Feministing blogger Vanessa Valenti (11/21/08) plugs the recent FAIR study of gender disparity at Huffington Post, saying that “too many of us feel that women bloggers are underrepresented and undervalued in the progressive blogosphere, but hard evidence is always helpful.” Valenti’s request for readers’ “thoughts” is met by commenter Renee’s observation that
not only are female blogger underrated, we have to work twice as hard to get anywhere. Time after time, feminist blogs are attacked by angry trolls…. I am sure I am not only feminist/womanist blogger to be threatened online, either.
Indeed, as Lucinda Marshall wrote at Women In Media & News, “While the phenomena of blogging and comment sections is quite new, the harassment and silencing of women writers and of women who speak out has a long and damaging history“:
One of the key points made in [a Washington Post piece about the ‘abusive and sometimes threatening comments that are becoming frighteningly common on blogs written by women’] was the silencing effect that such harassment has. Women are less likely to write freely and openly if they feel uncomfortable or threatened…. Continued harassment of women bloggers is not, as some assert, merely the exercise of free speech. It is, rather, the latest salvo in the ongoing, systemic, global and toxic effort to silence women.
Read FAIR’s magazine Extra!: “Huffington Post Mutes Women’s Voices: New Media, Same Gender Imbalance” (11-12/08) by Jessica Wakeman