Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

I Have a Dick, Just Like the Writers of Techcrunch

My head was spinning from all the posts, and twitters, and comments over the weekend about the BlogHer article  in the Style section of the New York Times.  Most of the discussions were similar:

“Why do male bloggers get into the Business and Technology section while women bloggers are relegated to the Style page?”

There were numerous mentions of the patriarchial society, about how men are taken seriously and how women are belittled as mere mommybloggers.  Some women said that they were proud of their “girl” interests — it enabled them to start online businesses and to be courted by companies.  But — these women naturally wanted to be taken as seriously as the male bloggers who get into the Wall Street Journal.

I agree.  I’m all for an equal playing field.   Yea, women!   Is there any blogger out there who loves women more than me?  But many of the comments that I read — particularly by women — made me depressed.

First of all, I live in this patriarchal society, just like everyone else.  I have to deal with the stereotypes — the fact that technology, business, and politics are considered serious and manly pursuits.  How many self-deprecating jokes did I have to make on Twitter this weekend to hide the fact that I loved “Mamma Mia?”  While mommybloggers set up successful online networks, I have to explain to my male friends what I do as a blogger.  If I didn’t make up some practical reason — “hey, maybe I’ll get laid by one of the hot ones” — they would think I am wasting my time.

“How much money do you make on your blog” asked a friend recently.

“Uh, nothing.”

Weird looks of disdain.   I can’t even say I got even a free wii, like so many of you.

The patriarchal society affects me.

My readership is 90% women.  Why?  Because most men don’t give a crap about what my mother made for dinner last night.  Men read and write blogs about technology and business and politics.  These are the worthy pursuits for men.   To most men — there are the professionals and there are the hobbyists.  This is a clearcut hieararchy as tightly controlled as who gets into Guy Kawasaki’s private party at BlogHer.

What I found surprising this weekend was that so many women seem to think the same way.

Every time I saw a female blogger write the expression “male blogger” this weekend, it was a code name for “tech” or “political” bloggers like Techcrunch or Daily Kos.  It was as if these female bloggers had the exact same viewpoint about male blogging as the New York Times.  While “Female Blogging” represented a wide range of views, from writing about shoes, knitting, to talking politics, “male blogging” was still dressed in a suit and tie.   I read the term “male bloggers” countless times, not once described in a way that includes me.

Come on ladies, I know you are trying to win some power for yourself, but don’t use rhetoric that diminishes me.  Don’t say “male bloggers” when you really mean male tech bloggers or male business bloggers.

I am a male blogger.

Give men the freedom to expand their horizons in the same way you want for yourselves.

63 Comments

  1. As a male blogger I support your position here although I’ve never been bothered by the fact that I don’t blog like the other boys. Do what you do and don’t worry about explaining yourself.

  2. I’m sorry – you will have to be content by eye candy for all the women bloggers out there! When you push out a baby, then we’ll start taking you seriously!

  3. Will — that’s because other men see your hot wife and say, “That guy has it made!”

  4. Mary Beth — who knows what future science may hold? Are you sure “push out a baby” is the medical term?

  5. whoot! Awesome..you tell it…
    stop the gender stuff and say the truth..the moneymaking or ‘business’ sites vs..the PERSONAL sites…

    that IS the distinction and confusion is it not?

  6. I think you’ve made an excellent observation, and as you know, I also think the tendency of women to do this type of thing is an overcorrection for preceived past slights. I think it also shows that we are just as guilty of making the same types of mistakes as those we call out. Talk about equality, eh? 😉

  7. a) Thank you for calling me hot.

    b) However, you sort of seem to want it both ways. You want to be a “dude” and you want to be akin to a mommyblogger.

    c) While your comment to Will did make me laugh, the fact is that you didn’t categorize me as a great writer, a funny blogger, or a smart woman, you just categorized me as “hot” as if that’s the only thing that counts (and clearly enough?)

    d) Thanks for calling me hot.

  8. Good point, well said.

  9. Neil – With all due respect sir, that’s a ridiculous statement. I did this for years before I met her and if you think the only reason people read is because of her you’re wrong. If that were the case we’d have a co-blog but we have our own distinct personalities that people respond to for diferent reasons. To say that people read my blog only because she’s hot is insulting to us both. Now I’m not sending you picture of her boobs.

