Busytown by Jolisa Gracewood

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Busytown: Pavlova Paradise

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  • Russell Brown,

    Righto, I was going to raise this all tomorrow, but here's good.

    Right up front, it's probably worth pointing out that the whiteymaleyiness is in part a product of the fact that white males post more often. Especially this one.

    Also, there probably aren't many blog, even group blogs, where this is even an issue. People mostly keep to their own and there don't seem to be many group blogs where women and men share the stage, or pan-ethnic blogs.

    And this remarkably smug libertarian blog positively sneered at my undertaking to tend to our ethnic and gender balance. So you can't please everyone ...

    I have actually tapped someone who is not white, male, middle-aged or boring to try some guest blogs, and hopefully you'll see her soon. But it is a busy time of year.

    And ... howz about tha ladeez nominate some of their own to write guest blogs? There are obvious candidates who I've been shy of asking because they have their own blogs, and it seems sort of paternalistic to ask.

    But a little public pressure probably wouldn't go astray.

    I vote Emma Hart.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah,

    I have actually tapped someone who is not white, male, middle-aged or boring

    Hmmm - is this supposed to be a contrast to the existing writers? If so, you really need to have a very dull, boring writer. The existing writers are not boring at all.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    i know she doesn't blog often

    but i'd love to see someone like Tash Hall from webstock guest writing. She has an excellent way with words and especially with all the people she and mike hunt around to find for webstock, i'm sure she has some great stories to share.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    oo and ask those females you think would rock the PA blog, i bet they won't bite.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    And ... howz about tha ladeez nominate some of their own to write guest blogs? There are obvious candidates who I've been shy of asking because they have their own blogs, and it seems sort of paternalistic to ask.

    But a little public pressure probably wouldn't go astray.

    I vote Emma Hart.

    Geebuz.

    I'd be honoured. Which is code for 'hugely intimidated'.

    My own personal nominations would be for Heather, Jo, Robyn or Danielle, leaving aside that whole 'has their own perfectly functional and popular blog', because I'm a woman, ergo inherently feminist, and can't possibly be being paternalistic.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Don't forget harvestbird, prose stylist that she is.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    PA System is male dominated, but the women who are regulars here have a lot to say and it doesn't feel male dominated.

    A lot of the topics that get discussed here - politics, music, sport - have traditionally been a little blokey in some respects, but it never seems to feel that way.

    However, it is really cool when Tze Ming or Jolisa post something that sparks off a feminist-centred discussion. I wouldn't mind more of that, even if it was from a guy.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I'm of the view, Jolisa, that some more women posting and positing here would be a very good move, indeed. I used to be an avid Unifem, and I used to be hugely concerned by governmental politics. These days I'm more into the personal and particular. I address gender inequity in my teaching, and I've become terminally bored with global politics. I like PAS because it makes for interesting reading and interesting debate, and yet........I feel the lack of women posters sorely. My friends are women, my colleagues at work are women - female-centric, mayhaps, but that's the way my life is. I enjoy men too, but I enjoy the company of women far more, I enjoy their stories, and for me, a bit more of that here could only be a good thing.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    My own personal nominations would be for Heather, Jo, Robyn or Danielle, leaving aside that whole 'has their own perfectly functional and popular blog'

    I am truly honoured to be mentioned, Emma! It must be noted, however, that although I do have a generally unpublicised, barely functional and not at all popular blog, my last three posts were a) a list of dumb names I call my dogs; b) the top ten reasons why I think the Pixies still rule; and c) a fangirl gush about New York from Flavor of Love. Yes, I am thoroughly vapid and inane. 'Not a credit to her sex', as the Progressive reformers used to say of prostitutes and actresses. I assume guest-blogging on PAS is more likely to be all about, you know, actual well-reasoned arguments and stuff...?

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    If I'm ever uncomfortable here, it's because you never know when someone I went to school with is going to pop up and say 'you were shitty at PE!' (Hi Kyle. :)

    In my defence, I should point out that you said it first, and I just confirmed it. Surely it's nice to have people back you up when you're one of a small group of women struggling out there in the white male dominated interweb? ;)

    I followed Deborah's link to her blog and read a couple of her posts and comments, and from there Che's and someone else's. I then spent the first couple of hours of the evening mulling over things before posting anything (and making dinner and walking the dog (he's much better after Kennel Club training Danielle!)). This will therefore be my thoughtful and reasonable response, honest.

