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February 22, 2005

Women bloggers

Here we go again...

"Where are the A-list female bloggers?"

Inside this inane question are some sensible questions trying to get out. Unfortunately, this question is rarely asked by anyone who is genuinely curious. For the most part, "the women blogger thing" is a convenient pretext to expound upon the Differences between males and females. Some bloggers broach the topic as an oblique way to denigrate women in general: Why aren't there more female bloggers? Because, women are generally less political, less intelligent, and less motivated--so we shouldn't expect much from that group.

A: Where are so few of the A-list political blogs written by women? Aren't women interested in politics?

B: Many popular female bloggers write about politics, but their contributions are often overlooked or miscategorized as apolitical if they work in a more personal or narrative format.

A: Okay. I'm just wondering why there aren't more women in the high traffic, news-oriented, heavily hyperlinked blogs. You know, like Atrios, Kos, or Instapundit? Is Wonkette the only XX A-lister? If these narrative bloggers are so great why aren't they showing up more in the TTLB ecosystem, or on other measures of blog influence? (I bet it's ev psych!)

B: We could argue about whether our society irrationally discounts stereotypically feminine modes of expression, how to define the A-list, what percentage of female bloggers aspire to be on somebody's A-list, or whatever. We could speculate about how much of the variance in site traffic can be explained by sexism vs. social conditioning vs. sun spots vs. having a nice picture. The fact remains nobody ever offers any data to substantiate these hypotheses.

Instead, let me recommend some female bloggers doing top-notch work in the mainstream poliblog format. Far from being marginalized or underrated, these blogs are key players in the blogosphere. Most have already been cited and/or blogrolled by A-listers and some are on the "speed dial." Several of these women have earned mainstream media appearances on the strength of their blogs. Many are award winners. One was a credentialed DNC blogger.

Elizabeth Anderson of Left2Right
Jessica Wilson of For the Record
Julie Saltman
Respectful of Otters
Body and Soul
Jeralyn Merritt of TalkLeft
Hilzoy of Obsidian Wings
Julia of Sisyphus Shrugged
Jane Galt of Asymmetrical Information
Laura Rozen of War and Piece
DC Media Girl
Maia Cowen of Failure is Impossible.

Here are some influential female bloggers who provide excellent political commentary in slightly less "traditional" formats:

Belle Waring
Rox Populi
HE Baber
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Bitch PhD

(This is an abbreviated and eclectic sampling. I hope readers will add their favorites to the comments.)


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» Majikthise on Women Political Bloggers from Opiniatrety
Lindsay Beyerstein at Majikthise has an excellent post on the recurring alleged lack of women political bloggers. She offers a list of female bloggers doing top-notch work (I dissent from one of those, but never mind), and points out that... [Read More]

» Hear me roar with the rest from Julie Saltman
I don't understand why so many women in the blogosphere are complaining that Kevin Drum's post...brings up a tired subject that everyone's sick of. This particular gender gap continues to be a significant problem...What's likely not a reason for the ... [Read More]

» Yay! I have a fan club! from Pharyngula
Should I be flattered or creeped out? My comments on the recent flareup of the blogger gender wars spurred the gang at Gene Expression to analyze my blogroll for gender bias. I'd thought about doing this myself a while back but geez, you know, I&a... [Read More]

» Cashing In the Fem Bonus Points from Happy Furry Puppy Story Time with Norbizness
Thanks to Chris for his attempt to cheer me up in the midst of my fake depression and very real dalliance with Tito's Vodka and Knudsen's Cranberry Juice. However, as I was myself an undersized, left-handed pitcher who tossed mainly... [Read More]

» Friday Random Ten: subversive lazy linking edition from Geekery Today
Like the Holy Roman Empire, this Friday Random Ten is neither Friday, nor Random, nor Ten. But it is (I think) a good idea; thanks... [Read More]

» More on women bloggers from Political Forecast
You all might remember several days back an interesting little discussion emerged over at Iowa Ennui after Drews comment during our live-blogging of the Jefferson Jackson dinner that all the folks at the bloggers table were white men. I... [Read More]


Why do you so dislike Waring that you would compare her to Lileks?

Thank you, Lindsay. I am humbled and honored to be included in this list of excellent women bloggers.

a comment from "Old Europe": It that "the Summers effect"?
With other words: If somebody raises the question, laugh out loud and go on!


I think one of the best that should be included is Blondesense. IMHO

PZ, thanks for pointing that out. Your comment prompted me to ask myself how I would feel if someone compared me to James Lileks, even if they meant well. (Really, really bad.) So I deleted that parenthetical remark.

What I mean is that Belle does brilliantly a lot of what Lileks does badly--longer form commentary that combines political analysis, pop culture, and domestic life, humor, and recipes. It galls me that a hateful piker like Lileks is one of the only poliblog A-listers with a more characteristically "feminine" format.

Amanda Marcotte of Mouse Words is really funny, by the way.

But what about bloggers that chose not to reveal the gender that they identify with? That is, after all, one of the finer points of the Internet – anonymity, in many senses, is quite possible. I'm not familiar with most of the blogs on the current "A-lists" (but I will definitely have a look at your female listings, thanks!) but do they all clearly identify themselves as males? Or maybe a better question is, is their real identity still unknown after reaching a certain level of fame?

Another one of my favorite female bloggers is Mad Kane over at>President Boxer.

I enthusiastically second the nomination of Avedon Carol at The Sideshow. She's an A-List political blogger with perception and an edge to her prose. I've firmly believed for almost thirty years that there were few things finer to read than Avedon's prose when her anger fuels its fire.

(There's only one H in Teresa Nielsen Hayden's name, BTW.)

Good post. Anyone tempted to start waxing on about the women blogger issue should be required to read this first and think a little bit harder about what they might have to add.

I'd add Trish Wilson to your list; she often blogs on important political issues that don't really ever show up on A-list manly political blogs: family courts, the machinations of various "men's rights" buffoons, etc.

Also, Amanda of Mousewords is more than just funny, she's sharp as hell. She's got a real skill for cutting to the heart of the issue quite nicely.

Helena Cobban's The Yarn Harlot. Echidne of the Snakes.

There are lots of great women bloggers out there.

Just wondering -- how does the audience for blogs and the internet in general break down in terms of gender percentages?

Just to say I threw The Yarn Harlot in that little list for fun -- no politics there, but still plenty of angst.

Must the Medium Lobster once again be the one to have to point out the lack of minority representation in the high traffic, news-oriented, heavily hyperlinked blogs? Where Are The A-List Black Bloggers? Why won't the bigger blogs link them? Or, to skip right to the absurdly inappropriate and accusatory tone, why is Kevin Drum a racist?

I'd like to second Amanda at Mouse Words and Echidne of the Snakes (

Also, Katherine at Obsidian Wings, Shakespeare's Sister (, and isn't there a woman at Wampum?

M-Lob; I think it would be good if high-profile bloggers, if they find themselves reading and linking only white writers, made an effort to read and link good black bloggers. I like Jesse Taylor of pandagon. (Of course, Kos is Latino.)

Well... Jesse Taylor of Pandagon is a kinda-black (he once described himself as 1/3rd black, which is hereditarily impossible (to the extent that races are biologically inherited traits in the first place), but could be an approximation for, oh, 11/32nds black?). Abiola Lapite is satisfactorily black, and while not yet quite mainstream, I think the popularity of Foreign Dispatches has been climbing at a slow but steady pace over the past year or so. For some reason, though, not many of the other people I read (admittedly, mostly liberals, though sometimes liberals with a fairly large "libertarian" section of their blogroll) blogroll or link him. I think it might be because when people first read him he comes off as kinda abrasive (he's got a heart of gold on the inside though. Or at least a heart of cardiac muscle tissue, which is actually more useful).

Hmm... so I read about 1.3 black bloggers. I occassionally follow links to Prometheus 6 or Republic of T or whatever, but don't read them unless "induced" by someone else.

You'd think that Matthew Yglesias and Julian Sanchez were Latinos from their last names, but I think neither of them consider that to be the case. :^)

Your list is superior to that thrown together by Mr. Drum, I would like to add Chris Nolan.

I really have no idea what "A list " means in the context of blogging. But I could name a few highly-worth-reading female bloggers. How do you post links in this section, again?

Hi Ruddy,

Typepad accepts Standard HTML links.

And yeah, Mouse Words is great.

She doesn't seem to have her own blog, but I really like the political writings of Sarah Posner. She can be found over at the Gadflyer.

I don't think Kevin Drum is sexist or racist. I just think he's being an exasperatingly half-assed moderate. As usual, he wants it both ways: a) There are already many fine female bloggers--he knows because he reads many of them daily; b) There's this puzzling lack of girls at the very pinnacle of blogdom.

"Where are the women bloggers?" is utterly non-committal. He doesn't think there's a dearth of female talent, nor does he care to give examples of female bloggers who are under recognized compared to their male peers, nor is he willing to name names or make specific complaints about how blog culture might be alienating women. Instead he gets all whiny about how he doesn't want to get railroaded like Larry Summers but...

He's being obtuse. If anything, this sort of hand wringing undermines the status of female bloggers. When an influential guy like Drum muses aloud why there aren't any A-list female bloggers he just reinforces the perception of an undiagnosable and unsolvable problem. (Is it women? Is it blog culture? How could we tell? What could we ever do about it?!)

Avedon Carol, certainly certainly, and Mad Kane, and the BlondeSense blondes, but please don't omit the wonderful Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla. Or Elayne Riggs. Or Pam Spaulding of Pam's House Blend.

Laura Rozen, by the way, spells it with a "Z."

Mary Beth of Wampum

I also believe that Bean of Alas, A Blog! is female (BTW you need to correct the link in your blogroll), as is Echidne of Echidne of the Snakes and The American Street.

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