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Posts Tagged ‘women’

About to start writing copy for my new blog, Grocery Chick, I figured what better way  to learn than from the masters, in this case the top fifteen women bloggers – according to Technorati authority rankings:

The Huffington Post, of course! Arianna Huffington is my heroin, and not a day goes by without me paying a visit. Now a huge media enterprise, the Post still feels very much like a woman’s work. Love how Arianna paired up with the best in social media and business, to create a top notch Internet news source.

Dooce, Heather Armstrong’s deliciously irreverent brainchild. The woman is gooood, as in awesome writing. Plus, she’s got no hang ups, and shares it all. From the most intricate details about her latest ultrasound visit for her not yet born baby girl, to the ups and downs of her relationship with dear husband Jon, to the careful documentation of her days with five year old daughter Lela. Dooce is a ‘reality’ blog with some flair. Of course, it does not hurt that the whole family is blessed with insanely good looks.

In the same genre as Dooce, Ree Drummond,  The Pioneer Woman engages with her generous sharing of adorable family pics, tempting food photos, marital tales, and dreams of the Far West way of life. Baring it all  clearly pays off. Never mind that the reality shared is too perfectly imperfect – or imperfectly perfect? . . .

Reluctantly, I had to include Michelle Malkin in this list. Michelle’s got a captive audience with all her friends from Fox News.

Moving on, time to meet Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. Another really good writer, who oozes mommy goodness. Moms love to hear about other moms’ stories, and Shannon sure knows how to deliver.

If Martha Stewart had a blog, her name would be Gabrielle Blair, from Design Mom. Clean looks, design and motherhood have never gone so well together. She’s got her niche covered.

Over at Tip Junkie, Laurie Turk has created a place for all the ‘homemakers’, the still huge crowd of women into crafts and things.

Love the naked simplicity of Simple Mom, Tsh’s blog.

Bitch Ph.D‘s probably my favorite woman’s blog, along with Dooce – no offense Arianna, I put you in a separate category – A collection of anonymous feminist – in a good way – voices, Bitch Ph.D shines by its authenticity. These women are not in it for the fame. They are just sharing their whole utterly – not perfectly – imperfect selves. How refreshing! I can’t get enough. Plus, you’ve got to like the name of that blog . . .

Don’t Try This is an ordinary mom’s blog, with the added appeal of daily giveaways. Apparently moms line up for the stuff.

In the food department, come  Smitten Kitchen and Delicious Days. Great food shots, and recipe writing, with lots of personal references. And in each case, a woman, assisted by her man for all the plugins and other technical goodies that make a blog super nice. Men like these are priceless . . . Heidi Swanson, with 101 Cookbooks blog manages on her own. Very well.

A‘s got to be the shortest blog name ever. A’s for designer Ali Edwards, world’s scrapbooking expert. Scrapbooking is big!!!!

Yarn Harlot is for the knitting nuts. Women, young and old love to knit, it’s well known. Create the best knitting bog, like Canadian Stephanie Pearl-McPherson, and you are guaranteed blogging stardom.

Fifteen blogs, that taught me a few tricks.

  • Write about what you feel most passionate about. Cliche, but heck, very true.
  • If that’s about a topic lots of other women are into, even better.
  • Hot topics: cooking, home, kids, knitting, scrapbooking, crafts . . . not much has changed since my grandmother’s days.
  • Share your life freely. Shit and all. Chicks, your primary audience love drama.
  • Dreams sell. Show off your perfect body, perfect home, perfect family. If you’ve got them. If not, make up stuff.
  • At home moms love to read blogs – don’t you forget it.
  • Moms can’t get enough of cute kids pictures, and stories, and videos. Ad nauseum.
  • If you’re going to venture into serious business – like Arianna and Michelle, bring in your personality – assuming you’ve got one . . .

That’s  eight tricks altogether. I just caught myself thinking, come on you can come up with ten. Quickly, though, my better self stepped in. What’s up with ten? Be real, girl.

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Thanks to Peter Kim for putting out his great survey of Social Media Predictions 2009. One unintended learning from the survey, at least for me, was this list, and what it means for social media:

Fifteen big names in social media – including Peter Kim -, and only two of them women.

I can understand women being underrepresented in older, more traditional fields such as engineering, or government, but social media? This feels like deja vu. I noticed a similar trend in the field of green and sustainability, prompting me to ask the question, ‘Where are the Women in the Green Stratosphere?’

Men appear to be especially good at appropriating spaces, even ones they don’t particularly care for as a whole. Again the cooking analogy applies. While women represents the majority of the home cooks, and do most of the daily cooking, cooking celebrities, the chefs with five star restaurants, big cooking shows and books galore, tend to be men. Same with social media. From 2008 Rapleaf study:

When it comes to social media, women are at the forefront. At Rapleaf we conducted a study of 13.2 million people and how they’re using social media. While the trends indicate both sexes are using social media in huge numbers, our findings show that women far outpace the men.

Not surprising, given that women are inherently inclined to being more social than men. It’s part of our DNA, and a well documented fact. Women will continue to thrive in both online and physical social networks. I just wish we took a more deliberate role in the shaping of social media. Women have things to say, that are different from men, and that can contribute to a richer picture.

This post is the first in a series I will be writing on social media. My humble attempt at adding another feminine voice to the social media chorus . . .

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One casual comment made by a girlfriend during a recent dinner at my house, got me thinking, deep, about women, and food, and politics. “You mean, you made the crust? From scratch?” My friend could not believe I had spent the time, and thought I was “too much”. No big deal, I assured her, it had only taken me a few minutes to mix in the flour, salt and butter, and to roll the dough. That’s when I realized how far we have strayed from our womanly ways with food.

