than externally. Men usually wait until they have the answer and then announce it. Women usually talk about their internal analysis as they go along. Couples often find this gets in the way of successful communication because men often mistake women's deliberations as the 'final answer', while women think the man is not even considering the issue. This is why men often accuse women of 'changing their mind', while women accuse men of 'not caring'.”

And we wonder about the difference in male/female voting patterns? Maybe “flip/flops” are attractive to women and “gotchas” are unattractive? Men like independence and self-reliance which is why most of the above commentators view themselves as independent thinkers and the other side as unthinking blind hacks? Reading the commentators on this blog, I would say the “independent thinking” gotcha lovers are the vast majority.

PS: I include myself in that majority. I would also suggest the the most attractive aspect of blog commentary to a woman is the fact we cant interrupt them!

posted by: TexasToast on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I've always been a bit torn on the subject of ads, and 'hittng the tip jar' and so on for wat are ostensibly hobby sites.... I've always been somewhat uncomfotable with people run such sites whining about money. If you're into blogging for the money, you're in the wrong biz.. I've made comments in the past about Sullivan's PBS-like "Begging For Dollars' routine.

I find this somewhat more distasteful than running ads for one thing or another.... with the caveat that Political sites taking ad money from political interests is the worst of the lot. Consder Goddard's NEWSWIRE site, as an example, running political ads (invariably, these are trying to sell Democrats). Sullivan hasn't gotten to that level yet, at least.

Which is as nice a segway into questions about Soros that DT raised; The legal aspects of political ads (and who pays for them) aside, how do such ads and the money they generate affect the editorial content?


I would also suggest the the most attractive aspect of blog commentary to a woman is the fact we cant interrupt them!

You mean you've found a way to get a word in under any OTHER condition? ;->

posted by: Bithead on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

blogs are the political/policy equivalent of sports talk radio. who has the time and energy and inclination to spend hours poring over the minutiae of sports/policy/politics? guys, mostly. i suspect we're in some sense wired this way.

posted by: dj superflat on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Interesting datapoint.


posted by: Myria on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I can't speak for any other women, but I blog mostly for myself. It's a way to get greater enjoyment out of what I am reading, and to help put my thoughts together. It also becomes a resource for debating my friends on-line. I always have quotes and references handy because I have them on my blog.

I also enjoyed the challenge of adapting a bulletin board script to use on my blog (I don't use Blogger or MT), but that took some knowledge of programming and CGI and some time figuring out why my ISP wasn't running the scripts properly.

posted by: Ann on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I am somewhat surprised by the number of responses here which suggest men are intrinsically more suited for politics or else simply enjoy it more than women.

As a female who has had traditionally "male" interests -- from playing soccer with the boys at recess in elementary school to being one of 4 girls on a 30-member knowledge bowl team in high school, I can confidently state that it is difficult to maintain interest in those pursuits in the face of criticism from other kids, both girls and boys. This is taught, it is socialized; it is not intrinsic. When you're 10 or 12 and you're laughed at for being interested in politics, it is easy to simply lose that interest because you want to fit in -- meaning that fewer women are "interested" in politics than men later in life.

Remember that only 50 years ago the number of subject areas in which women could engage (or have careers) was highly circumscribed. Phenomenal progress has been made. But societies and social norms change slowly. If it is in fact the case that only 4% of politically-focused blogs are created by women, I say it's a sign that we still have progress to achieve.

posted by: Lisa on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I get such a kick out of the Right-wing attacks on left leaning blogs for being "shills".

Your data point is that you don't read that blog? Big surprise. If I thought that John Kerry was going to unilaterally surrender the war on terror, that gay marriage was going to lead to the total disintegration of the American family, and that no one in America needs any help getting educated or getting health care I too would probably tune out the Josh Marshall's of the world. His world view is just too divergent from yours.

But these big bloggers on the left do have an increasing readership, so obviously they are doing some thing right. And they are raising real cash for candidates so that is working too. If you choose to believe that it is all some vast conspiracy to control information in the same way that the media is some vast left-wing lobby then fine. But you are wrong.

You must face the fact that there are A LOT of people in the country who do feel we are headed in a radically wrong direction. These people need a place to vent. I would bet that many of the big left wing blogs started out just like that. I doubt that Kevin Drum ever thought this would become his job, and who the heck knows where Atrios makes his money, but as a blogger starting out I would bet that his secret identity is due to his employer being annoyed rather than readers being skeptical of his material.

