WHERE THE GIRLS ARE: NOT ENOUGH AT YEARLY KOS Today the Washington Post's Jose Antonio Vargas has an interesting piece about the white, male, middle-aged character of the Yearly Kos conference, which I blogged for Real Women, Real Voices, the blog of the National Women's Editorial Forum.
What got to me in Vargas's piece was the hand-wringing about where the girls are -- or aren't, and why that is. "While the Huffington Post and Fire Dog Lake, both founded by women, are two of the most widely read blogs," Vargas writes, "the rock stars are mostly men, and many women bloggers complain of sexism and harassment in the blogosphere." He goes on to report on the panel, "Blogging While Female," which was moderated by Prospect Senior Editor Garance Franke-Ruta (and which I blogged right here).
Of the general lack of diversity, be it gender, racial, generational, or cultural, Vargas writes, "Everyone agrees it's a problem, yet no one is sure how to address it." He notes a phenomenon I had not really before considered, that "[t]he Internet, after all, is not a 'push' medium like television, where information flows out, but a 'pull' medium, where people are drawn in."
It's an interesting point, but in the context of this discussion, it's neither here nor there. The problem stems from the fact that power begets power that resembles itself. White, male bloggers receive institutional support in ways that non-whites and women do not, be it in the form of funding, linking, quoting or bookings on political talk shows. The moment that the middle-aged white men who hold the power and the purse strings of progressive politics decide it's a priority to see the movement's values reflected in the attributes of its anointed messengers, the problem will cease to exist.
--Adele M. Stan