Where are all the men bloggers?

When I look around my Google Reader feeds, I see so many insightful, intelligent political and technical blogs by women, but hardly any by men.

For instance, I read Shakesville every day for US and international politics, The F-Word covers the UK, while for what’s going on in Australia I turn to Hoyden About Town or Senator Kate Lundy who blogs politics and tech.

Other tech blogs I follow: Shelley Powers’ Burning Bird, K. T. Bradford’s netbook and gadget reviews, and Amy’s Ramblings on open source software and social tech. And of course one of the best women blogging about technology is Kathy Sierra… oh, wait.

I wonder why there seem to be so few men blogging in these subject areas. Is it just that they aren’t interested? Do they not have time what with all the sports and drinking and porn? Maybe they don’t feel up to handling tough subjects, or perhaps the conversational style is offputting to them?

I guess, if I really think about it, it’s possible that I just don’t notice them.

Confused? Context, more context.

EDIT: The comment thread on this post is now closed. Please check out the followup post which contains an explanation of what’s going on here, and a chance to discuss further.

89 thoughts on “Where are all the men bloggers?

  1. Anna

    You know what I discovered recently? There are men who blog about fandom! I mean, not real fandom, the important stuff like Doctor Who and all that, but actual men who watch Sci-Fi shows and talk about them.

    I never knew this. I was certain that all fandoms were like Doctor Who – entirely female dominated.

    1. Skud Post author

      Yeah I think I’ve seen some commenting on the normal (i.e. written by women) fannish blogs I read, but they’re certainly in a minority.

    2. softestbullet.dreamwidth.org

      I heard that, too! They’re definitely not capital-F Fans, though. They don’t seem to get the point of sci-fi. I’ve stumbled across a “men’s space” before and they don’t disuss any of the major issues in sci-fi. They don’t even write fanfic. But they do have this weird obsession with female characters — you should see some of their fanart, it’s hilarious!

      I have to wonder what causes that behavior, though. Are they even watching the same shows we are? Perhaps it’s because males are biologically less capable of focusing than women, especially when multi-tasking. Now that I think about it, the short attention span of a male would make it difficult to understand sci-fi works of any length!

      Still, points for effort, males! It’s great that you managed to find things that appeal to you in a historically female genre!

      1. Liz Henry

        Part of it is that evolutionarily, men were hunters, so they’re not used to paying attention to their environment in the way people are.

        I try to keep an open mind, though. From reading a few masculist bloggers I’ve found that something called the “second shift” means that guys at home have to bear the burden of doing extra home maintenance work, chef-ing, and just plain being daddies. So most guys don’t have time to really go in depth to understand, well, important cultural references, and contribute anything substantial. If you look past the shrill, scolding tone of those masculist bloggers, you can really learn something. Just watch out you don’t get your head bitten off.

  2. Jonquil

    Second verse:

    “But wait! There’s Atrios! And Kos!”
    “Gee, you’re right. I’ll have to try reading them.”
    [wait three months]
    “Where are all the men bloggers?”

    1. Skud Post author

      I don’t know. I don’t think of Atrios and Kos as political bloggers. To my mind, a political blog has to address certain subjects, and those ones don’t. They just seem to be whining on about what’s happening in the Washington DC all the time, which might be what they think of as “politics” but it’s certainly not what I was thinking of when I said “political bloggers”.

      1. yatima

        Plus those guys are just way too sort of wonky and obsessive. They can’t seem to learn to discuss things like rational people. Maybe in another generation?

      2. Jonquil

        Who are those people again? I don’t think I’ve heard of them. Probably they aren’t all that important.

  3. Azz

    I know what you mean! I’ve been encouraging my best friend to start blogging for years, or at least get an account on one service or another and at least start reading, but he keeps saying it’s not his thing and finally he said he just wouldn’t be comfortable with that level of exposure so I’ve given it a rest.

    Maybe it’s just not a “man thing”?

