Air America Debriefing – Should I have agreed to appear?

As most “Alas” readers already know, last week I was a guest on Janeane Garofalo’s radio show “The Majority Report.” It was the first of their “blog wars” segments, in which left and right wing bloggers debate this or that issue. I debated the female-male wage gap with a libertarian blogger, Megan McArdle of janegalt.net.

Janeane Garofalo was smart, funny, charming and surprisingly teeny-weeny (not only thin but very short). People somehow seem bigger on screen. Size aside, she looked and sounded a lot like she looks and sounds in her movies. Megan was likewise (and as I expected) smart, funny, and charming.

Anyhow, about the debate. Megan and I had agreed ahead of time that we’d keep it civil, and we succeeded in that. There were a couple of points Megan made that I regret not addressing, and I should have been more aggressive about grabbing air time, but on the whole I think I did pretty well. It was too short, though – Megan and I barely scratched the surface of the wage gap issue, frankly. (Of course, I didn’t say anything that I haven’t said on my blog.)

If you’re interested, the entire show can be downloaded in .mpg format here (thanks to Alas reader Jimmy Ho for the link). My segment starts 13 minutes and 45 seconds into the recording, although I myself don’t start speaking until about 20:20.

* * *

That stuff aside, some feminists have criticized my decision to appear on Air America at all, and also what I did while on the air. Here is what’s being questioned, to the best of my understanding:

  1. Should I, a male feminist, have agreed to appear on a radio show arguing for feminism? Should I have refused, asking them to find a female feminist blogger to appear instead of me?

  2. Should I have used my time on the air to criticize The Majority Report for using a man as their sole “feminist blogger” in this series; or for not having more female bloggers in general?

There was also some question of how my invitation came about – did they invite me and then ask me to suggest topics I could talk on (in which case, they invited me as a blogger, not me as a feminist), or did they invite me specifically to talk about feminism?

I’ve been thinking seriously about these criticisms. As a male feminist, there are always questions of what it’s right for me to do as a feminist. I’ve never held a position in any feminist organization, and don’t plan to; the leadership of the formal feminist movement should always be female.

On the other hand, I don’t agree that men, as individual feminists, shouldn’t speak in public or in the media. On the contrary; I think we need more male feminists appearing in the media, to help move away from the false belief that feminist issues are issues of concern only to women.

For me, the problem with talk shows is that there are too few women speaking, period. I want to see women in the media discussing the war in Iraq, the economy, the upcoming election, Kerry’s record in Vietnam, and every other “non-feminist” issue under the sun; I have nothing against women being called upon by the media to discuss feminism, but that shouldn’t be all they’re called upon to discuss. But it seems to me that, although virtually all the feminists I see in the media are women, when you consider all issues (rather than just feminist issues) 85% of the sources interviewed are men.

So: Here’s what happened.

A producer of “Majority Report” emailed me out-of-the-blue, saying that Natasha of Pacific Views (who is a feminist) had recommended me as someone “good to talk about women’s rights or some other topic versus someone like Eve Tushnet or Sara of Diotoma.” He also asked me to suggest other right-wing bloggers who might be good for their show.

I made a big screw-up at this point, one I didn’t notice until I reread the producer’s email earlier today. My only excuse is that I’m a big fan of Janeane Garofalo’s, so in my excitement I focused on the thrilling part (e.g., “I’m gonna be on Janeane’s show!”) rather than reading the whole email carefully.

Here’s my screw-up: In describing the show, the producer wrote that “Every week, we have a segment with Bill Scher from Liberal Oasis. We also feature regular spots with Atrios and Kos.” I managed to overlook what should have been glaring: all three of the regularly appearing bloggers on Majority Report are men. (More on this below).

I emailed back that I’d be happy to discuss specific feminist issues (two I suggested were the wage gap and the defunding of the UN population fund), and I also suggested that I could discuss same-sex marriage. I suggested other right-wing bloggers (mostly women) I thought were well-informed on these sorts of topics.

Later on, I emailed asking who the other bloggers appearing in the week-long “blog wars” would be, but I didn’t get a response.

So why did I agree to appear on the show?

  1. I think that there should be, if anything, more men speaking out in favor of feminism in the media. That’s the primary reason I didn’t (and don’t) refuse to appear in public as a male feminist.

  2. In addition, the show itself is headlined by an eloquent woman who is open enough about her feminism to appear on the cover of Ms in a “this is what a feminist looks like” t-shirt. So it’s not like “Majority Report” is in danger of being a female-feminist-free zone.
  3. In addition, my impression is Janeane has the power to reject guests she doesn’t want on her show. If she thinks a male feminist is an acceptable “Majority Report” guest, then I should assume that she’s capable, as a feminist, of making that decision.

Why didn’t I criticize the show while I was on the air? Two reasons. First, at the time, my criticisms of the show were not yet formed. Secondly, I was (and am) interested in keeping friendly lines of communication open, if possible. “Majority Report” is not the enemy; on the contrary, it’s one of the very few shows headed by a feminist on the airwaves. Criticizing them on the air might have felt to the producer and to Janeane that I was blindsiding them; I’d rather cooperate with the show and try to open a dialog backstage.

Of course, it’s easier for them to ignore my “backstage” criticisms than it would have been for them to ignore a live, on-air criticism. So maybe my decision was mistaken; still, I prefer to attempt to do things the nice way, especially when dealing with allies.

* * *

So now what? Earlier today, I finally figured out which bloggers appeared on “Majority Report’s” blog wars segment last week. Here’s the list:

August 16: Myself vs. Megan McArdle
August 17: Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos vs. John McIntyre of Real Clear Politics.
August 18: Atrios of Eschaton vs. James Joyner of Outside the Beltway
August 19: Mary of Pacific Views vs. Robert Garcia Tagorda of Priorities & Frivolities.
August 20: Bill Scher of Liberal Oasis vs. Eugene Volokh of The Volokh Conspiracy.

Eight men, two women. Ouch.

So I sent the producer I’ve been dealing with an email suggesting that there could have been 50% female representation.

Then I reread his first email to me, and noticed that of the three regularly appearing bloggers on “Majority Report,” three are men. Again, ouch. I sent another email:

I’m sorry to bug you again, but I reread your first email to me, and I have to ask. You wrote:

> Every week, we have a segment with Bill Scher
> from Liberal Oasis. We also feature regular spots with Atrios and Kos.

That’s three male bloggers who you feature regularly. Have you ever considered featuring a regular spot with a female blogger?

Understand: I say this in total appreciation of the fact that “Majority Report” is one of the very few places where I can regularly hear a strong, female, feminist voice on the airwaves. I appreciate and admire what “Majority Report” accomplishes, and I’m not accusing you or anyone else on MJ of being anti-feminist or sexist. But I am asking you to consider if you could do better in terms of giving female and male bloggers equal consideration.

I’d be happy to furnish you with a list of eloquent female bloggers to consider, if you’d like.

Sincerely,

So that’s where it stands. I hope that the “Majority Report” will take what I’m saying seriously and find a way to include more female bloggers in their segments which include bloggers; but it’s also possible they’ll blow me off. We’ll see how it goes.

* * *

In retrospect, would I do anything differently, knowing what I know now?

  • I should have pressed them about what female bloggers, aside from Megan, they were inviting. In light of how few women were included in the “blog wars,” I should have pressed them to choose a female blogger, instead of me.

  • I still wouldn’t have criticized them on the air. They are allies, and allies shouldn’t blindside allies.
  • I do wish I had used my precious few moments of off-air time with Janeane to ask her to use her position to champion putting more female bloggers on the air, though. That’s the thing I could have done that might have made the most real difference, and I blew it.

Thoughts?

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74 Responses to Air America Debriefing – Should I have agreed to appear?

  1. 1
    lucia says:

    These types of things are difficult calls, but in the long run, your opinion will likely have more influence if you do appear on shows. Now that you have appeared on their show, when, in future you are asked for recommendations recommend female bloggers. And, since they could call anytime, keep a list of people who you might suggest for different specific topics (If you think “they won’t call me!”, I’d guess they very well might. Programmers need recommendations and they are bound to ask people they know. They’ve met you now! )

    In the short run, turning down this single invitation and suggesting the programmers ask a female blogger might have done some good if they actually then invited one. Is there any reason to believe that if you had turned down the invitation, they would have invited a female blogger? Would you have had several to suggest at the tip of your tongue while turning down the invitation? Just saying “Sorry, invite a woman” without suggesting one probably wouldn’t have done any good.

    Overall, I’m happy you got this opportunity!

  2. 2
    Decnavda says:

    Is it at all possible that you were invited – in part – BECAUSE you are a man? The producers may have thought as you did that more men should be discussing feminist issues. Also, with a strong feminist host, pitting two women against each other on a feminist issue may have made it appear as though they were trying to portray the one opposing the feminist side as “inauthentic” or a traitor to women: having a man argue the feminist side eliminates this criticism.

    Specifically criticizing you for appearing is silly, especially in light of the show being hosted by a strong feminist. The real problem is the broader one you document regarding there being too few women bloggers on the show as a whole, and I agree with lucia that the best way for you to address this is to keep a list of women bloggers handy to suggest when they call. My sugestion for your list is Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise at http://majikthise.typepad.com/majikthise_/.

  3. 3
    aman says:

    Ugh it drives me nuts when men call themselves feminists. Just my pet peeve. Just read this blog occaisionally and usually think its ok, but didn’t realize ampersand was a man. can’t women have feminism for themselves? besides this, most men i’ve met who call themselves feminists are loudmouthed, obnoxious, shockingly unself aware or otherwise anti-social.

