2005 March 31 Thursday
Heather Mac Donald Takes On Claim Of Blogging As Men's Club

Heather Mac Donald responds to charges that blogs are dominated by white males because we supposedly run an old boys network.

Bad move, guys. The "diversity" mongers have just brought up the one thing that they should have stayed far far away from: the web. Newsweek's technology columnist Steven Levy has declared that the lack of "diversity" among the web's most popular blogs requires corrective action. The goal? A blogosphere whose elite tier "reflects the actual population" — i.e., where female- and minority-written blogs are found among the top 100 blogs in the same proportion as females and minorities are found in the general population.

Levy's complaint comes on the heels of Susan Estrich's campaign against the Los Angeles Times for allegedly refusing to publish female op-ed writers, a campaign that has caused widespread wringing of editorial hands about male-dominated op-ed pages. For Levy to have mentioned the web at this moment is about as smart as inviting Stephen Hawking to an astrologers' convention: The web demolishes the assumptions behind any possible quota crusade.

Levy attributes the white male domination of blogging to a club of white males who make sure we dominate.

So why, when millions of blogs are written by all sorts of people, does the top rung look so homogeneous? It appears that some clubbiness is involved. Suitt puts it more bluntly: "It's white people linking to other white people!"

Levy's argument is an insult both to blog writers and blog readers. I have lots of people coming through my blogs reading just a single post that they found through a search engine or through a link from a blog list or because someone emailed a URL to my site (I can even tell some of these by seeing referring URLs that are for Yahoo mail pages for example) or because a news site linked to something I wrote. So I get lots of one-time visitors. The vast bulk of them do not return. I know that because if even a tenth of them did return I'd have one or two orders of magnitude more regular front page visitors. The point is that lots of people can find blogs using a variety of methods and can choose whether they want to come back again. No "old boys network" is necessary.

Does Levy want to argue that Google is an old boys network? Does Google have a special algorithm for detecting male versus female writings styles in order to bring searchers to male writing or does Google have a racial writing style detector? Levy is supposed to be a technology columnist. Look at what his embrace of leftist ideology has done to rot his brain. He should be ashamed of himself.

In a way these "diversity" advocates are doing us a favor by trying to pressure top bloggers to adopt racial and sexual preferences in their linking. Why? Blogging is an environment where there is extreme ease of entry, total absence of gatekeepers, and fierce free competition. By objecting to the outcomes in the blogging environment the diversity scamsters are showing that they clearly oppose outcomes that are the result of differences in talent and effort. The advocates for racial and sexual preferences in hiring are not seeking to make advancement and success in our society more achievement-based. Their goal is obviously not to produce environments which are more competitive as a result of fewer obstacles to entry and achievement. They want entitlements based on sex, race, sexual orientation, and whatever else will benefit whatever group they feel they belong to.

Big liberal media organizations have implemented policies that give preferences to women, blacks, and Hispanics. But an increasing portion of all opinion and analysis writing is being done by self-chosen volunteers working for free and is delivered outside of the major media organs. Therefore the whole preferences/diversity racket is being undermined by competition. Unless the racketeers can find some way to regulate bloggers (time to buy a gun) I think their influence in the media and on the public has peaked.

If, for example, fewer women than men want to work for free or peanuts writing blog posts why is this a bad thing? Maybe the bad thing is that so many men are willing to waste their time in financially unremunerative activities when they really ought to be putting more time into paying work (and this is an on-going debate for myself in my own mind). But bad for who? If some people want to trade off on how they spend their time and make less money but have more influence shouldn't they be free to do so? If others would rather only work for pay or around the household raising their own kids (and women obviously have stronger preferences in the latter direction) to get more direct benefits from their labor, again, why shouldn't they be free to do so?

The diversicrat scamsters are unwilling to accept that various groupings of humans have different preferences on average and that those differences in preferences produce different patterns of achievements and in uses of time both in and out of jobs. The irony then, is that the self-proclaimed advocates of "diversity" are opposed to the outcomes that inevitably result when populations are diverse in their abilities, preferences, interests, values, and drives.

It is not surprising to see the "diversity" scamsters come after blogs. Blogs are problematic for their world view. If a medium which has no gatekeepers ends up being dominated by white males then doesn't that strongly suggest that other pursuits notable for their white male dominance (e.g. top academic math, physics, and engineering departments or Fortune 500 top management or software development and engineering teams) are that way due to differences in interests, drives, and abilities between the various under- and over-represented groups? If free competition results in differences in ethnic and racial composition of the top people in various fields (and this does not always work in the favor of white males: look at the NBA for example) then the bar for proof of discrimination should be raised from the automatic assumption of unfair discrimination to instead require empirical proof for accusations of unfair treatment.

Steve Sailer has previously quoted Slate editor Dahlia Lithwick who states that orders of magnitude fewer women try to write op-eds.

