Is your blogroll pink or blue?

December 08, 2004

A week or so ago one of the feminists I read challenged her readers to add up the male and female names on their blogroll. I forgot to mark the post and now can not find it - a bad habit of mine.

While grading I counted men and women on my blogroll as a study break - grade three, add up some names, grade two, crank a tune, and so on.

I noticed a couple of odd things about my blogroll: the academics I read are fairly evenly divided; the pundits I read are largely male; the literature and lifestyle blogs I read are largely female. This matches the standard story about separate blogospheres.

The second odd thing is that group blogs are heavily biased toward men or women, with the academic group blogs being more evenly balanced than the political blogs, but still more heavily male than the singleton academic blogs.

So, looking at the entire blogroll I had 88 men, 53 women, and 4 woodland creatures (bloggers of undetermined gender), so the bloggers I read regularly are about 61% male.

But, that counts the six guys in Begging to Differ as six bloggers. What if I pro-rated group blogs by their gender ratio, so Crooked Timber for example is 13 men and 3 women, or 80% male. If I did that then the blogroll by blog came out to only 57% male, i.e. the blogs I read are about 57% male.

Subgroup statistics below the fold.

p.s. I have my excel spreadsheet available for downloading in case anyone wants to plug their blogroll in and save some time working up their own ratios.

Sure enough, the singleton blogs are about 51% male while my group blogs are 71% male - there are a couple of large boy-bands in my politics section.

Then I went and looked at the sub groups. I divide the blogroll into three ideosyncratic groupings: Academical Villagers; Law, Politics & Punditry; People & Prose. The groupings should be fairly self-explanatory. The only oddity is that I made the executive decision that law professors were more like lawyers than like professors (Law School takes your old brain and issues you a new one, after all).

So, here are percent male for: all in category, singleton blogs, group blogs, pro-rated group blogs for each.

Academical villagers:
all bloggers: 72%
singleton bloggers: 53%
group bloggers: 80%
all blogs (groups pro-rated) 61%

Law, Politics & Punditry:
all bloggers: 62%
singleton bloggers: 65%
group bloggers: 59%
all blogs (groups pro-rated) 72%

People and Prose:
all bloggers: 36%
singleton bloggers: 35%
group bloggers: 50%
all blogs (groups pro-rated) 35%

What do all these numbers mean:

First off, Academical Villagers are more nearly gender balanced than the other groups. My pundits are mostly male, my People and Prose almost as heavily female.

Secondly, People and Prose are more likely to be singleton blogs, while the big group blogs are almost all in Law, Punditry and Politics. Many of the women in this category are the 10 women in

Finally, these are really rough numbers. Halley Suit and Timothy Burke are both double counted, for both have a solo blog and a group blog on the blogroll. My methodology basically ignores the four woodland creatures. I made an arbitrary decision that the bloggers of record were counted, regular guests were not. This means that Amy Sullivan of the Washington Monthly did not get counted - that blog is counted as the sole work of Kevin Drum. Similarly, Sergeant Stryker recently revised their group of bloggers, but their list of bloggers of record still dates to before the change. I used the old list of 3 men and one woman.

These rough numbers were a useful exercise. I learned something about my blog-reading habits.

Oh, I had to choose between recording percent male or percent female. I run this blog with a male identity, so I counted percent male.

Posted by Red Ted at December 8, 2004 10:50 AM | TrackBack

I wonder if adding your private blogroll into the numbers skews the statistics at all?

I guess I wonder: Do you read more women privately?

Posted by: KJ at December 9, 2004 10:40 AM

Most of the time I use the private blogroll as a handy frame-based way to check which blogs have been updated recently. About every month or so I reconcile the two, moving the things I actually do read from the private to the public, and cutting the unread blogs from the public blogroll.

That said, I might cut and paste the private blogroll into a spreadsheet and see how the numbers differ. But not today.

p.s. when can I move your blog to the public roll?

Posted by: Ted K at December 10, 2004 08:05 AM

Gut reaction? Never.

Writing, for me, tends to be a way to digest the things that are rumbling around my brain, shape them into some sort of form, and have them make their exit. I look at my blog as "the place where my brain takes a dump" (though I use a different word than dump, when I say it to friends). I'm not sure how many people I want to allow into my brain-restroom, but I'm thinking that number is probably less than 10.

The thing that frightens me about allowing my blog to be public isn't that people I know will find it -- I don't write anything bad about anybody else. I'd even invite Olema there at this point, if I knew he was still interested in reading it.

The thing that frightens me is that I will get mean, nasty comments from strangers, and I'll feel like my blog isn't a safe place for me to write any more. I'd feel like I would have to censor what I write, in order to avoid the mean nasty comments from other people. And, when you're trying to take a brain-dump, you need it ALL out. Otherwise, what's the point?

So. If you have any ideas on how to 'keep it secret; keep it safe' and put it on the public blogroll at the same time, lemme know. :)

Posted by: KJ at December 10, 2004 11:23 AM

I will leave it on the private blogroll. I don't see a way to give you anonymous feedback without hecklers, and still let the folks who know about your rantspace comment on your rants.

Posted by: Ted K at December 12, 2004 09:52 PM

KJ could always either not make comments available, or could put in monitored comments (ie. where he/she has to approve them before they're made public).

Just a thought....

Posted by: TwiddlyBits at August 22, 2005 08:37 PM
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