UPDATE: Good for them! Peek has now added (that I noticed) seven excellent blogs written by women: Body and Soul, Feministing, Mouse Words, Sisyphus Shrugged, Pacific Views, Farai Chideye, and Rox Populi to their blogroll.
They’ve also added Afro-Netizen and possibly others that I haven’t noticed.
What’s below this is my original, now out-of-date post.
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Here’s the text of the email I’ve sent to Peek, Alternet’s “blog of blogs.”
Hi! I’m Barry (aka Ampersand). I’m flattered that you include my blog, “Alas, a Blog,” on your blogroll. Thank you!
However, I’m disturbed that there’s only one blog written by a woman on your blogroll. There are many excellent blogs out there by women, both specifically feminist and not; “Wonkette” should not be the only one listed!
I’m also disturbed that there’s only one blog with a focus on feminism listed – mine – and it’s one that’s written primarily by a man. If you’re going to list only one blog paying attention to feminism, it would make sense to choose one written by a woman.
There are many excellent feminist blogs by women – if you visit “Alas” and look on the sidebar, there’s an entire section devoted to my most-recommended blogs about feminism, nearly all of which are written by women. I think “XX” and “Feministing” may be particularly suitable choices, for their broad coverage of feminist issues, but I strongly recommend all of the feminist blogs on my blogroll.
In addition, there many of the best-written lefty poliblogs are by women. Two that come immediately to mind are Body and Soul and Sisyphus Shrugged. I’m sure other bloggers are emailing you suggestions, as well. Visit whatshesaid.the-goddess.org and browse the blogroll there; you will find many blogs well worth your time and your blogroll.
I am not accusing you of being deliberately sexist or of deliberately slighting women. However, because the tendency to give primacy to male voices is so deeply embedded in our culture, even people of good will can unintentionally replicate and contribute to this sexism merely by following the path of least resistance.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to repair the problem with your blogroll – just add some excellent female bloggers!
If you don’t do that, however, then I must respectfully ask you to remove “Alas, a blog” from your blogroll.
Thank you for your consideration.
UPDATE: Alternet editor Evan responds to these sorts of concerns in the comments at What She Said!. (Thanks to Sheelzebub – who has a good post on her own blog criticizing both “Alas” and “Peek” – for pointing this out to me). Here’s part of what Evan writes:
The intention was to begin by presenting our readers (many of whom are getting their very first taste of the blogosphere) with a more familiar landscape while integrating less familiar blogs as we proceed. Indeed, we hope PEEK will become the very place where the voices of less well-known blogs and bloggers are amplified!
Evan says that “quite a bit of fine-tuning and adjustment will no doubt take place over the next few months.” With all due respect, I’m not sure that saying it will take “a few months” demonstrates that you’re taking the feminist criticism of your blogroll seriously.
I’m not saying that your desire to build gradually, in an interactive process with readers, is wrong. And I agree with Lauren at Feministe that Alternet has earned some slack.
Why not compromise? Add several excellent female voices today, to show good intentions – and then work to improve things further over the next few months?