  4. 4
    James Joyner says:

    For whatever reason, there just aren’t that many women who have made major impact on the blog scene. Kos and Atrios are among the top three or four bloggers on the planet in terms of traffic and linkage and, along with Josh Marshall, easily the most popular leftists.

    If one looks at the Ecosystem, there are only three women in the top 50.

    Michele Catalano of Small Victory and Command Post is one of the premier bloggers. Unfortunately for the show, though, she’s not really particularly ideological. (She’s pro Iraq War and hawkish on terrorism post-9/11 but generally a Democrat leaner.)

    Michelle Malkin has just come out of nowhere. Or, more specifically, she was famous as a columnist and hit the blogosphere only a few weeks ago.

    Wonkette is, well, Wonkette.

  5. 5
    Ampersand says:

    Lucia, thanks for your comments (thanks to everyone, in fact). And I would have had no problem suggesting smart, female feminists who could discuss feminist issues (or any other issues) – I can find a bunch without going further away than “Alas’” blogroll. :-p

    Decnavda, I’m sure it’s possible that they were interested in me specifically because I’m male, but I have no way of knowing. And thanks for the site recommendation, I’ll definitely check it out.

    Aman, sorry to disappoint you, I guess, but at the same time I’d recommend you judge folks (including feminists) as individuals, rather than by their sex.

    James, I agree that very few “A list” bloggers, measured in the usual ways, are women. But I think it would be better if Air America – and everyone else, really – worked against that trend, rather than going along with it. In my subjective opinion, there are many female bloggers who deserve as much traffic and attention as many “A list” male bloggers, even though they don’t get it.

    Anyhow, it’s clear – to their credit – that “Majority Report” is willing to spotlight bloggers who aren’t in the same league, traffic-wise, as Atrios and Kos (otherwise I never would have been on the show). So the lack of female bloggers in the super-super-super-sized traffic league shouldn’t keep them from having more female bloggers on their show. :-)

  6. 6
    Annika says:

    can’t women have feminism for themselves?

    Absolutely not! The whole idea of feminism is equality. Isn’t it? If we can have everything that men have, then they sure as hell can have feminism.

    (I personally dislike the term “feminist” because of its inherent sexism. I think this is a good example of my objection to it, but I do apologize for singling you out, Aman.)

    Ampersand, I think you made a good choice. Would it have been nice for more female bloggers to be included? Of course. But you are in a position now to get that point across effectively, and besides you were perfectly qualified for the debate. If my computer allows me to, I will be downloading the segment to listen to shortly.

  7. 7
    Amanda says:

    Dec has a good point. I listened to the segment and my thoughts were a) Yea, Amp! I hope this increases your traffic b) I’ve never, ever, ever heard a man up and defend feminism on his own without a woman prompting him on air and c) It’s interesting having a man defending feminism and woman arguing against it on a leftist show. On a right-wing show, it would have been more of the same ol’ “See! Women hate feminism, too!” crap. On that show, it seemed more like they were exposing how this is a matter of ideas, not of men vs. women.
    Men *should* call themselves feminist. A man who refuses to call himself a feminist is likely doing so because he thinks it’s *beneath* him.

  8. 8
    Tom T. says:

    Amp, I expect they wanted you to appear because you’re a thoughtful and creative person, and it sounds like you made your case well. You have nothing to apologize for.

    Besides, your suggestion that you should have said more to Garofalo about bringing on female bloggers takes too much responsibility onto yourself. I have to think that she is fully able to recognize on her own that her blogger guest list skews heavily male. Your “failure” to point this out to her is not a reason to beat yourself up.

    It may be that the producers (and maybe Garofalo as well) consider blogging to be still a niche activity, and hence a mostly new phenomenon to the bulk of their listeners. For that reason, they’ve decided to feature the bloggers with the biggest potential name recognition for the time being, despite some cost to equality in the short run. Ideally, that inequality (both as to their playlist and as to the “A” list of bloggers itself) can be made up as time goes on.

    One small suggestion: I understand that air time is fleeting, but perhaps you could give an on-air mention to your weblog, as a jumping-off point where listeners can find links to a large number of interesting weblogs by feminists.

  9. 9
    Trish Wilson says:

    Amp, you were probably recommended because your blog is so good. It gets lots of traffic and lots of comments, too. Having been one of the critics of seeing women bloggers ignored (and having been attacked because of it), I was disturbed to see Air America do the same thing. That no one had noticed, even after debates in the blogosphere about “where are all the women bloggers,” I was disappointed. It took you mentioning all the male bloggers, and we don’t even know what kind of impact you had. I hope that your e-mails to them will fix that.

    I have mixed feelings about men speaking about feminism. While I value your blog and your opinion, and I know you would have been fantastic on that show (haven’t listened to the archive yet), I would have preferred that the spot have been taken by a female feminist. The feminist men’s movement has long been sensitive to not wanting to trample on feminist women’s voices. I’ve seen men who claim to be feminist take over entire discussions about feminism, and I think part of that is due to the fact that men are used to airing their opinions without being trampled down or having to fight for air time. I recognize that hearing a male feminist on the air has novelty appeal and it can help listeners get past air of the cat fight of right-wing women’s debates. It catches people off-guard so they’re more likely to listen. Right-wing feminist vs. anti-feminist debates tend to try to make the feminist look like she has no sense of humor and is petty. I look forward to the day that more feminist women speak on the air without feeling like they have to defend themselves against attack. I also look forward to the day that feminist women and men see their views valued for that fact alone as opposed to the way the right-wing media pits them against other people as a kind of circus event.

    It would be great if in the future Air America has more feminist debates as well as lone feminist commentary from women speakers. I for one feel uncomfortable in live debates of that sort. I prefer commentary. I hope that the show you were on isn’t going to be the only time feminism will be discussed on Majority Report. I’ve noticed an attitude amongst some newspapers and radio that they have covered feminist issues once – that’s done so let’s move on to more important issues like the war, Bush, and Kerry. I suspect that Majority Report would not be like that – I have the same impression of Janeane Garofolo that you have – so I look forward to more shows where women and women bloggers are the speakers.

  10. 10
    Sheelzebub says:

    First, I’m glad you spoke on the show. It’s nice to see and hear men who are aware of the issues of feminism and who advocate for women’s civil and human rights, and who question the status quo. I say that as someone who is usually leery of men speaking about women’s rights–I’ve dealt with a lot of men who refused to acknowledge their own learned sexism/privilege and thought that they were exempt for being “feminist.” I haven’t found that with you. In addition, you’re well-reasoned and thoughtful.

    Second, I’m glad you took constructive steps to address the inequities WRT attention given to female blogs. I’ve also found the same with blogs run by people of color, and I’ve made efforts to link to them. There are a lot of excellent blogs out there, I’d rather turn attention to the lesser-known bloggers (who don’t necessarily know about the Ecosystem or other self-selected surveys/sites, so therefore won’t get rated) than the ones that everyone cites.

    Finally, I’ll echo Trish’s frustration with this idea that there just aren’t that many female bloggers out there. When female bloggers got into the fray, their points were ignored, they were personally attacked (“you must be ugly” “You must hate men” and some rather unprintable epithets) and they were falsely accused of painting the male bloggers who asked the question in the first place misogynists. Funny, how one cannot be a woman who questions an assertion without being a man-hater throwing false accusations about.

    I’d be interested to hear of the response you get. I would think that as a progressive station, they would take your email in the spirit that was intended, and make efforts to give a chance for our voices to be heard. I certainly hope they don’t get defensive and angry.

  11. 11
    JoKeR says:

    I’ve listened to the mp3 of your appearance on Air America and thought it was fairly well done. I think that the hosts need to learn more about how to be moderators and allow the debators to debate. It really turned into 3 on 1 with the hosts joining you in arguing against their other guest.

    Peace!

  12. 12
    funnie says:

    “I’d recommend you judge folks (including feminists) as individuals, rather than by their sex.”

    And it is your ability to deliver *precisely* that response, Amp, which makes the whole matter of your appearance as The Feminist Blogger so very troubling, and is why I raised the question in the first place. The thing about male feminists is that (if they are actually feminist) they are working toward abdicating their own power…this means that as soon as it begins to pinch, they can choose to stop, or not bother to see in the first place.

    Rather than question *yourself* about why that commenter is now the 8700th person I’ve seen express quite a bit of surprise at the news that you’re male, you fob off some response about not being judged harshly because you’re a man. As if that’s the reality we live in – a world where men are discriminated against on the basis of sex? That’s not feminism, it’s self-interest. Which means you’re only human, but it also undermines feminist rhetoric for the edification of a man, and there is this matter of what that does in the context of a nasty systematic historical precedent of men’s interests being served at the expence of women’s.

    Similarly, your appearance on Majority Report: your response is, now, to throw the decision of whether it was sexist or not for you to be the Feminist Blogger on *Janeane,* abdicating quite a bit of your own responsibility for examining the way that you interface about feminism online and IRL. You act as though your only real options were to pressure her about women’s representation (as though she needs to be educated, which contradicts you defending your appearance by using her and her prominent feminism as a legitimizer) or to be an asshole by calling out the program on the air. If you’ll notice, I commented elsewhere that the segment contained no discussion of sexism in the blogosphere – if you honestly can’t think of a way that point could have been made without being an insulting ingrate, it MUST have been your maleness that got you the appearance, because it couldn’t be your nuanced rhetoric!

    And frankly, I think either of those ideas you extrapolated from my criticism (call out Janeane, be an ass on the air) would be an inappropriate exercise of male privilege on your part, but that didn’t enter into your analysis of whether they were appropriate – because for you, the question of abdicating male privilege doesn’t ever quite seem to come up. That’s why the question of women’s participation didn’t occur to you…and the fact that it didn’t occur to you serves, as far as I’m concerned, as another example of why women should be the ones to discuss and debate women’s issues.

