I Don’t Believe It

Mon, October 22, 2007

Making Our Political Voices Heard

“Are more men engaged in politics online than women, and if so, why?”

That was the question that Katharine Seelye from the New York Times’ posed in her political blog, The Caucus, a few weeks ago. To my surprise, the answer to her informal survey turned out to be, “Yes.”

Seelye points to the fact that men tend to be the ones writing “specifically about politics, reading about politics and putting their two cents in the comments sections.”

I say they’re just the ones getting the coverage, as so often tends to happen in other areas of our lives, as well.

Aside from my own foray into being a political woman with a political blog (OK, I admit it — blogs, including this one), there are so many others out there trying to raise the profile of our voices. So I guess the better question is, why aren’t we getting noticed?

I believe the reason is that women try to engage in actual discourse. It’s part of the whole being female thing — we want to express our opinions and hear what others have to say, even if we don’t agree. Then we think about things, mull them over and, should it be so shocking, consider other’s opinions in shaping our own.

Conversation isn’t something that comes easily to a lot of men, but they are good at raising their voices, pounding their fists on their chests and getting the attention. And I think that’s what’s happening. (Not for all of them, of course).

But perception often is reality. That was proven by the turn-out of the media and presidential candidates at the Yearly Kos convention – a conference of mostly men bloggers — versus the lack of turn-out at this year’s BlogHer conference — a gathering of women bloggers.

I think there are just as many of us double-Xer’s who are as political as the ones who have a Y in their genetic make-up. It’s just that, for the moment, the ones covering us in the main stream media still have a tendency to gravitate toward the men-folk when looking for people with political opinions.

So how do we raise our profile to get our voices heard, especially in this upcoming election where we have the possibility of electing the first ‘XX’ president?

One good thing did happen as a result of this conversation at her blog. Last week, she took a look at how some presidential campaigns are starting to reach out to women bloggers — including the Momocrats, where a few of us are pounding the virtual pavement to get voters to support John Edwards for President.

And I guess that’s not a bad start.

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7 Responses to “I Don’t Believe It”

  1. Julie Pippert Says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with this, “Conversation isn’t something that comes easily to a lot of men, but they are good at raising their voices, pounding their fists on their chests and getting the attention. And I think that’s what’s happening.”

    We are still measuring things by “male” standards.

    I wince every time I hear people/pundits call women “issue” voters. WTF other kind of voter IS there?

    And I still think “not as involved” means “doesn’t give as much money” and “uses money as power stick.”

    Women do care about politics, but not per se across the board in a hyper focused or chest-pounding way. So what we do do is overlooked, ignored, or undervalued.

    Wow, that’s new.

    Perhaps things need a little more measuring by “female” standards.

    Julie
    Using My Words

  2. Momish Says:

    Yes, I would agree with you that they are just getting the coverage and not that they out number. Another problem might be that women’s blogs ten to be more well rounded. Thus, when someone comes to a blog that could have six posts in a row about politics and one post about a recipe or their child, they get locked into Mommy blog or Food blog as a result.

    Just a thought. Great topic, I will have to read the original posts you referred to and catch up on this.

  3. glennia Says:

    I think you’ve summed this up very well. I don’t like reading many of the political blogs because the “discussion” devolves into name-calling and ad hominem attacks on the candidates or the writers who write about them. Men characterize women who do such things as “catty” and “bitchy” but when they do it, it’s “discussion.”

  4. Becky Says:

    Isn’t the question flawed? Isn’t it like asking, Are men better drivers and why? Or, Are men better parents or managers or whatever and why? I mean, really, what’s the point?

    It does nothing more than incite a yes-I-do-no-you-don’t-yes-I-do exchange. Think “mommy wars.”

    Instead of baiting readers with flawed questions, maybe the journalist on the NYT blog should do some research and reporting come up with more constructive ideas for discussion.

  5. Lawyer Mama Says:

    You know, I was so excited when a friend told me her husband saw something on ABC news about mom bloggers. I was hoping against hope that they had picked up on our political and substantive lives. Nope. It was about the woman who tried to sell her kids on ebay. Sigh.

    I agree that we’re just as involved, we just write about politics in a different way. I write about Iraq and I relate it to my family. I write about poverty and I relate it to my family. And maybe I throw in some pictures of my kids and a silly video. But I’m looked at as a “Mommy Blogger.” Granted, I don’t write about politics exclusively, but how many of us really do? We need to change how we’re defining “involvement” in politics and look at the equation again. I’m sure we’ll get a different answer.

  6. jen Says:

    they’ll start listening. they just don’t it yet. they don’t realize we are here to stay, we are loud, and we matter.

  7. Gunfighter Says:

    None of this discussion matters until we start talking about money.

    Money.

    Money.

    Having an effective voice comes from getting your message out.

    Getting your message out costs money.

    Guess who has it?


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