Sunday, November 26, 2006

Women bloggers can't live by sex alone (tho' we'll give it a serious try.....!!)

Reading this month's Marie Claire there's a piece about women bloggers and this relatively new social phenomenon. I can't link as it is sub only so you will have to take my word, your honour. Something like 56% of bloggers are women but there is no breakdown of these statistics. I would be interested in the number of women bloggers who write about politics as from my experience it seems so male dominated. Dr Caroline Bassett from Sussex University, digital media expert says that usage of the web by men is primarily a functional tool while for women it is another way communicating.

Is it true that men blog for different reasons than women?

The article does give a brief snapshot of women writing about all areas of life (sex, life experiences, work, family and so on) though they emphasise women bloggers who give frank accounts of their sex lives (not many women give this kind of graphic account of their sex lives!)and funnily enough, all have had book deals and have sold thousands. Belle de Jour, Stephanie Klein and the one book I have read, The Girl With A One Track Mind by "Abby Lee" (have only recently checked out her blog).

I read her book as I had very long train to get through and 'cos I had heard of her and it had been described as "explicit". Well, that sold it for me.... I found parts of her book funny. I know I am digressing a tad but I did find the sex rather too polished, choreographed and organised. There was nothing disorganised, spontaneous, humourous, sweaty or that "lost in the moment" experience. Maybe it is just me. I was just hoping for a more realistic approach with dialogue such as , "Ouch, there's a loose bed spring sticking in my leg" or "Ouch, I have got cramp in my neck.." or "A bit to the left, mate". OK, OK, maybe it is just me who has these experiences.
But the book did disappoint as towards the end she conformed to a stereotype of a woman wanting a bloke. I suppose I was expecting something different, more transgressive.

Anyway, less of my tuppence h'alfpenny on "Abby Lee" and more on the subject on women bloggers.

One argument in the piece is that it has given women a platform to get their voice across and expressing themselves in the way they want to. This is no bad thing at all but it doesn't give all women the chance to be heard.

The reason I blog is primarily, as a socialist feminist, to bridge the gap between the feminist and male-dominated lefty blogs. Stroppyblog, for me, is not a "confessional" diary in the same way "Abby Lee" or others as it is not personalised. It is more the "personal is political" as I can write about political situations but sometimes put forward my own personal experience as it adds a kind of reality. I would be interested to know the reasons why other lefty women blog. Are they similar to mine?

The "virtual world" is a strange experience as you can say so much or so little and you don't really know who you are communicating with but it can also make the conditions permissible to talk about issues you wouldn't normally talk about in public. That's the beauty in some contradictory way of the blogsphere. It does build your confidence.

Lisa Stone (BlogHer, an online meeting place for women bloggers) argues: "There is a raising of confidence - women becoming more comfortable with discussion and debate".

Blogging is just another medium for women to get their message across and to be heard.....