Take back the blogosphere?

I went to a very interesting event this week, organised by Sunny Hundal of Liberal Conspiracy.  A bunch of left liberal bloggers got together to talk about how blogging might engage with and have an impact on national (UK) politics.

The second part of the session (read more about what went on in the first part, and see pics here) addressed the question ‘where are all the women bloggers?’.  Some of the points raised and issues aired in the lively discussion:

  • there seemed to be a failure, by some male bloggers, to properly reference or acknowledge their discussion of topics raised by female bloggers.
  • it was suggested that women – especially feminist bloggers – might be put off blogging by the nasty trolling that might occur.
  • it was mentioned that sometimes women’s comments were ignored or not properly addressed in threads of some of the blogs.
  • that feminist blogging is seen as separate from ‘mainstream’ political blogging was discussed as a problem.
  • it was asked how men might engage with women bloggers, given the complaints of, on the one hand,giving insufficient attention to women’s or feminist’s bloggings from male political bloggers, and on the other, their alleged ‘hijacking’ of debates or comment threads (answer: respect required!). For more on this topic, see the post at the F word, here.

In the spirit of the discussion, and of drawing attention to women bloggers (and on the viral linkage, ourselves!), here are some left liberal blogs by women, that I discovered at the session. If you have such a blog, or know of others please do share the links in the comments!

 Also at the session, and on the women bloggsters scene:

( And for UK politics junkies, see this:

  • Westmonster (comment from the corridors of parliament))

Updated: More from the comments-

From JJ:

Jeralyn Merritt and her main writers are lawyers; they are interested particularly in issues about criminal law and politics

This is a widely admired blog and well cited in the blogsphere.
I’ve heard from good sources that Digby is a woman. While not a feminist blog, its take on things is at least congenial to a feminist approach

From QuestionThat:

Clairwil (http://clairwil.blogspot.com/)
Cheryl (http://bettertobefree.blogspot.com/)
Trixy (http://more-to-life-than-shoes.blogspot.com/)

Ambush predator (http://thylacosmilus.blogspot.com/)


(Updated from comments, thanks! Keep the links coming!)


20 thoughts on “Take back the blogosphere?

  1. Hi Sunny- thanks for dropping by! And for the links. I’ll update the post when more are in.

  2. OK. My comments – some disagreement, but happy to debate.

    1 – That list looks to be very much expecting men to supply the answers. Is that a feminist approach?

    2 – My perceptionand experience is that bloggers who hang their identity on “feminist”, often:

    a) Don’t particularly *want* men to engage with them, and seem to prefer a walled-garden.

    b) Do their own fair share of stereotyping and trolling – perhaps saying “obviously” and drawing a conclusion based on their own view rather than anything that has been said.

    c) Aren’t particularly interested in debate that may lead to them possibly changing their views – it seems to be far more about “converting the world to agree with us”. That’s a type of non-debate I am not really interested in.

    I know of some exceptions, but not very many.

    3. I think that Westmonster has been written by men since Sadie left before Christmas. It was when I last checked a couple of months ago, anyway.


  3. Hi Matt W,
    Thanks for the comments.
    Wrt 3 (easiest first!) – Thanks! I suspected as much, hence the parenthesis. Wanted to put it in for those readers who enjoy the detail of UK politics…

    Wrt 1.
    I think it’s difficult to specify what is or isn’t ‘a feminist approach’ – I don’t think any particular methodology is distinctively feminist (no doubt some have different views from me on this), though it may be true that there’s a set of assumptions (pertaining to women’s status, equality, what we’re aiming for (contentious!)) from which much feminist discussion starts.

    As for this particular ‘list’ (are you referring to the bullett points?), I was intending it rather as a report on what was discussed at the meeting, for those who weren’t there and might have wondered what went on.

    The intention was that our readers (and I have no idea what the proportions are, wrt men/women) might take up some of the thoughts; perhaps they have had similar experiences – wrt trolls, getting useful discussion going with their comments, etc – or have found particular strategies useful.

    More about raising the issues, and the opportunity for discussion; not sure why you took it to be a call for some answers from men! Though discussion and thoughts from men and women most welcome!

    Wrt 2.
    Obviously, I can’t speak for all feminist bloggers. But it seems to me that the degree of openness might depend on the aim of the blog/particular post.

    Suppose a blog is intending to be a space for women to share certain experiences, discuss strategies, and so on (as some of our threads here are). Such discussion might seem lesss open to men than that on other topics (I say ‘seem’ because of course, men’s involvement in discussing strategies and so on is important and, in my view, should be welcomed. Again, I know there’s not a consensus on this).

