Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Male Dominated Blogosphere: Was Melissa Kite Right?

Some time ago, you may recall, Sunday Telegraph journalist Melissa Kite wrote a piece alleging that the right wing blogosphere was full of chauvinists and misogynists. In particular, she targeted people who posted comments on right wing blogs like this one, Guido Fawkes and ConservativeHome.

Some 2,100 of my blog readers have now filled in my survey and I'll be publishing some of the results over the next couple of days.

The first one - and I hope you are sitting down for this - is that according to the survey, 86% of the people who read my blog are male and only 14% are female. Of course, just being male does not make them misogynists, but I did find this quite a shocking statistic. I don't think I write an overly macho blog which would necessarily attract a 'certain kind' of readership. I think the truth is that the world of blogs - and indeed politics for that matter - does attract more males than females. The trouble the political parties have in finding women candidates is testament to that.

I don't mind admitting that I am slightly appalled to find that only 14% of my blog readers are female. I hardly dare ask what I might do to address this issue for fear of the response.

UPDATE: A female correspondent emails me to say that the reason the figure is so low for women is that they don't have time to fill in surveys!

97 comments:

Mike Rouse said...

You could introduce an all-woman shortlist for comments. Actually, things like this, I think, show how shortlists are not the answer. As Ann Widdecombe said - it's the fact that women are not coming forward from the start that's the problem. Make politics, not selections, more attractive to women and more women will apply for selections naturally.

Anonymous said...

What about a regular spot from Bonker Boris?

Geezer said...

They're too busy shopping, thinking about shopping or reading Heat magazine to surf political blogs!;-)

Alan Douglas said...

Iain,

It could also be that respondents to your survey are a self-selecting group of people who feel THEIR opinions are important, and that might just be a male rather than female trait ?

Not of course wishing to disparage the 14 % of ladies who DID answer you !

Alan Douglas

Anonymous said...

That's precisely what you may need to do - ask.

I am male. I find politics fascinating, political blogs even better. Many female friends and acquaintances are not engaged politically in the same way, and I expect that your survey reflects that.

What is the answer? It's not just about blogging and blogs, it is about political engagement generally. Perhaps you need to understand why your female readership is less, and what it is about the blog that women don't (or won't) like.

Anonymous said...

The sense of humour in asking for a regular spot from Bonker Boris is almost certainly a turn-off for women - perhaps that's why they don't join in

Johnny Norfolk said...

Iain, weather you like it or not most women are not intersted in politics and your survey just proves it and I dont know why you are so shocked. Most women give there men a bad time on how much time they spend on the web they think its a waste of time.

But then I live in the real world.

Borat said...

Iain,

You are now United Englands no.1 gay nice mans and the men love you, this is why percentage is more 80%.

I come from Kazakhstan and wish we had men so big like bear as you. You are surely like Joe Stalin and have the big kharam.

Pepsi Max!

Anonymous said...

Very surprised that you are surprised. Guido has a regular slot called "totty watch". Contributors to political blogs are often aggressive and even when they are not overtly aggressive they often compete to show who is the cleverest, er, dick.

Anonymous said...

I suspect Iain that the figure is more representative than you would like to admit. It may not be unrelated that there are a significant number more men wanting to be conservative MPs than women. I think women probably have better things to do than rant on political blogs and are busy getting on woith the practical business of running the world rather than pontificating about how the world should be run which is largely a male activity

Anonymous said...

Maybe that revolting picture of that opportunist Cambell on your home page is putting them off. It certainly makes me fell sick.

GET RID OF IT IAN!

Just for the record I have full meat and veg! (male!)

judith said...

Politics is a male-oriented sport - it's about obsessions, minutiae, power and struggles for power, etc. Relatively few women either enjoy that kind of relentless pressure, or can tolerate it for many years.

I played an active political role as a volunteer, taking on officer positions, and had to become accustomed to being called a witch, a power-mad hag, over-bearing and bossy - men behaving in the same way are regarded as role models!

Thus many women shy away from politics and political discussion, which is a great shame. I'm not in favour of attempts to deliberately feminise politics, and I can't imagine in what way you could increase your female readership. However, I suspect the comment that women have too many other things to do in their lives has a lot of truth in it!

Ed said...

Blogs are a strange niche - perhaps in general they appeal more to men than women because of their very nature? A very unrepresentative sample at the bar the other day suggested that three times as many men as women read blogs (the woman present had barely heard of them, and certainly did not get the point...)!

