Jill poses an interesting question in her pose, “Who is a political writer?”
That’s the question Glamour is asking — and specifically, why it seems that so many political writers are men. And thanks to Ezra Klein for the shout-out. He makes the point that:
“There’s this rich and broad feminist blogosphere, which is heavily female and very political, but considered a different sort of animal. Is Jill Filipovic a political blogger? Ann Friedman?” he says. Male bloggers are seen as talking about politics with a universal point of view, but when we women bring our perspective to the field, it’s seen as as a minority opinion.
And “women’s issues” are seen as marginal, even though they often impact far more people than “mainstream,” more “serious” political issues. So women’s voices and issues are ghettoized, and women simply don’t seem to be talking about universal
So, I have to ask myself, am I a political blogger? Am I a political writer?
Well, I think so. But the stuff I write about — pertaining to LGBT issues and concerns — is just as “marginal” as Jill says “women’s issues” are, certainly not the “important shit” of “real” politics. No surprise there. As I established earlier, I blog like a girl. Well, sort of. I realize that being male probably gives me an advantage in terms of being taken seriously; one that isn’t entirely cancelled out by my being Black and/or gay.
The other side of the coin, as Jill point out, is that if I am taken seriously, I will be cited as evidence of “meritocracy,” rather than the exception that proves the rule.
The article makes the point that the internet is far from a meritocracy as far as gender is concerned — and I’d agree, plus I’d toss race in there, too, along with a whole list of other characteristics that shape our identities online as much as they do in the real world. The argument against that, inevitably, is “But Jane Hamsher is a woman and Markos is Latino!” Ok, sure. And yes, there are some women and some people of color who write for the top blogs — but, sorry, a few vaginas and brown faces do not a meritocracy make. This isn’t unique to blogs. We’re so used to white men dominating the discourse that any time you toss in a person of color or a woman (or a few women and people of color), it’s seen as “equal.” But that isn’t reality. It isn’t equality.
It isn’t even close.
I sometimes wonder if I’d have a better shot at being taken seriously if I wrote about “real” or “more important” issues (read, issues that are not specifically “gay issues”). Recently, I’ve been writing more about economic issues, as an extension of my day job. Interestingly enough, I’ve foudn that writing has been noticed in places other stuff hasn’t. But the economic writing was also noticed by some in the LGBT blogosphere.
To be honest, I’d love to be writing for a magazine like The American Prospect, The Nation, Mother Jones, or The Progressive (they’re not hiring; I’ve looked). But to do so would mean I’d have to change what I write about and how I write about it. To some extent, I guess I already have.
If I did, would I be a political writer then? Or, would I still be a poolitical blogger?