Let's Hear from the Fangirls!

Friday, May 23, 2008

I am quite opinionated on this subject, being a longtime feminist and of course a chick myself. But I know for a fact I'm not the only one who wonders from time to time . . . why don't we see more blogs and podcasts from women Disneyphiles?

I'm not sure what exactly would be different if we were hearing more from the babes. After all, women aren't exactly a monolithic group . . . we're quite heterogeneous in fact, and hail from all sorts of different backgrounds, and points of view. Gender is just one of many factors that influence the way every person sees the world, and any individual person's perspective includes a mash-up of influences. As each of us view the world, the way we see it will be influenced by all these factors, and each of us is able to see certain bits and pieces hidden to others. I do believe there are things that we as a community can't see as clearly if some influences aren't heard as clearly as others.

Now, it's definitely not like the Disney fangirls aren't out there. If you've ever been to a face-to-face Disney fan meet, you know there are plenty of us babes in attendance. In fact, sometimes the guys are decidedly in the minority; I recall one DISboards meet where there were about a dozen women, and one man. There's no question that the Disney online fan community has a significant estrogen factor, but we're not by any means proportionately represented among bloggers and podcasters.

It's also not like women are totally absent from podcasts or the blogosphere. Most of us can think of a handful off the top of our heads . . . Annette, Deb, and FoxxFur all immediately come to mind, and I'm sure the Disney Digerati could easily chime in with the names of at least a dozen more. And, of course, there's always my BFF/partner in crime. Still though, we chicks are still the exception rather than the rule.

Does some of this imbalance stem from women's disproportionately low self-confidence on the computer? Maybe. Plenty of research indicates that women and girls are less confident about computer use, even when they are frequent computer users. (Here's one study, just for kicks.)

Does some of it stem from the fact that women may have been socialized to keep quiet about their opinions? Maybe for some individuals . . . but overall, I'm not convinced by this argument. If it were so, I doubt we'd see so many women actively sharing their opinions and knowledge so freely on the various message boards.

I have a hunch that some of the issue comes back to what Virginia Woolf spoke of as both metaphor and practicality: The lack of . It's not just the physical space we need in order to pursue creative endeavors . . . it's about time, and about control of one's day-to-day schedule. It's about the willingness and ability to stake out some territory (literal and metaphorical) for oneself, and maintain that territory even in the face of our family and work lives, a reality I'm keenly aware of these days as I ramp up a new podcast, while maintaining established creative projects and yes, holding down a full time job and caring for my pre-teen son.

This room of one's own is a luxury that not all of us have. It's not only a gender issue, but gender certainly plays into it. For example, for plenty of people, finding the time to blog and/or podcast means somebody else has to be watching the kids, or the aging parents, especially for those in the sandwich generation. Our world is still set up in such a way that logistics generally flow more smoothly if one parent is the primary caregiver, and often that falls to the mom. Not always, of course . . . just ask Mr Jentasmic, aka Collateral Damage, who spent the better part of 7 years working freelance so he could be at home with our child. But perhaps that speaks just as strongly to my point, in that having a Desperate Mousewife of my own makes my digital hobbies possible (apologies to AATM for borrowing their term of endearment).

I want to hear more from the fangirls, and I know I'm not alone. People who follow my blog and podcast tell me how glad they are to hear a different perspective, and I know that my gender is part of the great big beautiful mash-up of influences I'm so grateful for. So fangirls, think about it . . . do you have something to say, something that's too big to be truly contained in another message board post? Think about whether you might look for a larger venue for your opinions, either contributing to an existing project or finding a place of your own. There is room for you at this table, just pull up a chair!