    1. Skud Post author

      Might be biological. There are literally gajillions of studies that show that men aren’t as good at communicating as women are. Your friend just proves the point!

      1. yatima

        It’s their hormones and such. Neolithic men evolved to kill big things with pointy sticks, so their man-fingers have trouble with keyboards. Totally not their fault, poor dears.

      2. Azz

        It really isn’t his fault, the poor dear. (I try not to give him too hard of a time about his spelling — thinking about it, the internet would probably eat him alive. You know how vicious bloggers can get when they see some poor struggling man who can’t operate a spellchecker. You’d think they’d never heard of Firefox!)

      1. yatima

        Wow, it never even occurred to me to ask if my husband wanted to blog. He’s always so busy with our kids and cooking; I doubt he’d have the time, let alone the interest.

  4. gchick

    It’s their own fault, really. If only they’d engage with the *real* blogosphere on dreamwidth or livejournal, instead of holding on to their blogger and wordpress instances the way they do, maybe people would take their posts a little more seriously.

    1. Skud Post author

      If they blog in their isolated little places like that, how’s anyone supposed to find them?

      1. gchick

        It almost makes you wonder if they don’t want to be heard. There must be some kind of, you know, issues there. Some kind of self-esteem thing.

      2. Gwen

        Besides, everyone knows the places like Blogger and WordPress are mostly the hangout of fifteen-year-old boys with nothing better to do than, I don’t know, paint each other’s model cars and gel their hair and stuff. There are some women on there writing about serious stuff, but so much of it’s the fifteen-year-old-boy-style circle jerks, it’s no wonder people don’t tend to take the platforms seriously.

    2. Anna

      It’s so strange to me that people wouldn’t want to be part of the LJ/DW/extended-journal-service communities. I think they’re ideal for the many-to-many conversations that I have about politics and fannish activities. These blogspot and wordpress blogs just don’t have that sense of community going for them.

      That’s probably why I keep missing out of them. Why aren’t they on my reading list/flist?

      1. whump

        We have our own spaces because women don’t take our book and sports fandoms seriously on the heavily trafficked sites like DW and LJ.

        If I write about “Who Wants to be an NHL Goalie?,” “America’s Next Star Linebacker,” or Cory Doctorow on Live Journal, women just dismiss it as silly Larry-stu fantasies, and ask why aren’t I doing something serious and important like writing about “Heroes” or “Stargate: Cleveland.”

        My girlfriend is still giving me grief because she found out the pseudonym I hockeyblog under.

        My friends are going to have a open space next month as a safe space to talk about Robert Heinlein, Macroeconomics, and our NBA fantasy league.

      2. softestbullet.dreamwidth.org

        Wow, this comment is so BITTER and ANGRY.

        It’s not women’s fault that you insist on being interested in niche fandoms! You have to understand that although this Richard Hinelen might appeal to you personally on some emotional level, that stuff just doesn’t have “broad appeal.” You need to stop limiting yourself to “man shows” and try shows that address the human experience, like “Sex and the City.”

        What the hell is this “safe space” thing? Are you accusing us of something?!?? I think you need to apologize.

  5. koipond

    It’s because I suck at it. ^_^

    To be fair I’m up there in regards to what I read when it comes to politics and events. Heck even when reading all those sport blogs the vast majority of the bloggers I read are women.

    The best example are those listed in the HLOG (Hockey Ladies of Greatness) @ http://hlog.blogspot.com/

    To be fair it’s really hard to read anything that most guys write. It’s full of priviledge and other such garbage that I stop reading after a little bit. It’s the same with books. I either read children’s lit or anything by not straight white men.

  6. lauredhel

    I initially thought this thread was hilarious satire, but I’ve been told that feminists have no sense of humour. I have no option but to conclude that ur all hairy misandrists who just don’t understaaaaand men.

    1. Mary

      Lauredhel, if men would blog more, that would help us understand. How are we supposed to learn anything if they won’t talk?

