My name is danah boyd and I'm a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and the founder/president of Data & Society. Buzzwords in my world include: privacy, context, youth culture, social media, big data. I use this blog to express random thoughts about whatever I'm thinking.

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BlogHer Conference

The BlogHer Conference has been announced and registration is currently open. I want to see this conference be as diverse as possible – diverse along every axes imaginable. I need your help in organizing women bloggers from around the world with a million perspectives to attend. I’m also interested in adding things to the conference that will meet the needs of different types of women. For me, the goal of this conference is to build social solidarity amongst women. If you have ideas, please let me know.

But please spread the word. The key to success for this event is to get as many different women on board as possible.

There are some scholarships available and i’m hoping that we can find ways to fly women around the world in. Also, if you have any leads to making this possible, please let me know!

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25 comments to BlogHer Conference

  • I imagine I would not be the only person to do a double take upon reading this post. The name of the conference contradicts the goal of making it diverse along every axis imaginable. Consider for comparison:

    “The BlogHim Conference has been announced and registration is currently open. I want to see this conference be as diverse as possible — diverse along every axis imaginable. I need your help in organizing male bloggers from around the world with a million perspectives to attend. I’m also interested in adding things to the conference that will meet the needs of different types of men. For me, the goal of this conference is to build social solidarity amongst men. …”

    Does that sound a little weird to you?

    There’s nothing wrong with social solidarity amongst women. I think a conference for women in blogging is a great idea. I’m glad to see it happen. It just happens to be limited in diversity by its own nature.

  • Mel

    Thanks so much for this post, danah! I really appreciate the effort you’ve made to make the conference inclusive and diverse.

  • I think in empirical women bloggers need to be examined. However, it kinda contradicts with Haraway’s theory on human/non-human, which aims to tear down boundaries. Maybe such actor-network theory makes epirical research impossible.

  • Ping – my apologies for not clarifying. Yes, it is a woman’s conference and the goal is to bring together a huge diversity of women across all axes. Men are certainly welcome but you’re right – it’s a women’s conference and it’s meant for women of all types.

    As for a man’s conference – there are lots and lots and lots of them. And there’s plenty of social solidarity amongst men – lots of unchecked privilege in our community.

    Rebel – i’d love to tear down boundaries but that’s not the world we live in and i don’t believe that you get to a post-gender culture by ignoring gender and its implications.

  • I’d like some of this unchecked privilege sent my way, since I’m a man.

    I’ll take all this supposed privilege from a man or a woman, since I’m an equal-opportunity suck up. Maybe I’m just not good at being an opportunist.

    This opinion too much diversity?

  • Thanks, Danah!! great idea!! I’ll post a promo at my blog and at RadioFreeBlogistan!

    JJT, until you take a walk in someone else’s shoes, it’s hard to see what you take for granted. I didn’t realize exactly how much I take for granted looking white as I do, until last weekend when I attended an all African-American event. You probably aren’t aware of the things that happen automatically around and about you because of your gender, let alone race; they’re invisible because they’re there, ubiquitous, as much a part of your environment as your maleness. You don’t question your maleness. It’s merely a question of why other attributes should accompany that maleness when they aren’t necessarily a component of your maleness, and when they might as easily benefit those of us who aren’t male.

    Next month on Mother’s Day, take a female to lunch at someplace offering a special for mothers. Watch carefully what happens; do the waitstaff automatically assume she’s a mother? Do they go ahead and treat her with additional deference on that day because of that assumption?

    That’s what we *see* every day, assumptions made and changes in behavior because of gender. After a lifetime of that kind of treatment without any hallmarks or trappings labeling this difference in treatment, a person could take this for granted. It’s simply there, like wallpaper.

  • I want to go! BlogHer Conference

    From Danah Boyd at Apophenia: The BlogHer Conference has been announced and registration is currently open. I want to see this conference be as diverse as possible – diverse along every axes imaginable. I need your help in organizing women bloggers fro…

  • Rayne,

    In the sixties and seventies I was “raised” by a black father and son. It was very much like the show Sanford and Son. For a long time, I was the only white dude, and my surrogate Mother during the these teenage years was Helen Reddy. My Sister and ex-Wife married black men, btw.

    When I used to have a job, I managed a small IT shop and the highest paid was a women and a man was second highest-paid and a women third.

