Following Patroclus' splenetic hatchet job* on Mary Dejevsky's bizarre "women don't blog" piece in The Independent, I had a little word.
I'm sure several hundred politics nerds have pointed out that Iain Dale isn't an MP, so we needn't go there. But hey, let's get to the meat of your article.
Yes, there are doubtless practical and/or psychological obstacles that prevent some women from blogging. But we're not in Virginia Woolf country now, Toto. Three great things about blogging as a means of communication are:
1) It's proactive - you can blog in your own time, when you want, how you want. No deadlines; no wordcounts; no editors talling you what's going to appeal to the target market. If you can spare any time whatsoever, you can blog. I've watched a hell of a lot less TV since I started.
2) It has the potential for anonymity. If you feel hindered by any aspect of your 'real' identity, you needn't mention it. Feel inhibited because you're female, black, gay, disabled, old, young? Just don't tell anyone. Or do. It's your call.
3) It requires little or no technical ability. If you're functionally literate, and you can turn a computer on, you can blog.
The first two, I reckon, make blogging a far more attractive mode of communication to some women than, to pluck something out of the ether, print journalism. If you have any spare time at all, even if it's between all the oppressive domestic chores you list, you can do it. And you don't need to prove yourself over and above blokey, beer-swilling hacks with Hemingway complexes. Just do it.
The third might, I suppose, deter some women who've bought into the "women can't do technology" myth, but I reckon that money, education and social class have a much bigger impact here, with gender a distant fourth.
If I might be allowed to hypothesise with little or no solid evidence here - and sorry Mary, your article sets a pretty solid precedent for that - you're yet another old media journalist who feels slightly threatened by blogging without really quite understanding it. Don't worry, you're by no means alone. Even hacks who blog seem to come a cropper (Richard Lloyd Parry at http://timesonline.typepad.com/times_tokyo_weblog/ being a rare exception).
Part of the problem, of course, is that much of the wider world was introduced to blogging by the politics wonks who popped up during the '04 US election. It's a much bigger world than that. If you can spare the time (I presume you too are prone to all the domestic duties that you ascribe to women - if you are a woman - see point 2 above) check out the following: http://capacioushandbag.blogspot.com/; http://thegrammaticalpuss.blogspot.com/; http://quinquireme.blogspot.com/; http://www.slaminsky.blogspot.com/; http://professionalspinster.blogspot.com/; http://bookworld.typepad.com/book_world/.
Then get back to me if you can spot any that seem dominated by childcare and/or gynaecology. I think they're all women. But you never know. See what I mean?
Till then, all the best,
* Have you ever used a splenetic hatchet? It's like Dr Who's sonic screwdriver, but heavier.