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Research,  September 15, 2004

Women and Children Last: The Discursive Construction of Weblogs

"We began this essay with an apparent paradox: Why, given that there are many female and teen bloggers, do public discourses about weblogs focus predominantly on adult males? The observation that men are more likely than women and teens to create filter blogs provides a key: It is filter blogs that are privileged, consistent with the notion that the activities of educated, adult males are viewed by society as more interesting and important than those of other demographic groups. However, the blogs featured in contemporary public discourses about blogging are the exception, rather than the rule: all the available evidence suggests that blogs are more commonly a vehicle of personal expression than a means of filtering content on the Web, for all demographic groups including adult males. It follows that more attention needs to be paid to “typical” blogs and the people who create them in order to understand the real motivations, gratifications, and societal effects of this growing practice. This would require advancing a broader conception of weblogs that takes into account the activities of diverse blog authors, considering personal journaling as a human, rather than exclusively a gendered or age-related activity, and conducting research on weblogs produced by women and teens, both for their inherent interest and to determine what differences, if any, exist among groups of bloggers.

Are weblogs inherently “democratizing,” in the sense of giving voice to diverse populations of users? The empirical findings reported for gender and age at the beginning of this essay suggest that they are. Yet public commentators on weblogs, including many bloggers themselves, collude in reproducing gender and age-based hierarchy in the blogosphere, demonstrating once again that even an open access technology—and high hopes for its use—cannot guarantee socially equitable"

URL: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/blogosphere/women_and_children.html
Referred by: Blogosphere
Posted by hchung on September 15, 2004 | Research