5. Here’s your conclusion: “Maybe as part of the discussion that I won’t be present for, you all can discuss how women sometimes give the worst of it to other women.” Here’s Rebecca’s conclusion: “We see this happening to men who write online less frequently. We want to talk about why that is, and what can be done to combat it.” With respect, you have misunderstood this panel completely - but you could not have offered more compelling proof of why it’s a conversation that needs to happen.
Here’s a small take on all this from me, and then I’ll get back to skipping around the East Village with a lollipop and painting my nails in sparkly pink: The male blogerati (Arrington, Feldman, Calacanis, Denton, Krucoff et al., just throwing around random names here except for Krucoff because I want him to feel special) can skewer one another with WordPress bayonets ad nauseam, and it’s A-O.K. Sure, it’s egomania, it’s mudslinging, it’s blowhard-ing, it’s chest-thumping, what have you, but at the end of the day it’s a bunch of dudes having an argument.
Yet when women criticize one another online it’s girl-on-girl crime, and certain strains of digital-age feminism tell us that these things should not happen. Are we really unable to get past junior-high perceptions that any dispute between women is inherently a catfight?
This whole “how women sometimes give the worst of it to other women” thing comes across as pretty 19th-century to me. If some girl is doing something that another girl disagrees with, Girl #2 has every goddamn right to speak her mind about it without having some Victorian code of “never insult thy fragile gender” getting in the way, or without the implication that women are incapable of logical, civilized debate that doesn’t devolve into exploding-ovaries bitchiness. Yes, some insecure women are mean to other women simply for the hell of it. Trust me, I went to a single-sex Catholic high school and I was an awkward-looking nerd — I got the worst of it. But sometimes we go a little too far with the sensitivity.
I look forward to being present at this conversation in Austin. OMG can I, like, mix the cosmos?
PS: It’s noteworthy that ever since seeing He’s Just Not That Into You last Saturday (and that may just be coincidental), I’ve had far too many conversations and deep thoughts about gender politics and girl-versus-girl etiquette. Considering I’ve always been that girl who didn’t ever really know how to interact with other girls, it’s been eye-opening.