Thursday, March 18, 2010

And this is what a blog is for... My letter to David Walmsley, National Editor at the Globe and Mail, in response to Margaret Wente's latest tirade

Dear Mr. Walmsley,

I'm writing to express my extreme disappointment in Margaret Wente's latest column - "Why are bloggers male?"

Frankly, I don't know the demographics of bloggers (and based on Wente's column, I don't think she knows them either; besides asking her 24-year-old friend Sarah, I don't really see any research she has done to punctuate her assertion), and maybe demographically-speaking there are more men blogging than women. But then, there are also more men in high-ranking management roles than females, so I wonder if Wente's next column will be about how men like to be powerful and in control, and women like to be subservient and weak (I'm joking, but somehow I don't think I'm far off) - and that alone explains the disparity.

For a newspaper that I have generally respected for its journalistic integrity, I am dismayed at the level of sexism Wente conveyed in this column. I am shocked that she wrote it; I am even more shocked that it was published.

If she wanted to take aim at there being way too many poorly written blogs out there, many of which attack her on a personal level, and many of which are written by men, then so be it. But she didn't need to take women down with her on her tirade.

For the record, I am a female, I'm 26, and I blog. Sure, I can count on one hand the number of followers I have. And I don't write anywhere near as often as I would like. My blog posts aren't what you might call focused in any certain way - I've written film reviews, shared personal and embarrassing childhood memories, and discussed how a failing economy might devastate the professional sport industry. I am all over the place. But I do write. Publicly. And when I'm not formally blogging, I'm linking articles (sometimes from your paper) to my Facebook page to generate comments and discussion, commenting on others links and following others' blogs. I've seen - and participated in - discussions on the Afghan detainee issue, the controversies over Canada's representation to the world during the Olympics, and the "Adam Giambrone sex scandal," just to name a few of the most recent.

Offline, I'm currently in a post-graduate Corporate Communications program where 90% of the class is female. Most of our professors are male, and I can assure you that they would tell you we are anything but quiet when it comes to sharing our opinions.

So what I want to say is, really, Ms. Wente? Shy to raise our hands? Lacking in confidence? Holding back our ideas? Is it 1950?

What Ms. Wente might not understand is that whether to blog or not to blog is not a gender issue; if she absolutely needs to find a reason why she's falling behind in the social media circuit, then maybe she should revisit those demographics she's a party to and realize that it might be her age bracket, not her hormonal distribution.

Wente's column seriously detracts from the integrity of this newspaper. But all that means is that this is just another reason why people will be reading the papers less and participating more in their own democratized search for real news.

But that's just my opinion. One that I guess I'm not apt to share, or share publicly, since I'm a woman.

I think I'll post this letter on my blog now. If you're interested, here's the link:


*To read Margaret Wente's article: