Back in my blogging heyday, various traffic seeking bloggers inevitably rolled out lists of the “Top Bloggers” for each particular year. Thrown in at the very bottom of these lists, almost as if added in as an afterthought, was the name of a woman or two.
Comments and blog posts ensued. “Where are the women?” they asked.
A flurry of “Top 25 Female Blogger” type posts cropped up in reaction, but no one cared much about them. The important lists were the ones listing Robert Scoble, Darren Rowse and Seth Godin. These lists always irked me. I hated that women were considered “female bloggers” instead of simply ” bloggers.”
As blogging evolved and more women began taking up residence in the social media space, I thought we were over a lot of the inadvertent sexism, but little things continue to happen that make me wonder if women are still perceived differently.
Let me throw out a couple of cases in point:
- At SXSWi ’09, I attended a “flash session” made up of community managers from brands such as Best Buy, Jet Blue and Crocs. It was a great and informative session, one of the highlights of the event. However, I wondered why there were no women on the panel. I knew of plenty of community managers from major brands who were attending SXSW – who also happened to be women -so why did the panel only include the guys?
- AT Blogworld ’08, I attended the highly anticipated super session of “Make Money Online” bloggers including Darren Rowse, John Chow, Jeremy Shoemaker and Brian Clark. However, I wondered why there were no women on the panel. Were none asked?
- I have been invited to sit in on “Mommy Blogger” panels at various online and offline events. I have a blog and I have a child. However, My child has nothing to do with my writing blog and vice versa. I don’t blog about time outs and dirty diapers, nor am I sponsored by green beans or laundry detergent. Yet, so many people consider me a mommy blogger because I am a mother with a blog. If this is the case, shouldn’t we refer to Brian Clark as a “daddy blogger?”
- I was invited to be a part of an online radio panel featuring the “Divas of Social Media.” (I blogged about this on my own blog yesterday, so go ahead and skip this item if it’s something you heard before.) Why is it men are called “ninjas” or “gurus” while women are considered “divas” or “darlings.”
I’m not a card carrying member of any women’s liberation group, but that doesn’t mean these little things are any less irritating. As someone who has been blogging as long as some of the “gurus” it’s kind of a pet peeve to see testosterone-laden super sessions and lists of top bloggers. I’m pretty sure the organizers of these events aren’t setting out to disqualify women, but the fact that we don’t automatically come to mind isn’t any less disturbing.
Yesterday’s startling revelation that blogger James Chartrand is really a woman served to stimulate a very important dicussion topic. Is it easier for a man to find a job? Do we take men more seriously as experts?
Is there a glass ceiling in social media?
The other day, Read Write Web came out with a list of social media predictions for 2010. Click to page two and scroll down a bit and you’ll find “Women will rule social media.”
Will women rule social media because they are making a difference in the space? Or are we ruling social media because we’re the ones who purchase diapers and make the buying decisions as the RWW post hints? If so, we haven’t come very far at all.
What do you think? How are women perceived in the blogosphere and the social media space? Will we ever be seen as anything other than the darlings of the blogosphere?
Deb Ng is a professional blogger and founder of the Freelance Writing Jobs network. Feel free to follow her on Twitter @debng.