Kate said...

Iain -
I'm one of your regular female readers, but I didn't fill out the survey.

While I do enjoy reading political blogs, I generally steer clear of reading the comments both on here and on Guido, for reasons that you already seem to understand.

On the wider issue of women and politics online, I don't think it's as simple as saying 'most women aren't interested in politics'. Most of my female friends read political news, comment on it and enjoy a bit of scurrilous gossip. I don't have a simple answer as to why they don't participate in the political bloggersphere though.

machiavelli said...

Would it be fulfilling Mellissa Kite's stereotype to suggest that they're too busy doing their hair?

fr said...

Men and women waste their time in different ways.

Ethelred the Unhinged said...

I think you should become an agony auntie once per week.

"My boyfriend's a Tory and he can't get it up. What should I do?"

That sort of thing.

Croydonian said...

Unless some of the higher profile female political bloggers run similar surveys, it is anyone's guess as to whether IDD has a more markedly skewed male readership than of political blogs overall.

Anonymous said...

what's a misogynist, Is it good or bad?

the moustachioed bloodhound of fate said...

I am sure a research specialist (by which I do not mean a parliamentary "researcher", who is no such thing) would find lots of holes in your methodology, Iain. The survey is entirely self-selecting. It's like taking one of those polls on Sky News or the BBC News website and assuming the result is accurate.

That said, I would guess that the majority of readers are men. It is rather boisterous in here. But then again, who cares?

What the geographical split? What's the sexuality split? What's the ethnic split? What's the age split? Where does it all end?

Praguetory said...

Nothing can be done, Iain. Try to forget about it.

Newmania said...

There may seem to be a lot of men supporting you Iain but some of them will be Lib Dems are better referred to as spavined hermaphrodites not knowing which way to turn. Additionally you have people like Chris Paul who I know for a certain fact had his genitals removed so they wouldn’t give him sores when he wriggled with glee and having found some mind numbingly tedious detail to bleat about . He doesn`t count then .
Then you have Norfolk Blogger who is so politically correct that he is like a sort of third gender .He may well have claimed to be both woman and man so deeply does he empathise with the sub textual institutionalised mental rape women endure . Life for him is a veil of tears and woe.
You see you always have to look beneath the surface with statistics . I personally would like to see more women here so I can simper odiously and make more unsavoury suggestions .

Attracting Women is easy here is .Your step by step Guide

1 Colour Your Blog Pink
2 Should a comment you disapprove of appear . Rush to your room and weep
3 Eliminate facts evidence and clear thinking from your posts.
4 Replace these elements with feelings you have about things
5 Talk about the Environment
6 Include personal Interest items about your shy beginnings
7 Illustrate these with pictures of you and Partner draped over a bed in your swish pad
8 Include more posts along the lines of . Ten great ways to initiate sex when he talks about politics
9 Listen !! and show you are listening by saying .Phrases like “ Oh yes..” and “ MMM I know “ will do , almost any noise actually


Good Luck

Anonymous said...

Iain- I suspect the comment threads don't help- just look at Newmania's comment above or indeed some of the other comments. Not sure about the overall reasons- in my experience women are just as interested in politics as men.

Chris Paul said...

The comment from the woman re filling in your poll may or may not indicate the problem! i think that it probably does not and that this blog has it's moments of misogyny in your posts, but also carries a pretty macho and at times very unpleasant demeanour in your comments.

I don't think it is your intention to exclude non-Tories from the debate here but I think some of your commentators are confused on that one and think that it is.

Hence shouting down, undermining and chasing away attempts. These are mostly without arguments and are often ad hominem (or ad feminem?) attacks which are not an attractive feature.

In actual fact 14% or whatever seems quite high. Are you sure?

Alex said...

I wouldn't be at all surprised if the 86/14 split closely resembles the male/female proportions in the IT industry and geek world in general. I don't think it's got anything to do wit any political angle.

Anonymous said...

'the reason the figure is so low for women is that they don't have time to fill in surveys!'

But they do have time to complain about how they don't have any time.

Curious.

Kris said...

iain

I read your blog quite regularly and I can't be arsed filling out meaningless surveys.

So there you have it- another woman reader who has an aversion to surveys.

zeno said...

There you are, Iain - Chris Paul says you're macho. Get in there lad, you've pulled!

The Hitch said...

I have never seen Ms Kite
Has she got big tits?

The Hitch said...

