Women + Blogosphere = Impact

Not long ago, I did a post making light of the fact that many male bloggers seem to get the bloggy love in the most expressive ways while the ladies do not. If you missed the post it’s called Don’t Swoon for me Argentina. To my surprise, many took it rather seriously despite the fact I was sure I was being tongue in cheek and had written it to be funny and amuse my readers.

Though the response got me thinking in a less brain farty way. I started to seriously ponder the impact that women have on the blogosphere/internet. Some of the discussion on the above post centered around a survey done a few years back, whose results seem to state that mostly women blogged about food and mommy stuff. This made my neck snap in one of those wtf double head jestures and I thought, “Oh no, I don’t believe that. I really don’t.”

While I will cede that there are hundreds, thousands, perhaps tens or hundreds of thousands of mommy blogs and cooking blogs – I truly don’t believe that is where we begin and end in the blogosphere. While I have absolutely nothing against mommy blogs or cooking blogs both of which i have in my reader and enjoy often – to say that’s all we do in the blogosphere I think gives us short shrift.

For example one of the best poli-bloggers I’ve ever seen is Angie – and believe me, she is all woman. She puts a great deal of work into the research of her posts and always inspires very lively and pertinent debate on whatever issue she is posting about. While she is relatively new to the blog world, she blogs like a veteran who has been there and done that. And like all of us, she has personal challenges that she overcomes on a daily basis, yet you’ll never meet a more cheerful and up blogger. She is candid, funny and oh so smart. And in my humble opinion, a must read.

Another blogger who seems to be one of the best kept secrets in the blogworld is my buddy 30 – she is one smart cookie and has been around the proverbial block many times. She has a BA in Journalism, worked for thirty years in newspapers, as a writer, editor, proofer and more. Her blog discusses the issues of the day in her own quiet, yet direct manner and provides a rare and down to earth perspective on those issues. While she and I part ways politically on many fronts, I find her opinions to be well thought out and worth a look. Always polite and often bitingly funny, it’s a pleasure to visit her blog and have a chat.

So, my pondering gave birth to an idea. I thought it would be hoot to contact a few of my female blogger buds and do a survey to see what came of it. To see if there really was a difference between male and female bloggers and if so, what that difference was/is. My volunteers for the survey are all great bloggers in their own right and cover the gambit as far as topics and genres. I was amazed at the variance of backgrounds and experience of these women and quite impressed and since I want you to be amazed and impressed too, I’ve given a short bio of each below:

30 (aka Piedtype)
Is a 65-year-old retiree, originating from Oklahoma City but currently residing in Colorado. She has BA in journalism and worked for 30 years at several newspapers, as a textbook publisher, a typesetter, a printing company, and as a medical association managing editor. Married and divorced twice, she has a grown son and two grandchildren and assorted nieces and nephews. She describes herself as “ an animal lover, a passive environmentalist, a vacillating voter and a humanist. Excruciatingly shy, I was taught “always-be-a-lady, never-make-a-scene.”

Panther is a Canadian born and raised in Toronto, and has lived all her life in Southern and Eastern Ontario. She has recently transplanted herself to Quebec to be with her beloved Urbane Lion. She is a mother of three grown children but assures us she had her children very young in life and is still quite the hottie. Currently, she works in Information Technology as a systems project manager. A writer all her life, her brother recently introduced her to blogging and the Urban Panther’s Lair was born. She loves espresso, chocolate and writing about the wacky world of male and female relationships.

Darla is a an all-American Iowa girl who is all about family & friends and having fun. Wife to the Chief-of-Police for almost 16 years and mom to an 11-year-old son. Currently she works from her home as an accountant and also as a silver power seller on eBay. Decorating, saving money and finding STEALS is her passion. She and her husband also build and flip houses for fun. She blogs about a variety of topics including, decorating on the cheap, steals & deals, recipes, family life & mis-haps.

