science bloggers are so mean!

science bloggers|blogging networks are waaaaycist sexist! (god-d*mm*t, is there nowhere safe from nasty, baddy-baddy people?!?!)

it’s true! there’s PROOF!

you see, some geek compiled a list and he (oh, the irony) found (on

– 505 boy science bloggers
– 160 grrl science bloggers
– 50 grrl+boy science blogs (nudge, nudge, wink, wink!)
– 43 sex unknowns (huh? wha?)

so, yeah, that’s like … what? … for every one grrl science blogger there’s something like three boy science bloggers. (the horror! the horror!)

from seed:

“In the aggregate, it seems clear that women are—whether actively or tacitly—discouraged from blogging about science.”

yeah. right. the explanation for the fewer numbers of grrl science bloggers MUST that someone ELSE is discouraging them. it’s probably (*gasp*) SEXISM! it HAS to be!! what ELSE could it be?!

oh – and all those boy science bloggers|boy-dominated science blogging networks|boy scientists are just such meanies (“mooooommmm! timmy’s not playing nice!”):

“Kathryn Clancy, an anthropologist at the University of Illinois, recalls her transition from staying out of the limelight, reading academic blogs, to reading blogs focusing solely on science—and writing her own blog. The academic blogs she had been reading were written primarily by women, and discussed career and personal issues along with science. The science-blogging world, by contrast, was dominated by male voices. She thinks this may lead to a hostile environment for women bloggers. Women worry a lot about being attacked and threatened online: ‘It’s not just a fear of these things, it’s that these things actually happen,’ Clancy says. ‘Women are attacked for taking a stand.‘”


kathryn has obviously not spent a lot of time online. women are not attacked for taking a stand online — EVERYONE is attacked for taking a stand online! that is the nature of the internet. people say things pretty freely – things they wouldn’t necessarily say to someone’s face – ’cause (for the most part) they don’t have to worry about getting punched in the nose for their comments.*

kathryn oughta spend some time on some political blogs – even “mainstream” sites like the huffington post or breitbart’s big sites. take a look at some of the comments on those sites and see who gets “attacked for taking a stand.” or maybe she should try somewhere like (heh) 4chan or (snicker) or how about over @ roissy’s?! i mean, just LOOK at what the mostly GUY commenters say to OTHER GUY commenters over there!

THIS is the internet, like it or not. this is also the “world o’ guys.” most guys – especially most young guys – play rough. that’s what they do. (they’re vying for position in the hierachy, dontchaknow. it’s one big, ongoing game of “king of the hill” just without an actual hill.) so, if you set yourself up in competition with guys, don’t be surprised if they don’t play nice – unless they’re trying to get into your panties (god love ’em!). if you wanna burn your bras and leave the kids at home with the guatemalan nanny so you can go out and play with the boys, then you’re gonna have to learn to play rough (if you can).


let me repeat that in case you missed it.


it takes a total of, oh, five minutes max to sign up with blogger or wordpress or some other blogging platform and voila! you are a blogger. any idiot can do it! (just look at me for a shining example!)**

granted you’re probably not going to become a wired science or discover magazine blogger overnight. but that’s not how it works. most of those bloggers had been blogging INDEPENDENTLY for absolutely ages before hitting the big time.

(btw. i loved the response of both wired and discover when they were asked why they don’t have more grrl science bloggers: “Discover Magazine and Wired said they simply chose the best available bloggers, without regard to gender or other factors.” good for them! i hope they stick to those policies. then i’ll know where to go to read the best available science bloggers!)

if you’re worried about being “attacked” online and would rather blog in a safe environment where you’ve got some moral support and backup, THEN BUILD YOUR OWN NETWORK. get a bunch of grrl scientists together and JUST DO IT! (note to self: seek trademark on catchy motivational phrase i just came up with.) no one is stopping you. really.

quit whining already. you sound like a bunch of girls. (oh, wait….)

update 09/28: dave munger (the guy who compiled the data re. the grrl vs. boy science bloggers and who wrote the article @ seed) tweets, “Yes. Apparently the Web is a war zone and anyone not prepared to engage should just stay away.”

well, that’s not what i said, and certainly not what i meant, although perhaps he misunderstood me when i said anyone who feels concerned about being attacked online ought to “BUILD YOUR OWN NETWORK.” i didn’t mean such people should build their own internet – i just meant that they might consider developing their own blogging network – you know, like how seed magazine has a science blogging network or discover magazine has a science blogging network. i thought a bunch o’ gals concerned about being attacked online but interested in science blogging could, you know, get together in a group so they could support each other. “safety in numbers.”