Mr Mania you are my hero , boris should make you deputy mayor,
Then all would be well with the weorld

Anonymous said...

86% of the people who read my blog are male and only 14% are female.

So 86% can read as you state...and the rest are female and presumably cannot. More illustrations perhaps ?

Oscar Miller said...

Don't go trying to make this site "appeal" to women - it will only open up a hornets nest of stereotyping 'what women want'. Just carry on doing what you do - and leave it to women to choose whether they want to visit or not.

Anonymous said...

Once again I say Be Careful What You Wish For.
You maight get Effie from Notts and Alexis from wherever but a regular on Adam Boulton's blog. I think Effie is having a break but Alexis has taken her place nobly by contributing 4 or 5 times to every subject.
Mind you they are both Labour supporters and Labour women certainly
know how to talk. When one of them appears on Question Time, they never stop, even for breath.

Victor

roundie said...

where's Verity these days?

Anonymous said...

I agree totally with Kate's comments - and I did fill in your survey, Ian. I am one of the 14% who took the time to do so. Asking why women don't get more involved in blogging or commenting on blogs is kind of like asking why women don't sit around watching sport on TV all weekend drinking beer, (which also seems to be a guy thing) - we have more important things to do, like keeping the world running. Comments like the ones from Ethelred and Newmania are also pretty symptomatic of the sort of sexist stuff that puts many women off joining in - so much puerile, schoolboy stuff to wade through to reach the "intelligent debate". Don't take the low percentage as personal, Ian - you're OK!

Chris K said...

No surprise to me - political blogs are indeed a very male form of display.

Strange though that there is such a gulf between male-dominated political blogs and the tendency of social networking sites to be more female.

verity said...

Mike Rouse - funny!

Geezer - What is "Heat" magazine?

Anonymous 12:33. Women are as politically engaged as men. Politics isn't a guy thing; it's a people thing.

I will tell you why women don't come here very often - or rather, don't comment. Meliessa Kite's observation was correct, and I was going to write in supporting every contention she made, but I felt it would be disloyal to Iain. So I didn't. But I should have.

Women don't comment here because there are a lot of angry, testosterone laden men on this blog and women with opinions infuriate them. Almost every time I comment, floods of anti-woman (sometimes disguised as "humour")comments come flooding in, with people referring to as an old hag, grossly obese, always having a cigarette hanging out of my mouth and various other schoolboy imaginings hurled with great viciousness.

As I have contempt for weakness, it's water off a duck's back to me; but a lot of women don't like being attacked with such free-floating malice. Sometimes, even I go away for a few days because ignorant, angry, baseless abuse gets repetitive and boring. It takes greater willpower and discipline to be a gentleman, and I think many of the ragers on this blog are not only weak, but feel powerless.

It is due to these angry, powerless men that women have abandoned Guido's blog.

Johnny Norfolk proves my point. He says women aren't interested in politics because he wants to feel that something on this earth is "man's business". Yet read the DT's Your View, and comments are split fairly evenly between men and women. The men know if their comments are abusive or obscene, they won't get published, so they toe the line.

Judith, the way Iain can increase the number of women who will post is to delete grossly obscene and insulting posts and force these men to keep in line. Forbidding swearing worked, after all.

Oscar Miller, women don't like coming on this site and getting a punch in the face for being a woman. Long and short.

Sackerson said...

Would the readership gender disparity have to do with the fact that women can materially improve their lives by forming and managing personal relationships, so it makes sense for them to focus on that? As the Chinese say, better to light a small candle than complain about the dark.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Oh stop it and get on with the fun. Pandering to women, most of whom are too stupid or too busy to blog, is like pissing in the wind.

Most of your punters are oldies, grumpy and libertarian, (like me) if I read the poll correctly.

It's fascinating and I would like to draw attention to all those stuffed shirts who poo-pooed the idea of a survey. Surveys are fun!

Just let the wimmin do what wimmin do..talk about chocolate and periods.. and let the men sort out the serious issues.

The Hitch said...

anon 3;34
think of blogging as a form of "shedism"
As you say blogging is a place where men can sit about in their worst clothes talking bollocks to other men safe in the knowledge that emotions (apart from precisely directed anger) will not be expressed.
Now get your bra on love and make us all a cup of tea!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

thank you hitch, my sentiments exactly!

The Hitch said...

