And so a clutch of women are left on the pink margins of the page, to wring our hands and, well, discuss among ourselves. The subtext will thus remain that anyone choosing to speak out on this is somehow hysterical or overemotional; that this is not a "serious" problem since serious people (i.e., men) aren't addressing it. All of which practically guarantees that nothing will be done about defining, measuring, or redressing the issue in the long term. Claims that no man wants to step on the landmine of political correctness, gender stereotyping, and identity politics should not justify bowing out of the conversation. Maureen Dowd, Deborah Tannen, and Anne Applebaum are smart, serious people. They have taken the time to initiate a conversation. They deserve serious responses from men and women alike.
It's striking, however, that the blogs are just the opposite. You never see women bringing up the dearth of female bloggers (to be clear, it's not that there aren't many, it's that there aren't as many), it's mostly men who publicly scratch their heads, glance into their comments, and find they're being hung in effigy. That's a bit odd, because even the studies cited in defense of women's numbers, like this one from Meryl Yourish, admit to a 14% differential, and that's not restricting the pool to political bloggers.
Now, assuming we're talking about top op-ed pages (and since this conversation is being held in the Washington Post, the LA Times, the NY Times, and Slate, we are) and top blogs, which we often are (though nothing I've seen shows the disparity easing much as we travel down the list), there's not a major difference in the number of female bloggers/writers occupying the slots, it's about 10-20% in each of the venues. So why is the conversation being entirely driven by women in one medium and men in the other? It makes no sense.
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(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)