  10. I love (read) all male bloggers equally – that’s my whorish version of equality

  11. I understand what you’re saying, but gender doesn’t come into play for me all that much. Personally, I’m always more concerned with the pro bloggers stinking up the place. We need more folks who take it seriously, but not on the money tip.

    Now that I’m thinking about money, let me ask you an ironic question, Neil– what do you do for cash? I hear about you buying Dockers, going for coffee, flying off to NYC, eating fancy fruit cocktail, LOL– but you never seem to actually work. You must have the same job as most of the folks on TV. “Friends,” for example. What did those people do? I’m off on a tangent now. Back to my card game.

  12. I’m not one of the whiners. Sometimes I’m one of the lucky ones and get a free product to try.

    I’m not privvy to the key to the executive washroom. I’m a lowly worker bee.

    Let’s be serious here. The “lucky ones” getting things? It’s not all that great, not all that life changing, not all that interesting in the grand scheme of things. I much prefer it when my favorite writers are writing.

    So thanks for this one, Neil. And for the last damn time, I will not sleep with you. No matter how great you write.

  13. Gender talk, smart gender talk! Yeah Neil! Did you minor in men’s or women’s or feminist studies? I love that you go “there.” Let’s all grab our copies of Herland and imagine a world in which people aren’t boxed, labeled and marketed. I need a lollipop!

  14. @Lucy: With all due respect, I don’t think reducing a woman to “hot” and that’s why people perhaps read her (or read her husband) qualifies a smart gender talk. It seems more of the same gender talk (girls are fashion and pretty; guys are tech and serious.)

    @Mocha: Your comment seems to be in line with a lot of the bloggers that I know.

    Good writing is good writing, it doesn’t matter what you’re packing.

  15. My point is that by writing this post, Neil is challenging the dominant culture. This is why I read blogs. Women speak of being boxed all the time. Why shouldn’t a man express frustration with gender-related restrictions?

  16. BRAVO neil, well done i really like how you knock it out of the park on these types of topics.

    “nobody backs neil into a corner”!

  17. You just wanted an excuse to talk about your dick again.

  18. My oh My – the debate rages on: Boys against the girls! As far as I’m concerned – If people blog what is true to them it has some merit. I don’t have to agree – but I respect the right to say what we think.

    You are a GREAT writer. I don’t really know if you’re hot – cause I like girls. But I won’t discriminate because you have a dick- I have one too – it’s in the drawer.

    Peace All!

  19. Crumchy Carpets had it right —

    stop the gender stuff and say the truth..the moneymaking or ‘business’ sites vs..the PERSONAL sites…

    let’s take the word blogging back!

    Now she is HOT — because she is SMART.

    And Slackmistress —

    “However, you sort of seem to want it both ways. You want to be a “dude” and you want to be akin to a mommyblogger.”

    Exactly!!! The same way you want to write about shoes and still get into the business section. I could be both.

  20. I think this is one of my favorite posts! Sometimes we perpetuate stereotypes with our words and don’t even realize it – thank you for making me reconsider what I say and who I say it to.

    I read blogs that captivate or touch me with their stories. NOT because the writer is cool or popular or male or female. I come here because you make me laugh and think and because you present another perspective to consider. You go, Neil!

  21. you go boy – kick some blogger ass.

  22. Neil, this is why I love you. Subvert that dominant paradigm!

    As far as I can tell, there are “personal” bloggers and “professional” bloggers. I’m a personal blogger because I write about me and, well, me. You’re the same way. Professional bloggers, ones who pick a topic and stick with it regardless of what’s going on in their personal lives, tend to steer their boats in a completely different way, and from what I’ve noticed, they tend to be men. But I could be wrong. My blogroll is only filled with people I like and who like me — and it’s that personal connection that makes the whole thing interesting.

  23. Amen, brother!

    Hell, I’m a daddy blogger. We’re at the bottom of the fucking totem pole. Nobody even knows we exist and I couldn’t really give a shit about it anyway. Then again, I don’t write for money, fame, or to get free shit.

