On 'women bloggers'

There's an article up on SadieMag about women's participation in the wonderful world of blogging. As Amanda Marcotte points out, it's great that the question seems to have finally shifted away from "Where are the women bloggers?" to "What are women writers blogging about?" The article goes on to interview several mostly political blogging women, from both the right and left, and questions the effect of one's gender when writing online.

Not surprisingly, it's still a man's world, but that's not the point I want to address. It's the frame of "women bloggers." By addressing the issue in this way, we've already set the frame up so that the default "blogger" by itself is male, and adding a parameter -- "women" or "female" -- is necessary to feminize this default setting for the word.

It's like when people use "male nurse." The default state is feminine, and the "male" is added to masculinize it. Actually, it seems that, according to my spell-checker, "masculinize" isn't even a word... but "feminize" is. Why? I'm guessing that most words in our heads are already clearly masculine, and we've got a lot more feminizing to do than we realize.

I'm thus putting out a call to bloggers (and readers of blogs) everywhere to help make sure that this word gets firmly established as a gender-neutral, happily androgynous occupation. Stop using those pesky gender-qualifiers today.


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