  13. 13
    Richard Bellamy says:

    Eight men, two women. Ouch.

    I think you are looking at things too narrowly by focusing solely on one week of bloggers.

    Just scanning the first page of their archives, they have also had as guests (for solo interviews, not debates), Jeralyn from Talk Left and Amy Sullivan from Political Aims. Expanding from bloggers to writers in general, they have a regular visit from Katrina vanden Heuvel, a writer at The Nation, and recently interviewed writers Barbara Ehrenreich and Helen Morrison.

    It’s one thing to say that women’s voices are being excluded — another to say that women’s voices are being excluded in a narrow category of blogger debate week. The goal should be broad inclusion, which they seem to have.

  14. 14
    Richard Bellamy says:

    Any thoughts on whether funnie’s viewpoint is a majority or minority strand of modern Feminist (capital F) thought?

  15. 15
    funnie says:

    Which viewpoint is it that you see as potentially marginal to the women’s movement, Richard?

    Sexism? Male privilege? I’m afraid I don’t understand.

  16. 16
    Richard Bellamy says:

    The viewpoint that males should never act as spokespersons supporting feminism, as doing so “undermines feminist rhetoric for the edification of a man”.

  17. 17
    funnie says:

    I never said men could not/should not be public supporters of feminism.

    Also, you quoted me out of context. I said that a man speaking as though *men* are discriminated against based on sex is speaking in own his self-interest rather than from a feminist perspective. When men portray men’s interests as feminist concerns, yes, that by definition undermines feminist rhetoric.

    I actually don’t expect my point of view to be very popular here, Richard, so I hope that you will do me the courtesy of restricting your criticism to the comments I make and the context in which they are said. In return, I will do the same for everyone else, including Amp himself.

  18. 18
    Sheelzebub says:

    funnie, I don’t think you are being fair. Amp talked about what he did, what he was thinking, and even pointed out where he thought he made mistakes/overlooked the issues. Whether or not you feel he’s taking his male privilege for granted, Amp is certainly trying to take steps to point out the problem and correct it. That’s a hell of a lot more than other male bloggers or activists have done.

    Amp is quite aware of his privilege, he’s willing to face up to his mistakes, and he goes the distance to try right these wrongs. Have you written to Air America about the lack of female representation? He has. He asked the questions abut his role in this, and that took guts on his part. I don’t think it warranted the mischaracterizations you’ve given him of being some sort of a pseudo-feminist. If you read (present tense) this blog with any regularity, you know that’s not the case.

    What would you suggest Amp do? Shall he get a Playboy subscription, and hang out at Scores? Maybe become a Promise Keeper, and espouse wifely submission? Or maybe he could just become another moronic dickhead that hassles me when I’m out with my friends and crush beer cans on his head? Shall he simply keep quiet, lest he get cyber-slapped, and not bother? Great, we can have one less reasoned, measured, and genuine male ally. Maybe you didn’t agree with the way he handled it, and that’s fine. Criticism is great. Mischaracterizations aren’t. Trish explained some of the discomfort she had with men speaking for feminists/women’s issues–and she did so without painting him as an ignorant fake. Amp’s not a “feminist” in the way you describe male feminists, and he’s sure as hell not a fake.

    Finally, you said that you originally raised the question. Did you mean on this blog, in this thread? Did you previously go by the handle “aman” (i.e., A MAN) in your last post? Or are you talking about a different entry in another blog, or in a post of a blog of your own? As your name does not link to a blog, I am rather confused by what you meant by that.

  19. 19
    Sheelzebub says:

    I said that a man speaking as though *men* are discriminated against based on sex is speaking in own his self-interest rather than from a feminist perspective. When men portray men’s interests as feminist concerns, yes, that by definition undermines feminist rhetoric.

    When on did Amp do that? How has he portrayed “men’s interests as feminist concerns”?

    If you’re talking about his response to aman, I agree with him. I’ve met some very RW anti-feminist women. And while I thought Amp was a woman when I first perused this site, I wasn’t exactly disappointed to find out he was a man. I really didn’t care either way. Unfortunately, aman seemed to change his/her mind about the validity of Amp’s views when it came out that Amp was a man. He didn’t express surprise that aman thought he was a woman; it’s happened before. He simply answered the comment that most men she/he knew that called themselves feminists were obnoxious, etc. They might well be, but why assume anything about him based upon this?

  20. 20
    funnie says:

    “some feminists have criticized my decision to appear on Air America at all, and also what I did while on the air.”

    Sheelzebub, Ampersand’s post is, as he states, a response to criticism coming from ‘some feminists,’ of whom I am one. It occured in private space. I have interacted with Ampersand online for over three years.

    I am glad that he is publicly addressing the questions that were raised, certainly, but you should understand that from my perspective, the supposition that he “pointed out the problem” and I am berating him for that is unfair and a mischaracterization, not my criticism.

    I truly am not interested in hashing out to what extent Amp is or is not feminist, and therefore certainly do not wish to cast aspersions on him as a fake. The point I was attempting to make with the parenthetical comment “if they are actually feminist” is simply that a lot of men *do* call themselves feminist who do not consciously work toward abdicating the power that society affords their gender. Therefore, the constant test applied to male feminists should be whether or not they are exercising privilege over women. It is my opinion that in this instance, Amp may have done that, hence my criticism.

    I know there’s no way all of that could be derived from my initial comment, so I’m sorry for continuing the confusion.

  21. 21
    Richard Bellamy says:

    i apologize if I misunderstood. Let me see if I have my timeline straight.

    A: Man [Amp] speaks out in favor of feminism.

    B: [Unnamed] critic respond man should not speak out about feminism.

    C: Man says: Don’t treat me more harshly because I’m a man.

    D: Critic [Funnie] respond, “That response undermines feminist rhetoric.”

    Question: What other/ better response would not have undermined feminist rhetoric?

  22. 22
    Ampersand says:

    I’m working on another blog post right now, and after that I’ll be drawing page 14 of Hereville, so I don’t expect to be commenting in any substantial way on this thread today. I hope people don’t mind; I do really appreciate the posts people have been making here (including Funnie’s).

    But I can clear up this question:

    Sheelzebub wrote: Finally, you said that you originally raised the question. Did you mean on this blog, in this thread?

    I’m pretty sure Funnie was referring to comments she’s made on The Phoenix, an online feminist bullitin board that she, Bean and I are all members of (although I’m not a very active member). There’s a thread on The Pheonix in which Funnie criticized my Air America appearance. My post – this post we’re now responding to – was written partly in response to Funnie’s criticisms.

    However, I was also responding to verbal criticisms I recieved, not just to the criticisms on the Phoenix. So not everything I wrote was in response to Funnie or other Phoenix writers.

    I didn’t link to the Phoenix thread because it’s not readable unless you’re a member of the board. (Anyone who’s “interested in respectful feminist discussion” can join – as I understand it, making reading the posts a members-only thing is a way of cutting down on trolls)

    Hope that makes things clearer.

    (Funnie, please feel free to quote your Phoenix posts here, if you’d like to – it might make things clearer for the folks here who don’t read the Phoenix. It’s also cool if you’d rather not do that, of course.)

  23. 23
    Ampersand says:

    I cross-posted with Funnie. Sorry for the repeating of what she had already explained.

  24. 24
    funnie says:

    Hmmm. Maybe I will do that, Amp. I really don’t want to monopolize the discussion, but my original points *are* a bit unclear now that they’ve been countered!

    In the meantime, I’d like to point out that The Phoenix is a community of and for feminists, so if you [the general Alas reader out there] are a respectful discussant but not a feminist, it is not designed to accommodate you…I haven’t read the board description in a long time, so I don’t know whether that’s said that flat-out, but I think it can certainly be extrapolated…

    Which reminds me, I’d love it if Jane Galt participated on this thread.

  25. 25
    funnie says:

    OK, here are some relevant sections from my posts regarding Amp’s appearance:

    *****
    Tonight: liberal white male American blogger debates free-trade blogger from Malaysia

    Tomorrow: liberal white male American blogger debates blogger from Muslims For The Iraq War

    Friday: liberal white male American blogger debates Hispanic blogger from English Only Educators

    [this is intended to poke at the use of a white man as ambassador of a liberal point of view to a liberal audience while choosing a member of the marginalized class to espouse the "unenlightened" viewpoint]

    *****
    [then I quote some comments made on Air America's website regarding the segment:]

    Posted by Rusty at August 16, 2004 07:41 PM

    This woman is a TRAITOR TO her SEX!
    She is a self loathing female who doesn’t understand her history as a woman.

    Posted by Fishgrease at August 16, 2004 07:43 PM

    How old is this woman? I think she and those like her take their rights for granted.

    Posted by KevinK at August 16, 2004 07:51 PM

    [links to all websites, including his own have been removed by me, funnie]

    [link to photo of "Jane Galt" at start of post]

    The other day, over at Jane Galt’s site, there was a discussion about Jane deciding to go on the Atkin’s diet to lose some weight. (the entire thread is here) She mentioned that she is 6’2″, and within “spitting distance” of 150 lbs. I couldn’t let that go, and told her I’d be grabbing for my ten foot pole if I saw a woman that skinny. Later, I mentioned that my GF was a curvy gal, and that there were a coupla cheesecake pics of her on my site.

