Sunday, April 26, 2009

Looks Matter, Even in the Blogosphere

I read an interesting post a few weeks ago but have been too busy to blog much since then; it was about how female tech bloggers are perceived differently than males. Namely, if a woman is attractive it becomes difficult to find comments that reflect on what she's trying to say rather than how she looks.

My first reaction when I read it? Duh. Welcome to the world. Show me a place in the world--online, in the workplace, in the movies, etc--where a woman isn't judged at least to some degree on her looks. It's just a fact of life as far as I'm concerned--a fortunate one if you're attractive and a not so fortunate one if you're not.

That's not to say that everyone judges women solely on looks; that's not the case at all (thankfully). But yes, there are always some people (sorry guys but I'm talking about you--and no, not all of you so don't get all defensive if you're not the kind who cares about looks) who value women mostly because of the way they look.

Here's the thing, though: don't tell me that women don't know this and don't play to it. Take the blog post, for instance: women in tech either being considered babes if they're attractive or trolls or whatever if they're not. You're telling me that Kim Komando doesn't try to play up her looks? That Marissa Mayer (aka "The Cupcake Princess"--how's that for a demeaning nickname for an executive of one of the most powerful brands in the world?) doesn't enjoy all the press she gets about her looks? That Penelope Trunk doesn't get an awful lot of mileage talking about her, well, girl parts?

I personally like think the blogosphere actually provides a pretty good respite for women as far as being judged by their looks; unless you have a big photo of yourself on your blog, nobody knows what you look like. I personally hate photos and it took me a long time to relent and put one of myself on Twitter. I like it that blogging is about what I have to say and not about what I'm wearing or what color my hair is.

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