*update 10/05: i said, “people say things pretty freely – things they wouldn’t necessarily say to someone’s face – ’cause (for the most part) they don’t have to worry about getting punched in the nose for their comments.”

sometimes, though, you do have to worry about someone taking a shot at you – and i don’t mean with a paintball gun (note that in this case it was a man being attacked by a woman):

“Woman Travels 200+ Miles to Kill Internet Commenter”

**update 10/26: @the nyt“‘My friends keep talking to me about how they want to start a Web site, but they need to get some backing, and I look at them and ask them what they are waiting for,’ Mr. Sicha said. ‘All it takes is some WordPress and a lot of typing. Sure, I went broke trying to start it, it trashed my life and I work all the time, but other than that, it wasn’t that hard to figure out.'”

update 01/05/11: see also they’re at it again and oh noes!

update 03/10/11: see also the hard sciences are soooo sexist!

(note: comments do not require an email)



  1. Unfortunately, this kind of bullshit is not that uncommon. For instance, I read a Swedish newspaper article a few months ago about the allegedly misogynistic Wikipedia: There were too few woman editing, Wikipedia sucked, and something must be done to not discourage women from editing.

    That other explanations might be relevant did not seem to occur to the author, say that men could have a headstart in Internet-participation, that men and women could have different interests, or that there could be more men with the right subject knowledge around. (Notably, men appear to be more likely to become subject-area experts than women.)

    In your example above, BTW, I am surprised that there are so many women around. Considering that men tend to be considerably more interested in science than women, I would have expected a larger gap. Possibly, the (allegedly) more literate women tend to start blogs disproportionally often?


  2. @michaeleriksson – “Possibly, the (allegedly) more literate women tend to start blogs disproportionally often?”

    could very well be! good point.


  3. In your example above, BTW, I am surprised that there are so many women around. Considering that men tend to be considerably more interested in science than women, I would have expected a larger gap.

    I think it was Razib who pointed out that science blogs by women tend to be about what it is like to to be a (female) scientist, whereas male science bloggers write about science itself–i.e. the familiar persons vs. things dichotomy. On the other hand, many “science” blogs by men are really (far left) political blogs rather than science blogs, e.g. Myers and Laden at scienceblogs.


  4. in hysterical online discussions about such wild ideas as gender differences i often see comics like this bandied about as if they’re meaningful (i found that gem here)

    that comic got me thinking : what toy could possibly be more unisex than the world’s best seller? i soon found myself browsing the World Cube Association’s list of the top 100 rubik’s cubists (here) and couldn’t help but notice the 98 dudes on the list.


    (for the record, this is not to gloat : past cubing experience proves me wholly undeserving of my manliness)


  5. Having just received g_ry’s comment in my mailbox, I revisited this page. Skimming through it again, there is something that strikes me particularly:

    “Clancy says. ‘Women are attacked for taking a stand.‘ ”

    What has occured to me again and again is that many female debaters interpret disagrement (in and by it self) as hostility, condemn factual statements as “rudeness”, and (at least among feminists) tend to complain about mansplaining whenever any sort of disagreeing explanation is given. (A semi-famous example are the “wanting to throw up” reactions around Larry Summers factual discourse on differences between the sexes.)

    Now, my understanding as to why this is so, is incomplete, but if the observation holds true more generally then many of the alleged attacks are not even the happens-to-everyone incidents that you describe—but simply what a man would consider an ad rem discussion.

    (Speculation on the reason: In many cases, there may be a difference in communication styles, need for consensus, or similar, between men and women. In the case of feminists, I suspect that deliberately untruthful claims are often used as the basis for ad hominem attacks/arguments.)


  6. my understanding as to why this is so, is incomplete

    Women are more emotional. This is a good thing generally (although sometimes annoying). It is a bad thing in some cases like this one.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s