    Heh. Men are such pigs. My hit counter went nuts. The only thing that’s happened on my blog that came close was the one time I got “Instapundited.” All this time I’ve been trying to grow a readership with trenchant commentary, fresh philosophy, and funny stories, when all I had to do was drop the erotica bomb.
    Oh, the temptation. She used to be a plus-size model, and I shot a lot of her pics. Maybe I oughta pull a Unablogger, and start sprinkling in some of those pics every now and again, just to make you wade through all of my deathless prose. :-)

    Posted by madkaledisease at August 16, 2004 07:59 PM

    Barry WON. Barry Won.

    He OWNED HER!

    Barry is the WINNER.
    Smack down!
    *****

    I followed these quotes with the sarcastic comment that I love liberals, then go on to say: “I wonder if any of the other blog-war segments will focus on women’s issues. And if they’ll feature *women* discussing women’s issues, or if they’ll address sexism in the blogosphere.”

    *****

    Okay, I just listened to the segment.

    First of all, no, there was no mention of sexism among political bloggers, and of course no introspection on the question of why a liberal radio station would choose a man to represent their point of view and a woman to represent the opposition. There was also no discussion of why a man would accept being put in that position. Only the next day’s “blog war” lineup was mentioned while I was listening, and it will be between two men. So far, that’s 3-to-1 male representation even though one of the two episodes was on “women’s issues.”

    The topics to be debated were described at the beginning as “wage gap” and “abortion rights.”

    Megan/Jane was treated with some hostility and bias that I thought was unnecessary…true, this is part of the talk-radio format in general (which I don’t like), but there are some really disturbing overtones when it’s a woman whose salient points are being brushed aside while a man is asked for his opinion…on the subject of feminism, for chrissakes.

    On the topic of abortion, M/J brought up national women’s organizations in the context of the wage gap, stating that they were unduly focused on things like reproductive rights, and that the money and power were flowing there:

    [here I have transcripted part of the discussion, including the part where Galt's point is brushed aside and Amp is asked for his opinion]

    [then I go on to disagree with some of the specifics of what Amp said, then end:]

    The woman is a libertarian. I do not agree with how she framed wage-gap issues. However, she was reasonable and polite and made solid points in the presence of 3 opposing speakers.

    And men are bonding over their dismissal of her.

    I fail to see how any of the supposed liberals involved expected this to move the cause of women forward.

    *****

    I think it’s weird, especially in the context of Amp’s solid discussion of the hidden sexisms that influence the wage gap (for example, selection of male candidates because of unadmitted bias, the sexism of different lifestyle “choices” that privilege men above women in the workplace, and the celebration of men’s achievements over women’s), that he hasn’t yet questioned his selection as the (as far as I can tell, only) “feminist blogger” for this series (at least, he hasn’t anywhere I’ve seen – not in the broadcast, not in his comments on Jane’s blog, not in his discussion on his blog). Nor has he explained his acceptance, or related questions he asked the Air America folks during the discussions regarding his participation.

    I’d be interested to see him discuss that here or in those other public venues.

    Frankly, I think it would’ve been a great point on which to debate Jane Galt – asking her if she isn’t irritated that she’s debating issues with him instead of a feminist woman, and explaining that the reason she isn’t is the sexism he’s trying to point out exists.

    *****

    Regarding the chicken and egg of Amp and the subject and format, I can’t say the possibility that Air America wanted Amp, who offered them topics, which they selected and found a woman righty blogger to debate him on, makes me a bit happier on the subject of men, blogs, media, etc. It’s not as if there’s anything wrong with their liking/wanting him, but I think framing this question as merit-driven and therefore justifiable is a big fat red herring:

    Amp just happens to have a popular blog, into which he and others have put a lot of work. Air America just happens to know about it. The leftist media outlet just happens to be interested in women’s issues enough to discuss them, but just happens to be disinterested enough in women’s issues that they don’t engage in introspection about the format/topic. Jane Galt just happens to be the guest set up to be reviled, and she just happens to be a woman.

    [fleshed out more thoroughly: everything "just happens" the way that it does, and this is not due to sexism, but just the way things are because of individual circumstances and merit?! NOW who's the Libertarian/Objectivist!]

    What I think would be interesting is to have a discussion about all of this when Amp gets back, both so that we can stop guessing at the order of events, and so that we can hear what he has to say about the structure of the segment.

  26. 26
    funnie says:

    So those are my posts, which I hope will make sense despite being shortened and despite the invisibility of others’ comments to which I’m responding. Hope they illuminate my prior posts on this thread as well.

  27. 27
    nobody.really says:

    >[T]he leadership of the formal feminist movement should always be female.

    >I’d recommend you judge folks (including feminists) as individuals, rather than by their sex.

    So sometimes status is a bona fide qualification for promoting an idea, and sometimes not? I favor the view that the message is distinct from the messenger, although I acknowledge the symbolic advantages of having certain people deliver certain messages. But I recall many passionate abolitionist writings from people who were not slaves.

    >[A] man speaking as though *men* are discriminated against based on sex is speaking in own his self-interest rather than from a feminist perspective. When men portray men’s interests as feminist concerns, yes, that by definition undermines feminist rhetoric.

    I’ve generally understood Amp to argue against prejudging people based on status such as race, gender, sexual orientation, body size, etc. I’ve understood him to argue that pretty much EVERYONE is impoverished by this practice – albeit some more than others – and that it is in the self-interest of the great majority of people to transcend prejudice, if only because we all have loved ones in traditionally oppressed categories. So whether or not anyone would place his arguments in the category of “feminist rhetoric,” they sound good to me.

    Admittedly, I see merit in arguing that justice requires men to surrender privilege for the benefit of women regardless of whether men can identify a (narrow) self-interest. And I also see merit in arguing that men DO benefit from feminism. The arguments are distinct, but they do not conflict.

    >[T]he constant test applied to male feminists should be whether or not they are exercising privilege over women. It is my opinion that in this instance, Amp may have done that….

    I guess this depends upon the meaning of “exercising.” It appears to me that the producers of Majority Report (Garofalo?) have the privilege of determining who would be invited onto the show, and exercised that privilege. Amp had the privilege of free speech to object to their choice – but don’t we all? I guess Amp “exercised” the privilege of accepting the invitation that was not extended to others, but so did Megan, so I’m not seeing the gender bias here (although I guess the rest of the segments were not so gender-balanced). And I don’t see how the content of Amp’s message is relevant to whether his appearance reflected an exercise of privilege over women. If instead he had delivered an anti-feminist message, or even a weather report, would women have derived some kind of advantage?

    So here’s my scorecard: Majority Report may have demonstrated prejudice in their selection of guests. Amp may have missed an opportunity to bring attention to that prejudice, but maybe not. In any event, the most Amp can be blamed for is failing to exploit an opportunity to full advantage. If you share his view that there was insufficient time dedicated to the show’s central topic of wage disparities, then it would have been inappropriate to further diminish that time by taking a digression into the infinitely-deep topic of gender prejudice generally.

    Congrats, Amp; nice show. (By the way, since Megan did most of the talking, I hope you insisted that they pay her more…. :-) )

  28. 28
    Avedon says:

    Jeez, honey, take a look at the Blogstreet Top 100 and ask yourself how many of these bloggers actually blog specifically as feminists. None. And if someone asks me who within the community of the left-blogosphere I would call a specifically “feminist blogger”, yours is the first name I’d come up with, too.

    So, first of all, you earned it. And, secondly, you’re the person they asked, and you might as well do it. Writing the e-mails to them later was nice, but this is nothing you should be beating yourself up about.

  29. 29
    aman says:

    Sorry to be crass, but is equality your goal? Dworkin on feminism and equality: if equality was our goal we’d just shove something up a man’s ass every 3 minutes in this country. (paraphrase)

  30. 30
    Sheelzebub says:

    “A man”, do you have anything constructive to say at all?

  31. 31
    funnie says:

    “if someone asks me who within the community of the left-blogosphere I would call a specifically “feminist blogger”, yours is the first name I’d come up with, too.

    So, first of all, you earned it. ”

    Avedon,

    That conflation of that first part with the second is my point…I don’t think Amp’s accomplishments are so brittle that they’re devalued by pointing out that merit (“[earning] it”) might not be the only reason that Alas* tops your list and seemingly Air America’s and the rest of the world’s lists, too.

    Do you think that it’s out of place to even ask whether being at the top of everyone’s list might be a factor of bias/prejudice/privilege?

    That question’s not just for Avedon, because it seems that some of you believe that it is out of place to question the relationship between “respected” and “privileged” in this instance…though, being leftists, not in other instances.

    * really, Alas in this instance means Amp/Barry, because it doesn’t seem that suggesting bean or lucia has occurred to anyone here, which I’m sure also “just happens” to be the case.

    I don’t think that Aman has said anything so out of line, either, but would indeed be interested to know whether Aman is male or female (considering it’s a female name as well as ‘a man’).

  32. 32
    funnie says:

    And, to answer aman’s question, no, equality is not my goal.

  33. 33
    Ampersand says:

    Funnie, it’s really cool that you’re posting here. I realize it may not last forever, but for now, thanks.

    * * *

    Actually, I think “Aman’s” (paraphrased from Dworkin) point is a good one – equality alone is not enough. To have men treated as poorly as women have been treated isn’t feminism’s goal.

    What I conclude from that, though, isn’t that equality isn’t a legitimate goal of feminism, but that it shouldn’t be the only goal of feminism.

    * * *

    Trish has written a post on this which I hope everyone will read.

    * * *

    Avedon, I’ve never looked at that top 100 blogs list before. I do see one “blogs as a feminist” blog on there, and it’s “Alas” (we’re number 56). So, yay us.

    However, none of the female bloggers who blog about feminism as one of their main subjects is on that top 100 list. You’re a feminist, but not one who makes feminism a main topic of her blog.

