Blogging While Female: Empowerment and Electronic Communication in a Civil Society 6

What is blogging while female? What is it about so many blogs, whether they are of the liberal, conservative or middle of the road blogs that sexism becomes the mode of what is deemed civil discourse? What is female empowerment and what constitutes an on-line civil society and how does it contribute to the overall meaning of civil society? In the end, how do we become more effective communicators and more inclusive of other voices.

I’ve been on-line so-to-speak since 1988, when I began participating in the EICBBS, with my 1200 baud modem and my interest in energy related issues. It was a civil forum run by professionals. We discussed energy and energy related issues, and most of us had more personal knowledge of those participating. The energy community at the time was small, so we knew each other personally. Since that time, the on-line world has evolved into a reflection of society at large and it isn’t reflecting a pretty picture.

E-communities can be terrific, when the participant is not on the outside of the active part of the community. Obviously like-minded people gather in these communities to discuss issues and life in general.  It seems however it is easy for these communities devolve into cliques or what I like to call “the bully posse”, where camaraderie is traded for ideological purity, where rational discussion is literally frowned upon, where some lie in wait for certain commenters or bloggers to begin their attacks, not letting up until said commenter just disappears.

As women, we’ve been dismissed and condescended to the entirety of our existence. I could tell you stories, because as women we weave the stories of our personal lives into how we communicate our ideas and how we form our worldviews. As some have surmised, it is how we gain our voice. We carry those stories with us, it is how we evolve as people, it is how we connect as humans. I realize this is only acceptable once you are truly a member of the group, it is only then that the overly male population of the blog allows that type of communication style. If you are not part of the group, this style is often referred to as meta and deemed unacceptable. But this is the method we use to coax women out of their shells, how they gain their voice in a world that intends them to remain voiceless. Knowing that men and society overall finds our style almost wholly unacceptable, leads us to form our own communities, where our style and our efforts to find our voice are nurtured and deemed acceptable. We have made gains, many, but there is much sexism that remains and permeates many e-communities, including this one.

More disconcerting of course is that the Presidents methods are deemed ineffective because of course he utilizes a less confrontational style, so here and many other blogs, certain bloggers call the president a coward, a wuss, a pussy,  much of the language used to deride him, even in the “liberal/progressive” community falls right into the trap of overt sexism and many women react strongly to those words. When I see them here in a blog, in a comment, I become depressed, because it is one more indication that women and our methods of being in the world are not acceptable. It seems to easy for so many in the so-called progressive community to use degrading feminine terminology to taint the President. Deeming him as unacceptable as most women, because we engage in community building, we seek to make change by compromise and building bridges, and daily on liberal blogs those methods are derided.

It depresses me because it indicates as a society we’ve made few gains in our efforts to become equal, even in the so-called liberal/progressive political movements. We’ve lost, because the majority of men then still see us as inferior to them and because this President seems to be one who believes, as many women do, that we should build bridges with those who don’t hold the same beliefs in order to build a better and more civil society. They seem to view him merely as a woman, who is inferior to them. If what I am writing were not true, why on earth would anyone in a professional capacity say that Hillary should loan the President one of her balls? Inferring one more time this President isn’t man enough to do the right thing, by fist fighting and arguing and making a spectacle of himself ala Anthony Weiner or Alan Grayson. There is rampant sexism in progressive e-communities and it turns women off. I realize it is merely a reflection of how our society has evolved. However it does make it difficult to fully participate in those communities. The words used against us and the President cut like a serrated knife, ripping us apart, reminding us we are not to be included in creating solutions because how we relate to the world is simply not acceptable.

I personally don’t know how to be a part of that kind of community I believe it is a concerted effort to erase women one more time from society. It is an effort to silence us one more time.  These are concerted efforts to limit civility and drive wedges into communities that might have once been more cohesive.   I have a stake in the future of this society, I don’t want a future where we our first instinct is to do nothing more than fight. We have to work hard to attain a truly civil society and I believe the same is true of any on-line community.   It falls to each of us as individuals to curb our tendencies to create disparate tribes that continually war with each other over ideology, if we do not, our society falls apart, and we only have ourselves to blame if this happens.

Crossposted at DAGblog

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6 comments

  1. What an excellent story, and I couldn’t agree with you more. What puzzles me is why women are not more upset about all this. Are we turning into Stepford women?

  2. I wonder too Melody. As long as some of us are paying attention, I think we will be able to overcome some of what ails the blogging community.
    Thank you so much for stopping by! I was hoping some women would see this.

  3. I sure wish I knew the answer to this teresa. Every time I have occasion to consider this particular dilemma I come away not knowing the answer or even my own mind. I’m not talking about the gender piece of this more than I am referring to efforts of trying to find the middle ground. In the face of mounting losses the middle class faces a very hard choice. In whatever way we join the ‘fight’ we need to figure out how to win. We aren’t doing well at all in that regard. When I look at the really rotten things the other side is doing it makes me crazy. I don’t know that when confronted by persons who so willfully do what they’re doing it’ll be effective to take the high ground. Near as I can tell they have no moral or ethical scruples. And no rule book. I don’t know how to react to the extreme anti-social and uncivil persons on the right who have so harmed this country. And I feel stupid thinking I have to apologize for not knowing that.

    • I don’t know either. And I think that is okay, I don’t think we can react like they want us too, because they deliberately want to fight about everything. I think we cannot endlessly engage in fighting with each other. But I don’t know what the answer would be to stop that from happening.

  4. This attitude of sexism has caused an underground to start running under the radar of the net.

    I’m a guy, but a woman that I chat with slipped me the key to getting into a stunning site. Broken down into parts but with some incredible women telling of just how much crap they take on a daily basis. The new ones, whether doctors or writers all scream “I thought that I was the only one that that happened to regularly.”

    I just lurk, but I personally have done a lot of what they discuss as demeaning. Never even dreamed as to how sexist I really am. I had considered myself to be a feminist since the mid 1960s.

    I wasn’t even close to my ideal.

    • Thanks for stopping by, I don’t know that any of us can be everything we strive to be, but at least we all know we can improve. I appreciate what you’ve written and am glad you came by to add your two cents worth!

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