      1. Skud Post author

        I’ve given up on ever understanding them. They are just an indistinguishable mass of mysteriousness to me.

      2. lauredhel

        It’s like they’re some sort of alien species. The words they use are the same as regular words, but they seem to mean something different. It’s downright baffling.

  7. Podblack

    I blame the education system! Women are entirely too well-catered for in terms of literacy and IT skills! Next they’ll be writing science and academic blogs too. I fear for the future of our country!

    1. Skud Post author

      I don’t quite get what you’re saying, Podblack. Are you suggesting that men don’t have the same educational opportunities that women do? Of course they do! There is legislation that says they have to have equal education, so it must be true. If they aren’t interested in science and academia (and my blog reading suggests that they aren’t) then it’s not the educational system that is to blame. People keep harping on about this, but it’s nonsensical — we already have equality. Anyway, aren’t there boys in the Congo being raped? Shouldn’t you be worrying about that instead of whether some purely hypothetical men might feel like they’re being discriminated against in the educational sphere. (Where are these men, anyway? I talked to my house boy, and he said he doesn’t feel discriminated against.)

      1. Anna

        I asked my handsome husband about it, and he doesn’t feel discriminated against either.

        Of course, I didn’t really marry him for his brains! *leer*

      2. softestbullet.dreamwidth.org

        I don’t remember my boyfriend saying anything to me about that, so it’s safe to assume he’s never faced discrimination.

        Well, I suppose he’s said something once or twice, but you know how men are, always complaining about nothing, ha ha! It’s really quite tiresome! But I try to be patient.

  8. Tim

    [Shuffles awkwardly, looking down] Well, we men are terribly inarticulate, y’know. Let’s look for those fragile Green Shoots of Y-chromosomal communication adequacy and husband [Must be the wrong word -Ed] them expectantly [That one too -Ed].

  9. Mary

    I’ve given up on ever understanding them. They are just an indistinguishable mass of mysteriousness to me.

    Skud, I really think that’s taking things a bit far. I mean, I’ve definitely had times in my life when I understand what the separatists are on about. But some men are very rational and intelligent and their life skills and perspectives can complement ours. Don’t you think it would be valuable for technology and politics to have a few alternative viewpoints?

    I have definitely come to think about these things a lot more since I had a son. Well, since I found out my fetus has male genitalia. I want him to grow up to have the same opportunities as I could give my daughter.

    1. Anna

      I can’t see what they’d have to say that would be relevant to me and my experience, though. I mean, I’m sure your son will be different, but in general, no male bloggers I’m aware of engage with politics on the level that the female bloggers I read do.

      And really – what sort of fandom isn’t full of vidders and slashers and fanfic and fanartists, plus all the interesting meta? A piss-poor imitation of one.

      1. Jeremy

        I really think you’re overlooking and belittling the male male contribution to slashfic. I mean, I’m assuming from the name of the site; I haven’t looked at it myself.

  10. Hazel

    I don’t know, I think you’re underestimating men’s potential in the field of writing. I mean, sure, most men write in a terse, language-phobic, description-averse style that can only be described as stilted and anemic, but every now and then, an exceptional unusually gifted man gets it right.

  11. Jacinta Reid

    I’m in favour of equality for men, so I think it is only fair that we support what few male bloggers who are covering topics in politics and tech by linking their blogs somewhere.

    If we can give them some more traffic, it will encourage them and perhaps they will keep blogging. Maybe even encourage more men to blog in the future. It’d be nice to have a man’s perspective on serious topics sometimes.

    I’ll have to have a poke about and see what political or tech oriented male-authored blogs I can turn up, but meanwhile, can anyone else think of any?

    1. Skud Post author

      Ooh, this is a great idea Jacinta! Perhaps we should start some kind of effort to encourage them! We could call it Women Organise Men Bloggers or something (WOMB for short), and we can set up a blog where we highlight interesting men bloggers and link to them, maybe help get them some traffic and stuff. We could even make a WOMB badge or something they could put on their site to show that we linked to them!