    * * *

    I also agree with Funnie that it would be a mistake to attribute Alas’ prominence (such as it is) solely to merit. I don’t think Alas is better than many of the feminist blogs by women which don’t seem to get ranked as highly. To some degree, “Alas’” high ranking has to do with nonsexist factors – “Alas” has been around considerably longer than most (all?) other current feminist blogs, which helps a lot on the rankings. And I think I and the other writers have produced a generally high quality blog, and so to some degree the attention is earned.

    But I also think that the general tendency to rank men’s work as higher quality than women’s work probably has an effect, and has beyond a doubt helped “Alas” in the blog rankings. (Sexism effects virtually every other part of our society, so why should blogs be an exception?)

    Similarly, the fact that I tend to get more credit for “Alas” probably has some relationship to my being the blog’s primary editor and designer, to my having been here from the start, and because on the whole I post a lot more often than Bean and (until quite recently) more often than Lucia. (It’s not like Pink Dream Poppies got as much credit as me, when he posted here.) Nonetheless, that I’m male certainly doesn’t hurt.

    * * *

    What should I do about that? That’s not a rhetorical question; I’m open to suggestions.

    Should I try to invite more good female feminist bloggers to blog on “Alas,” for example, so their writing would benefit from “Alas’” higher prominance? I’d love it if any of the feminist bloggers on the “blogs discussing feminism” list wanted to join “Alas,” but my impression is those folks prefer having blogs of their own. (But if you’re a feminist, and you’re on that list, then by all means email me if you’d like to join “Alas” as a co-blogger.)

    I’ve also tried asking non-blogging feminist woman to blog on “Alas.” That worked great with Bean for a while, but her interest eventually faded (although she still posts here occasionally). (Frankly, Bean – who helps women for a living – has many more important things to worry about than this blog). Other folks I’ve asked haven’t been interested, other than Lucia. But I think adding Lucia to the blog has been a great success (and I hope Lucia agrees), so maybe I should hope for other opportunities like that.

    I could give up “Alas,” of course – and either quit blogging or ask one of those other blogs if I could join them – but that would be giving up the tiny influence I have in exchange for not actually increasing any female feminists’ prominance. So that doesn’t seem like a solution.

    I can and do try to link to female feminists whose blogs I admire, of course (and I specifically created the “blogs discussing feminism” part of the blogroll to make the links to those blogs more prominant), but I don’t have mega-traffic like Atrios or Instapundit, so I think there’s a limited amount of good that does.

    Anyhow, if anyone has any suggestions, I’d be very interested.

  34. 34
    Sheelzebub says:

    Funnie, thanks for posting parts of the original thread. That helped a lot, and gave me some context. I had a good laugh at the snarkfest regarding the “White male liberal vs. Hispanic for english only” etc. part. And I agree with much of what you said, esp. WRT privilege and the dismissal of female commentators.

    Amp, FWIW, I get a lot of traffic from this site. Also, and this is just plain selfish on my part, I enjoy this blog. It would suck if it shut down. I’d rather you not shut it down, since I enjoy it, and it’s all about me, dammit.

    I’ve always found the link farms helpful in finding new blogs to read and link to. I also like the fact that you have invited others to post on the blog.

    Here’s the thing, though. I think a lot of the problem is that women just aren’t seen. I’m not saying this means that men (and the women who have overlooked us) are evil; they aren’t. It’s just so ingrained that they don’t see us, or count us, or recognize us.

    I think you did the right thing in writing to Air America. I’d definitely be interested in learning how they responded. Other than that, I’d say that the links and discussions about other feminists/feminist bloggers are right on target for expanding awareness. I try to add blogs to my roll and post about blogs that don’t get the attention they deserve. Often these are blogs by women and/or people of color.

    As far as other (new) ideas, I’m running dry. It’s late.

  35. 35
    NancyP says:

    by and large, Amp handled the situation in a reasonable fashion. I do think that this is one of the good feminist blogs, and if he can manage a radio appearance (I haven’t heard the MP3 yet), it does the world some good to hear from a feminist man once in a while, even if it would have been nice to have a more substantial representation of female bloggers. I do hope AA notices that there are several good low-traffic sites by younger bloggers, some of whom might like to try a radio spot. Trish, a veteran blogger, has told us she doesn’t fancy radio, but perhaps Amanda of Mousewords (I know you are reading this thread)? Although hosting a literate blog may not correlate with ability to get ideas across on air, literacy can’t hurt.

  36. 36
    Decnavda says:

    Slightly off topic, i would like to offer Amp a suggestion as to why this is the top rate blog. Obviously, there are several factors. A agree with substantive quality being one, and also with the fact that this blog has been around the most. The fact Amp is a man might play into it, but I am frankly skeptical given how many people read for a while thinking he’s a woman.

    Another big factor, I think, for the success of this blog not as a feminist blog, but just as a blog in general, is design. Visually, most blogs are jarring to look at, and the best designs out there just have not effect whatsoever. Alas is the only blog I can think of that is just plaesant to look at, whatever words are on the screen. When I want to spend so time reading a blog, that is certainly a factor I think about.

  37. 37
    fling93 says:

    Amp, I think you handled the situation fine. Regardless of your gender, you were a very good pick for the discussion. And I thought both you and Megan did very well, both raising good points. I don’t know that your gender plays that big a role in your site’s success. I actually assumed you were a woman for the longest time, until I found out what your real name was.

    And yes, I think it would be an excellent idea for you to invite women, feminist or otherwise, to this blog. Perhaps as temporary guest bloggers, if they’re not willing to give up their individual blogs.

  38. 38
    natasha says:

    As the person who ‘started’ this whole mess, I’d like to clarify what happened from my perspective. Air America contacted me several weeks ago asking whether I or my two female co-bloggers were available for a radio segment. At the time, it didn’t work out, but in the course of that email conversation I was asked to suggest candidates for a blog debate segment and possible topics. And they were asking in the context of suggesting match-ups between liberal and conservative blogs.

    I don’t read conservative blogs in general, and the only ones I generally know about are the ones that are linked to on the liberal blogs I read. The first two people who rang a bell for intramural discussion were Jeralyn from TalkLeft on legal issues, and Ampersand on feminism. I may have suggested another blog or two, but those are the only two I remember, and I didn’t keep the email thread.

    Ampersand writes about feminism, and researches related issues in some detail, more than any of the female bloggers *that I read.* I, as a female liberal blogger, rarely if ever write about explicitly feminist issues. On the other hand, the topic is the primary subject of this blog, to which Amp has been the primary contributor.

    Which is to say that out of Air America’s sample of me, they were pointed to the site that I’ve been reading for two years on feminist issues. Additionally, Amp’s site regularly features links and conversations with people on the other side of the fence, which is exactly the sort of thing the producer wanted to replicate in the on-air format they specifically asked about. So of course I recommended him, and I’d do it again in a minute. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at me for not reading that many more blogs than I got used to reading some time ago. But that just underscores another issue, which is that there are a heck of a lot of blogs.

    When I first started reading blogs, I checked about two or three, and only very gradually did I figure out which ones were especially popular or interesting to me. Look at Atrios’ blogroll, for example, and tell me that you wouldn’t find it intimidating if you were new to all this. Think about your own blogreading habits and consider how long it takes to keep up with your favorites, or how often you check the lesser known stops on your bookmark list.

    It’s not irrational to use popularity as a jump-off point for investigating a crowded field that you’re being exposed to for the first time, and then to ask for recommendations on where else to go to explore it. This time, they got pointed to me, and I pointed them to Ampersand. But considering that they’re making bloggers a regular feature, and the fact that they were interested enough to show up at the blogger party the DNC threw at the convention, they’ll probably begin spreading their net wider.

    I might also point out that while they were on vacation the week before the blog debates, they chose a female guestblogger, and they had this to say about it:

    Hats off to Annatopia

    This past week Annatopia became our first guest blogger, filling in for all of us @ the majority report while we were on vacation. This place came alive under her watch and we are deeply grateful.

    Also, as she mentioned, Anna will be the majority report’s official blogging correspondent during the Republican Convention in new york. She’ll be on the streets, the tank, and all over town. Should be interesting.

    In the meantime, check out her blog

    So there you have it. They’ll have a female blogger who guest posted for them be their blog correspondent for the RNC. From where I’m sitting, the complaints I’m reading about the show’s choices don’t seem justified.

    Also, I frankly bristle at anyone suggesting that Amp isn’t a good representative for feminism. Reading this site was what convinced me, after thinking for years that the subject was nearly irrelevant, that it was a valid current point of debate. I’ll always have a soft spot for Amp on that count, for tying it all together in a way that made me take another look at my preconceived notions. I owe him a debt of gratitude for opening my eyes, and you have to admire the effort he puts into what he writes. It’s good stuff, and I don’t give a damn who he is, what he looks like, or what gender he happens to be.

  39. 39
    frog says:

    bean, I just wanted to thank you for what you’ve said here. I appreciate it.

  40. 40
    lucia says:

    Funnie>> really, Alas in this instance means Amp/Barry, because it doesn’t seem that suggesting bean or lucia has occurred to anyone here, which I’m sure also “just happens” to be the case.

    I didn’t comment earlier because my ISP is down!

    It’s nice of you to suggest me as a guest instead of Amp, but I would be a poor choice on the topic of feminism. As you probably have noticed, I have only been blogging a short time. The overwhelming majority of my posts are about same sex marriage specifically. The rest are about news articles that happen to strike me as odd for some reason or another.

    Had I been invited to talk about the wage gap on on a radio program, I would turn down the invitation primarily because I have very little specific knowledge about the level and factors contributing to the wage gap.

