Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably noticed that the topic della settimana is *~women in science blogging*~. Kate Clancy posted a summary of the #scio11 panel discussion on women who blog under their real name. A few days later, Christie Wilcox posted about the panel as well, including a story about a lecherous comment she received from a person who reads her blog. These two posts by very prominent women prompted a whole slew of posts by other bloggers [Ed– Thanks to John Dupuis you can now find and read the entire slew] weighing in on the topic, which really boils down to two topics. The first is that women don’t receive enough of the attention they want: links from other bloggers promoting their work because it is good work. The second is that women receive too much of the attention they don’t want: men intruding into their space to comment on their appearance or make sexual advances on them.
I have stayed quiet on this topic because… well… I’m a cynical at heart. I’m cranky. This topic irritates me. I know my opinion is unpopular, so I kept myself to myself and talked about it in back channels until now. I think these discussions are very important to have, but I hate the fact that everyone spends a week or two talking about how rough women bloggers have it (how rough women in general have it), but nothing ever really comes out of the discussion. Everyone is in agreement, yeah, women have it rough. Women have more to overcome professionally than men. To some people, women will always have racks first and brains second. What is actually being done to change that?
I also hate the fact that we have people posting about how we need to CELEBRATE WOMEN BLOGGERS (I am not picking on Ed Yong here, by the way, I hear he’s a really excellent human being [that borders on superhuman]) which turns into a circle jerk of links for a few days, but then when the topic dies down the people who have the luxury of forgetting about the problems women face ultimately do forget about it (or at least stop being proactive about it) until the topic becomes popular again six months later.
Look, I’ll be honest. I don’t want to be celebrated for being a woman science blogger. I want people to link to me because they think I have good content or at least because they think I have potential. A very significant chunk of my traffic comes from more established (male) bloggers who link to me on a regular basis like Razib and Bora. I don’t think they’re linking to me because I am wo-man. Why? Because they link to me all the time, not just when we’re all talking about girl bloggers! I don’t want to be a woman science blogger; I want to be a science blogger. If you absolutely must put a qualifier on me, call me a queer science blogger. How many LGBTQ science bloggers can you name off the top of your head?
I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade or piss in anyone’s cheerios, here. I’m just frustrated. I’m frustrated that these discussions are even necessary. I’m frustrated that there will always be people who click on my blog and think “Wow, what a cute chick, I should email her friends and ask if she’s single,” (yeah, that’s happened) instead of “Hey, I didn’t know that about <topic>, that’s really cool.” I’m frustrated that a lot of women bloggers think they have to wear the internet version of a chadri to keep from being intruded upon in their own spaces, and even the ones who never show their faces or reveal their names still get intruded upon!
How about we all start working on socializing our young boys to know that it isn’t okay to intrude on women, and how to recognize what constitutes an intrusion. I don’t buy this fucking “boys will be boys and we’re evolutionarily programmed to think of sex when we look at women,” bullshit. Looking is free, but you are 100% in control of what you choose say to a woman.