    Maybe people need to question why they’re blogging in the first place.

  24. I’m new to blogging and I missed the discussion this weekend, but interesting topic. Let me ask the question, then, –why are people who write about technology more respected, more whatever than people who write about parenthood, regardless of gender. Yes, technology is important, but so is, you know, the propagation of the species.

  25. I dont understand why there is a controversy, why it is a subject of importance at all. Worthy enough to be written about in the New York Times? Sure, Blogging is a new way of life. Its a new way to share. Opinions, lives, news etc. They can be personal ‘diaries’ they can be stories, they can be professional or helpful. What does it matter how you are classified?
    I’m not trying to be rude, but I dont understand why its such a big deal lately. Why people hold such opinions about who can write, who can not. Youre writing, people are reading.

    If you dont want them to read; dont write; if you want them to read; then write.

    There are people right now, defending our country and working very hard to provide for our freedoms. How often do they make the news? They dont. People who are everyday heros. They get a headline on the back page every now and then.

    But the subject of people sharing their lives? Give me a break. Its insane. So you’re a male blogger. Dont let it pigeon-hole you. Write what you want to write.
    If you were publishing books; you’d be labeled as ‘this kind of writer’. Big deal. People are going to read it or they’re not.

    Keep writing Neil. We like what you write about, and we’ll each continue to read the blogs that touch us. Not becasue of ‘their label’ but because of who the reader is.

  26. Well said, as usual!

  27. Sarah — thank you for those words. But I do think that words matter. Maybe we wouldn’t even be fighting in Iraq if masculine phrases like “never give in” or “make them submit” was not considered the truth by leaders. What I wrote is only a little bit about men vs. women. It is about power and control and connections.

    I think it is important that women join forces to combat the sexism of the workplace and the mainstream medium.

    But there are other alignments out there as well — such as conservatives and liberals, religious and atheist, those who write personal blogs vs. those who blog about “serious things.”

    As a personal blogger, it is important to society that others see our work as important because we are the real heart of the blogosphere.

    When people start using the term “male bloggers” to mean tech bloggers, they are ignoring the importance of men in the personal blogging world, and trying to weaken our alignment — separating the men and the women — by only focusing on the male/female equation.

    My connection to my fellow personal bloggers is as strong and vital as that of a female tech or marketing blogger to a female personal blogger. Our bond is “emotional orientation.” The other bond is “gender.”

  28. “Why do male bloggers get into the Business and Technology section while women bloggers are relegated to the Style page?”

    I find it interesting that Business and Technology are assumed by all to be of greater importance than Style. May I suggest that all three are equally frivolous?

  29. Hi again,
    I am a woman in the very patriarchial society (helicopters and powerlines). I go to conferences and am the only woman. Yes, I’ve had to work harder to earn my respect, but I never doubted the respect that would come. I never had to ‘prove’ myself, because of my own confidence.
    I dont have to ‘prove’ myself to someone elses small-mindedness.

    There need not be alignments, there are merely different people and their views. I am a deeply devout Christian but never would I be aligned ‘against’ an atheist. That in and of itself would therefore prove me to be the antithesis of a Christian.

    Different points of view needn’t define who we are and how we are. Words are very important; yes. But each person is going to take the very same word and take it differently. Rarely are two people going to react to something the same way.

    You have to be the change you want to see in the world, so says Ghandi. If you dont want to be ‘lumped’ and feel you need to prove that you are just as important and real; then prove it.

    Women have rights now, but not every person is ever going to feel that we deserve them. But it wasnt ‘won’ by simply saying “well, thats not right and it upsets me’. It was done by action, example and belief.

    If you want to be the heart of the blogosphere; then continue to have heart.

  30. Sarah – I am always glad to hear everything you say. I can feel the religious feelings you have in your words. You truly have this heart that I am talking about.

    I’m not sure why I am so obsessed with these ideas of word and power. I think I was brought up in school being taught that the personal was the real political by ex-hippies (they were always the best teachers).