PS
Never order Verity to make you a cup of tea unless you fancy a dose of polonium 210.
Verity is Margaret Rutherford , Joan Collins , Joanna Lumley and Attila the Hun all rolled into one.
And I mean that as a compliment.
The sort od lady who would stand up to a feindish Japanese or German camp commandant and shame him into decent British standards of behaviour.

Charlotte Corday said...

It seems to me that Ms Kite can dish it out but can't take it.
Women are quite capable of bitchy journalism.
I once saw the late, great Jean Rook in Fleet Steet with a fox fur (complete with fox head)flung over her shoulder. My taxi driver gazed at her with admiration and then said: "I bet she strangled that creature with her bare hands."
So, Melissa, instead of whinging, put away the hankies, and start sticking the knife in.
PS I din't fill the survey in because I thought it looked rather boring.

Kris said...

Verity

Is that really you?

Wow. You almost sounded like a feminist there for a second. I'm not taking the piss. I'm just amazed that I agree with every word you said.

troymolloy said...

Verity said: 'Almost every time I comment... anti-woman ... comments come flooding in, with people referring to as an old hag, grossly obese, always having a cigarette hanging out of my mouth etc.'

Have I woken up in a parallel universe? I've only been visiting this site for about 5 weeks, but that's just not true! Just because some people find your views difficult to stomach and resort to sniping through lack of an intelligent comeback does not make them anti-woman, any more than a critique of Trevor McDonald's presenting style would make me a racist.

Besides, I hope there is room for the occasional bit of humour on a political blog - even if it may not be 'politically correct'. You know, in real life women make jokes about the foibles of men too.

Newmania said...

I do think that some of the abuse Verity has received has been beyond anything funny or acceptable.

verity said...

The Hitch wrote of me: "The sort od lady who would ...". If that was a typo for "odd" lady, OK. If you meant to write "old" lady, do you take one lump or two in your polonium?

I'm not old, I don't smoke, and I am not fat. Why do you all care so much? Do I imagine how any of you look? No. Who cares?

verity said...

Troymoloy, missing the point, writes: "Besides, I hope there is room for the occasional bit of humour on a political blog."

Yes, and one or two posters do deliver genuine wit. But what we are discussing here is baseless personal abuse for no reason other than rage. It's not funny, and it's not meant to be. It is meant to wound, although it's hard to wound someone by throwing clumps of dirt at them angrily. You wound with a scalpel. That's why gay men are better at cat fights than straight men - and why they're so much fun to be around.

troymolloy said...

I'm sure the Hitch meant 'the sort OF lady...' which hopefully means you can be friends again because he seemed to be complimenting you.

The Hitch said...

verity it was a typo
"od" shold have been "of"

"Verity is the type of lady"

The Hitch said...

And "shold" should have been "should"
Im sorry but I type using a wand attached to my head , this leaves my hands free to open bottles and fire ball bearings at passers by.

Ethelred the Unhinged said...

OK, chaps, so to help Iain attract more women, we've all got to be a bit more gay. Lay off the blokey stuff. Think pink.

Er, who's going first?

jafo said...

Well, I'm one of the 14% who did fill in the survey, and I don't think you need to do anything to the blog. Iain. Some days it is more interesting than others - bit like life, really!

Nor do I give a toss about some of the stupid puerile comments made about women by a set of insecure little boys (some men never grow up........) I'm certainly not put off by them. None of them actually know us, don't know what we look like, and are just inflating their egos by personal abuse because they haven't got anything better to say and can't challenge the arguments with wit or intelligence.

Get back to discussing football and cars boys, you can probably cope with that - just.

(See, being rude is such fun, isn't it?)

Lilith said...

For the first time in a year I agree with Verity! Hurrah! Guido himself even picked on one of his regular female commentators (that I personally found funny, Moko) and she either disappeared or is pretending to be a man somewhere else. It is amazing to read at times, the gender based mudslinging, and it does feel like a lot of commentators wish it was a "boys only" club.

I read regularly Iain, and I didn't vote either..no time...

verity said...

Lilith is correct when she notes that there is a sense - sometimes - that some of the men think women are trespassing by commenting here. Guido's is worse. I don't go there any more, except every week or 10 days for a quick glance through. The comments aren't worth more than 30 second.

Ethelred the Unhinged said...

What I like most about women is that there is so little wrong with them.

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Blogging is like model railways, stamp collecting, and going down to the pub. It's a bloke thing.

Women's political views can be quite strongly held, but I guess they generally prefer talking to writing.

verity said...