      1. PharaohKatt

        That’s a great idea! Then maybe the few men bloggers out there will actually get noticed! I mean, I’ve never heard of them so *clearly* they aren’t getting enough traffic.

      2. Liz Henry

        That’s a fantastic idea Jacinta! No one’s ever done that, so I’m sure it will be amazingly effective. Skud, let’s try to make the badge appealing to men.

        Maybe if we invite some of those few brave pioneers to come to our conferences. Heck, they can organize the child care and maybe just by being there, will provide us a much needed masculine dimension to our conversations. A beginner workshop or two might help, or a panel on “Manny Bloggers”. Putting a man’s face on the conference web site’s list of speakers would let the world know about our inclusivity efforts, and could inspire teen boys to think about a career in technology.

    1. Liz Henry

      Well, I for one think that’s great. I like my men masculine! If we were all the same, think how boring the world would be. Old-fashioned gentlewomen like myself appreciate a man who’s got a nice big sword and keeps it sharp, instead of getting all obsessed with computers and writing! And here I am, such a nice girl, but men tend not to go out with me. For some reason, they prefer women who are jerky to them instead of a strong lady who will hold a door open when a boy has his hands all full of his sword.

  12. PharaohKatt

    You know, I’ve been wondering the same thing. I mean, I see the odd male comment at Feministing and F-Word, but they’re definitely not the majority. And, true, some males do have LJ or DW accounts, but they never seem to talk about anything that actually matters, like breastfeeding legislation or new by-laws in the Northern Territory.

    1. WildlyParenthetical

      I know I’m going to be shouted down for this, but I really think it’s because of the hormones. They get in the way of actual conversation. I’ve even heard they make men completely look past comments by women, or misread them utterly. In a scientific study I read once, they said that hormones affected reading ability, and capacity to empathise, so I suppose it’s not entirely surprising. It does tend to make men’s contributions to these kinds of threads pretty boring, though. And irrelevant to the topic at hand. Why can’t they write about stuff that’s actually political and interesting? It’s not that hard! I mean, we do it!

  13. Scott

    Hmm… well I do Blog, but my content, I have to admit is fairly centralized around Me! and what I happen to be doing. I also think that most people out there wouldn’t be too interested in all that I have to say! ;)

  14. Yatima

    I just want to congratulate Skud and everyone else here on raising such an important topic and showing such an interest in men. When I look around at the diversity of our community, I think we can all give ourselves big pats on the back.

    1. Skud Post author

      Thank you Yatima! And thanks to Jonquil, too, for actually highlighting men bloggers for us! (I notice that nobody else in this thread has actually managed to name any real male bloggers.) It’s great that we have diverse, non-mainstream opinions like Kos’s and Atrios’s in our community! GO BOYS! *high fives them*

      1. PharaohKatt

        I keep trying to think of men bloggers, but all the ones I come up with really just don’t count. They aren’t blogging about *real* politics that matter!

        Good on Jonquil for being able to name a few who break the trend!

    1. Skud Post author

      Makes me wonder whether we need a followup post explaining the parodic elements in minute and painstaking detail. My head hurts just thinking about it, but perhaps we could crowdsource?

      1. Rick

        You know, a woman-dominated environment like the blogosphere isn’t exactly a safe and welcoming space for men, and comments like this bear that out. Aren’t messages like this discouraging men from blogging?

      2. softestbullet.dreamwidth.org

        What? How dare you. I was joking, obviously. Clearly, men don’t understand irony. Let me explain: I said something that SOUNDED bad, but in my heart I didn’t mean it, so you can’t yell at me. THOSE ARE THE RULES. Maybe you’d know if you spent your time reading instead of playing football and whining, or whatever you boys do.

