This piece from Selena made my list for the Best of P-Mag because it explores some of the traps inherent in the world of what we do, and does it thoughtfully and hilariously. -pileofmonkeys
So says nuanced and demure ladyblogger Susanna Breslin, in her ladytroll blog post “Why Blogs for Women are Bad for Women” on Forbes. Prevailing Internet wisdom says not to feed the trolls, but some of them are so juicy and delicious, we just can’t help ourselves.
Breslin is off like an angry ‘shipper in a friend-locked LiveJournal when she opens her piece with the following unsourced quote:
Every woman blogger who is not too stupid or too full of herself to notice what is going on knows that what blogs for women do is morally indefensible. – Unknown
Someone wants the FARK boys to like her.
She goes on to list three reasons ladyblogs are bad for you, with her typical enthusiasm. She even makes a few valid points, amid all the thrashing around and spitting. It’s clear she wants us to listen to her, so let’s indulge her for a minute.
1. Ladyblogs are “limiting.”
Here she claims that ladyblogs don’t “challenge you, they appease you,” which can certainly be the case, but hardly separate from the millions of other spaces not specifically aimed at women on the Internet. There is likely a community out in the wild, wild web for just about every possible combination of beliefs, interests, quirks and hobbies imaginable, and many of them are as bad, if not worse, than the most insular ladyspaces Breslin could point us to. That’s not a gender thing, that’s a people thing. We like it when people agree with us, and given a choice, a lot of us will choose to spend time with people whose company we enjoy. Additionally, the claim that ladyblogs don’t challenge readers is kind of ridiculous. Read any comment section, readers feel challenged all the time. I kid, but who here hasn’t changed the way they thought about something, or considered another way of looking at things after reading a really great (or spectacularly terrible) article on a ladyblog?
2. Ladyblogs are “hypocritical.”
This is where she actually makes a bit of sense. She criticizes ladyspaces for taking media to task for being offensive by displaying that same media. Her example: Chiding Photoshopped images of women by showing the offensive Photoshopped images of women right alongside the critique. I made this point in an article a few weeks ago, but as a commenter pointed out, it’s hard to critique something you can’t see. And like her first point, this isn’t an issue specific to blogs for women, a lot of places make their bread and butter from, “Hey, ya’ll! Look at this crazy thing!” reporting. Mostly because we all keep looking.
3. Ladyblogs “have nothing to do with reality.”
This part is just bullshit, and something about a bubble and bootstrapping. This is where her argument really falls apart, however. Here is her closing argument:
You don’t learn how to live in the world by withdrawing from it. You learn how to deal with the world by living in it. You don’t become empowered by talking about how disempowered you are. You become empowered by getting over whatever gender your parents’ biological sperm-and-egg cocktail gave you and getting on with it already. You don’t become someone new by pretending to be someone else. You reinvent yourself by letting go of who you wish you could be and figuring out who you really are.
What has segregation done for you lately?
Stop complaining, women! Just go do things! But not start blogs or read blogs or cook or look too hard at pop culture or hang out with other women. The way to be who you really are is to re-invent yourself. As long as you aren’t really a lady who happens to want to write about being a lady. Unless it’s to shit all over other ladies who like writing.
See also, Jill at Feministing’s response. Stick around and challenge yourself while you’re there.