    I also think there needs to be alignments in this world. It is how things get done, even on the blogosphere. Here’s a guy with a great idea — make a meeting of dad bloggers. Maybe by joining forces, dad bloggers can get as much attention and exposure as the mom bloggers.

    http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/family/archives/144639.asp

    Of course, every good has a bad. I will not be part of that alignment, since I am not a Dad. But more power to them. It is up to me to find my own alignment of like-minded bloggers, and probably many of them are women. I don’t have to stick with a gender-based alignment.

  31. My brother has begun a blog. He’s a mechanic, and his blog is mainly about the tao of mechanics, though he would never put it that way. A woman just wouldn’t write about that stuff. How many mechanics do you know who blog? I think maybe he has an edge.

  32. Memarie Lane — I want to read that blog. Send me the url.

  33. My point in Twittering about how weird I found it that the BlogHer coverage was in the Style section was a journalistic one. Why did the editor/reporter choose that angle? BORING to talk about a glass ceiling and the big love fest among women attendees. Get real. The article didn’t address the content of the conference sessions in any meaningful way. Didn’t address the phenomena of women who don’t have paying jobs spending thousands of dollars to be there. Why? Didn’t address the money in blogging (or the money that ISN’T in blogging), the motivations of the corporate sponsors, the demographics of the attendees, the business savvy of the women involved. Those untold stories were the ones that merited space in the NY Times and belonged on the business or technology page. They could have done a meaty, interesting story instead of writing “chick lit” that reinforced stereotypes.

  34. Well, Well, Well.

    I was one of the three women to attend the BLOG HIM session at Blog Her.

    This experience taught me something.

    1. Why was I at this session? The truth is that I wanted to meet Karl personally. Secondly, men are interesting. NOT MORE interesting…but just as interesting.

    2. Because I love the sub plot of any story. Their is always the “main current”… and also the SUB current. I love those who swim against the flow.

    I squealed with delight when I found the session was attended by a representitive of AVEDA..and asked if he had any samples….

    I was impressed with Karls humor…and the other attendees candor and poise.

    Funny thing…I TALKED a lot at that panel. The other women said nothing.

    Turns out I am shy AROUND OTHER WOMEN.

    Men listen. Maybe because they have been trained to do so..maybe because they are keenly aware of how I may judge them. Maybe because my beauty simply STUNS them into submission…(wink, wink….)

    Still…I DON’T CARE. They were there to peak inside, respectufully, “the mind of the woman”. I was at their panel to do the very same thing.

    Mano et Mano. Cool.

    That’s why you have a broad readership…because you write to all..and respond in kind. All the while..still hoping to get laid. That’s called living authentically.

    Oh, and By the way…MOST of the men there knew your blog…so I think you have tons of male lurkers..

    The women just comment more..hoping to be picked by you as a fav….

  35. just please don’t tell me that you like miley cyrus…;)

  36. I think people get their knickers in a twist a little too much regarding gender and labels.

    I think people should be able to write what they want and be taken seriously for it, regardless of what type of naughty bits they have goin’ on down in their nether areas.

  37. I think Crunchy Carpets hit the nail on the head about differentiating pro/biz blogs versus personal/life blogs instead of differentiating them by gender.

    My argument for this is Cali Lewis… who is a female and a very successful tech blogger. Is it her gender that makes her successful? No, it’s her content. While we all see blogs on the everyday, the dominant group of people who are attracted to them are in fact tech prone personas… so it stands to reason that Tech Blogs are more highly sought after.

    Why wasn’t Cali Lewis, Lorelle VanFossen, or Skellie Wag at BlogHer? Because their content is not about family, food, style, or gossip. It is about technical stuff that most BlogHer participants would probably find dull or unable to wrap their heads around.

    It isn’t about gender, it’s about blog content.

  38. Loralee — So why does BlogHer even exist then? Maybe they should just make two conferences happening simultaneously: One of higher quality tech and business stuff and invite the men so the everyone can network and advance their careers and then get into the New York Times business section, and the more general “personal blogging” conference, where women can express there creativity and get into the New York Times Style section.

  39. Very interesting post. I actually just said sometime very similar. When people have a problem, we tend to bring others down with us.

    Female (or personal) bloggers have a problem – we’re not taken seriously, we’re not respected, etc – and so instead of focusing on how to fix our problem, we focus on the “other” kind of blog and are all, “They suck!”

