Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Boys' Club, or Why Girls Can’t Blog

As a part of this heinous and almost completed semester, I am in a Child Development class. There are about 30 girls and 0 boys in it. I didn't want to sign up for it, but it's a prerequisite for a class I have to take in a couple of semesters, which class is required for my major and thereby I had to suck it up and take Child Development.

I’ve actually learned quite a lot, and my final project is a blog that will go unnoticed through the annals of the Internet, the only exceptions being my husband (my editor) and the TA, who will almost undoubtedly under-appreciate the amount of effort or the sheer number of hours I have poured into it. She will probably not even show it to my teacher who would probably love it. (For the record, I turned it in and got all 200 out of 200 points possible for the project. She didn't read a single post, which I know because not a single post had a page view when I saw the grade.)

The TA looks like this, only angrier.

I will, of course, get over that fact, because that’s what I have to do every time I blog. My personal blog, which sums up what Casey and I do in real life (yes, we have a life), has gone untouched by either myself or page views for the last month simply because I have been incredibly short on time and other than my dear friend Natalia, my in-laws, and every now and again my own parents, no one reads it anyway. The weird thing is, I always post a link on facebook, but no one wants to read another boring almost-housewife blog. Am I totally off base? I don't have any adorable kids for cute pictures or funny quotes. I don't craft often. I post pictures of food... I guess I just don't have much to go on.

As they say in Spanish, my “ganas” (desires, but a way better word) to write for this blog are also almost entirely gone because other than my Ladies post, which has been stumbled upon by a number of people looking for either anti-feminist propaganda or ladylike quotes on Google, no one seems to read things that I post. I just want a little validation...

Like this, only not for parking.
Okay, I’m not fishing for sympathy, I promise. The point I’m trying to make is that this place feels like a Boys’ Club. I don’t mean Expert Textperts specifically, I mean the bloggernacle, the blogosphere, and the Internet in general (how fMh gets by is beyond me). I know this blog hasn't had a ton of traffic, but I feel like I'm getting left in the dust here.

I spent serious time and effort writing and perfecting a post that I thought was spectacular on the Spanish Civil War (seriously, it was really interesting and applicable to us today... history is cool, guys! Wait... where are you going? Come back!) and if I'm not mistaken it got fewer page views than any other post we've done here, and zero comments. So I went more mainstream, I wrote what I considered to be a very enjoyable, well thought-out post about Miss Piggy and Kermit. Muppets, right? Who doesn't love the Muppets? Again, few views, no comments.

I've posted comments before on BCC posts and basically given up because I always feel ignored there, completely left out of the conversation. I think one time out of 20 I got a side comment that no one else remarked on. Interestingly enough, BCC actually did a post a few months ago on Mormon Blogging and the Good Ole Boys' Club. You may not have noticed it, because it was written by a woman. It is legitimately interesting (in spite of what you may think, having been written by a woman and all) and makes the point that talent and interest isn't lacking, but somehow the women just get left out. Women create their own separate space on the internet (the post mentions the bloggernacle specifically as having compartments for women) and it is obvious in academia as well as in the bloggernacle that there are just tons of dudes.

Even here at Expert Textperts we have three liberal men and one fairly conservative girl posting. I don't have statistics on the entire bloggernacle, but I'd be willing to bet the ratio isn't far off.

Even as a teenager surfing the occasional forum I found myself immediately and completely ignored - even in forums I frequented, The only exceptions to forum invisibility resulted in getting hit on, called a n00b, or attacked for no reason. I would get private messages I had to delete just based on the subject line. There were occasional defenders, but not in the public forum. Only in PMs would I receive a half-sorry excuse from an onlooker, "That was pretty lame back there..." Is there, somewhere, a corner of the Internet made for girls?

Like this, only without the bronies.
Sure, now we have Pinterest, but that's a recent win and a lot of people insist it's too girly. I love having a spot to save great recipes or decor that I can save for later and my friends take those and share them with more people. It's the first site I've ever known of where girls can socialize without the pigs coming in and ruining the good times.

Internet patriarchy is ruining the fun of blogging, discussing, and commenting for me. My opinions either get stepped on or ignored.

Back to Child Development (yes, I brought it up for a reason, that's what good writers do even if no one reads their posts...) The class is a girls’ club, but not in a good way. There is no open discussion of anything other than the dumb things we did as kids or the one girl in the back always talks about how she's raising her kid better than the scientists in the book raised theirs. An all girls context isn't the solution for me, because at least in this class there's no good intelligent discussion of the interesting points made by the book (which was written by a woman, so they probably didn't read it anyway).

In the book, (yes, I actually read the textbook), it points out that one of the biggest differences between the genders is the natural tendency of boys to externalize problems - lashing out in retaliation or even redirecting anger somewhere else, but always externally. Girls, on the other hand, internalize problems. We feel bad about ourselves, we withdraw, and the only lashing goes inward. We rip ourselves to shreds with guilt and shame and we're really good at telling ourselves how worthless we are.

This is not opinion, guys. This is fact. It’s in my textbook.

Like this, only with an uglier cover.
Some girls are better than others at this, and it’s a daily struggle for others. I like to think I sit somewhere in the middle, but I’m worse than I like to think. Oh, that post only got like 40 page views while everybody else got like 200? Well, that’s my fault. I wrote a bad title. I wrote a bad post. I screwed it up. My humor was off. I even end a lot of my posts in questions, trying to stimulate discussion. Can I just stop caring? That would be great. But it’s not my nature.


Well, girls? Am I alone in this?