No, Trumpeter. Women are as articulate as men - some say more so. They don't bother to come somewhere where they are going to be insulted for being women. Political blogging is not a bloke thing at all.

Lilith said...

You are being provocative Trumpeter. Guido was once a daily read for me too Verity, but like you, not anymore. Too many boorish morons and not enough gossip. Perhaps Guido has enough female commentators at home...Just wait till they are teenagers Big G...

Lilith said...

ethelred, you can be my friend.

Anonymous said...

Hitch & Newmania

My total respect. You always make me laugh/think/agree with every post.

Im shy

Kris said...

Verity said re Hitch: "Do I imagine how any of you look? No. Who cares?"

Actually, I have imagined how some of these people look.

I've always imagined The Hitch as someone sitting around in his underpants for days on end needing a shave and a good scrub.

Not a pretty sight.

Kris said...

BTW Lilith re Guido- LOL!

Lilith said...

Hey, where have all the boys gone?

Anonymous said...

Verity, the reason to attack anyone is to drive them away. By your own argument, it is an effective tactic.

If people think it especially effective against women, those are the people they will use it against.

Returning to the subject of the discussion, are there any political blogs that have a 50-50 ratio, or a majority of female readers?

NOT including explicitly feminist blogs - that would be a little like asking if a Welsh nationalist blog has a majority of Welsh readers.

Anonymous said...

Don't kid yourself Verity.

People don't dislike you because you're female. They despise you because you are extremely unpleasant.

Lilith said...

anon 8.53
"If people think it especially effective against women, those are the people they will use it against."

Surely you mean "men" not "people" in the first part of that sentence and "women" not "people" in the second part? Women are not in the habit of driving other women away in this way...

Lilith said...

Well, there you are, women of all political hues agreeing with each other on this one Iain!

verity said...

That women don't like one another is another myth that comforts a particularly inadequate male. I don't know why.

Anonymous 9:02 to me - "People don't dislike you because you're female. They despise you because you are extremely unpleasant." Well, thank God for that! At least it's for something I'm doing of my own free will and not for an accident of birth. (Although strange that they don't attack particularly unpleasant male bloggers in similarly personal and abusive terms, is it not?")

Newmania said...

VERITY LILLITH and KRIS CHORUS

Ay, sir, all this is so: but why
Stands Newmania thus amazedly?
Come, sisters, cheer we up his sprites,
And show the best of our delights:
I'll charm the air to give a sound,
While you perform your antic round:
That this great commentor may kindly say,
Our duties did his welcome pay.
Music. The wimin dance and then vanish, with HECATE

NEWMANIA

Where are they? Gone? Let this pernicious hour
Stand aye accursed in the calendar!
Come in, without there!



(A Distant Shrieking cackle flies on the nightstorm`s eye eeee ha ha aha aha)

mmmmm?

Newmania said...

THE END

The Hitch said...

kris said

I've always imagined The Hitch as someone sitting around in his underpants for days on end needing a shave and a good scrub.

You hit the nail on the head underpant wise , but I have a good wash twice a day , sometimes in the Regents park canal or on special occasions in the Serpentine, tourists throw fish to me as I dance to "shake that ass" by groove armada

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Hang on Verity! I didn't say women weren't articulate. Of course they are. I said, "I guess they prefer talking to writing" which is different.

But I agree with you about thuggish, vulgar abuse. Too much of it everywhere but especially at Guido's and The Guardian's CiF.

Let us, on the Right, aim for witty and civilised discourse. Who knows, eventually people may notice, and draw their own conclusions.

Lilith said...

Newmania! Newmania! Newmania! Beware McBroon! Beware the Thane of Fife!

verity said...

Yes, Trumpeter, thuggish is the apt word.

A propos of nothing, have you ever read Saki?

Anonymous said...

I'm another regular female reader who didn't fill in the survey. I never take part in surveys, on principle.

Kris said...

Ah the hitch

Rapier like wit AND bad breath!

Kris said...

Hitch

I always imagined you trawling the depths to "You have killed me".

raincoaster said...

How many times do I have to say this? According to the Pew Institute, who have surveyed tens of thousands of blogs, the MAJORITY OF BLOGGERS ARE FEMALE.

Jesus Christ, don't you people read?

The reason that political blogs are primarily male and primarily read by males is that women feel disenfranchised and divorced from the political process, particularly in the UK.

Newmania said...

