I got an email from a UK student who was doing research on why so few women were political bloggers.

I have several blogs, but only two are political: my African blog on Zimbabwe, and my personal blog.

Why do I have these blogs?

Well, the first is my “activism” blog, a way to protest.

Most people know about Zimbabwe now, but when I started the blog, there was little being written about the deterioration of human rights in that country. Yet one of my friends had her brother (an advocate for democracy) hiding out from government thugs. I couldn’t exactly go out protesting, so I started the blog, figuring that even if no one read the posts, the Technorati fairy would notice.

But my personal blog is only partly political: and in this way, it is more typical 0f women bloggers. It is a mix of things that interest me: a mixture of headlines, recipes, weird science headlines, and Larry the cucumber silly song videos. I also use it to keep up with my family, posting photos and family news.

I never expect either blog to be a “top blog”, because the dirty little secret is that if you want to rack up the hits (readers), you need to specialize in one thing. That way, those interested in the subject (whether it be Tatting or History or politics left or right) can get the RSS feed and not bother to have to surf the net.

The problem is that often the blogosphere tends to be an echo chamber, where people latch onto a single issue or cliche and repeat it over and over again. Sort of like those streaming headlines below the story on the various cable channels, but (alas) too often with profanity.

I had to stop reading some of the left wing blogs because they were so busy repeating the “Bush/fascism” meme that I figured they were either menopausal and paranoid, or else didn’t bother to think for themselves.

I’ve lived under dictatorships, and although I had some protection because of my US passport, I knew darn well if I talked too critically I could lose my visa and be thrown out of the country, and that if I treated the wrong person in our clinic, I could have ended up in jail.

But of course now, it is the right wing blogs that are going crazy about Obama bankrupting the country and helping to impose the New World Order.

Go figure. I have a lot of differences with both sides,  but neither is the anti christ.

The irony is that if one wants to get hits (readers), paranoia is the way to go.

Michelle Malkin and the Daily Kos are quite partisan, and quite high in the list of political blogs; Alas, they spawn a lot of copy cat blogs that take political partisanship to the level of paranoia. Don’t believe me? Read some of these blogs– or read comments about their essays. There is enough hatred to light up a major civil war if it gets lose.

But the best of the blogs give one insight into different points of view.

So why are there so few women bloggers in politics? Why do women’s blogs tend to be writing of family or what they are doing?

My opinion is that women tend to have a life of our own.

A woman who has to stop a fight between two kids knows that usually it isn’t one side “right” and one side “wrong”: yes, we often have to chose sides, but that doesn’t mean we don’t recognize the argument proposed by the other child.

Yes, it’s fun to ridicule and take sides on blogs, but when one is a grown up, one should write like a grown up. But towrite a well thought out essay on a complicated subject takes time, and often a bit of research to make sure we got the facts right. So unless one is retired, how many women who already have two jobs (one in the workplace, one caring for their family) can take that much time out of the schedule?

If you really want to have a successful blog, find your area of expertise, and write on that, whether it be medicine, knitting, human rights, or local politics. Keep at it, and eventually someone will notice and your hits will go up.

Most women have a need to communicate, and so women’s blogs will continue to echo the letter writing of our grandmothers: writing about personal things, about our daily lives and thoughts.

These blogs will never make money, but they are a reminder that life is made of little things, and that these smaller things are what makes life worth living.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. She blogs at Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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