        I’m so offended that you would accuse me of being a sexist. I don’t hate men! I’m even dating one! I asked him, and he said you’re an oversensitive, shrill harpy, and men like you are the reason you’re oppressed. Not that you’re even oppressed anymore, that was a long time ago, get over it!! You can’t use stuff from like a million years ago as an excuse anymore.

        He also says I’m not a sexist at all, okay?

        *sighs wearily* I try and I try to keep you boys happy, and this is what I get. I’m not even going to try anymore. And it’s YOUR FAULT.

  15. Sally

    Hate to start a nature versus nurture argument here, but, really.

    I’m female, and I love Heinlein, and star trek. I have no interest in blogging. I don’t really think this is as much biology as culture.

    I tend to not like girly things that girls should assumably like about 70-80% of the time. I find this probably explains my lack of desire to blog. In fact, over the years, I’ve made a legit effort to blog, and every single time I fail at it cuz I never WANT to do it. It’s a huge chore and I don’t enjoy it in any way.

    I feel more often than not that I have nothing in common with my gender because of posts like this. I’m pretty sure the portrayal of women that is visible here is completely innacurate and only reflects some portion of women who were raised to be “girly.”

    1. softestbullet.dreamwidth.org

      ((*out of character* Well, men who say things like this seriously are also completely misrepresenting their gender. There’s nothing intrinsically male about valuing logic over emotion or liking sports and video games or whatever. So I see the stereotyping of women here as a comment on that. We’re just pretending that “female” traits are valorized while “male” traits are demonized, when in reality, it’s the opposite.

      I don’t think blogging is thought of as a “girly” thing, is it? This post is a response to a bunch of men wondering “where all the women bloggers are.”

      And, what? Women love Star Trek. I love Star Trek!

      Er… If your comment is a particularly subtle bit of satire, I apologize.))

  16. Bene

    In answer to the question you posit, the only answer obviously is that I ate them. They were very tasty.

    In all seriousness, I’m always stunned when I see men writing about fandom, and I don’t read it much ’cause it’s (and now I’m embarrassed to say it) boring. They seem sort of stuck in pedantry over things like the TARDIS console room changes, never anything relevant like whether or not Captain Jack will be too heartbroken over losing Ianto to hit on the Eleventh Doctor.

    I’m trying to keep an open mind though, and welcome them. Eventually they’ll write about something of interest.

  17. Jeff Mather

    I think there are a ton of men who blog about tech — especially the design and creation of software and the management of teams and projects. Here are a few, in no particular order:

    * Coding Horror (Jeff Atwood)
    * Fabulous Adventures in Coding (Eric Lippert)
    * The Old New Thing
    * Bloug (Louis R.)
    * Bruce Eckel’s Weblog
    * Fazal Majid’s low-intensity weblog
    * Martin Fowler’s Bliki
    * Presentation Zen (Garr Reynolds?)
    * Seth Godin’s Blog
    * Silk & Spinach (Kevin Rutherford)
    * The Third Bit (Greg Wilson)
    * Software Testing Zone (Debasis, the bug hunter)
    * Tester Tested (Pradeep Soundararajan)
    * Joel on Software

    And to answer your questions about whether we “aren’t interested? Do they not have time what with all the sports and drinking and porn? Maybe they don’t feel up to handling tough subjects, or perhaps the conversational style is offputting to them?” Well, maybe we just have too much to do related to the creation of gadgets and software.

      1. Jeff Mather

        Yeah, I know. I was late for a meeting, which is a pathetic excuse. Someone suggested I reconsider my tone. Sorry. (Did I cave too easy? I always do that.)

    1. Danny

      I try to blog about tech stuff, but I’ve been finding it hard to find women who will link to my site. I mean, I don’t think they’re actively conspiratorial about it, but I do think that there is a bit of a “women’s club” about these topics.

      Maybe sites like this could have a regular “Sexy Dance of The Men” feature, which is all about menbloggers and their sites. I don’t think I would send in a photo, but perhaps other men would.

