Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Couple of Quick Hits on Gender

By Nancy Jane Moore

1. Women and Ambition:

Bitch Magazine has a fascinating essay on women and ambition available. It discusses abuse heaped on women who dare to be self promoters, the tired excuse that "women don't submit enough," and the general problem of women being self-effacing. Here's an excerpt:
But by not owning up to her ambitions -- whether they are in the public or private realms -- a writer feeds the machine that discounts the aspirations and talents of all women writers. The silence is implicit support for editors who claim that their byline disparity is because women don't want it enough. It sets an example for other writers that ambition is something to be ashamed of. Though it might be the last thing in the world she means to do, by keeping her intentions for her work hidden, a female writer allows others to make assumptions about her work, and to decide where it will and will not go.

I note, with a touch of irony, that the author of this well-thought-out essay, Anna Clark, has not provided a bio on the Bitch website. Since she's got a relatively common name, I wasn't able to find out anything about her via a quick google.

By the way, Bitch is an excellent and irreverent feminist magazine that's just barely holding on financially. You can subscribe or donate on their website.

2. Gender Stereotypes Redux:

Some programming geeks who think word analysis can identify gender have set up Gender Analysis, a website where you can enter a URL and find out the gender of the blogger. It correctly identified my father's blog I Heard It at the Icehouse as written by a man, but it thinks my nephew's blog on his Korean English-teaching adventures, The Innocent Abroad, is written by a woman and that my self defense blog, Taking Care of Ourselves, is written by a man. One out of three doesn't strike me as much more accurate than guessing, which doesn't surprise me. I don't really think true gender is all that easy to define, even when one's biology is obviously male or female.

PS: Yes, I care about the election, but we all need a break now and then. Anyway, I've made political observations lately on In This Moment and my new site on Open Salon, Blending.


anna said...

Thank you for the kind words on the article I wrote for Bitch! Interesting point about the bio. I don't mean to be mysterious. Feel free to check out where I'm coming from at my website, Isak: www.isak.typepad.com

Nancy Jane Moore said...

So glad you stopped by, Anna. I like your Isak site and look forward to reading more of your work.