Somewhere in the midst of first wave feminism, we, women made a bargain with the devil. Tired of being kept in the kitchen, we welcomed with open arms, promises from the food industry to make life more convenient for us. Put away your apron, and your pots and pans, we were told, and get out instead. Take your family  to Mc Donald’s, for a complete dinner, or if you are courageous enough, go to the stores for some half baked alternatives. Pre-cut salads, frozen dinners, bottled dressing, whole roasted chicken, canned soups, cake mixes, potato flakes, . . . Open the package, mix it up and you are all set. That felt like progress, and the perfect solution for a hurried evening after a whole day at the office.

Of course there were compromises to be made, such as paying more for our food, and  jeopardizing our health and that of our family. Products loaded with too much salt, too much sugar, too much fat, and too many empty calories. Paragraph long labels with ingredients more fit for a science lab than our stomach. Foods purified from their natural vitamins and nutrition. Further compounding the problem, manufacturers conspired to confuse us with misleading claims that we were only too happy to believe. I know firsthand. I spent a good part of my early advertising career trying to convince moms of the wholesomeness of granola bars . . . what a spin that was!

The truth has been catching up with us, however, in the form of record highs in obesity and associated illnesses such as  diabetes, stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. The personal and national costs are astronomical, and demand an overhaul of our entire food system, such as proposed by pioneers of the natural food movement. First was California food’s priestess, Alice Waters, then Omnivore  Dilemma‘s Michael Pollan, and now Slow Food‘s Carlo Petrini. Each time, the green, intellectual elite has responded with ardor. Some of that enthusiasm has trickled down to the mainstream, as evidenced by the spread of organics in supermarkets. Deep down, though, not much has changed.

Inspired from the success of Obama’s movement, I would like to suggest a different strategy, one that does not come from a few tenors, but that  recognizes women as the beholders of the nurturing instinct, and the ones still in charge of most of the food decisions. Let’s call it The Women’s Food Movement, an effort at organizing the community of women all over, to help them regain confidence in their innate ability to nourish, using simple recipes and affordable, high quality, natural ingredients. Shifting the power away from manufacturers and retailers, back into the hands of women. No fancy words needed. Instead, a narrative anchored in their every day food activities and concerns, e.g. shopping for groceries,  deciding on what to make for dinner, exchanging recipes, looking for deals and clipping coupons, worrying about feeding their family healthy food, having limited time for cooking, making ends meet . . .

Most importantly, The Women’s Food Movement is about trusting women to hold the answers, collectively, and simply providing them with an organizing community and some tools to turn that knowledge into constructive action. This approach requires a deeper understanding of women’s food psychology, than currently displayed in existing solutions. For a beginning of food conversations with women, you may follow the Twitter stream here

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By now, I have become accustomed to the sight. Lots of men, and a few lost souls in skirts. I am referring to the various clean tech events I am fond of attending in the Bay Area. Green being a new field, you would think women would have seized the opportunity, quick. Last year, earth2tech had a hard time coming up with a list of The Top 10 Women in Cleantech. Nancy Floyd, founder and managing director of cleantech VC Nth Power, and the woman who made it to the top of the list, knows this firsthand:

Since founding Nth Power in 1993, she has sat on more than 15 boards — and only one of her fellow directors was a woman. When we asked her if she’s ever felt intimidated by the male dominance in the field, she first replied, “No,” and then added, “but I do over prepare.”

In the green blogosphere, the landscape is not that much different. Of the top 15 green blogs, according to Technorati authority rankings, only three are the creation of sisters. Jill Fehrenbacher, at Inhabitat. Rebecca Carter, at Ecorazzi. And Heather Stephenson, with Jennifer Boulden, at Ideal Bite.

I was hoping women would shine in green nonprofits. I am familiar with Frances Beinecke, the head of NRDC, and assumed, wrongly, that she was the norm. Based on a review of executive teams for  Charity Navigator‘s 10 best managed environmental nonprofits, only one, Sustainable Harvest International, is led by a woman, Florence Reed

It appears, that !8 million cracks in the glass ceiling are not enough. Never mind, we shall be like ants, patiently building a different world, one tiny green step at a time. 

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Women all over the world have struggled for centuries with the fundamental need to control when they bear child. Even in developed countries as here in America, access to contraception is only relatively recent, and a right that is constantly being threatened under pretexts of religion and morality. As a woman, nothing pushes my buttons more than hearing patriarchal injunctions against proven contraception methods. The fact that family planning is hardly mentioned in all the sustainability discourse, including some of the most progressive blogs, is no coincidence.

When Gary Peters alerted me to the coming out of Robert Engelman‘s new book, More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want, I thought, good, here is a man who’s finally got it. The great thing about Engelman‘s work is that it is based on extensive research with women from all over the world, over a long period of more than 25 years:

It makes sense that those who bear children and do most of the work in raising them should have the final say in when, and when not, to do so. By making their own decisions based on what’s best for themselves and their children, women ultimately bring about a global good that governments could never deliver through regulation or control: a population in balance with nature’s resources. . . what women want, is not more children, but more for their children, and we can be thankful for that.” 

Seems simple enough. Next comes the question of, how come universal access  to contraception and family planning education are not at the forefront of top level discussions on climate change and sustainability? 

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Here it is, the list of my absolute favorite Green Chicks Blogs. Compiled after much searching and deliberating. There was some methodology to my madness. To start with, I relied on Technorati and the blogrolls from established green blogs. Next, I kept only blogs with recent and regular activity. Many bloggers don’t bother to update their blogroll, by the way . . . Last, and most importantly, these are all blogs that I enjoy visiting and commenting on.

That’s fifteen altogether.

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