More on the “Lady Bloggers” Hullaballoo

Image composite by Marian Wang, with photos from Flickr users <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/wordollhouses/">Aminimanda</a> & <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/lancefisher/">lancefisher</a>.

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So given all the discussion generated by my “Lady Bloggers” post last week, I thought it would be wise to throw out a little reminder: The whole point of my post was to share a new statistic, to ask some pointed questions, and to say that if female bloggers aren’t equally represented in the blogosphere, that’s something that needs to change as more and more folks get their information from blogs.

After the story hit, female blogger Sarah Posner brilliantly suggested the hashtag #followwomenbloggers, and hundreds of people pitched in with suggestions for excellent female bloggers to follow. Several of you also had questions for me, and I’ve responded to a few of the main points in the comments section of the original post. In case you missed it, I’m reposting my response below:

Q: Why’d you pick a photo of Ana Marie Cox with cleavage?

A: I didn’t pick it, and even if I had, now who’s paying attention to the boobage? Do her breasts somehow undermine her legitimacy? Hell no, if you ask me, Ana Marie Cox can wear whatever Ana Marie Cox wants. Even if I didn’t pick the picture, I fully stand behind my editor’s choice. What’s wrong with the picture? In my book, women shouldn’t have to hide away their biology to be taken seriously. (Bonus: Ana’s a MoJo alum.)

Q: Why ‘lady’ bloggers? What about ‘gentlemen’ bloggers?

A: If you’d rather me call you a homosapien who blogs and possesses two X chromosomes, I can. I just thought lady was a little shorter for the headline, which is the only place I used that term. I do hear your point, though, and I realize that “lady” has very traditional connotations, but as a female blogger myself, I certainly don’t blog while sitting in Victorian dress, sitting sidesaddle and sipping Earl Grey. (Okay, maybe I still drink Earl Grey.) But I didn’t envision any of you “lady bloggers” out there doing that either. Isn’t there a point at which we can reclaim and reappropriate words? And if we’re going to get all technical, it’s not “women bloggers” either—it’s female bloggers.

Q: This is bullshit and sexist, women are blogging.

A: Given that I quoted a female blogger in this piece, there’s a high likelihood that I’m aware women are blogging. I never made any assertion that there are no female bloggers out there, but if you’re disagreeing with the report and asserting that female bloggers make up more than a third of the blogosphere, I’d be happy to update the story to include whatever statistics you have. I’m aware that Technorati’s study is hardly comprehensive—it’s hard to have comprehensive, absolutely accurate statistics on the blogosphere—and that’s why I chose to pose it as a question. To be honest, when I first wrote this blog entry, I thought it was kind of a throwaway post because I felt I wasn’t really answering my own question. Apparently, based on your comments here, my very act of asking the question said more than I was aware of, but in any case, I’m glad it generated discussion because that’s kind of the point of blogging.

Q: How can you even talk about women bloggers without taking a look at X blog? That you failed to do so tells me you didn’t dig very deep.

A: This blog post isn’t a comprehensive report. I’m absolutely sure I didn’t get every blog out there, or cover every angle. It’s a 600 word piece—if it got all of you to converse with each other, it served its purpose. It’s not an expose (although Mother Jones has plenty of that too. Check us out on your news stands).

Thanks for reading, and keep the discussion going!

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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