I love Saki Verity as does Croydonian. We have compared notes.

verity said...

Raincoaster, as you don't live in the UK, but live in damp and sloshy Seattle/Portland/similar, which is about as far from power in the Anglosphere as anyone can get - save the Ozzie outback - your statement that "women feel disenfranchised and divorced from the political process, particularly in the UK."

How many women do you know in the UK? I don't know a single one who feels "disenfranchised and divorced from the political process" - not even "single mothers" who are well aware of how to work their local councils and benefits offices. They know who they are going to vote for, if they can remember what day the election is and where the poll booth is Or women who know how to work David Cameron's ambitions and demand roles.

Women in Britain have always sat on local councils and have always been magistrates. Don't talk rubbish.

Newmania and Croydonian, NO CHEATING BY LOOKING IT UP! - what were the last words Saki ever said. AND NO CHEATING!!!! There is no shame in not knowing.

I am trusting you both not to cheat as you are both fine men.

barbara syllogism said...

If you don't want to be perceived with regard to your gender, write under a non-gender specific name. (I always thought that Verity was a scrum-half from Swansea and Hitch was a retired florist from Cheltenham - btw Hitch, don't you take your ablutions in the Diana memorial fountain?)

Newmania said...

I know he went off to fight in the Great War Verity , adnd he didn`t have to at his age . I known also his last novel was a darkly comic invective against the german threat.
So I am gussing something like "Damn the Kaiser" ?

Hope yopu pick this up I`d love to know

sredni vastar said...

"Newmania and Croydonian, NO CHEATING BY LOOKING IT UP! - what were the last words Saki ever said. AND NO CHEATING!!!! There is no shame in not knowing.

I am trusting you both not to cheat as you are both fine men."

I know the answer to this, but I'm not sure in what way it's relevant to the thread

Anonymous said...

I've only got one thing to say to that bird, stop getting your nickers in a twist, cook the dinner, clean the house, stop rabbiting, nagging and bitching and get me a beer whilst dressed in a French maid's outfit. Sexist; what a sauce!

verity said...

Newmania - I'm moving this question over to Croydonian's so he has a chance to answer.

Verity said...

PS - Sredni Vastar - V good! I didn't get it at first!!

WSe're moving this over to The Croydonian.

grumpyoldbookworm said...

I'm a woman so only comment when I have something to say! How about getting links from places read by more women for example netmums.com ? Harriet Harman posted some questions on that site when she was trying to be deputy leader and got a huge response. Don't know if she read the comments though...

verity said...

Grumpy Old Bookworm - You really don't understand this site, do you? I mean, you have misunderstood everything about it.

Iain didn't wring his hands and wail, "Oh! If only I could get more women posting here I would be a happy blog-owner indeed!" He simply wondered why this and other political blogs are dominated by men.

He got his answer.

See, this is a Conservative political blog.

You wrote the words Harriet Harman. Iain does not permit obscenities on his site.

grumpyoldbookworm said...

Don't be rude, Verity! I think that many women simply haven't found this site yet, and as I pointed out, HH was accessing a huge number of female voters in a relatively easy way, which Iain could copy. She did get a very mixed response but unless Conservatives also move out of their silo occasionally they will never reach floating voters

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Verity: Sadly, I have never read Saki. Arnold Bennett is more my style. But I looked up Saki's last words.

How did we get sidetracked into this bizarre University Challenge starter for ten? We are supposed to be talking about women.

verity said...

Grumpy Old Bookworm - Don't feel free to give me orders. It's not your site, and if it were, I wouldn't be here.

You persist in trying to hang onto the wrong end of the stick. One more time, Iain is not trying to "reach out" to women. He was simply curious about why more women don't comment on his site. Not why don't they visit. Why don't they COMMENT.

If this blog gets infested with women who would intentionally go to a "mums" site, or who would read, never mind respond to, any "thought" that dribbled out of Harriett Harmon's ear, they will find themselves writing to an empty hall.

Guilty, Trumpeter, but I cannot remember why I was motivated to mention Saki. I know, from your writing on the blog, that you would like the wit and style of his short stories. "Tobermory" is entertaining, as is "Esme". Well, they all are. He also wrote a novel, "The Day Willy Came" - an imaginery scenario in which Kaiser Wilhelm conquered Britain. I can only imagine with rueful pleasure what he would have done to Tony Blair.

raincoaster said...

