Objectively speaking, there are fewer women than men who blog or contribute to wikipedia or are partners at AmLaw 100 law firms, for whatever that dubious honor is worth besides a huge paycheck. Sure, I’d like to see more women enjoy the same benefits that I have from blogging, but I surely don’t blame men for holding them back. It just is what it is. Trouble is, what is for women is very different from what is for men.
But my intrepid blogging colleague, Mike Cernovich of Crime and Federalism isn’t content to live with what is. Mike wants answers to the gender differences, and he’s come up with a doozy. Mike contends that women aren’t blogging or contributing to Wikipedia or otherwise engaging in online discourse because….they’ve got their noses buried in gossip magazines. I kid you not. From Mike’s post :
Walk into any gym in the country – even one in a liberalized, feminist city like San Francisco. You’ll see rows of professional women on the treadmills and stair climbers. I know several of them, and they are doctors, lawyers, psychologists, and other professionals. No patriarchy has kept them from earning fuck loads of money, and obtaining educational credentials. Yet they read stupid shit like People and US Weekly (76% women).
Why should anyone be surprised that a demographic who uses its off-hours to read celebrity gossip aren’t on the Internet sharing useful knowledge, and provoking interesting discussions? Why should anyone blame men?
As I said, I don’t blame men — but here are a few questions that I’d like Mike and his male colleagues to answer which may offer some insight:
1. When’s the last time you scheduled a teacher conference, hired a babysitter or a nanny, visited a nursery school or private school or made appointments for your kids at the pediatrician or the dentist?
2. When’s the last time you watched the clock ticking towards three o’clock during a hearing and felt your heart pounding out of your chest because you needed to make it to the bus stop to pick up your kids?
3. When’s the last time you did the grocery shopping and planned all the meals for the week and made all the lunches and made sure that kids had the materials they needed for that science project and those chips for the class party and the white shirt for the special performance and a three ring binder and six family photos?
4. When you’re done with work, do you cook dinner and make sure homework is done and put in the schoolbag or emailed out, and check the website to really make sure because your kid has lied about it before and give baths if your kids are little or nag about showers if they’re not, and use your cross-examination and investigative skills to try to figure out what your kids did at school, and use your negotiating skills to break up fights and then when your kids are asleep go back to your desk to work for another few hours or maybe overnight to make up the time you lost when you cut out at 4 pm?
5. When you travel out of town on business, do you just throw a suit in the travel bag and go, or do you pack for three – yourself and your two kids who need to go to grandma’s house and your dog who’s headed for the kennel?
If you answered “this evening” to questions 1 through 3 and YES to questions 4 through 5, then welcome to my world. Maybe now you’ll understand (if you actually care) why some women indulge in gossip magazines. I certainly do – and in fact, I will publicly admit that I’ve got an Oprah Magazine right on my nightstand, next to my ipad that’s loaded with the New Yorker, New York Times and the Harvard Business Review. Trouble is, most nights, I’m so exhausted when I get into bed that Oprah or something even more trashy is really all that I have the energy for. And I suspect that the same is true of many of those professional ladies who you see at the gym with their noses buried in trashy, guilty pleasures.
As I said at the outset, I don’t think it’s sexism that’s behind the fact that there are fewer blogs by women than men. But I do think it’s sexism – or a deep disrespect for women – that’s behind Mike’s blog post.
Correct me if this is a joke and I just didn’t get it. Or if I’m being hypersensitive or an irrational, hysterical little lady. Oh and by the way…remind me – what century is this?