    Iow, you picked the wrong guy to be explaining the value of cultural diversity. Ever look around during Father’s Day?

    I agree that it’s hard to walk in somebody else’s shoes or boots or panties, but when are you all gonna start registering with Selective Service. After all, there’s no draft.. what’s the problem?

    Oh yeah, the Women’s Liberation agenda is all about equality in certain areas, I forgot.

    So my main point is there isn’t going to be any post-gender world, luckily, and to echo the point by Ping above… Btw, I’m familar with being labeled, Rayne, but not because I label others.

  • Funny that – i went and tried to sign up for the selective service when i turned 18 because i don’t believe in this differential. Needless to say, i was turned away. I don’t believe in war but i believe in equal responsibility for the draft so don’t you dare tell me that it’s about uneven equality.

  • That’s admirable of you, danah!

    But the uneven “equality” turned you away.. as was needless to say…

  • *blink* When did it up and turn to the 80’s again? 70’s even? The fact that women continue to have to explain *to anyone* that they are a marginalized population has only ever been proof to me that this work isn’t yet done. This is not about labels. This is not about genitals even. It’s call patriarchy. Check, please.

    On that note — danah, I would love to do some promoting of Bloghercon to transwomen bloggers, so long as I can be certain that there won’t be some sort of Michfest-style “Man on the Land!” outcry. If this con is for women, it’s gotta be for all women — yes?

    Of course, who am I to assume that folks already involved aren’t transwomen?

  • It is *MOST EXPLICITLY* all women – i would never get behind a conference that won’t accept all women. And yes, i hope that many of our trans sisters join us – their voice is definitely needed.

  • ALEX SUPERTRAMP

    danah, Good luck with your conference. There are to many inequalities shared by ALL. Failure to address them is a failure to fix them.

    I yearn for the day when applications omit an applicants gender, race, religion, or orientation. We have not reached that point yet.

    I believe we are ALL CREATED EQUAL, and are ALL entilted to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness, equally.

    The day when we learn to acknowledge this, we can begin to unify instead of diversify.

  • As someone who played a small part in helping smoothe the path for BlogHer (publicly recognized by one of its organizers), I just wanted to explain what led me to conclude that a women’s blogging conference was necessary (almost to the exclusion of men). In January went to one such “BloJo” confab and saw how much the opinions of the alpha bloggers completely dominated the conversaion. This was perhaps no surprise to the women at the conference, who have had to put up with this before. I wrote a lot on this, and summed up my proposal in, of all forms, a sonnet in early February. the last six lines:

    Now, as the men have had their say,
    the women should lead the way.
    For the men in general, (and some in particular)
    speak loudly but put forth no curricular.
    So these are the times, for men to mend their fences;
    and watch the feminine mind give birth to consensus.

  • “This is not about labels. This is not about genitals even.”

    Re-read the comment of Alex and then the others, and then tell me it’s not about genitals.

    Like males cannot build consensus, all of a sudden?

  • JJT,

    Bloghercon isn’t calling for some sort of biological, blogger-based essentialism: ie, the cunts are disempowered and must rally together to fight that. (Essentialism, one can argue, is a product of patriarchy, and just another tool to divide and conquer.) It’s not about women; it’s about power.

    I.e., this is not about calling out those with dicks, but about imbalances of power. (And not all with dicks are men, but that’s another story…) Not about choosing The Pants Door vs. Skirts Door when taking a piss, but about imbalances of power. Not about a buck to our 82 cents, but imbalances of power. The dicks, the Pants Door, and the dollar are not the problem. Power is why dicks, the Pants Door, and the dollar signify anything, and often, why what they signify is trouble to the female-bodied and female-gendered.

    (In school words: This is about systematic, structural oppression and disenfranchisement, that puts all but the manliest, whitest, and wealthiest at increasingly distant margins. Why some men are “worth” more than others in this culture, as well.)

    It’s a sexist world, a sexist USA, a sexist media, a sexist blogosphere — no surprises there. What’s surprising to me is that even though this medium grew up from such “anyone can say anything, aren’t we all equal now!” values, that anyone still, five, seven years now on out, still believes that.

  • @ JJT and Alex – With all due respect, I suggest you rewind your lives alllll the way back to the beginning, switch genders, go through infancy and toddlership and girlhood and adolescence and adulthood as females, and then come back to this thread, so that you can have a good, long, deep laugh at the foolish things your male incarnations are saying in it.

