Sunday, September 09, 2007

The meek shall inherit the blogs

I'm going to ask a similar question to the one Amber does: Why are the major political bloggers--who, and this is key, influence the direction of this country's political thought--men of a certain demographic? And relatedly, why are so many women going on to grad school?

The urge to be listened to is neither male nor female, and it's the rare person who pursues knowledge with no thought to the day when he may pass his interpretation of that knowledge on to the impressionable. But women, before speaking about any 'important' subject with confidence, before they can confidently note that mere bloggers have misspelled their last names, feel the need to have qualifications backing them up. I would add on an apologetic, 'I don't have statistics backing this up, perhaps I am wrong, perhaps gender roles have evolved more than I am giving them credit for,' but that would be unfairly providing support to my own case.

I can't say whether this makes women or men 'better' but it seems women are far more likely to consent to a hierarchical academic structure, in which everyone knows their place and speaks only as much as is appropriate, than are men, who as college sophomores may feel they really get Iran, whether or not this is the case. To give a gendered interpretation of the Walt-Mearsheimer brouhaha, one thing repeated in the articles about the pair is that they feel their article was initially rejected by various publications that didn't have the courage to publish it, and that those who, having read their rants, do not want to pay them more attention are simply avoiding a taboo subject. It's all about bravery and machismo. Whereas if a woman sent off an article and it was rejected, I'm willing to guess that she would consider the possibility of factors such as weakness of the article itself.


Miss Self-Important said...

That seems about right, in my experience. I try to avoid blogging about politics because I lack the expertise to say anything useful. The only political thing I regularly blog about is education, which I feel qualified to address only insofar as I have one too.

However, another aspect of this question might be that men are more likely to follow politics (and not just policy debates) much more closely than women. Think of all the people you know who listen to all the candidates' stump speeches on YouTube, who take pleasure in watching congressional hearings on C-SPAN, etc? Then think how many of them are women. What convinces political junkies to blog is not their probably mistaken sense of expertise, but the fact that they spend a lot of their time immersed in politics, and blogging is just an extension of that. Women seem far less likely to be in that position unless they do have unusual expertise in the subject (which in itself puts them in the minority of their sex).

Glenn said...

Two points

1--In a democracy, there is no shame in questioning authority, and in voicing one's opinion. And if there is anything in life you should express an opinion about, even if uneducated, it is the political, so if nothing else, you and those around you can become wiser.

2--Guys like politics because its a lot like sports. You have teams, and you have winners and losers, and it probably goes back to something Marshall McCluhan said.
Women don't care so much about sports.

(and oh yes, l'shannah tovah)