I'm not suggesting that there is no misogyny in the blogosphere - unlike Joan Smith, I don't believe in making blanket statements about entire groups of people who may or may not be alike. However, I will say that such views are found everywhere, both on and offline. Maybe, Joan doesn't get out much so isn't aware of this fact.
Kathy Sierra's experience is dreadful, but it is hardly typical. Yes, there is a sub-section of male bloggers who get their kicks by belittling women, but in my experience they are a minority. I spend a lot of my online time in a techy, male dominated environment, and for every man who has suggested that I should worry my pretty little head about something other than coding, there have been a hundred others who have helped and supported me.
Many of my regular readers are men, all are pleasant and articulate, and extremely unlikely to harass me, or any other woman. Maybe, I just struck lucky, but I don't think so. In fact, I suspect the clue to the real reason for Joan's rant can be found towards the end of her article.
"In this pseudo-democratic universe, the novel that has just taken me nearly five
years to finish has no more value than a blog that someone dashed off in 10
minutes. The sheer quantity of words available on the internet has prompted a
false analogy with the enclosures of common land in the 18th century, in which
novelists, poets and historians are cast in the role of wicked landlords."
Joan isn't railing against supposedly misogynistic bloggers at all, she is worried about her book sales and, casting around for an excuse for the lack of success of her novel, her eye has alighted on bloggers. Well Joan, I hate to break it to you, but the blogosphere has no bearing on the success or failure of your book, or at least it didn't. (Now, you are likely to get some stinking reviews.) I have found bloggers to be voracious readers, and, being realistic, nobody is ever going to think reading a blog post is the same as reading a book, any more than they would read a newspaper or magazine instead of a book. It's extremely patronising and elitist for you to suggest that anybody would.
You may be surprised to hear that many, many writers, both famous and less so, are amongst the bloggers you so despise. Why? Because they recognise the value in holding a direct conversation with their readers. Maybe you should try it.
Oh, and who has cast novelists, poets and historians in the role of wicked landlords? Any suggestions? Can't say that is an analogy I have ever come across.
This article was originally published at itisi