  • Alex Supertramp

    @ BarB, This is genuine! I mean this: I’m sorry if my response was interpreted as anything other than wishing luck and support for the conference.
    I was just reinforcing my belief in individualism.
    I just long for the day when individual liberty can truly exist, where it is not based on race, gender, religion, or orientation. Where we all are entitled to and recieve the same rights and respects. ( I know we are not there now, but without hope, what do we have?)
    Barb I wish you peace and happiness!

  • Are the comments above indicative of the reaction a male would get at BlogHer Con?

    Just wondering…

  • @Alex – I don’t doubt your sincerity and I appreciate your response, thanks (and I share your goals, as well – but how do we get from here to there?). I spoke out of frustration and hit {return} so, I, too, apologize for hasty words easily misinterpreted.

    @ JJT – Since I won’t have time to attend the conf, and since I’m not in possession of the ability to speak for all women who might attend it, I couldn’t very well say — though I highly doubt it. Speaking for myself, I can safely say those words were not directed at someone identifying as male who might possibly attend the conference, rather they were directed at someone, regardless of gender identification, taking issue with the conference’s very right to exist. As Melissa rightly points out, it’s ultimately about power, and about female-identified persons feeling the need to have some space and time to sit down together and discuss why we more often than not have to forcibly grab the talking stick rather than having it freely passed to us. I’d wager a guess that any male-identified person who is interested in furthering that agenda is more than welcome at the conf.

    This is the source of the frustration I spoke of above – I’m so tired of having to have this same damn conversation every time women struggle to establish space. Seems that a lot of folks very suddenly concerned with gender inequality come out of the woodwork who are conspicuously absent when things like etech with 3% female representation (or whatever abysmal figure it is) are going on. If you’re really so concerned with gender inequality, you’re going to have to actually do something about it other than griping about how women want to have a conference, and you’re also going to have to realize that BlogHerCon will come and go without society having suddenly shifting to a matriarchy overnight. It’s difficult enough to actually establish the space, much less have to justify the desire to have the space in the first place every single time.

  • @Barb- Males like space also. Both females and males like the comfort of less space at times also.

    I indicated what I would do, by telling what I have done. I don’t have the green power to attend conferences, and little interest, so I’m of no help on that score.

    As far as agendas, I indicated on my blog.

    A little about me, Barb..

    My older Sister’s kids have hypenated names and my younger Sisters have a middle name of one and last name of another (so the two have different last names). The younger said she’d probably do things differently because of the confusion, but it seemed important at the time.

    No..

    ..I can’t be my Sisters’ Sister, but can only be their Brother. Why don’t you visit parts of Pakistan or Africa to get a better feel what sexism is like? And how’s your attempt to walk in the shoes of 21st Century male coming, btw?

    One thing about the comments in blogs is, depending on how the moderator wields the power, it can be a place where the power of the talking stick is shared. Don’t see where you had trouble finding the space here to lambast me, in error, btw.

    Me being a man, guess that’s no problemo to you… …

  • Last summer, 2004, a few of my friends and I drove up from LA to go to and we had a blast on the road trip, meeting new people, and wandering around SF.

    I am now trying to round up the gang for a road trip this summer to BlogHer. Get out of LA, take a drive, listen to new cds, meet new people, stay at a hotel, have an adventure, talk about technology, drive back again.

    What could be wrong with that? Sounds like fun to me. This time we will leave Greg at home, but Tom is welcome to join us again…

    smiles, jen ;o)

  • oopss…

    Revise first sentence to say:

    Last summer, 2004, a few of my friends and I drove up from LA to go to a blogging party and we had a blast on the road trip, meeting new people, and wandering around SF.

  • Sarah Bluehouse

    Heyla! so I was doing some research at work, (Mostly on money, power and depreciation in the 18th century) And this means looking at alot of the newspapers of early america, and I noticed how much they are like blogs… lots of psyudonyms, lots of inane ramblings, semi conspiritorial linkings, famous folks writing at anyman, or ‘true patriots” — Really kinda neat. You’ve been on m’mind alot.. miss ya!

    ((look for accessible archies and early american newspapers through your library for online versions of these paper)

  • That’s very sweet, Ms Jen! Unfortunately I’m going to be stuck in the UK and wouldn’t be able to attend. xx Tom