    2. Erika

      Look, we can’t have this conversation if you’re just going to fly off the handle. If you can’t discuss things calmly, like a rational adult, we’re not going to listen.

    3. softestbullet.dreamwidth.org

      Wow, Jeff, it must have been hard to find all those links for us! Thanks. I had no idea so many males had blogs of any kind! Good for them.

      But… what I’m REALLY looking for is male blogs that post about the design and creation of software and the management of teams and projects. Those men touch on those topics occasionally, but I wouldn’t characterize them as capital-T Technology blogs, like this one. And what is this “Silk & Spinach,” some combination of cooking advice and lingerie recommendations? I assume so! Ha ha, it looks like you got confused. That’s okay, though.

      1. Jeff Mather

        I finally figured that out; I’m having that kind of day. (But hey, if you can’t look like a jerk on the Internet in front of total strangers, where can you?)

        I’m just glad that I had everyone here to help me down so gently.

  18. Eric

    I’m not really very familiar with political or news blogs, but one area where men are very active blogging is in the programming/tech community. Take a look at the list of bloggers over at O’Reilly and you can see what I mean.

    Also, Tim Bray (who made a great attempt to add to the conversation!) is quite the blogger and influential programmer. All the folks using feed readers partially have Tim to thank for being a large part of the working group that defined XML!

    Thanks for letting me chime in on this great conversation. Also thanks for pointing out the wealth of content created by women. I hope the programming world can take a hint from your lead and help improve the gender ratio.

  19. Jon

    Don’t forget men who podcast rather than write traditional blogs. Ryan Block, Kevin Rose, Leo Laporte. I think those count if the point is “communication”. Frankly, every tech or politics blog *I* read is authored by a male, and I often wonder why women don’t blog as much… maybe you’re just in the wrong micro-cosm of tech/politics.

    You women can have your fun gossiping about how much better it is to be a woman and how all studies show you communicate better, but while you have these conversations you completely miss the actual realities: studies might show that women are *innately* better at communicating *certain* subject matter.. most specifically, emotions. Neither politics nor tech (and frankly not even journalism in general) should be a discussion that emotion takes part in, so it’s sort of a moot point. The other thing of note is that men don’t communicate *as much*. This one isn’t a question of better or worse (unless you judge better on quantity alone). Finally the last and most important point is this: population average statistics cannot be applied to niches. There are really only a handful of bloggers out there. If we’re only talking about a handful of people on the relative scale of a statistical average, it’s very easy to have the exact same “handful” of males to females that blog because they can easily sit outside sit outside the overall average and all count as “anomalies”. Out of millions of people you named maybe 5 women.. okay, I can name 5 men too (I named a couple already).

    I guess I just don’t see what all this yammering is about. Maybe you oughta stick your head further out of your tiny blogger box.

  20. Arwyn

    Oh my goddess, are we talking about men AGAIN?! I must be following at least half a dozen men on Twitter (one of them is my houseboy, and the other is the houseboy of a friend of mine, but still!), and I know there are men on some of the group blogs in my Reader. Ok, so I usually just skip over their posts, because they never talk about anything interesting or important, like reproductive health or parental leave legislation, but c’mon, they’re there.

    I know some unhairy mascunazis or their apologists are going to accuse me of not being “PC”, but I’m so sick of hearing about men and their issues. If men want to be taken seriously, they can start talking about things that matter, like real bloggers do.

  21. Daniel T Chen

    Jeff M above listed quite a few that I read, and I’ll add:

    Bruce Schneier
    everyone at Freedom to Tinker
    Lawrence Lessig (though, sadly, he appears to have put his blog on the shelf)

    You likely know about those already, however. For clarification, I interpreted the phrase “political and technical” as blending the traditional terms and not overtly oriented toward gender orientation.

  22. Ian Jackson

    Speaking as a man who keeps meaning to get a blog, I have to say I’ve really not wanted to struggle with all that software. The very idea of fighting with XML and RSS and everything has scared me off.

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