Just Wondering

It seems to be mostly men here around LOOG. Granted, the word “Gentlemen” is right there in the title, but Gentlewomen are obviously welcome — or at least, it ought to obvious that they are. Is it just that we’re all talking about guy stuff all the time? We’re heavy on theory, policy, and culture here, but I’ve known plenty of women both interested and able to discourse on these subjects. Yet we seem to only attract women as commenters rarely. That seems strange to me.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


    • Yeah, but we don’t attract dogs either. (Or maybe we just don’t know they’re dogs.)

  1. I think Jaybird has an insight.

    Also, lots of people wind up here for the first time through the libertarianism angle. And, as Jaybird has pointed out, libertarianism has a couple of dicey spots when it comes to dealing with the children. Something that men may not perhaps think about as much as women. I don’t meet many libertarian women, myself. Now, we’re certainly not a libertarian-only blog, obviously, but there’s a network effect going on here, which leads to selection bias.

    Kinda like you don’t see many single girls at a Rush concert. They’re there, you just don’t see many of them.

    Maybe we should have a recruiting drive.

    • Loved that Rush concert reference. Is it because the categories “people who like Rush” and “people who self-describe as libertarian” overlap so much?

  2. I’m gonna stick a toe in here, and point out I also don’t think of lots of girls crashing D&D games.

    Which is to say we may just not be cool enough to attract gals.

    • It isn’t all D&D and superhero movies; we do historical trivia too, so …

      Never mind.

        • I just passionately hate this, FULL POINT, HALF POINT, QUARTER POINT, THREE POINTS, business–yet, I have no idea why.

          It’s so awful, that it makes the sound of scratching fingernails on a blackboard sound sonorously beautiful.

          No offense, Pat. I think you started it and it has the power to stick so intensely and painfully in one’s craw, that I’ve already pulled all my hair out. Funny how certain words and utterances can make one completely mad as in, mad=crazy. They are completely innocent words yet, I would gladly drink molten lead if it would banish such verbal howitzers.

          • Ah, wardsmith, much, MUCH better! +1 deflects all of my angst about the alternative which I can’t even mention at this point.

            Thanks for the help—are you a psychiatrist?

            Have you ever treated barophobics? Lately, I’ve been so fascinated with this mental disorder and phobia, that I’ve started going to of their 12-step meetings.

            After the first meeting I attended, I realized there are many many people much crazier than I–the number of extremely bizarre rituals they employ to ward off this demon is truly mind-boggling. I have to admit though, a few times I had to get up and leave the room because it was becoming impossible to hide my laughter. I know that sounds cruel–sorry.

            I should talk. I’m developing a phobia of the universe in an eternal state of expansion. How could someone or something become eternal? If you are eternal does that not mean you are and have always been part of the cosmos?-you can’t become eternal.

            Oh well, off to see the Tigers throttle the Twins. Me hopes.

            Thanks again, wardsmith.

          • You know, it just occurred to me–I’ve accomplished an almost impossible task here at the League. Hey, c’mon now–can’t you give credit where credit is due–I have to take what I can get.

            Okay, I have managed all by my little ole self, to become an UNTOUCHABLE at the League of Ordinary Gentlemen–yes, in the Hindu sense of the word, the lowest rung on the caste system ladder–I am so impure that I can’t even be considered a worthy human being!–I’m way, way down–I think it’s considered the 5th position in the caste categories.

            The truly amazing about this is I have become, with no intentional effort, to be disliked and shunned from mild to passionate by the whole damn League! If you think that’s so easy try it yourself. You must be sincere–no contrived ideas, opinions–just let it fly. Must run–late for ballgame.


          • > The truly amazing about this is I have
            > become, with no intentional effort, to
            > be disliked and shunned from mild to
            > passionate by the whole damn League!

            Hate to burst your bubble, H-dog, but I neither dislike nor shun you. And the fact that you can comment everywhere but the front page sorta belies the idea that everybody in the League does, either.

            I don’t find your content generally constructive, and usually wildly off-base to whatever thread you’re commenting on, but that’s more amusing than anything else.

    • female. on here because it referenced game of thrones. repeatedly.
      also like d&d, but prefer rolemaster. 😉

          • I can run a GURPS game if you can get enough SoCal people in on it. All my gamers have moved.

            2nd edition, though. I’m old school.

          • Think you’d like it. ICE had the original Tolkien gaming license, and Rolemaster used to be what they used it for.

