Are you discouraged from participating in politics? Or is politics discouraged from participating with you?

BlogHer Original Post

This week on the blog MyDD, Melissa Ryan wrote:

“Women have told me that they're to intimidated to comment and post diaries on political blogs. I think that reluctance comes from a society that discourages women from participating in politics. That's a much larger problem, one that traditional media and political organizations aren't about to tackle. Instead they throw pot shots at bloggers, and in turn potentially discourage women from joining the Netroots coalition. Sexism exists everywhere. Yes it's a part of the netroots but as Jane {Hamsher, from Firedoglake] points out sexism is deeply rooted in the culture of both politics and media. The lack of women participating on political blogs is a discussion worth having, but the MSM shouldn't be driving the debate. Women bloggers should."

One of the things I like most about BlogHer is that we defy labels. We cover everything.

Another thing I like is that we tend to avoid the navel gazing typical among many blog communities, but the apparent lack of women talking politics online is one self-referential topic I think is worth discussing. Blogger Matt Stoller led me to the argument from Melissa Ryan about the under representation of women in political blogging. As we all know, this is a misnomer. It’s about labels. On BlogHer, perhaps few of us are strictly political bloggers, but we all write about politics when so moved.

I think mainstream institutions like the media and political campaigns can only cope with neatly labeled groups like “the netroots” or “mommybloggers.” The reality of online communities is far more messy and a little intimidating.

As BlogHer CE Catherine Morgan wrote, “… the reason BlogHer and the BlogHer conference is so great, is because it doesn’t “exclude” any woman, there is something for everyone. PLEASE DON’T CHANGE THAT. I wouldn’t want that to change just so politicians can have another soap-box, and the media can come up with one word to describe us all (like they do for kos). Let’s continue to focus on what WE WANT ….from them, ORGANIZING AS A GROUP TO AFFECT CHANGE…

But the discussion about where women fit in political blogging is real. After all, perception so often equals reality. Sarah and the GoonSquad noted:

“I’m not trying to make this a political blog, but I read something in The Washington Post yesterday that made me angry.

First the back story: My neighbor that I really like (the one who I told about BlogHer) knew that I went going to a blogging convention in Chicago and so she was excited when she saw this article in the paper.

Is that the one you went to? It says mostly white males.

No, mine was almost all women. Can I see the article?

It was the Yearly Kos Bloggers Convention. Yes, I understand that The Daily Kos is huge and I understand that it is mostly progressive political bloggers, so it make sense that the candidates would be interested in this venue, but seven of the eight Democratic presidential candidates were there.


You can’t see it in the online article, but in the paper paper there are pictures of Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Barak Obama and Dennis Kuchinich speaking at the conference.

BlogHer got Elizabeth Edwards. No offense to Mrs. Edwards, but seven of the eight Democratic candidates had no trouble showing up to Chicago the first weekend in August, but only one week earlier not one candidate (Democrat OR Republican) came to the girl blogging conference.”

Here’s the awesome thing: Barack Obama is really struggling with women voters. Well, duh!

If indeed you are discouraged from participating in politics, you haven’t missed much. This week:

Karl Rove’s Out- or is he really? As Lisse comments in Erin Kotecki Vest’s summary, “I think the beast has gone underground”

I agree, but apparently, there are those who love Mr. Rove: “Rove Hos”?

And, thank you Diane for this priceless Rove quote: "We will fuck him. Do you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like no one has ever fucked him." -to an aide about some political stratagem in some state that had gone awry and a political operative who had displeased him

Politics is an ugly business, indeed.

Speaking of, just in there aren’t enough bikini-clad wenches who can’t sing on VH1, there’s another “Obama Girl” video! Except this time, it’s the Romney Girls, a winsome threesome from New Jersey. Ew. Caroline Roberts on Bostonist introduces them:

“Then there was Giuliani Girl. It seemed like former Massachusetts governor and presidential aspirant Mitt Romney was going to be left out when it came to merging the political discourse with old-fashioned T&A.

But now, there are the Romney Girls, as in triplets, which makes a leering statement about Mormons and multiple wives. The Girls are Cynthia, Christine and Caroline Barbadoro, aspiring singer-songwriters.

Speaking of, on Saturday, Mitt Romney bought the Iowa Straw poll which is supposed to be an indicator of GOP presidential candidates’ standing, but which is really more like a traveling circus with really bad acts. Sure, Romney won, but as Diane writes, “No mention of what percentage of the votes cast were by Romney family members...”

And, finally the world economy. Even those of us who wouldn’t know a REIT from a FOREX are spooked: What does the current volatility mean for our economic security?

In our survey of the issues keeping women up at night, economic security is a huge one. How do I pay off student loans while trying to pay for my own kids college? Should I have bought that house?

Debb Thorne writes: “I grew up believing that some types of debt were good and necessary: namely, mortgage and student loan debt...'"

Is good debt gone? Find out.

And, for a clear, punchy summary of what’s happening in the markets, I recommend subscribing to Hale Stewart’s blog on Huffington Post.

And, regarding BlogHer and politics, do read Mary Clare Hunt's post "Why we need Sustainable Standards in the Political Conversation."


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