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Thanks Lisa.

As you know I'm a strong proponent of including men, much as I can appreciate and understand Eleanor's perspective, which I'm sure is representative of many women out there. I also want to say that I agree pretty thoroughly with your answers to Dave's questions above. The point is anything but deciding it's all men's fault or women are going to take their toys and play elsewhere.

There were two parts of our discussion yesterday that I thought were keeper guiding principles:

1. To your point about searching and finding: Bloghercon can help more of our voices bubble up to the top in our own rich network, and then extend that network to meet and interlink with the existing network. (I think that is much easier to visualize with my napkin drawing, don't you?) It is ultimately about inclusion and expanding everyone's reach.

2. The question is: what do women bloggers actually want? And how do we go about getting it. The answer may be different for every attendee, but it's worth exploring.

I address some other "issues" peole have expressed out there in the blogopshere in this post I just made:

"I suggest Bloghercon because we have to be able to find quality bloggers in order to read them and to link them." Hey, haven't I don't enough of that "finding quality bloggers" stuff this month? :) :)

Thanks Lisa; once again your post leads me to many more women bloggers to add to my Gals in Waiting bookmarks!

Stupid question: Where do you envisage holding Bloghercon? My range of travel looks to be kind of limited for awhile...

- Elayne

That should be "done enough," sorry...

The last question of Dave's that you repro here disturbs me a lot, because I see it as symptomatic of "male fear at women encroaching on perceived guy territory." Could you even IMAGINE anyone asking of a male-centric blogger-con, "Will men who say sexist things about women be challenged, or will people who disagree be shouted down?" We already know from our reading experience that there's plenty of sexism on the male-run blogs, even the liberal/lefty ones. Why on earth should this even be an issue except that a man brought it up? I don't know Dave but from what I have seen of his efforts they've all seemed very, well, Dave-centric. Perhaps the appropriate response to men asking questions like this should be "it's not about you."

Thanks, Lisa, for reframing Bloghercon as a way of expanding the network, not making it more inclusive. It's a way for women who blog to connect, not a way to disconnect with men who blog. In fact, the upshot could be to establish even more connections to the blogging community in general.

Witness the success of women who attend women's schools and colleges (Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton): they are often more at ease with men because they've achieved the self-esteem and confidence an all-girls environment often engenders.

Sylvia, Elisa, Elayne -- a big amen on all fronts. Thank you for making this discussion so much smarter.

Elayne, you ask a key question about location and timing for this conference. I am sorry that I don't have the answers yet.

Here are some preliminary thoughts and I look forward to what you think: It seems to me that (if humanly possible), we should take advantage of the summer months. That way we fall between school years and silly seasons for work. In addition to a centralized event, regions (that's my catch-all for everything from counties to countries) can coordinate get-togethers for women bloggers whenever appropriate and report out to the world.

At the same time, Bloghercon, if successful, can be our connections continuum -- a networking hub that, once born, keeps on keeping on as more women bloggers join.

What do you all think?

Sylvia captures my thinking totally. I'm not antiboy, just seeking a protected space to escape the fractiousness that often comes with addressing sensitive issues like gender. We're culturally so uncomfortable dealing with this grey area that even *having* a chick blogger conference seems to put some people off. It's a bit of a question of purpose: is this a grrls school, or a co-ed camp to learn how to work together better?

Thanks for the responses Lisa.

Can I also ask that you choose a different name so as to create something really new, instead of leveraging off something that already exists.

I'm thinking about doing another BloggerCon, and they just had one in North Carolina.

Maybe after youv'e done a few of yours there will be more women around so that we'll reach complete balance in the other cons, and the issue of Where Are The Women will be a distant memory.

BTW, I don't feel like I can really speak on the subjects that would come up at a Women's Blogging Conference, too many of the people behind this conference are male-bashers, not you (I don't know you) but go read Shelley's post, and imagine that were a man saying the equivalent things about female genitals. I don't think you'd like it.

Here's a little secret: men don't like it when you make fun of them, esp our sexuality, but we've been trained that there's no percentage in saying that. But if you get a group of men together, without women, you'd hear *all* about it.

This is something you might want to discuss at your conference. How, by humiliating men publicly, you serve or don't serve your cause. You might be surprised to find out that this actually hurts you. In any case, it's bad karma.

It's become pretty fashionable to bash on certain people, I guess my point is, if you found a conference with that DNA, it's going to be a pretty bad conference. I like your post here, seems like you could go somewhere with it.