The point about Democrats needing new ways of fundraising is good. But I still think it comes down to a matter of Democrats being out of power and angry about it while Republicans are in power and can't get annoyed about things as easily. The big right-side blogs thus are less party oriented. But I bet if the rise of the blogs occured in 1998 you would have seen a lot of right wing blogs uniting in efforts to beat the continuation of the Clinton years while the left side blogs would be less Democrat loyal and more inclined to write favorably about Nader and against all the moderate elements of the Clinton years.

posted by: Rich on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I think that the democratic party is less insulated than the present Bush Administration. The RNC would receive hell from the White House if they associated with blogs in a big way - can't have total control over the message.

Had to laugh at the above post that stated that men wait to speak until they know their answer. Personally, I've observed that men, at least in conversations with women, would rather be what they consider "firm" and give the wrong answer rather than no answer.

I think what puts some women off from Dan's blog is the occasional racy pictures or comments about sexy women, or the like. Now, it's not outrageous. In fact, racy is probably too strong a word. But after reading/seeing, in a short time period, the pictures of the Sports Illustrated woman and the Selma Hayak in red, I just felt that Dan seems to be writing JUST for men at times. Which is fine, I'm not judging. Just saying that it makes me go to other sites for the economics stuff I used to come to this site for, because I'm not sure when he's going to be doing his just for men stuff.

posted by: Cali (girl) on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Hey, would love to blog, but who's got the time? Don't want to sound as though I'm complaining, as I love my family and my work, but I have a dissertation to finish, a family to look after, kid's homework to help with, kid's sport to attend, a house to maintain... I'm passionately interested in war, politics, international affairs--I worked in the area for 10 years and have been bitten hard by the bug--and idiocy such as that peddled by GMRoper irritates. But taking time out simply to catch-up and comment tears enough of a hole in the day. Developing and maintaining a thoughtful blog--and why bother with anything else--takes time I simply don't have. With gratuitous generalization, many of the bloggers are students, taking time out late at night; journos, for whom this is a bit of an out-take, and even contributes to their paid jobs; or blokes with wives. Perhaps when the kids have grown up some more, or left home, and the thesis is finished--or get a wife--then I'll find the time and do my own blog. Even if that means offsetting my contribution to redressing the balance. It's not only a case of being socialised as a child--though I stand with Lisa on having 'traditionally male' interests--but cold, hard reality of daily life.

posted by: Lesley on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Hey, Dan, I was captain of the high school math team too!

And I, a woman -- just like a man -- blog about what I'm interested in and read blogs that interest me.

If there's a Mars/Venus demographic difference -- and why wouldn't there be? -- it's not culturally imposed, as the p.c. gender-studies types would have us believe, but Darwinian: Survival of the fittest.

The catblog is out of the bag

posted by: Sissy Willis on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

DD says "Maybe it's because of posts like this one" but then notes that he hasn't received any objections. Well, this particular female lurker wouldn't object, because it's his blog & he can say & post whatever he wants to. "Posts like this one" do, however, create a sort of boys' club-house atmosphere that contribute to my disinclination to speak up.

posted by: adoherty on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

There we have it--8 comments, one by an "obvious" woman. That's about par for Drezner's blog (which, Dan, we know I LOVE).

I think that's the point, Kelli: you have no idea which of the commentators on this thread are male and which are female unless they tell you.

The only thing we know for sure about the blogosphere is that male bloggers and commentators are much more likely to be upfront about their gender than female bloggers and commentators are.

I know of at least one woman who posts with a gender-neutral handle precisely because she doesn't want to have her comments dismissed as "Oh, you're a GURL" that she says still happens on some blogs. Admittedly, this is anecdotal evidence - but if there's one, I suspect there's more.

posted by: Jesurgislac on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

I tend to disagree with Jesurgislac; we even went commentoro a commentoro once recently, but the point about making an explicit point of declaring gender is spot on.

I think it is a feature, not a bug, and it is one of the benefits of nicknonymity.

posted by: triticale on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

It is with some degree of amusement that I add to this thread, a mention of a group of bloggers in a more or less 'ring' call Bloggers With Boobies"

posted by: BitHead on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

the blogosphere looks a little like your high school chess club: Even though everyone's invited to join, you could be forgiven for thinking that someone posted a "No Girls Allowed" sign on the classroom door.

Perhaps girls don't join the chess club, not because they don't like chess, but because they don't like the other members of the club. Or because the room is full. Or because they're too busy being captain of the track team (that was me).

Great post, Dan.

posted by: Laura on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

Lisa -

Good points! I disagree with the blogger who posted about racy comments putting off women (maybe of a certain generation, but certainly not me or friends). Ultimately, you pay attention to what's important to you. As a political science student at UC, I can tell you that I think was in the minority, but since I hardly saw people outside the predominantly male IR community, I really can't say.

But I will say that political economy seems to be one of those places politically aware girls aren't looking into for careers. Anyone have
any evidence to the contrary?

posted by: Carolina on 03.11.04 at 12:47 AM [permalink]

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