I can also swear to the fact that as an editor, the number of pitches I receive from men outnumbers the pitches I see from women by several orders of magnitude. I can add, again purely anecdotally, that women largely send in pitches for reported pieces, and are far less inclined to frame a piece as an "argument"—which may prove Tannen's point that argument is not necessarily a comfortable or natural mode of communication for women (a phenomenon I observed in law school as well). This is, in short, an insanely interesting thought problem to which we are applying very little interesting thought.

Steve attributes this difference to a preference on the part of women for more practical pursuits.

Women are simply, on average, more practical than men. They aren't as interested in big issues where they are unlikely to have much impact. They are more interested in how to improve their own lives and those of the people they care about.

I've spent enormous amounts of time standing around magazine racks in my life, and I can assure you that women almost never look at the prestige section where they group together "The Economist," "The New Republic," and "The National Interest," and other journals that don't have anything to do with your personal life. Attractive single women look at fashion and beauty magazines. Attractive married women look at expensive home decorating magazines.

From the standpoint of natural selection this female preference makes perfect sense.

The median woman's life is simply more important from a Darwinian perspective than the median man's life because women are the limiting resource in reproduction, so they can't afford to waste their lives on disinterested interests, like all those guys who submit op-eds to Dahlia Lithwick about, say, the Lebanese situation even though, in practical sense, Lebanon is irrelevant to their lives.

One way to look at the complaints of Estrich and company is that they either want women to be more like men or they want men to make it easy for women to get as much prestige and power as successful men get but without all the hard work it takes to come influential and successful.

Heather Mac Donald has previously responded to Susan Estrich's whining.

Gee, thanks, Susan. Political pundit Susan Estrich has launched a venomous campaign against the Los Angeles Times’s op-ed editor, Michael Kinsley, for alleged discrimination against female writers. As it happens, I have published in the Los Angeles Times op-ed pages over the years, without worrying too much about whether I was merely filling a gender quota. Now, however, if I appear in the Times again, I will assume that my sex characteristics, rather than my ideas, got me accepted.

Ms. Estrich’s insane ravings against the Times cap a month that left one wondering whether the entry of women into the intellectual and political arena has been an unqualified boon. In January, nearly the entire female professoriate at Harvard (and many of their feminized male colleagues) rose up in outrage at the mere suggestion of an open discussion about a scientific hypothesis. That hypothesis, of course, concerned the possibly unequal distribution of cognitive skills across the male and female populations.Harvard President Lawrence Summers had had the temerity to suggest that the continuing preponderance of men in scientific fields, despite decades of vigorous gender equity initiatives in schools and universities, may reflect something other than sexism. It might reflect the fact, Mr. Summers hypothesized, that the male population has a higher percentage of mathematical geniuses (and mathematical dolts) than the female population, in which mathematical reasoning skills may be more evenly distributed.

Meanwhile there's science. It is becoming harder and harder to deny what it is saying about human nature. Cognitive differences in averages and distributions between sexes and races are going to get hammered down at the genetic level. What are the leftists going to do then? Reject all of science?

If women want to be heard on various political issues there are no obstacles in the way of blogging. Women can make names for themselves (and a few do; economist Lynne Kiesling has a high position on my FuturePundit blog roll due to the quality of her posts). It only takes hard work and talent. Male chauvinism is an increasingly unconvincing explanation for what is happening in the blogosphere or in the rest of society.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2005 March 31 02:08 PM  Media Critique


Comments
John S Bolton said at March 31, 2005 3:42 PM:

On this sort of conspiracy theorizing irrationality, government would be brought in to use aggression to force the search engines to assign unearned links or page rank. This is the process of intervention by which one increment of aggression leads to another, and turns a facility for the dissemination of ideas into a propaganda vehicle for irrationality.

bb said at March 31, 2005 5:03 PM:

Excellent post. The idea that all racial groups and both sexes must be the same in all mental attributes is both highly ignorant and highly destructive. It's disturbing how many people take a blank slate (or operational blank slate) view of human nature for granted.

John S Bolton said at March 31, 2005 5:34 PM:

There is also an obvious Orwellian mark of vicious propaganda making in that diversity is said to be a goal, then; miniluv tells us that the diversity of physical characteristics is to be quota managed, but any diversity of political ideas is apparently to be suppressed as much as can be gotten away with. This squeal of censorious PC panic indicates how the government schools anticulture feels threatened by bloggers, a medium that is not easily controlled by them. The left lives or dies by monopolization of the facilities of dissemination of ideas; give them more of that which drives them hysterical.

GUYK said at April 1, 2005 4:35 PM:

Somewhere I am missing something. As I read this and the same on some other blogs this dame is bitching because there are not enough women blogging? Are their fingers too heavy with rings to type? My spouse of 42 years wouldn't read a blog on a bet let alone write on one. Maybe there are just a multitude of women who feel the same way. I do believe that there is a difference betwenn the sexes other than plumbing!


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