Thursday, November 9, 2017

Why Don't Men Read Blogs By Women?

It has been an interesting day on Twitter.  I have been at home working on a presentation that I am giving next week, and so I've been regularly checking in and causing trouble.  I may have gotten really angry at a blogger for disregarding privilege.  I regret nothing.

One of the things that came up on Twitter was female bloggers and the recognition that they do (or do not) receive in the financial blogging world.  I've never written or tweeted about this before, but I have definitely noticed that there are far fewer comments from men on women's blogs than there are on men's blogs.  Sometimes this makes sense:   In a world where women are predominantly responsible for the domestic side of life, I get why there aren't a lot of men reading bloggers who write about frugal cooking and parenting*.

But sometimes the blogs written by women are just damn good blogs for anyone, regardless of gender or gender role.  And yet, men still don't read them.  To make sure this wasn't just something I was imagining, after the Twitter conversation today, I reviewed the comments from two really good financial blogs that everyone should be reading:  Physician on FIRE and Bitches Get Riches.  Of the last 20 comments for which I could identify the commenter's gender, Physician on FIRE had received a somewhat even split of 8 comments from women and 12 from men.

Bitches Get Riches?  18 women and 2 men.

Which means that men are missing some of the funniest and most thought-provoking posts in the financial blogosphere right now.  And why?  Because a person's genitalia somehow makes them more or less capable of writing about money?

Sadly, I think this is all part of our legacy of presenting the white male viewpoint as the primary viewpoint.  Now, please don't misinterpret this as me saying that I dislike white men or I don't think we should read things by white men.  There are many white men who I think are lovely and valuable members of our society**.  But I think it's unfortunate that in the vast majority of books, tv shows, movies, plays, etc. that we are exposed to, the protagonist is a white male.  It not only limits the ideas that we're exposed to, but it also conditions us to see the white man as the default.  Anything else is "diversity".

As a queer woman, my own identity compels me to search out things that are created by and represent people more like me, so I naturally go beyond the white/straight/cis-gender male story.  But if I were a white man?  What motivation would I have to look beyond the abundance of stories that speak directly to me?  And how would I ever learn to appreciate that the world can be a very different place for people who aren't exactly like me?

I know that this is a broad generalization and that there are men who are enlightened and who read blogs and other things that are written by women.  But we need more of them.

*This is its own blog post.

**Apparently not this one.


  1. This speaks to the English nerd in me! This is so complicated. On one hand, I think you're right that we seek out art that speaks to us. I also think some people feel like they don't have an entry point into conversations or circles that they aren't part of. I lurked a ton on blogs before I even commented anonymously. So there's that possibility too.

    But largely your post addresses a huge issue. People who have the microphone need to amplify the voices of those who aren't easily or often heard. Thank you for writing!

    1. I am totally an English nerd too! And as soon as I saw how skewed the writing/reading world (especially public school curricula) is towards the white male perspective, I couldn't unsee it.

      That's a really good point about people not having an entry point into conversations they aren't part of. I can see that not a lot of men would want to comment on a post in which I angrily call out white men!

  2. I dunno, the same reason they don't watch movies with woman leads? Did you know that Harry Potter was originally a book about Hermione, but the publisher urged JK Rowling to make it about a boy so that boys would actually read it?

    1. I tried to look this up, but I couldn't find a credible reference. I think it may be an urban legend...although definitely the books would have been even better if they had been the Hermione Granger books!

    2. Hermione was so much more interesting than Harry!

  3. This.

    I think a lack of male comments on Bitches Get Riches has less to do with the gender of the authors and more to do with the fact that they aggressively market themselves as being non-white/male, and really don't welcome white men.

    From the first lines of their "Who Are the Bitches" page:

    "Think of Bitches Get Riches as a beautiful test tube baby. The ovum was harvested from the life experience of two optimistic, financially solvent, twenty-something feminist killjoys. The sperm was the writhing mass of bullshit shot straight out of the blighted ball sack that was the Great Recession."

    I'm an anonymous white straight guy who used to be a Republican, but reads your blog, despite being nothing like you personally, because it's a well written tale of someone living an interesting life. While your life is tremendously different from mine, you're not writing in a way that explicitly diminishes my perspective, so I stick around (although this is my first time commenting).

    Your point is extremely fair, I just don't think BgR is the best example of the point.

    1. I'm glad to know that there are some white straight guys reading my blog! Thanks for reading and for commenting.

      Point taken about Bitches Get Riches. I've personally never found them to be excluding of white men, but that's easy for me to say because I'm not reading from the perspective of a white man. For curiosity, I looked at the same thing for She Picks Up Pennies (, and the count was 16 women to 4 men, although this was slightly skewed by a post about returning to work post-maternity leave.

      Really interesting conversations around gender happening in the world right now! Thanks for participating.

    2. Piggy here from BGR. I came to make a point about the publishing industry (in which I work) and women writers in general. But I had to stop to address this as well. What an interesting comment!
      One point of clarification: we're white. We therefore view it as our responsibility to highlight systemic racism in the global and US economy, because we come from a position of privilege. So as for aggressively marketing ourselves as "non-white," I think you got the wrong impression. We also have a lot of men--both white and people of color--who follow us, support us on Patreon, and like/comment on our social media.
      While we've gotten negative feedback from men before, it's usually along the lines of "liberals/feminists are bad" (which is a somewhat shallow and uninformed opinion, though I can respect differences of political opinion) and "criticizing white supremacy and toxic masculinity must mean you hate white men" (which makes me worry both about the critic's reading comprehension and their attitude toward racism and sexism).
      Lastly, I can appreciate you being turned off by our tasteless joke comparing the current global economy to male genitalia. That kind of writing isn't for everyone! And that's totally fair! We could've flipped the joke around so the ovum was the festering pustule of the Great Recession and the sperm was harvested from the life experience of two feminist killjoys. But something tells me that wouldn't make you feel any more comfortable at BGR.
      In the future we'll try to do better at making white men feel as welcome on our blog as they do almost everywhere else. For now, happy reading on blogs that aren't ours!

  4. I'm a straight white male (physician) who enjoys your blog.

    The world (and/or straight white men) isn't out to get you, or ignore you, or diminish you; quite the contrary. If you see a few examples that seem to contradict this point of view, please don't assume that they represent me or most men. They're not me/us.

    People of all stripes tend to be most comfortable with others of similar stripes. That doesn't make them bad people. When I worked as a healthcare equity analyst I was in the only industry section then headed by a woman at my company. That section also had the highest percentage of female analysts (not a coincidence), and I was aware of the difference in treatment.

    The director was more comfortable with other women and favored their work. I didn't get upset about this. I just recognized it as human nature.

    As you write, "As a queer woman, my own identity compels me to search out things that are created by and represent people more like me..."