    I am sure that had anyone suggested me to Air America, someone at Air America would have likely read what I have posted and concluded that I would not be the appropriate choice. It just so “happens” to be the case that I would not, in fact, be suitable!

    Finally, to comment on the over all idea that there might be something wrong with someone thinking Barry/Amp is Alas and vice-versa. There is nothing wrong with that idea because “Alas” IS Amp in the same way (to give a stomach churning example) that William F. Buckly IS “The NRO”. Amp started ALAS. He runs it. He invites other co-bloggers (and I’m grateful he invited me.) I’m sure if I started to post pro-Hitler-anti-feminist articles, he’d take me off the co-blogger roster in a minute. ( Of course, I wouldn’t have accepted his invitation either. It would make little sense.)

    Amp is the prime feminist poster here. Air America was correct to identify him as such.

  41. 41
    funnie says:

    Sorry – yeah, I know that Alas is Amp’s blog, and I actually didn’t mean to suggest you or bean as guests instead of him (and thereby seemingly pit you against each other, or call your contributions into question).

    I mean that saying “Alas” throughout this thread is more correctly said “Ampersand.” I think that the presence of female co-bloggers gives Amp a certain amount of amorphous feminist goodwill (“cred”?), as does the fact that he seldom jars the reader by pointing out that he’s speaking as a man, from a man’s perspective. The end result is, I think, that “Alas” is perceived as gender-neutral, and that rings somewhat false, as little is neutral when it comes to gender. So I’m underscoring that when I (we) discuss “Alas” here, we are discussing a MAN, not a gender-free entity, at least up until the point we’re consciously referencing you and bean.

    I know that I’m making a pain of myself with all of the “just happens” comments, because each one of them ARE true or defensible, when taken singly. But most instances of bias are defensible when taken singly, which is my point.

  42. 42
    portia says:

    I agree with funnie and Trish and bean’s comments here, and wanted to address an additional point: it’s tempting to dismiss the gender of a speaker, and easy to do so online, without hearing a voice. So easy, in fact, that we can convince ourselves that this is a good thing.

    However, the comments posted by funnie from the Air America site show that not only do we (collectively) not ignore gender when it is difficult to do so (when we can hear voices and know one is a man’s and one a woman’s) but that what those voices are saying brings out different responses in us. If Trish (as an example) had been debating Megan, men commenting about it probably wouldn’t have said the things they did. Their misogyny would probably have come out in a different, more recognizable way: by characterizing the debate as a catfight. A man saying of Megan, “Trish OWNED her!” is different than when Barry is given credit for owning, smacking down, and out-arguing a woman, because we live in patriarchy. I think it’s worth looking at, and that it serves men’s interests not to.

  43. 43
    Trish Wilson says:

    This is a great discussion. Amp’s right that one big reason he has more traffic than some of the female-run feminist blogs is that he’s been around a lot longer. More people are aware of him. Plus, being a male feminist has definitely given him more accord, for the simple fact of being male. That’s the kind of society we live in. Feminist men have to be aware of how they benefit from societal privilege, since a good number of them are white and middle-class, but they have to do more than that. They have to abdicate that power if they really want to work towards social justice, and people who have power tend to not want to give it up freely. They might not even be fully aware of how privileged they are, even while working towards social justice.

    Funnie wrote on my blog something to the effect that a lot of feminist men talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. I agree with her. I’ve met men who profess to be feminist and yet expect to get a big pat on the back for being so enlightened. That’s not feminism. That’s ego and privilege. Someone in a thread on this topic either here or on another blog (I can’t remember where anymore) was wary of men who claim to be feminist because she was under the impression they said that so they’d be more appealing to women so it would be easier to get them in bed. I’ve never met that sort but I’ve heard of them. In the ’70s and ’80s they were described as the “New Age Man” – a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Definitely something to avoid at all costs.

    Feminist men like Michael Kimmel and Michael Flood really do walk the walk. So does Amp, and I think he had a bit of a “gotcha” moment with this experience. He was made aware of his male privilege, and that can be uncomfortable. I wish there were more men like them.

    I knew Amp was a guy from the beginning because I met him several years before I started my blog. We used to both get into some eye-poking fun with father’s/men’s rights activists in Usenet. So, when I found his blog, I went “long time no see.”

    Yeah, I don’t care much for the format of talk radio, although I wouldn’t necessarily turn down a radio appearance. I just don’t like to hear a bunch of barking heads. I prefer discussion formats where people exchange different ideas. I agree with Portia that if were I and Megan debating the commentary would have been different. There still would have been that air of a catfight because that’s what we’re so used to from right-wing radio, and I don’t like catfights. I wouldn’t have wanted to be pitted against Megan as if it was her vs. me, and sadly radio’s formats tend to set things up that way, even if they don’t intend to. There are some aspects of Libertarianism that I find appealing (granted, I don’t know much about it), so I would have been interested in taking her views into consideration even if I disagreed with her.

  44. 44
    portia says:

    Trish, it was just that air of disrespect for Megan, the same one that Ann Coulter and Wendy McElroy and the others get, that I find myself really wrestling with right now. That whole woman/enemy/but I’m a feminist thing.

    Honestly, I thought a lot of this blog’s initial traffic, the reason first-timers stop by, was that it’s at the top of other bloggers’ alphabetized lists! That’s not why people come back, of course; I agree with the other comments on its quality. I’m just so used to seeing it at the top of those long lists of links, and heck if I can make it through most people’s D’s.

  45. 45
    Ampersand says:

    Porita wrote: Honestly, I thought a lot of this blog’s initial traffic, the reason first-timers stop by, was that it’s at the top of other bloggers’ alphabetized lists!

    It’s been suggested before. I sometimes joke that if I could do the whole thing over, I’d do it the same except call it “Aardvark, a Blog.” :-P

  46. 46
    Amanda says:

    Interesting thought on the catfight thing, Trish. I doubt seriously that Garofalo and Seder would have set it up that way at all. I listen to the show alot, and I’ve heard Garofalo balk a number of times when she felt she was being dragged into a “catfight”. But she’s experienced at taking people on in public, verbal places. How would a woman unused to be thrust in the spotlight do?
    I often find that I’m more careful in what I say to women than men–I wonder how much of that is an attempt to walk around the “catfight”?

  47. 47
    Lauren says:

    Listening to the mp3 right now.

    I must say that the first few months after coming across this blog, I wasn’t aware that it was feminist in nature. I was more aware that Amp was a liberal/progressive writer who, for once, accepted feminism as par for the course in liberal thought (instead of relegating feminism to a radical PAC afterthought). It wasn’t until much later that I acknowledged it as a feminist blog.

    Part of it, I think, is that women who claim feminism tend to do so loudly, as though the label itself brings one into being. The “Alas” description only appears on the permalinks of the blog, and the only other things mentioning feminism (links to other blogs) are new.

    Perhaps it’s because female feminists are starstruck like me about a man who proudly and aptly defends and thinks about feminism in a public forum. One of my best friends is a male feminist (there’s no punchline to that one) and I think he is better versed in feminist theory than I.

    It comes down to this. Men can give support and receive praise for their support of feminism, but leave it to the women to define their own movement (Amp had no fault there).

    I have more to say on this, but I’m being kicked off the computer. Damn coffee shops.

  48. 48
    Jake Squid says:

    I’m curious as to people’s definitions of “feminist.” It is not at all clear who means what. Is a feminist somebody who believes in equality (or the ideals of feminism if you wish)? Or do you need to be actively doing work to promote feminism (via job, or volunteer work or public speaking vs. talking about it when the subject comes up)? In any case, can only women be feminists? and, if so, why?

    Here is my definition of a feminist. A person who believes in the equality of the sexes and does what that person is capable of in order to reach that goal. (For some people that may only be voting. I don’t see that you have to do a lot to be a feminist. It seems to me that Feminism is a philosophy or belief, not a movement in and of itself.)

    But I’m open to better definitions.

  49. 49
    Jake Squid says:

    Ooops. I forgot one question. Does one need to have extensive knowledge of feminism (history, literature, etc.) in order to be a feminist?

  50. 50
    lucia says:

    >>Ooops. I forgot one question. Does one need to have extensive knowledge of feminism (history, literature, etc.) in order to be a feminist?

    I don’t think so. However, one needs to have a reasonably extensive knowledge of history, literature and statistics to adequately represent the issue on a radio program!

  51. 51
    Lauren says:

    bean:
    Perhaps it has something to do with my location, a conservative town in the midwest, but this is the meat of my statement: a man who proudly and aptly defends and thinks about feminism in a public forum. I agree “starstruck” isn’t the best word, nor indicative of my real feelings on the subject.

    Where I come from, men like this are so rare that when I find them I have to clap. In fact, feminists are so rare that I have to do a little dance. Yes, it’s problematic on a larger scale, but remember that not all of your readers have contact with even other feminists on a regular basis. That Amp is male is a pleasant surprise for those like me.

    However, I agree most with Trish Wilson’s comments in her post at her blog and at http://xxblog.com. I want in no way to silence the kind of things that Amp has to say, and it isn’t about making an exception for maleness, but more because he is one of the best, longest-lived and most-inclusive feminist authors in the blog world. Whether or not his maleness gives him some sort of nebulous credibility to speak for feminists is an aside. He is a feminist. That a feminist was featured on a national radio program without being cauterwalled is notable in itself.

    Remember that earlier in the year Majority Report featured Alas as well as Feministing and my site as worthy feminist blogs. I can think of myriad reasons why they wouldn’t invite me although I don’t know why they wouldn’t have look at the Feministing ladies – they’re fantastic. It seems, as far as I can tell, that for the topic they wanted discussed, he is the one who has the most extensive writing on the wage gap from a feminist perspective.