Verity, I certainly don't live in the US. I live in Canada, and have many friends in the UK. And you live in Mexico and recently wrote an eloquent post about the glories of "going native".

In any case:
the ratio of female to male Iain Dale blog readers pretty much directly parallels the ratio of female to male elected officials. That's why women don't read it; they're not in the field at all. Why they're not elected in larger numbers is another, much larger question. It certainly does indicate that any party who can engage women will make massive strides, as they do form the majority of eligible voters.

Being support staff is not the same as being an MP, as anyone who's been either knows.

verity said...

Gosh, Raincoaster, I don't remember writing about "going native" given there's nothing to "go native" about in the big cities and towns of Mexico.

Re your location - OK, you must live in BC, probably Vancouver.

I will tell you why women aren't elected "in much larger numbers": Unless they're exceptional, women tend to be bossier and more interfering and more interested in the minutia of other people's lives than men - especially if they are mothers. They think they know best. For every incisive Margaret Thatcher, Edwina Currie and Ann Widdicomb, there are a thousand fat-arsed, cashmere-sweatered know-it-all, bossy women sitting on town councils up and down the country. Thanks, but no thanks.

Women know this about other women. It is a myth that women will vote for women. It's women that wrecked the ability to do business in Parliament with "child friendly" hours. Most of us want a harder edge to government than "child friendly" hours for legislators.

Anonymous said...

I'm female and a regular here, though haven't yet had time to complete the survey.

Why not? Because, in common with so many women, I have a dual career. I run a business and a single parent family and family home - in addition to writing a book, being a keen blogger and conducting local history research. Something has to give and it's your survey.

I imagine a smaller proportion of your of regular female bloggers have completed your survey for that very reason anfd that this distorts the apparent male to female ratio.

Auntie Flo'

Ms Baroque said...

Hi there. Occasional reader here. Verity, you can lay off Bookworm now: if you read Iain's actual post, you will find that he did indeed say he would like to know what he can do to attract more female readers!

I also fear that you, Verity, have severely undermined your original, laudable comment with the misogyny in your subsequent ones. So "netmums.com" seems lame to you, but the business of polkitics is to represent everyone in the land, not just those who share our own self-perception.

Being a strong woman is not the same as simply being rude, or dissing other women, or imitating the combative style of posturing men.

Iain, if you;re reading this far down (I know you;re busy too) I will say a few things:

1. The misogynistic "jokes" of your first several dozen comments made me feel ill. I know: I'm supposed to be tough enough to take it. Well, I'm tougher than that, I'm tough enough to not feel I need to. It's boring and stupid.

2. Political blogs do seem to develop a particularly oppositional tone, discussions are usually debates or moer likely vitriolic arguments. Once again, it's boring. It's personality-driven, rather than being about the issues themselves, and as such does feel like time-wasting to peeople who really are also trying to get the dinner on or whatever.

3. Most bloggers are women, but most political bloggers are men. To whoever said most women are happier talking than writing, I'd say that is silliness exemplified.

4. Tolerating comments like those from Geezer, Johnny Norfolk, Macchiavelli, Ethelred the Unhinged, does imply that that's simply how things are done around here. Newmania's "Analysis" of the relative "masculinity" of other bloggers, all couched in terms suggestive of the weak, tedious, "spoavinned" ones possessing more female traits, was rather revealing, as well as unpleasant. His numbered list of ways to get female readers was beyond unfunny and sad.

Then the women come in. Verity's remarks about "what woen know about other women" are just as slighting to women as anything the men wrote. So we like bossy men, do we? Only e don;t call them bossy? What are they - powerful, masterful, domineering, comnmanding?

Puhlease.

See, this kind of discussion just feels like being held BACK, to me. We're in the slow lane here! Most women are simply WAY past needing to justify themselves like this! They want to read something with more relevance and content. (And before all your other readers start wanking on about Heat or Hello!, I'm a woman, I read serious books and papers, I blog on serious things, and so they can just shut up.) Your blog itself is interesting and often fun - and as it commands respect from many, and as I do have an interest in women and the general discourse, I am taking this moment to engage with you - but one toe dipped in this foetid little swamp of comments and, you know, they could be forgiven for thinking they just can't be arsed.

5. Why does everything have to be unpleasant?

6. No, that's not a rhetorical question. I suspect a lot of women simply prefer things not to be unpleasant (eg, ad hominem, for a start).

Ms Baroque said...

Sorry re typos; at least I have a basic command of grammar and spelling though!