is are "the media"?
Rad Geek's kindly props to yours truly and DED Space (whom I neglected to mention in my excitement) for our having been mentioned in the
Inside the Blogs segment on CNN's Inside Politics, led to some interesting musings:
I don't have a teevee these days, so I don't get much of a chance to follow the ins and outs at CNN or Fox News. But I gather this is a short segment run on one of CNN's daily commentary shows. Yeah, that's only a couple of minutes a day, but it is and ought to be exciting. Tom Tomorrow was exactly right just about this time two years ago when he smacked blog-triumphalists upside the head and pointed out that
the relationship of bloggers to the mainstream media is roughly that of wood tick to deer. That's still mostly true now, but we are seeing the first creaks and whispers of a change in front of our eyes. CNN is beginning to pull material from blogs because that's just as easy, or even easier to do than churn out more of the same commentary from the same set of blowhard usual suspects. Thus two feminist bloggers got some recognition that they deserve as much as anyone, and a lot more than the blowhard set that usually gets air time on CNN.
The more DIY media that people produce, and make freely available for re-use, the more that turning to grassroots media will become the path of least resistence. This is not about to revolutionize media; it's unlikely to even reform it much in the immediate future. But it is a step in the right direction and it is exciting to see writing that used to exist strictly as marginalia on mainstream media discussions begin to enter, step by step, into the conversation.
Become the media.
Yes, we are the media ... the citizen media. It certainly is nice to get mentioned on what is probably the only MSM programming that doesn't treat "the bloggers" like some special-interest lobbying organization.
It's also a big break for us that women are doing this show. Abbi Tatton and Jacki Schechner I think do a great job at quickie summaries of various blog posts ... and I can only wonder what this CNN "Inside the Blogs" segment would be like if men were hosting it. Would women's voices be noticed at all then? I mean besides Ana. Is there any reason to assume that the phenomenon we see online -- that most men don't notice, don't respect, don't appreciate "women bloggers" or what we have to say -- does not manifest as well in the newsrooms?
And yet we're here, and in this day and age, where radical conservatives want to take away women's reproductive rights, while liberal progressives say that women's rights are not in jeopardy (or are at best secondary concerns), our presence online in itself I think helps democratize (small 'd') the media.
It can be a maddening experience, though. ms. b.'s announcement that she's leaving the fray shows how taxing it can be to "argue with stupid people" like men's rights activists. I agree.
Iâ€™m still a feminist, in case anyone was worrying for a minute there. I still believe passionately in my politics and in making things better. Iâ€™m just not so sure the blogosphere is the place to do it, and if it is, that this is where my place is. So Iâ€™m gonna write what I know, and how I feel, and screw what my blog description limits me to.
On the flip side, two women who feel very strongly about the blogosphere and women's places in it are Lisa Stone (aka Surfette) and Elisa Camahort (of Worker Bees Blog), who are working to put together Bloghercon. Elisa offers some history of how this came about:
Men, as well as women, have been asking, "Where are the women?" And we have been responding...we're right here. That the same question is being asked now as was asked one year ago or two years ago is frustrating, but the real question is: what, if anything, do women bloggers want to do about it?
There's room in Bloghercon for philosophical discussion on questions like:
-Is blogging genderless? If you didn't know a blogger's name, could you always tell their gender? And does it matter?
-If, as Shelley claims, links are the powerful talisman of the male blogger, and to women sometimes a link is just a link, then what do women want to get out of blogging?
-How can such a new medium already have an "old boy's club"? Or is this just a continuation of an existing club? Does certain content make a woman an acceptable mascot for that club, while other kinds of expression will keep us out?
-Do women marginalize themselves without any help from men? What drives us to do that?
Even more importantly, Lisa and I want to have a Bloghercon to take action:
-Do we care if there is and old boy's club-does it affect us? Do we want to be part of that club? Do we want to change the club?
-If we care, then how can women promote women, without being dismissed as a sewing circle? And should we? Is creating a women's network the answer, or do we really seek gender-transparency?
-Where are the other barriers? And what are we trying to break through those barriers to do?
-What would be measurable success? If we had a Bloghercon again in a year what would cause us to pat ourselves on the back and say "job well done"?
I am a bit torn personally. You see, every time I ask the question, "why are there so few women in the Technorati Top 100?", my next thought is, "Who cares about the Technorati Top 100? Is that a desirable measure? And if not, then what is?"
We can all acknowledge that there are different kinds of bloggers, and some will never care about links and traffic and being quoted...that's not why they blog. But there's a whole group of women bloggers who are creative and expressive, but also ambitious and driven about their blogging.
How do we all increase our individual satisfaction within the group endeavor that is the blog community? That's what Bloghercon will explore.
Via email, Lisa told me that they hope to announce a time and place for this event very soon. On her site, she shares her views on the why:
I submit that women bloggers deserve Bloghercon, based on the events of the past month. I don't just mean reacting to what he said, what he wrote and the data behind what she's on about, important conversations all.
No, I'm talking about a conference that enables women bloggers to tesseract to proactive social and intellectual networking with each other. Women bloggers have much more enticing sashimi to gobble than Summers and Drum--politically, economically, socially and personally. For example, let's examine what she blogged about women on seven continents, her comments on a facet of family law, her syllabus of political bloggers, what she and she see coming in Elections 2006 and 2008, her red-alert about our rights as bloggers and what she said a television commentator called us.
She also links to other sites discussing Bloghercon. There are more listed in choconancy's del.icio.us page.
Subverting the dominant linking heirarchy, feminist edition
Meanwhile we keep reading and blogging. One of the pleasures for me always is discovering new voices ("new" in that they're new to my narrow experience of the blogiverse). Thanks to props by Genia V. Stevens (who is behind the new jane campaign; see her ad in the right column here), and following the lead of Ophelia of XX, I'm adding some new women to the blogroll, citing here some interesting posts:
Solotude on the Circle of Life (as opposed to "Culture" of Life)
coloredgirls.com with reviews on books, films and other stuff. (Site uses frames, so I can't bookmark a particular review.)
Black Looks on why nobody is asking "Where are the African bloggers?"
swirlspice on local Twin Cities yokels
rashundatramble offers her living will with snark
Lynne d Johnson on leading a talk with coco fusco at the Bronx Museum
Not Formica on identity blogging
sister outsider on how some people just don't change
This is some good stuff and I gain by adding these women to my blogreading experience.