    Jake: You are right on both counts. I think feminism has essentially branched into two overlapping groups, those who are activists and those who accept feminist theory or do theorizing (academics and self-proclaimed non-active feminists, perhaps). I am mainly an armchair activist due to time and resource constraints, but write on and think about feminism extensively in my work and hobbies.

    Lucia: “one needs to have a reasonably extensive knowledge of history, literature and statistics to adequately represent the issue on a radio program!”
    Agreed! The statistical knowledge is precisely why I wouldn’t be qualified.

  52. 52
    natasha says:

    portia – “Trish, it was just that air of disrespect for Megan, the same one that Ann Coulter and Wendy McElroy and the others get, that I find myself really wrestling with right now. That whole woman/enemy/but I’m a feminist thing.”

    Do I read from this that I have to respect Ann Coulter now? That’s just not going to happen.

    Why should I respect an ideologically opposed woman any more than an ideologically opposed man? Definitely, she won’t get better treatment than someone ideologically aligned with me, male or female. Does that make me a non-feminist?

  53. 53
    Char says:

    Male feminists talk about men and men’s behaviour towards women. Liberal men talk about women, as if talking about women makes them a feminist.

    Ampersand should have appeared on Air America. His topic should have been: “Sexism in the Blogosphere and How it Got Me Here.” But, he’s a liberal who talks about women, not a feminist man, so he wasn’t going to do that. He was going to talk about the wage gap, i.e. he was going to talk about women.

    John Stoltenberg is a feminist man. Read what he writes and then try to remember that men have a responsibility to talk about men’s behaviour, not just women’s oppression.

  54. 54
    Ampersand says:

    Char wrote: Ampersand should have appeared on Air America. His topic should have been: “Sexism in the Blogosphere and How it Got Me Here.” But, he’s a liberal who talks about women, not a feminist man, so he wasn’t going to do that. He was going to talk about the wage gap, i.e. he was going to talk about women.

    I’m not at all sure that they would have agreed to have me on the show to discuss that topic – especially since they would probably have thought I was implicitly accusing them of being sexist in how they choose their guests, which is probably not something they want to hash out live on the air.

    As you know from the Ms boards, it’s extremely difficult to discuss these topics – even with other feminists – without someone ending up being offended. On discussion boards, that’s sometimes all right, because people have long-term relationships; if offense is accidently given on Tuesday, it’s possible to patch it up on Wednesday and continue the conversation more constructively. The same thing is not true of a radio show where I get ten minutes of speaking time and then I’m gone forever.

    Finally, I don’t agree that “talking about the wage gap” and “talking about women” are the same thing. As I said on the show, the wage gap is about such factors as occupational segregation of both sexes, men not doing a fair share of childcare, etc.. It’s not about either women alone or men alone; it’s about how discrimination and sexism, in the job market and in society as a whole, positions and judges both sexes.

  55. 55
    Sheelzebub says:

    Natasha, there is a world of difference between a conservative whom I simply don’t agree with and a conservative who regrets that I didn’t die, who thinks I should be shot for treason, and who has said that we should invade all Muslim countries and convert them to Christianity.

  56. 56
    Ampersand says:

    Sheelzebub, I think Natasha agreed with you about that. Was your comment perhaps intended to be addressed to Portia?

    I think the folks who left the comments on the Air America website are clearly morons and, in some cases, misogynists. But I don’t think the show itself disrespected Megan; at least, I hope it didn’t. Megan and I agreed ahead of time to keep things civil, and the two hosts, while clearly biased, seemed pretty friendly to both of us.

    At the time, Megan certainly didn’t react as if she thought she was being dissed personally (although perhaps she did and was just good at hiding it).

  57. 57
    Sheelzebub says:

    Yikes, I forgot to type in “I agree” after “Natasha.” My bad.

    FWIW, I have zero respect for Ann Coulter. I also have zero respect for Rush Limbaugh.

  58. 58
    Char says:

    “I’m not at all sure that they would have agreed to have me on the show to discuss that topic -”

    So, then you don’t go on — that is if discussing feminism is more important than promoting yourself. That may seem harsh, but let’s look at the facts:

    There are PLENTY of women who are eminently more qualified to discuss the wage gap than you. That’s indisputable.

    And Air America didn’t want to discuss the wage gap so much as they wanted to set up a “debate” between bloggers — letting YOU pick your topic of choice. That’s indisputable, too.

    It’s also indisputable that their male bloggers far, far outnumbered their female bloggers.

    And that their female bloggers were “stuck” with the unpopular position. (Hence, the sexist bullshit when the women got “whomped” by the men, BTW.)

    You know what? Any feminist worth his/her salt probably would have noticed all that. But you didn’t. Okay, fine. Not paying attention, too excited because you’re going to be on, fine.

    But when you’re called on it — at your express invitation, I might add — what’s your response? “If I’d tried to talk about *that* they wouldn’t have wanted me.”

    Well, that’s the point. And what’s more, it’s the *feminist* point. So, you decided to talk about women at the same time Air America let you promote yourself. Whoo-hoo. Gee, thanks. I’d rather have somebody qualified to talk about the wage gap, rather than random blogger, you.

    “especially since they would probably have thought I was implicitly accusing them of being sexist in how they choose their guests, which is probably not something they want to hash out live on the air.”

    Oh, I’m sure that’s the only way you could have approached it. Sure. And anyway, oh, boo-hoo for them. So you let their own sexism go unchallenged when you had the forum to talk about it in a meaningful way.

    “As you know from the Ms boards, it’s extremely difficult to discuss these topics”

    What topics? How male power structures the blogosphere — like all other spheres of life — so that men somehow, mysteriously, who-knows-how, come out on top?

    Hell, if you really couldn’t live without discussing the wage gap you could *also* have talked about sexism in the blogosphere, like how everything men does makes them so much more “credentialed” than women, so no wonder men get paid more, so, golly, gosh, gee, no wonder most of the bloggers on this show — including, whaddyaknow *me* — are men.

    “without someone ending up being offended.”

    Right, because avoiding offense should be your goal.

    As for your last, we’ll have to agree to disagree. But I will say this, you’re the best — bar none — at the “invisible hand” of sexism. I mean, “occupational segregation of both sexes” sounds so fair, so even, so blameless, so much about mistaken impressions. In your view of sexism, nobody’s ever *really* responsible for anything. All that’s needed is for people to get over their bad old attitudes about women, and we’d be fine. And if they don’t do it fast enough, hey, we’ll be reasonable, we won’t blame or offend anybody, we’ll pawn it off as “being not about either women alone or men alone,” we’ll just blame it on the invisible han” of “discrimination and sexism, in the job market and in society as a whole, positions and judges both sexes.”

    I mean, how *does* one have “discrimination and sexism” which “positions and judges” (both sexes, by the way, being equally judged, with no reference to how women are judged as second class) without any actors? It’s a mystery to me. And it’s a mystery to anybody who might be listening to you. But, in order not to have anybody take offense, we’ll just smooth all that nasty sex differential — that sex *inequality* — out of it. I mean, after all, women’s second class status at work is *equally* about men and women who, after all, are *equally* judged. Except you keep forgetting that part where men and women aren’t judge equally. Maybe so as not to offend anybody. Or maybe so as not to put any men (perhaps including you?) on the hook for their behaviour.

    Talk about men for awhile, Ampersand. It might teach you something about what you call feminism. Because you don’t really talk about women so well, anyway.

  59. 59
    Amanda says:

    Char, I think you’re being unfair. Of course Amp was excited about being on Air America–since when should he be above ordinary human feelings? If it had been any of us, we would have been excited.
    Anyway, if all Amp did was talk about men, I would suspect that he was just another guy that thinks if something has to be done, a man has to be the one to do it. And he does hold men responsible for their behavior–but in order to hold people responsible for bad behavior we have to believe that good behavior is possible.
    Anyway, the reason that there was talk about the difference in occupations was that Megan brought it up, if I remember correctly. She was the one who said that women do less valuable work and therefore get paid less and he had to go from there.

  60. 60
    Char says:

    Whatever about the fairness point. I don’t think I’m being unfair. He wanted critique, he got it, his response was to whine about how he couldn’t be on the show if he talked about how sexism got him there in the first place.

    My larger point stands: by talking about the invisible hand of sexism all the time, men’s role in women’s second-class status, and men’s role in creating and perpetuating it, is well hidden. It isn’t all about mistaken ideas and unfortunate “bad” behaviour as opposed to the “right” ideas and fortunate “good” behaviour. It’s about how women are relegated to second class status by men, and how even men who call themselves feminists won’t talk about it even when given the opportunity on a silver platter. And then whine about how they wouldn’t have gotten the silver platter if they’d dared to bring up how they benefitted by women’s second class status in getting the silver platter in the first place.

    That’s the point, you know. The feminist one. It’s the exact opposite of “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,” — which has been thoroughly espoused here, apprarently out of some sense of “fairness” to a guy who’s already benefitted from women’s second class status in the blogosphere, at least.

    The male feminist homily might well be “don’t accept the silver platter without doing some serious analysis and questioning about it.” But, hey, if it’s unfair to point out that Ampersand benefitted from sexism — his own and others’ — and suggesting that in the future he think and work a little harder, then what’s left of feminism? Oh, yeah. The “invisible hand” out there “equally judging” men and women, both. I guess I should go look for a woman and “judge” her appearance on Air America, because undoubtedly she benefitted from her appearance in exactly the same way Ampersand did. Except there’s two problems with that: 1) there’s precious few women who did appear on Air America and 2) they hardly seem to have benefitted from their appearance on Air America. See Funnie’s posts about that.