          • Jaybird’s contact information is on the sidebar on Mindless Diversions. Email him (no religion or politics on MD) the post, and he’ll put it up.

        • Well thank you for the kind words, Pat. You’ve always been a gentleman, filled with mirth and good humor–not to mention, a terrific writer. (FULL POINT!) As you would say…

          I thought I fixed the “off base” problem, but apparently not–at least through your eyes, which I have great respect for, so I’ll have to be more conscientious about that.

          By the way, could I write a guest post? Hey now, I heard all those boos, jeers, obscenities, expletives–I heard you too, Chris. If the opportunity presented itself, Chris would gleefully hack me up with a machete and feed me to the vultures. I think on some level, I represent everything he hates.

          I’m not sure how the guest post works–could I write a post and be banned from commenting at the same time? It sounds a bit awkward, but it doesn’t bother me one bit.

          And EDK, I owe you an apology–probably many–but I thank you for not kicking me out of here entirely. You’re a damn good guy and I appreciate that–the temptation must have been irresistible, so thanks. I would also like to take back all of my childish, wholly undeserved insults directed at you. My sincere apologies, sir.

          About the guest post, I’d like to write one about autistic (previously called idiot–) savants. I have a few in mind–I’d like to narrow it down to mathematicians, musicians, and chess players. Hey maybe I could even write about Jason who just so happens to play chess at a world class level!

          I understand this has absolutely NOTHING to do with the topics and issues usually discussed here. That being said, maybe you’d welcome a discussion on unusual subjects. I’d also like to write about Hitler’s father’s obsession with bees–it also rubbed off on Hitler. He, Adolf, had a most unusual obsession with Cowboys and Indians and actually used tribal formations and offensives in France and Belgium. Wouldn’t you just die for a video of that?!

          Well, so long Pat and EDK, and thanks again. Best wishes,

          • I don’t think anyone dislikes you, Heidegger. You just have a remarkable ability to annoy.

      • haha, I always liked the critical tables in Rolemaster. It was fun to punch someone so hard that their skeleton disintegrated.

  3. Subject matter, largely. It’s not just that we discuss politics, but we discuss politics, but the non-political things we discuss tend to be rather male-oriented. If we discussed personal philosophy more, talked more about our families, and so on, we’d probably get more female participation. But mostly, we stand around telling one another why the other is wrong. That seems to be more of a male thing.

      • Help, RTod–throw me a life jacket, I’m drowning in a sea of Libertarian cacophony!

        Oh, pipe down, now. Name from the greatest and scariest movie ever made about ETs. Made in 1953–black and white–the effect of which still spooks me, the music terrifying.
        A very, very scary movie for anyone who has even the slightest drop of a functioning sense of an imagination.

        Back in the good ole college days, someone stealthily dropped two sugar cubes of mega-strength OwsleyLSD-25 into my beer and I ended up in the mental ward of the nearest hospital. It wasn’t a pretty sight–funny, but not pretty. I also managed to forget how to talk and was convinced that these paralyzing, demonic, faces at this get-together, were preparing to deliver me to Satan himself. It was a completely awful and horrid experience. That was it for LSD.

        For whatever reason, this site is taking a most uncomfortable posture, (just LOVED by dullards though) talking about the most boring subject in the world–money. For days, and days, and days on end. As in, M.I.T–P.H.D–M.O.N.E.Y. Isn’t anyone here even slightly crazy?

        You know, what is most deeply disconcerting about the League, is that for months now, I have posted the most beautiful music your ears will EVER hear. Ever. And not one single time did anyone ever comment on it. Good, bad, indifferent—-zilch. I’ve even lost Mr. Cheeks.

        The real killer was no response to Mahler’s Adagietto which was also used in the movie, Death In Venice. I mean, come on now, are all of you all hopelessly bloodless, tone-deaf, geeks and Philistines?

        Check this out. You have lots of company. If a $20,000,o00 Strad playing Bach’s Chaconne by one of the greatest violinists in the world doesn’t stop you dead in your tracks, you’re either deaf or stupid.

        As far as the Libertarian Merry Pranksters goes, it seems rather obvious that we know who would be trying to race and catch the train and who would stop, even if only a few minutes, and know this is nothing short of hearing the very voice of God.

          • I’m surprised he wasn’t stopped for not having a permit. Now, if he were a twelve-year-old selling fruit punch and iced tea…

        • M.I.T–P.H.D–M.O.N.E.Y.