Joan is a 59 year old retiree, who had for many years owned and operated a health food store with her dad until he passed and continued to do so for an additional 6 years. She retired early due to health problems and went through some personal dark times. In the past year she has made some dramatic changes in her life and has lost 84 pounds, become “happy” started seeing a therapist, and invited her daughter and son-in-law to move in with her. Her days consist of cooking for the family, shopping, errands and blogging. For Joan, her family comes before everything except blogging. She is patiently waiting for grandchildren and nowadays can find humor in almost everything.

Gracie is a 51 year old native Southern Californian, who has been writing for pleasure, purpose and the odd publication since the early 60s. Her primary focus for writing is spiritual in nature, with an emphasis on alchemy: Taking the painful experienes we all have and using them to create a life characterized by love, hope and serenity. Her greatest pleasure is to help someone else feel encouraged, less ‘alone’ in the world, and inspired. To date, Grace considers her two greatest ‘achievements’ to be her son, Adam and daughter, Chelsea – and rumor has it that she’ll become a grandmother next March. She works as the marketing manager for a property management and development firm based in Irvine.

Daisy lives in the Toronto, Canada area with her husband, 5 year old son, a dog and cat. In her spare time, she works at a full-time career; teaches fitness classes, and also writes occasionally. A current goal is to get a tattoo that says “may contain nuts.” She warns that she enough information to make her dangerous to society. She endeavors to have fun every time she teaches, frets over grey hairs on her head and considers herself a 7 on a 1-10 scale on green awareness. She currently works for an Energy Services company whose parent company is investing time, money and effort on sustainable solutions for the residential and business markets. Though she doesn’t expect to change the world she is trying to share strategies and thoughts and stories in the hopes of moving us all forward.

Christine is 35 years old, married and the mother of two daughters spunky and creative children. She is a recent transplant from the Los Angeles area to rural Oregon, where she writes very unique and soul stirring fiction. Shy when speaking of herself, she lets her creative side speak for her.

The Girl from the Ghetto has been a feminist since she was six and learned that boys always picked on the weakest girls of which, she was one. By the time she reached third grade, she stopped wearing skirts, united all of her female classmates, and formed a gang called HOT LIPS after her strong role model on MASH, Hot Lips Hooligan, and had a t-shirt made up that said “I’m With Hot Lips.” Her gang begun to beat the crap out of the boys, and slowly gained respect on the playground. Besides being a feminist, she is a college graduate who can’t find a career, a blogger and wanna-be writer, a photographer, and defied society by waiting until age 35 to get married. She also did not have a wedding reception and spent $15,000 on a kick-ass honeymoon. She is also a step-mother to two children.

Mrs. V
Mrs. V is a 39 year old, wife, mother, and school teacher. She’s been married for 17 years, a mother for 12.5 years and a preschool teacher for 6 years. She hails from the midwest and likes the lifestyle there, so it doesn’t look good for her moving to New York or L.A. An avid reader she started her own book group 3 years ago to share with other avid readers, although she may be more avid than most, saying that if there are words around, she will read them, even if they are upside down on a cereal box. Plus she states she reads blogs more often than watching TV. Though a newbie to blogging, she usually finds it rewarding, and a great way to record her thoughts. When frustrated she takes a step back, and spends time reading other blogs – for the enjoyment of “meeting” other people and getting a glimpse of what they might want the world to know.

Many know her as A-Mum or just Mum and some of us call her Moe. She is an Aussie on the edge, has a blog and isn’t afraid to use it. An outspoken and plucky Aussie who will never leave you wondering what side of any issue that she stands on. She’s generous to a fault but will bitch slap you if you get out of line. A wife, a mother and even grandmother – she’s had many ups and downs in her life, including losing her mother at a very early age, at times, raising her daughters on her own and two previous marriages. One of the kindest people you’re likely to meet, with a wicked sense of humor. (Note: she left me to write the bio since I know her so well. LOL. How’d I do?)