    I’m suggesting that, for a male feminist who really is interested in ending women’s second-class status (and by necessary corollary men’s *first-class* status), rather than take unquestioning advantage of the “invisible hand” and thinking it’s okay because, hey, you’re talking about women, after all, maybe the better idea is to work a little bit harder at making the invisible hand *visible* — starting with, perhaps, how it got you to the position you’re in right now.

    Because if you won’t do that, then you’re not really saying anything about or for women that a qualified woman couldn’t say equally as well, and probably should be asked to say — that is if we’re really dedicated to ending women’s second-class status, including by ending the male hegemony of the “talking heads” genre, including in leftist/liberal talk radio.

    Hey, good behaviour has to start somewhere. And it seems to me that that might require some actual sacrifice of advantage. Including, perhaps, the advantage of being Janeane Garofolo’s throroughly accommodating and unchallenging guest.

  61. 61
    Amanda says:

    I’m just saying that it seems a little bit unfortunate that they *only* reason you can imagine that Amp wouldn’t have thought more about his chance to be on the show was that his sexism prevented him. He might have been wowed by celebrity and eager to promote himself–as a cartoonist, too, not just a feminist.
    And I still don’t see why men should be allowed only to speak about other men, and why you think that Amp doesn’t address male behavior.

  62. 62
    Char says:

    “He might have been wowed by celebrity and eager to promote himself–as a cartoonist, too, not just a feminist.”

    Um, yeah. I didn’t exclude those possibilities. And I specifically acknowledged that that was Ampersand’s own explanation. And I said “fine, okay.” Like, you know, I *accept* that explanation.

    I *clearly didn’t* say that the only reason Ampersand “wouldn’t have thought more about his chance to be on the show was that his sexism prevented him.” And I don’t think you can read that into anything I have said, unless you’re reaching pretty hard.

    “And I still don’t see why men should be allowed only to speak about other men,”

    Did I say “allow”? No, I didn’t. Ampersand asked for advice. My advice was: Talk about men. Did I say “you shouldn’t be allowed to talk about women” or “you should only ever be allowed to talk about men”? No. I didn’t.

    And, honestly I don’t know what kind of super-duper feminist powers you think I have, but clearly I have no power to “allow” or “disallow” anybody to do or say anything. And this “allow” thing is a red herring that persistently and predictably crops up in response to feminist criticism, especially feminist criticism of men’s actual behavior. That, in itself, could stand some feminist deconstruction.

    “and why you think that Amp doesn’t address male behavior.”

    And I thought the extended posts about Ampersand’s approach to women’s inequality, i.e. the invisible hand of sexism and hiding women’s inequality to men behind gender neutral language, pretty much covered that area.

  63. 63
    funnie says:

    Amanda, I would probably answer those last two questions this way:

    Men criticizing/lauding the actions of women (I think the Bible terms this “the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away”?) is not feminism – it is soup du jour everywhere else in the great big male-dominated world outside of feminism. That is why it’s better (necessary, even) for male feminists to discuss primarily, if not perhaps exclusively, male oppression. Not women’s reactions to male oppression, and not women-as-unfortunates (especially not when, as Char noted, the group putting them in that category remains invisible, nameless, and undiscussed).

    Regarding whether Amp addresses male behavior: I think that if he consistently engaged in analysis of male oppression from an admittedly male viewpoint, no one would mistake him for a woman. You may recall this, from my first comment here:

    Rather than question *yourself* about why that commenter is now the 8700th person I’ve seen express quite a bit of surprise at the news that you’re male, you fob off some response about not being judged harshly because you’re a man. As if that’s the reality we live in – a world where men are discriminated against on the basis of sex? That’s not feminism, it’s self-interest.

    This blog is not the only venue in which Ampersand has repeatedly been taken to be female. And when people express surprise and disappointment at the news that he’s a man, you can see right here what his response to that is:

    “…sorry to disappoint you, I guess, but at the same time I’d recommend you judge folks (including feminists) as individuals, rather than by their sex.

    Well, Ampersand may refuse to analyze why he’s taken for a woman, but I can tell you why he’s mistaken for female. In part, it’s because he uses the term “we” to refer to feminists, but not to refer to men. Because he can use the term “we” to refer to the oppressed, but chooses not to use “we” to refer to oppressors.

    This is a problem, and not just when he reps feminism against a woman. It’s a problem because claiming alliances to an underclass does not remove one’s membership in a privileged class. Speaking of “men” in the third person does not make Ampersand any less a member of that class, with all of its attendant issues…but, in print, it looks as if that’s the case. It looks as if gender neutrality and “not being judged on the basis of sex” are possible, in print, especially when someone claims that they’re possible, and speaks of men as if they’re a far-removed category. Clearly, though, as every woman blogger here has noted, gender-neutrality does NOT truly exist in print, and certainly not in the land of blogging when considering whose opinions get counted and whose are given limited attention.

    Ampersand is a man. If the fact that he’s representing your interests means more to you than the fact that he’s a man representing your interests, you have the right to your opinion. I certainly haven’t taken away from that, and neither have the other women here who question that or disagree with you.

    I guess that’s why it makes me chafe to see women telling women who say, as I do, that his being male is quite relevant here and that perhaps he should self-check on this, that they’re being unfair/not generous enough/failing to give him enough props.

    Deciding that Ampersand’s behavior grows out of feminism until proven otherwise is a perspective just as partisan as the stance that his behavior grows out of male privilege until proven otherwise. If the latter position, my position, can be characterized as unfair to Ampersand, the individual, couldn’t the former position, your position, be portrayed as unfair to women, the class?

    I’d rather not frame things in those terms, because I don’t think there should be a struggle here between you and me. I’m asking (and other women are asking, too) Ampersand to be accountable for and introspective about some things that have happened and some ways that he engages based on certain information I’m presenting to him…namely, how these things come across to me, as a woman and a feminist. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, or unfair, just as I don’t think that pushing this issue of sexism and blogs to the forefront has to call the quality of his work into question or cast aspersions on his talent or whatever. The polarization is not coming from this “side”: I certainly never said that he had the choice only between doing what he did and blindsiding Garofalo on the air and lecturing her on feminism. You know?

  64. 64
    Amanda says:

    See now I always thought people mistook him for a woman because their own sexism blinded them from realizing a man could actually call himself a feminist.

  65. 65
    lucia says:

    You know, it’s funny. I guessed Amp was a man right from the start. I’ve never met him in person, or seen a picture, but I assumed that the cartoon of the guy with the pony tail holding the paint brush — right over the site meter — is a cartoon showing us how he sees himself.

    Don’t even ask why I thought it was that cartoon. I”m not sure. Maybe it’s the paintbrush?

  66. 66
    kim says:

    Just passing through…haven’t read all the commments but had to say I’m thrilled that you’re a male feminist!! I think you bring a unique perpective as a man. Thank you so much!

    By the way, I visit Atrios, DailyKos and Washington Monthly blogs a lot. If you have a list of bolgs by women that are similar to these (political, frequently updated, providing opinion with active comments sections, etc.), please provide!

  67. 67
    S. Ellett says:

    “I’d recommend you judge folks (including feminists) as individuals, rather than by their sex.”

    This comment and the power/authority imbeded within it to tell another person (a woman in this instance) what to do is at the root of a sexist, rather than feminist, belief system. One cannot speak of “judging” and of “individuals” (as oppossed to a class of people) without a firm belief in a level playing field. Perhaps the belief in a level field is transparent to Amp in this instance, but it isn’t transparent to women who understand that feminism’s focus is on deconstructing the false notions of level playing fields, calls to fairness, and reversals of intent that are apparent when a feminist’s words or actions are themselves termed “sexist”.

    The very fact that Amp *never* questioned his gender, his social power, and the “choices” that were made (on his part, on Air America’s part) points to a very muddled definition of feminism, at best. At worst, it is a prime example of how sexism is not only institutionalized but deeply imbedded in our society. How can anyone take the cries here of “where are the female bloggers?” seriously? The female bloggers don’t exist (and certainly don’t exist long enough to have the opportunities and “choices” that Amp had) because they aren’t considered relevant from the get-go. A woman’s voice, a specifically feminist voice, is silenced before the act of writing or speech through the tools of male irrelevance (and in this instance here, the reversal of the “sexist” label). Female bloggers exist. Political female bloggers exist. Feminist bloggers exist. Interest in their words, however, is lacking.

    Amp, as a feminist, should know this. And if he did know this, he would have un-hesitatingly turned down his invitation and pointed out the necessity of Air America finding female bloggers as representative of feminist views.

    Can men be feminists in 2004? No. Not unless they are the ones defining what feminism is.

    Do we need male feminists? No. We need men who will listen to what women are saying. And for them to believe what we are saying. Further, we need for them to understand why “fairness” and being blind to gender is a tool that in fact hurts women because it implies that the battle has been won and that all women need to do (in the name of feminism) is to iron out the nitty details. As aware adults we all know that this is not the case.

  68. 68
    lucia says:

    Female bloggers exist. Political female bloggers exist. Feminist bloggers exist. Interest in their words, however, is lacking.

    My reaction then is: What can we do now? (As opposed to suggesting what anyone might have done in the past.)

    We can’t necessarily force interest — but we can publicise these. So, anyone who knows of an under publicised of unpublicised female blog, name it. Provide the link.

    If Amp, Bean or I , or any of the bloggers who comment here read the URL’s we would probably visit. If we found something intersting, we might visit again– and eventually, during the course of writing an article, link to them. Amp actually goes to a lot of effort to link to other blogs in his “links” articles. I do visit a variety of blogs and link when they post something that makes sense in context of my article. (Although, I could probably do so more.)

    Anyone have any favorites femist bloggers or feminist blogs? Fire away!

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