          Obviously, this is to be sung to the Mickey Mouse character’s tunes.

          • EDK, do you rent space on this site? I’d like to have my own Krazy Korner, if so. It would be nice to not have to worry about going, “off topic”. Everything goes. No conversation ever goes so excessively and anally linear and if you don’t believe me, just listen to how other hominids talk. I’ve got over 100,000 years to prove it.

        • Well that went off topic quick and never got any better at all. Methinks An Invader From Mars might be a certain classical music fan whom legend has it has managed to get himself banninated from the front page. Here’s hoping similar steps aren’t needed here.

          • Hey Burt, how’s everything, my friend! Thanks so much for the reply and my apologies for not responding to an earlier post of yours–it was a great, great read and you most certainly deserve the courtesy of a reply. Unfortunately, haven’t been able to find it and what’s more, doubt I had anything worthwhile to say on the subject. But it was very kind and generous of your time, so much obliged, sir.

            Now about those Detroit Tigers, Papa Grande just electrifies those Tiger fans—whoops, there I go again–I mean the Tamil Tigers who have been thoroughly thrashed, trashed, diced, and cooked by Sri Lanka’s outstanding army—would it be crazy to think Sri Lanka might be our next 51st state? Personally, I’d be happy just to see how they survive all those cobra bites. I thought only born again evangelicals resorted to such craziness.

            Thanks again, Burt. I’ll work on narrowing my focal clarity when commenting on these discussions.
            The one saving grace I have is, I doubt a single person ever reads them, anyway. At least you’re spared that indignity-I can only hope such extreme measures–banishment–will never be necessary See ya.

            p.s. Did you ever see that movie, the 1953 Invaders From Mars? A real classic in the genre and it’s even in black and white.

          • Nah, he’s just somebody I’m paying to be more obnoxious than me. I *did* pay him off in mushrooms, though.

      • I could be.

        I’ve had four blogs over the years (where I was the main author). The more political the blog, the fewer female readers I have. The more personal the blog, the more female readers. It seems to be true of blogs that I read, as well, excluding political blogs that have a special focus on gender politics or, to a lesser degree, education.

        • Clearly this means that Jaybird and I need to blog more about our feelings on Mindless Diversions. Blog candy for the chicks.

        • Actually, that was just a poor joke, responding to your claim that we disagree so much.

          I actually think you are correct.

  4. I think there’s a big difference between “how many female readers do we have?” and “how many female commenters do we have?” I read OG posts often, if sporadically (not just because I like knowing what Jay’s ranting about, either), but I rarely feel moved to comment. Most of this is just because, well, it’s Jay’s space, in my mind. He doesn’t come over on Friendfeed, where I hang out most, and start spouting off. We give each other some space on the ‘Net.

    But there’s another aspect to it. I remember a while back, Will wrote a post about porn (https://ordinary-times.com/blog/2010/04/09/porn-again/). He came back and added a post-script specifically soliciting female readers to comment. Someone named Rebecca did, and then I did. Neither of us got any response whatsoever, while the guy commenters kept arguing back and forth with each other for ages. I don’t normally have a lot invested in whether people respond to my comments or not (that way lies madness!), but in that case – where I felt solicited and then ignored – I did draw a conclusion somewhere in my lizard brain that y’all weren’t really interested in talking to girls.

    Obviously, I’m being unfair – and I eventually started occasionally commenting again – but if you’re wanting to know why there’s such a gender disparity, it’s probably more useful to look at specific contexts like that one, than to make arm-waving generalizations about what women do and don’t want to talk about. (Yes, I realize the previous sentence is itself a pretty decent piece of evidence for Will’s experience-grounded and reasonable generalization above. Even still.)

    • Wait, I shoulda said, “Neither of us got any response whatsoever until Jaybird pointed out that neither of us got any response whatsoever, at which point Cascadian did engage with Rebecca’s point some.” (Sorry, it’s been more than a year.)

      • I totally would have commented on those if I read that post. I swear.

    • I am finding this comment fascinating. I just went back to the linked post, and scrolled down to find both your and Rebecca’s comments, and then did a quick (not thorough) perusal of the rest. And I’m at a bit of a loss to explain the (entirely accurate) phenomena you just described.

      If anything, your (plural your) posts seem the most relevant to the topic, the most interesting as it relates to the topic, and the best jumping off points for dialogue. So why doesn’t that transpire?

