Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Estrogen Month - Day 23

Job responsibilities persist to the point of exhastion, plus the nasty snowstorm made for a nail-biting commute home, and now I can't move my left knee (which suddenly started hurting around 5 or so, prior to the minced walking on the slushy snow and the climb up our two flights of stairs) without feeling excruciating pain. All in all, I'm glad yesterday's post was the long essay and tomorrow's will be dedicated to my mom on the occasion of her birthday - so I'm calling on all readers to submit your favorite Mom blogs and Jewish women blogs (as sunset tomorrow also marks the start of Purim, my favorite Jewish holiday and the only one featuring a female lead character) so I can publicize the heck out of them on Day 24.

But let's finish up today first, and bear in mind I haven't had that much leisure time today so, once again, I'm way behind in my reading. Well, first you should know that Kevin Drum has turned the Washington Monthly blog over to three female pundits who have been talking, well, female punditry. Here's Amy Sullivan's first shot over the bow, and some of the reactions it's gotten. I understand where she's coming from with "the fault lies not only in the media stars but with our selves" angle, but to me it sounds way too much like "blaming the victim" and absolving the folks in power of their responsibility. And if we're talking about the actual (as opposed to the mythic) liberal media, i.e. the politics of inclusion, that's a big problem.

Then Katha Pollitt comes along and reminds readers of all the great female pundits already around, much like we've been celebrating great female bloggers here all month. She also puts the responsibility for female pundits where it would seem to belong; with the people doing the hiring of editorial writers. She notes that older male editors seem to like mentoring younger male opinion writers "in whom they see their younger selves... Editors socialize with these acolytes, form friendships with them, offer them important career-making assignments... encourage them to take risks and give them more chances if they screw up." Again, not that much different from some aspects of the comic book world, and I have to figure it works that way in many other creative industries. I just don't see a reason why women can't be mentored too, except that if this theory is correct men who can't look beyond appearance can't see themselves in younger women. So it's not just socialization that's the culprit here, it's also socializing (aka fraternization, a male-oriented word if ever there was one).

So then Amy comes back with her second post on the subject in response to Katha. Again, I'm not sure I agree with her that the fraternization "critique is neither entirely accurate nor productive." I think you have to identify a problem before you can suggest remedies for it. Then she continues with an invitation: "On behalf of The Washington Monthly, I'm giving notice to every female writer out there: We are desperately interested in your proposed story ideas, article submissions, and getting your names in our Rolodexes. That doesn't mean we'll always run your pieces — sometimes a women gets rejected because her story is no good, not because she's a woman. But the same happens for men all the time. Have an idea? Want to run it by me? Email amysullivandc at gmail.com." Impressive, and part of me wishes I had the time! But I'll bet a lot of you do!

After that we have one more earlier today from Katha and the debut post of Garance Franke-Ruda about, among other things, how the gender of editorial writers may be reflected in part by the gender of the subjects they most often cover. Oh, and for those of you who like stats, she's got stats.

Elsewhere, Cruella responds to an article in the Guardian about "dull, depressed and domestic" women writers; Glovefox sends along a Guardian obituary for Constance Rover (who "who started the first university course in women's studies") as well as a bit about the disappearance at last of foot-binding in China; and I'm still trying to figure out how self-exploitation is an appropriate response to perceived racial insults if, you know, the society to which these anti-monarchy protestors belong receives a very specific signal from "hey, look at my tits!"... kinda like, you know, "hey, she wants us to look at her tits!"

Anyway, I'm babbling and I'm tired and that's it for me today. If you wish, please familiarize yourself with what Estrogen/Women in Blogging Month is all about here, and do continue to vote and give women bloggers a shout-out in the comments section below.