Thoughts on conference style

BlogHer Original Post

I'm not sure if this is the right place to put this, but Jo's thoughts on conferences, gender, and social ties were particularly interesting. i.e when men pay attention to each other, it's because they are exercising judgement and deciding what's worth paying attention to. When women pay attention to each other, it's a "popularity contest" -- often framed in terms of children or teenagers. Jo seems to be suggesting we take that myth and turn it around and claim its positive aspects.

We could think of the social tendencies of many groups of women instead as a positive trait, one that can be utilized in a creative structure like a conference. What are the implications of acknowledging the personal in a "serious" context like a conference? Does it serve only to cheapen what is said and make it trivial, or does it open the possibility of providing an alternative to a capitalist model wherein everyone makes an effort and climbs over each other to win out?

Thoughts?

This line of thinking is coming from hearing a lot of people say that "BlogHer is just a big popularity contest."

Imagine, if you will, a men's conference wherein bloggers made that complaint. It's hard, isn't it? Culturally men tend not to expect inclusion and "feelings" from a conference. So how can we 1. make women feel that even their small humble blog puts them on an equal footing in terms of Having Something to Say..... and 2. Use that "group" awareness of hierarchy to utilize more of the wisdom of everyone involved, rather than the people at the top of the hierarchy serving as imitative models for the lesser pack to emulate.