    No, they don’t. “Male” blogs, tech blogs, business blogs, money-making blogs – they’re all interesting and they have their place. But so do we, and we need to figure out how to assert ourselves.

  40. @Neil, I’m not even a BlogHer member and it’s not BlogHers job to cater to everyone in the Blogsophere. They created a female community that end up being mostly (but not all) MommyBloggers which then became a force to be reckoned with. While BlogHer gets PR and Mommybloggers get PR, the thousands of women bloggers who make up BLogHer? They don’t get PR. They’re just people who do this because they love this, because they want to be a part of a community, because they have a story to tell.

    I imagine the women of BlogHer created a group because they felt under-represented. There’s no reason you can’t start a group either.

    Why do you blog? While ALL bloggers love comments (well, the good ones!), if you’re only doing it so people can tell you you’re wonderful, then I think I’ve been misreading you all of these months.

    Also, I notice that you didn’t address Will’s comment either.

    You complain about male bloggers not getting the same attention that female bloggers get, and then you tell a male blogger that the only reason he’s read is because “his wife is hot.”

    So everyone here is lauding your bravery in “subverting the dominant paradigm” and engaging in “smart gender talk” in your post, but your comment to Will seems rather hypocritical and dismissive.

  41. BTW “ALL bloggers love comments (well, the good ones!)” I was referring to getting good comments. Not that only “good” bloggers like comments. Carry on.

  42. what about those of us who write blogs that do nothing but confuse people in an already confusing world?

    can we get some NYT love, yo?

  43. To me you are a dude blogger, and as long as a dude blogger can hang with my boob talk I can hang with any talk of dudes loving musical big screen remakes.

  44. Yeah, I’m a male blogger, and I have some male readers who are also male bloggers, and I think none of them are “tech” or “business” bloggers. And I don’t care. I don’t even consider myself lumped in when people say “male” bloggers, because if you are defined by your readership and the style of writing you do, then I am a mommy blogger.

    Because that’s a creative style. Mostly written by women, but not entirely, and eventually the term might be replaced by “lifestyle blogger”. When and if that happens, and if there is a conference just for lifestyle bloggers I don’t think I’d expect the coverage to be in business and tech, but in, uh, lifestyle.

    The NYT mistake was to confuse “women bloggers” with “lifestyle bloggers” and miscategorize what most of the panels at BlogHer were about. They weren’t lifestyle panels, for the most part they were business and tech panels.

  45. Slackmistress — You are absolutely right. I apologize to both you and Will. I’ll try to do better. I think I need to separate my usual silly banter when I write more ‘serious’ posts like this one.

    Actually what I said was “Will — that’s because other men see your hot wife and say, “That guy has it made!””

    I was trying to make fun of other men. I never said “the only reason he’s read is because “his wife is hot.”” — as you quoted.

    But I see your point. My language is too sexist at times.

    But if you’d read my archives, you’ll see that while I talk about women and hotness a lot — my view is pretty broad, and takes in many different types of women and includes their humor, writing, and intelligence as part of the equation. I do not find most Playboy bunnies hot. I met two of them once in Hermosa Beach and they were both really dumb.

  46. Dammit. I knew you only read me because I was hot.

    Here I thought you read me because I use fancy technical words like cooter and breasticles.

    We all know I’m just reading YOU to get into your pants.

    So I don’t care what you write about or where you are lumped in by other bloggers as long as you shower, shut up and smile pretty.

    *wink*

  47. Blogging is frivolous. And,let’s be honest, it’s a distraction from the issues of the day that deserve our intellect and attention–like the economy, the education system in this country, the healthcare system in this country, the no-end-in-sight war… Men vs Women bloggers?? Are you kidding??
    I read the NY Times article to get a handle on your perspective, Neil. Even went to one of the blogsites they mentioned. Turns out it’s a woman blogging “IN REAL TIME” about her grandmother dying right before her eyes. Again, are you kidding?? Isn’t that just a tad creepy and narcissistic? Can’t people just be in the experience and not recording the experience?
    I understand the need and desire for distraction, love distractions, but there’s a place for it. Let’s not confuse blogging for something it’s not. If blogsites went down tomorrow we would all survive.
    I read your blog cause I think you’re a good writer. Love reading the comments. I would still read you if you wrote about politics and/or business. And, I read blogs that are interesting to me generally due to the humor or the perspective they provide. You are a 2 for 1-er.