Jade is a New Yorker with a Bachelors Degree in Liberal Arts. She works for the New York Central Library, and has helped curate a handful of art exhibits. Much of her poetry, prose, haiku have been published on line and in print, she currently writes for three blogs. Also, she is currently collecting material for an Anthology, comprised of female poets and writers. Jade is a pen name. One of her obsession besides the ultimate cup of coffee is making chokers, which she feels inhabits the qualities of the hay[na]ku poems,elegant simplicity.

Di is a 43 year old woman, mother of two and grandmother to an adorable three year old boy. She’s traveled the world and on her last trip visited, Texas, Mexico and Australia. She is quite candid about her history of drug dependancy and has a good knowledge of different treatments in the recovery world. Her job when is as a group worker for addiction. She makes her home in in a small costal town in England and has an irrepressible love of people. She frequently goes to festival’s and likes to sleep under the stars, sharing journeys, singing, dancing and eating with friends in the sunshine. She says she is not a writer but a rambler. She wakes everyday as the sun rises and writes without knowing what she will write about but rather letting the writing take its own course. She claims it would be fradulent for her to call herself a blogger but I respectfully disagree.

The Rambling Housewife is a former Special Education teacher, current freelance writer and Stay At Home Mommy, and as she likes to joke, “future certified, rambling idiot.” She began blogging in November of 2007 as a way to blow off creative steam, and connect with other women in the writing community.

Darlene is a published photographer and poet who lives with her musician husband and sports minded son in the diverse landscape of Western Canada. When she is not scribbling in her notebooks or playing with light, she can usually be found playing with paints, twisting up jewelry designs, creating culinary vegan delights or puttering in her garden. She has an English Literature degree and a Secondary Education degree. She continues to take art and photography classes and hopes that she will continue to learn, grow and change as the years go by. She is grateful for: family, the light that casts beauty across shadows, music that lifts emotions, a little house and garden filled with colour and love, friends and inspirations, the beauty of nature, the ocean’s cold spray, the soft barnacle skin of the grey whale and the possibilities that exist in life.

Now that you know the players, here are the questions I put to their ever so agile minds:

1. What do you believe is the difference between men and women bloggers – e.g. approach, subject matter, readers, etc.

2. Do you feel men bloggers have a greater impact in the blog world than women – such as more readers, more loyalty, wider range of topics/interests, greater appeal to male and female readers alike, etc.

3. When you decided to start blogging – did you have a particular effect/impact you wanted to create? If so, what was it? Did it change once you started blogging?

4. Regardless of whatever effect you set out to create by blogging, do you feel that you’ve had an impact by being a female blogger? If so, how and/or in what way? Who/what did you impact?

5. What contribution to the blog world do you feel women bring to the table that male bloggers do not? Or is there no gender gap between male and female bloggers?

6. Are women bloggers held to a different standard than male bloggers? If so, what is the difference – e.g. what is taboo to a female blogger but okay for a male blogger or vice versa? Inequalities??? Not taken as seriously?

7. If you could change anything in the way female bloggers are regarded in the blog world, what would it be?

8. If you could have your wildest dreams come true as a blogger and create whatever impact you wanted, because you had thousands of undying loyal readers, what would it be?

9. Anything else that you feel separates female bloggers from male bloggers that you want to expound on?

They all had their own approach to answering the questions, there were points of agreement and points of non-agreement. Which I found both surprising and comforting. Surprising because I guess I was under the impression that we women are all still feminists at heart and that in many ways things haven’t changed and yet comforting in the fact that women (to my immense pride) have really found their own place and are much more comfortable in their own skins these days than they were when I was young and beautiful.

Rather than give all the answers in full, I have chosen to quote some quotable responses to each question. A choice I made because 1) many answers were very similar and 2) you probably don’t have that much time to read a post as long as it would surely be if I printed all the answers.

Tomorrow, we address the general consensus of the surveys and the quotable quotes in part two. Stay tuned.