Elayne, BloggerCon is not a male-only or even a male-focused conference. If you have to reposition what came before to create room for yourself, then something is wrong. I don't mind if you asked that kind of question about BloggerCon, and I'd tell you straight out that it would not be tolerated. The question needs to be raised here because there HAVE BEEN male-bashing posts around the startup of this conference. Shelley's post, and Halley's endorsement of it, were completely humiliating to men. You don't have to go too far to understand, just imagine the analog applied to female anatomy, and imagine it being posted by a man. How much tolerance would there be for that (There should be none, imho).

Now you may not like to look at your own sexist attitudes, or those of other women, but if you have a conference about gender and blogging, and are not willing to look at your own attitudes, then you're just going to be blaming others for your problems, and you have zero chance of solving any of them. That's the danger of having a conference focused on gender issues, that it becomes a hurtful gripe session, where nothing gets accomplished.

Further while others have speculated on why there haven't been any sessions at BC about gender issues, that's why. If you want to go there, have the guts to really go there. I didn't think the women were ready for it, and I know that the men aren't.

I'll confess right now, Lisa. If you have this and invite men and Dave Winer comes, I won't be able to help myself -- I will make fun of him. And laugh, laugh, laugh like a mad woman, while I do.

Can't help myself. It would damage my karma to forgo the experience.

Seriously, Lisa, you should pick a spot, a place, an agenda and just do it. I think there is one thing we can learn from the guys -- that we can't ask nicely, and say pretty please we want to have a get together...oh but we don't want to hurt some guy's fillings.

And call it "BlogHerCon". "Blog" and "Con" are not owned by any man.

Uh, that's 'feelings'.

How about a 2 day conference.

1st day for women only to focus on their unique issues.

2nd day mix it up and focus on everyones issues.

Possible tagline for consideration.

Women....blogging the way, for the future.

I think Dave just wants to come to meet hot chicks. Wait. Maybe I'm projecting.

JUST A JOKE DAVE (see the self effacing little turn I gave it to demonstrate it was all in fun?)

I hope BlogHerCon happens and that Shelley can make it, and that women like Michelle Goodrich, Heather Champ, and Gillian Gunson find there way there. I wish you would open it up to some women's web writers who don't necessarily blog - people like Mindy MacAdams. If you're inspired you'll provide childcare and get people like Denise Howell to participate.

I know just how I want you to run your conference. How manly of me.

Thanks, Frank, but if it's a Berkley thing in California, I won't. Still, I hope it's a success for the women who can attend.

Will promote it, though.

I'm sorry, Dave, you lost me at "special rate of $500."

I'm sorry Dave is humiliated by his short links. We deal the deck that God gave us.

All the rest - I'll be interested in the where's and when's too. And while some tracks on women's issues and blogging while female would be interesting, I think we should tackle the larger issues of business models, the micro-market explosion, journalism, and whether or not Viagra really works, just like those other conferences.

[I'm sorry, but really--how am I supposed to NOT say these things?] ;-)

this rocks
great energy

I've been talking with a whole bunch of people here in the UK about organising a blogging conference, so I'd be really interested to see how yours pans out, and if I can make it across the pond I would love to come/speak. As one of a very small number of women in the UK doing anything professionally with blogs (writing/consulting/writing about) I have a vested interest in expanding my network and any opportunity to do so is welcomed, particularly amongst a demographic that is less visible than it should be.

I agree with Shelley, St. Louis rocks. Cheap, too. Of course I will always go to California, it's beautiful, and if I was planning a conference I'd do it in my backyard to make it easy for me to visit prospective sites and keep an eye on the preparations.

If it becomes a regular thing, let me put in a word for Denver, too.

Oh, and yeah, Jeneane is right. We should definitely have tracks about sessions of common interest; I'd be happy to reprise sessions we did at our local bloggers' meet on podcasting or blogger-written blog policies -- except for the conference, bigger, louder, and with more explosions and a car-chase re-enactment.

Podcasting session a success and Four Minutes about Podcasting, the podcasting movie I made. It'd be great to have Halley and the Chick on Tech weekly podcast crew at such a session. Eileen Gunn has a wonderful podcast through IT Conversations, too. (hm. I should compile a women podcasting list)

Blogger-written blog policies which is a survey of what kinds of policies bloggers have written for those sites to cover those times when someone calls someone else a Nazi in the comments section, financial disclosures, etc.

The challenge: how can we structure communities or tools to encourage people to look for voices unlike their own? To step beyond our insular comfort zones? To start, I currently read mostly American bloggers who lean left-of-center. Other than our own force of will, could we construct an impetus that nudges us to step beyond? Imposing curiosity onto somebody - this may or may not be possible.

Blog Voice Con, or...
Spaces and Voices, or...

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  • Gail Sheehy
    "Women's liberation is not the end...it is the beginning of a lot of work. There is a whole world out there that needs to be totally transformed so that women and men can create, desire, build and play..."
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    "The primary sex organ is the brain."