      Part of me wonders if it isn’t that exact combination of things: the most relevant, and the best jumping off point for the topic. It does seem at first blush that the other commenters are quickly wanting to turn it into a Statist vs. Libertarian argument, and if so perhaps thats just because that’s the argument a lot of people come here to have. (Now that I’m posting regularly I do find myself sometimes thinking: “Oh, I would love to write about Topic X,” but realize I don’t want to have Topic X, which is not a Statism vs. Liberty issue but still one I care deeply about, bizarrely turned into a big Statist vs. Liberty discussion.) So maybe your comments being relevant about a subject that is not directly a Statist issue tripped people up.

      Still, to not have ANY discussion about either of those two comments seems sadly weird. I am at a loss.

      • Sometimes I wonder if Erik is getting his doctorate in social psychology at Arizona, and we are all part of his dissertation experiment.

        • Tod, yo, my bro, dude, da man, my main man, how goes it?

          I am tremendously enjoying all your posts, essays, comments. Of course, we’re on entirely different ideological poles, but you are always a very polite and kind gentleman. I wish I could say the same about myself. I’m trying, honestly.

          Do I need to say where Erik’s getting his Ph.D.? It’s like Dr. Strangelove beating his arm down with that cane–trying to repress the Sieg Heil salute and before you know it, he loses the battle and screams, “Heil Hitler!”

          Dammit, here I go again, it’s the Oregon Institute of Science And Medicine. You got the joke but Pat never did even though he was an integral part of it and it wouldn’t have been nearly as funny without his unwitting comments.

          So, my friend, all the best to you and the Kellys–have many, many Kellys on my father’s side of the family—the Connemara side. Not likely to find James Joyce or Yeats lurking about. But we did have quite a few horse jockeys scattered about.

      • There’s also the, “Ah, Kirk, my old friend…” aspect.

        I mean, if you’re *used* to engaging with (other League regular), and (other League regular) shows up in a comment thread, you have a tendency to gravitate to response.

  5. The gendering of internet spaces is beyond me. But I’ve seen this sort of thing elsewhere: a writer on a blog with mostly male commenters asking for the non-male perspective in the comments, and then not really knowing what to do with or how to respond to what appears. Like I said, I don’t know how to explain it.

    But the reader/commenter distinction is important… if a blog is a discussion space, the commenters have almost as much control over that space as the writers. I read many blogs without ever leaving comments, even on the posts that ask lurkers to comment.

    • Honorable sir, was it you a few months back who was in the midst of doing an analysis of Beethoven’s Eroica?

      If so, Hooray!! Welcome back. Schenker is God. How’d the Eroica go? Schenker is a deep, deep, deep–musically deep that requires deep concentration. I found it very complex but when the light finally shines everything seems and feels illuminated. His analysis of Bach is simply breathtakingly beautiful.

      I hope you enjoyed him, too. All the best, H

      • Are you an Alan Watts fan, Bob? In any case, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy these quotes.

        Mr. Farmer, it was Alan Watts you were thinking of–

        “We do not “come into” this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean “waves,” the universe “peoples.” Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe.”

        “Look, here is a tree in the garden and every summer is produces apples, and we call it an apple tree because the tree “apples.” That’s what it does. Alright, now here is a solar system inside a galaxy, and one of the peculiarities of this solar system is that at least on the planet earth, the thing peoples! In just the same way that an apple tree apples!”

      • “And people get all fouled up because they want the world to have meaning as if it were words…As if you had a meaning, as if you were a mere word, as if you were something that could be looked up in a dictionary. You are meaning.”
        — Alan Watts

        “Belief…is the insistence that the truth is what one would ‘lief’ or (will or) wish to be…Faith is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith let’s go…faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception”

  6. Yawn. You’re running a Libertarian space. Not a Liberaltarian space (see Kos). The divide between the sexes is magnified by the urban/rural divide — more urban people are Liberal than Conservative. And more women are Liberal than Conservative (someone’s done the research).

    • But not all women are liberal, nor are all women urban. Perhaps it’s the case that not many women are libertarian, but I’m not convinced of that one way or the other. It’s anecdotally my experience that few women are Ayn Rand acolytes.

      • many conservative women would be told to stay home with the kids, and stop doing wasteful things like thinking — or talking online. (Dominionists, one assumes, though other fundies are also likely.)

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