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August 21, 2006

A Quickie...

You might enjoy gapingvoid: "cartoons drawn on the back of business cards" - Hugh MacLeod's card-toon blog. Lightweight, funny, and sometimes gets a real good zinger in.

Yeah, yeah, I know, it's a friggin' "A-list" blog, but the cartoons are funny.

Posted by ljl at 4:44 PM | Comments ()

August 7, 2006

Blogs, Women, and Mommies

The recent BlogHer '6 conference was represented as a "mommy blogger" conference, with a subtext that all female bloggers (that counted anyway) were mothers blogging about their children, diets, relationships, celebrities and fashion - the traditional online female ghetto.

Quotes like:

One thing that appears to set the BlogHer conference apart from most others is that the event will provide free child care, an important thing given that many in attendance are so-called "mommy bloggers."
The topics include discussions titled "Is the next Martha Stewart a blogger?" and "From here to autonomy," a talk about trying to earn a living blogging. There will also be a conversation about writing about sex in blogs.
from CNet News.com are classic women's ghetto stuff. The focus on "mommy bloggers", and the citing of Martha Stewart and sex are big red flags to the stereotype. You won't see stuff like that about BloggerCon (which I missed this year because I was out of town.)

It goes without saying that I didn't go to BlogHer '6. Apparently they actually had some geek content - too bad it never got any press - it was just overshadowed by the mommy/girlie thing.

Then there was this, from another (mailing list) source:

Mommies Online: Another Feminist Revolution?
Berkeley Cybersalon
[date, time & location, blah, blah]
Sorry, but mommies online aren't a feminist revolution, any more than daddies online is a masculine revolution. Mommies have been around since before the beginning of recorded history. Managing to use a computer after you've had a child is not a miracle, it just means you can make time to do it, like any other busy person.

Between these, and the "Motherhood Manifesto" propagated by various liberal organizations, I feel that female technologists who don't have children at home are given short shrift in the blogosphere.

There is a subtext of "you're not a real woman if you don't make babies" that makes me want to puke. Damnit, part of what feminism was all about was reproductive freedom and reproductive choice - including the choice NOT to reproduce! Part of equality is not being obliged by your plumbing to spend nine months every so often as an incubator!

For years I've ranted and railed against "women's" content on the web: fashion, diet, celebrities, relationships and childrearing. Even decades before that, I dropped my subscription to a well known science fiction magazine because the had an advertising section that was literally titled "Of Interest to Women", and was so full of stereotype "women's content" that it made me see red. It hasn't changed, to the best of my knowledge.

I've had to stop participation in many "women's" organizations, primarily because they seem to devolve into catfights and "women's" interests (the fashion, diet, celebrities, relationships and children thing). One supposedly web trades oriented mailing list had so many "community" request for hairdressers, exercise and diet parlors, spas, nannies, maids, stores and dog groomers that it was like reading a webified women's magazine from the 5's. Coupled with the backbiting and political correctitude, I had to stop reading it, it was so boring and infuriating. I've investigated others, and it's the same old dreck: a living stereotype.

The only female oriented organization I've found where it stays mostly technical is LinuxChix. We have a few fluff posts, and sometimes the infernal childcare debate pops up, but the childfree women at least are there to leaven it somewhat.

Now, I will admit there is a place for mommy blogs, and daddy blogs too. The growth of a dependent parasite into an independent adult is something for both women and men to blog about. So is the growth of kittens, puppies, and your bowling score.

To imply that mommy blogs are more interesting or important than technology or politics is a bit arrogant. Really, the world doesn't revolve around you and your kids. But technology and politics will affect the world your kid grows up in.

Posted by ljl at 5:29 PM | Comments (2)