  48. What? You mean we’re ALL not trying to get laid here, in some fashion or another?

    Maybe you could forward this post over to some of the fuckwads who ARE trying to appropriate ‘male blogger’ as some kind of generic term to refer to any blogger who is not a complete and total baby-photo-uploading whiny-assed pussy GIRL. (sorry, still feeling ranty)

  49. I hated that article. It seemed to tease women for the “mommyblogger” phenomenon and as a proof the only quotes made most women sound whiny and/or clueless. I am sure some were taken out of contest, but for the others, I have to say this:
    people have different tastes. Some will like your blog, some won’t. Some blogger make money and get book deals. Are they more deserving, better writers? Some of them are, some just got lucky, but most actually played it right.

    If I hear one more whiny comment about how women have it harder than men… they just bug me to no end.

  50. As a female blogger who hangs with mommybloggers online, I often receive e-mails that assume I’m a mother. Whenever someone asks me what my blog is about, I somehow feel the need to say, “I’m not a mom, but I just write about my life.” I wish I could stop that, because there is enough room for all of us, regardless of whether we’re male or female, mothers or not, so long as the writing is good.

    You do present a refreshing point of view in the midst of this discussion, however.

    Today I wish I could be more eloquent, but as I said to someone earlier today, all I really want is some more guacamole.

  51. I completely agree – if we as women expect for the doors of equal rights to swing wide open for us we certainly ought to practice what we preach. Its simply not fair for us to corner the male blogging population into a box of tech and business blogs and meanwhile complain about not being taken seriously. Come on ladies. We can do better.

  52. Lizzy – “We” are doing better. A vocal minority, amounting to a scant fraction of a percentage point of all bloggers, is guilty of a transient rant to that effect. I don’t see it taking hold, I don’t believe it is a blogging society problem. It’s just coming up, as divisive issues are wont to do now and then in this still rather touchy and sensitive modern American era. Drama mongers, some folks are. I’m seeing it and I’m ignoring it and continuing to write in my blog, as usual.

  53. NYCWD – yeah..if this is a BIG conference..I want BIG speakers there..if they can get em.

    And yes..not just on lifestyle stuff….

    I love BlogHer..but do feel that there is a bit of a personality problem going on

  54. “…Men read and write blogs about technology and business and politics.”

    Or their dicks.

  55. That is my favorite subject.

  56. Life isn’t fair, never was and never will be. People with limited talent (Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian) get their own television shows and others will real talent struggle to be noticed.

    Sometimes it is better to be lucky than talented.

  57. I’d say it’s time you forgot that you even knew me. Great job.

  58. “Sometimes it is better to be lucky than talented.”

    Jack is smart.

    Personally, BlogHer made me realize that I have 98 blogs by women in my reader and 3 blogs by men. I like men, get along with men, and think men are swell.

    So why don’t I read them?

    I think I just haven’t found them yet. Welcome to my extremely gender lopsided feed reader.

  59. All ths lively discussion is making my head spin. Honestly, up until THIS BlogHer, I had no idea that women started blogs with the primary intention of making money and becoming “famous.” (At least, that’s what I’m interpreting though all these articles and blog posts.)

    I truly thought that monetizing one’s blog (if one so chooses) and microcosmic fame were the after effects of time spent writing, building relationships, and gaining readers. I also thought that most people started blogs, like me, just to have an outlet for writing. But all this hoopla? I had no idea that some bloggers were so wrapped up in revenue, prestige, and respect. I am seriously naive, and apparently I missed the whole point of blogging.

  60. Coming extremely late to this thread, but I found another good commentary on the NYT story here.

  61. I know I’m a year late but excellent point Neil. I think to some degree all bloggers still hold up tech bloggers as BLOGGERS and everyone else needs qualification. We shouldn’t forget that men write about fashion, food, and family too.

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