    Alternatively, the blog/particular post might be concerned with campagning on something in particular. Then it might be that there are certain assumptions, and that these aren’t really up for debate (as you mention in c); the aim is rather to get something moving on the matter at issue.

    Or, the blog/post might be concerned with discussing a certain issue – then it might be that the discussion is open and perhaps there’ll be more exchange of ideas and views, and debating of the truth of certain claims and assumptions.

    I think you’ll find posts with some of these different aims and elements on this blog. The goal is that create an atmosphere in which men and women feel welcome to contribute.
    You’ll notice that we’re a bunch of feminists in philosophy, so I don’t know how relevant what I’ve said is to discussion on other blogs that have different agendas. (See ‘about us’ section for more.)

    Got to go move house now, so if I’m tardy in responding to comments for a day or two, that’s why! I’ll get back to the blog when I can!

  4. Some US left leaning blogs run by women

    Jeralyn Merritt and her main writers are lawyers; they are interested particularly in issues about criminal law and politics. It’s my favorite US political blog.

    This is a widely admired blog and well cited in the blogsphere.
    I’ve heard from good sources that Digby is a woman. While not a feminist blog, its take on things is at least congenial to a feminist approach. It probably should be my favorite.

  5. that feminist blogging is seen as separate from ‘mainstream’ political blogging was discussed as a problem

    I found this one an interesting one, since I think this is actually a strength, not a weakness, of feminist blogging, that it stands outside of ‘mainstream’ political blogging — but then, I have a very, very low opinion of most ‘mainstream’ political blogging (anywhere on the spectrum), and think that most feminist blogging is much better quality than ‘mainstream’ political blogging. (From what I’ve seen I think one of the reasons is that feminist blogging is much harder, because on just about any issue discussed there is someone who will raise some point that was overlooked in the discussion; thus actively interacting feminist blogs are continually being forced to refine and improve in ways that political blogs usually are not. Political blogs tend to preach to the choir, or, rather, tend to focus on topics on which there is a choir to preach to; but feminist bloggers don’t really have that luxury — there is such a diversity among feminist bloggers that there are a great many more topics that have to be raised and a lot more people to listen to.) So I think it’s actually a fairly good thing for the feminist blogosphere. I can see, however, how it would be a problem from the point of view of political blogging.

  6. BTW, I was told that my blog colours (purple and green) are “feminist colours” by someone a while back.

    I hadn’t heard of that before, I just chose them because I like them and they aren’t associated with any political party.

    Is that true or were they talking rubbish?

  7. Question That: Purple, Green and White were indeed the colours ofthe Womens’ Suffragistes and Suffragettes movements at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century.

    Plus, if my memory serves me right veritas used purple in the last GE and the greens, well they use green!!

    BTw, good post Stoat. I couldn’t make it to the Guardian thing as I was on holiday but was most upset to here I’d be missing a debate on where all the female bloggers are. I am enjoying reading the various write ups on it!

    I’m a feminist Lib Dem blogger and find that when I blog on feminist or women’s issues I get roundly ignored all by all but a couple of male lib dem bloggers who like to tell me that I shouldn’t worry too much as the ‘trend’ is improving.

    I’ve done a couple of blogs on violence against women and how men can help via the White Ribbon Campaing and apart from a persistent mysogynist troll I got no response from my fellow lib dem bloggers. no comments, nothing….it might be that they agree with me and see no need to comment but sometimes, especially in the face of trolls a bit more support would be nice.

    I just keep going though, because if I don’t then who else will…liberalism as a philosophy doesn’t have much to say about feminsim but I am nothing if not an optimist!!!

  8. Hi Jo, thanks for dropping by! I gather there’ll be more of these bloggers events organised by liberal conspiracy, so hopefully meet you at one such future event!

    Hmm, disappointing that the feminism posts got so little (positive) attention. I’ll look forward to your posts on such topics, at least!

    for our reader’s, i’ll add that your blog can be found here:

  9. @Jo:
    That’s OK. I was never going to avoid any colour associated with another political party or movement (there just aren’t that many colours to choose from!) The purple isn’t the same shade that Veritas use.

    In case you missed the above post 11, I am not a woman (despite my Suffragette blog colours!). You can take my blog off the list in the OP.

  10. A note to say that I am still reflecting and planning to respond again. I appreciate the detialed comment.


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