Saturday, February 23, 2013

Female blogging pioneers or tokens?

Ophelia Benson has picked up on Amanda Marcotte's blog post and gives it a 10/10 for style.

Benson's post: The Special Lady Who Is Better Than All Other Ladies Because She Is One Of The Guys

In it, Benson describes Marcotte's writing as a 'brilliant post on the peril of being a pioneer'.

It is true - somehow in their world Harriet Hall would be a female pioneer for being a surgeon, physician and member of the armed forces if she didn't think herself so special for having accomplished something.

The hugely funny part is Benson immediately jumps on Marcotte's train of self-congratulation.

But first, she dismisses points without actually refuting them:

And however much I respect people for being pioneers, I’m not going to let that substitute for a good argument. I think Hall’s claims are mistaken and that she does a terrible job of backing them up with argument. The fact that she was a pioneer doesn’t change that. (I find I can no longer honestly say I admire her for the pioneering, because she has been so persistently and immovably unpleasant and vindictive, and so incapable of admitting any error.)
Where are your refutations of Hall's points, Ophelia? Are they on the margins of your blog? Hidden in the comments? Where?

Further, have you ever apologized for anything or admitted error in anything you've written?

Ophelia Benson, as @OpheliaBenson, is an always-on Twitter machine. And what we've seen from Twitter machines is that they are simply an endless spew of consciousness and are bound to say stupid things.

Would Benson admitted any wrongdoing if Hall would?

The past teaches us that Benson would not.

Now back to the part where Benson is a pioneer:
It’s something to watch for. Hard. As I’ve mentioned, I used to feel that way a bit, because B&W [her blog, Butterflies & Wheels] seemed like a pioneer, not least because most of the commenters were male. Marcotte has been there.
She quotes Marcotte:
So I threw myself into the project of linking women, doing panels on “women in blogging”, promoting women’s work, highlighting smaller blogs written by women, etc. The story is a lot more complex than that, but this post is getting a little long already, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll just say that in the end, women banding together and helping each other out paid off way more than trying to grab the Token Lady spot; the thrill of being one of the guys can’t hold a candle to the pleasure of living in a world where women actually get respect.
And Benson adds:
And a world packed with women who get respect because they are terrific bloggers and/or writers. 

A few things need to be cleared up here.

Ophelia Benson and Amanda Marcotte, in their role as bloggers, were never even close to being unique females in a male-dominated field of expertise.

One could imagine having read enough Marcotte's history of online content that one could be lead to believe they had something to do with HTTP or perhaps Woz stole their ideas.

The reality is, as was pointed out in the previous post, they were pioneering in the same sense Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin are pioneers.

The icing on the sexist cake is that the last vestige of a patriarchal time they are faced with is the fact that one of their favorite publishers, FreeThoughtBlogs, is basically run by two men - Ed Brayton and PZ Myers. And the latter is by far the most popular entity on the site.

Marcotte's publisher, Raw Story, is owned by two men. In 2008, she campaigned for John Edwards. Perhaps Hillary Clinton was too female or too honest a candidate.



"I would be a bitch like Harriet if I hadn't..."

The ultimate ad-hominem argument isn't that Marcotte and Benson are suggesting that Harriet Hall is a vengeful bitch.

No, the most ridiculous aspect of this is that they keep repeating that they understand why Hall is a bitch, and they've overcome the temptation.

The unholy trinity of Watson, Benson and Marcotte paint a picture where the act of being a spiteful, evil person is similar to a cupcake sitting on a table and they're all better people for not partaking.

It's absurd.




Marcotte, Benson and Watson make themselves tokens.

Let's look at this sentence from Marcotte: 
So I threw myself into the project of linking women, doing panels on “women in blogging”, promoting women’s work, highlighting smaller blogs written by women, etc. The story is a lot more complex than that, but this post is getting a little long already, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll just say that in the end, women banding together and helping each other out paid off way more than trying to grab the Token Lady spot
Then consider Watson manages a group named Skepchick. Once upon a time, it had actually put said "chicks" in calendars.

And that all three are speaking at a conference labeled "Women in Secularism". (WIS)

Given all this, we are still being told to believe that Harriet Hall is flaunting her womanhood for her own benefit. It is Harriet Hall that is making herself to be the special lady.

One would think that by attending WIS you are becoming a token because the basis of WIS is that you probably are already a token within the community. Is it not a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Is it not every time one describe themselves as a "grrl gamer" or "skepchick" it is implied that women as a general rule are not into games or skepticism?


With their labels and repetitious criticism of Harriet Hall, what the WIS crew has done is developed an audience and driven some page views.


Wake me when their rhetoric manages to convince a single female to walk the path of Harriet Hall.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome blog. There can never be to much FreeFromThoughtBlog criticsm, mostly because the crap spewing from the Holy Triumvirate of Benson, Watson, and Marcotte is so damn ridiculous, how pointing out that fact not be entertaining?

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