    I think that communities to a large extent make themselves. We're all working within Russell's fairly broad constraints, and mostly we're all here because of him - either because we enjoy reading what he writes, or we enjoy reading what the other people that he's given space to, write. It's fairly liberal, moderately left-wing, often political, but also cultural and technological.

    Personally I'm more interested in some blogs than others, which I guess isn't unusual. I never really got into Tze Ming Mok's, though I read it and its comments. But I also struggled with Che's. Both just felt too academic for me to enjoy, after three degrees and a day job working with academics, I don't tend to want to read something that feels like it needs a bibliography afterwards. But that's me, obviously others got a lot more out of them, good for them. I always enjoy Jolisa's, as a parent to two kids it feels like sometimes she's telling my stories, Dave Hayward's are different but very interesting.

    Personally I quite like PAS, and as long as people 'play the ball, not the man/woman', I don't mind it being argumentative in the most part. There was a time during the 'terrorism' threads where I just started to feel tired of disagreeing with people that I suspected I wouldn't disagree with much if I knew them better, but mostly the discussion is fairly good natured and generally interesting. Other people obviously feel different, I don't know if that means the culture should shift, or if there should be somewhere else which isn't like that. I guess that's Russell's choice, it's his bag.

    I did note that lots of the posters to Tze Ming Mok's final entry were often first time posters who'd registered just to say that they'd enjoyed reading her stuff. Elsewhere it's been said that this is an indication that people in her 'writing sphere' haven't felt comfortable engaging with the system. Maybe that's true, but maybe they just haven't felt the need/desire to say anything until now. Do we know?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    However, it is really cool when Tze Ming or Jolisa post something that sparks off a feminist-centred discussion. I wouldn't mind more of that, even if it was from a guy.

    Word.

    Also, not to get all Pollyanna on your asses, but twelve years ago when I first beheld the miracle of the interweb, there were so few women around that merely contributing to online discussion was a feminist act, it seemed like. So there is progress, lots of it. I don't think we should be totally discouraged or anything.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Heather Gaye,

    How about PA start soliciting publicly for guest posts? No harm in all the girlz/gayz/brownz submitting an article that they think might suit the timbre.. isn't that how freelance journalism works? Also, why am I still up at this time on a school night? Lordy!

    Morningside • Since Nov 2006 • 533 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    Ten days before Christmas, and you want women to do MORE voluntary work?

    Are you MAD????

    Since Jul 2007 • 198 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    my last three posts were a) a list of dumb names I call my dogs; b) the top ten reasons why I think the Pixies still rule; and c) a fangirl gush about New York from Flavor of Love.

    The last thing I posted on my blog was a picture of David Beckham. But while we're bemoaning the lack of wimmin polly-bloggers, that's what most women are busy doing with the internet. Posting pics, making lists, reading gay pron, and mostly being completely uninterested in being anything as humourless and intimidating as a 'credit to their sex'.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    Well, I've been sitting back and not commenting on all of this stuff (other than privately to Tze Ming, Deborah and a couple of others) cos I was still thinking. I'm still thinking, but I hope I have my thoughts in enough order to start to communicate them.

    I used to write a political blog, under a pseudonym, until my life changed and I wasn't the superhero identity I'd created for my blogging anymore. Sometimes it was fun, sometimes it wasn't. I used to comment here under that pseudonym from time to time, and after I stopped using that identity I created another one for my PAS comments, but it doesn't fit so now I'm out here using my own name for the first time. Please be gentle with me ;-)

    I'd love to see more diversity on PAS, both posters and commenters. This is not because I'm hideously unhappy with those already here but more because I see the potential that PA has which is not currently being totally realised.

    I know that it's not fair to push so many of my own hopes onto someone else's project, but still I seem to do it. I think it's largely a result of having been through several years of being one of a small minority of left wing voices in the NZ blogosphere, and an even smaller number of women (both left and right), and an even tinier number of feminists.

    I see this A List Blog (for want of a better term) that is PA, which is already largely leftish, has a good readership and respect within the community beyond the small elite circles of political blogs, and I think, wow wouldn't it be a great place to showcase the views and arguments of those leftward voices currently flailing around on the margins of blogging with little encouragement and multo trolling from the more dominant right. (I should point out that it's not just about women's/feminist voices too, although that is my current personal beef, I'd also particularly like to see tangata whenua and those to the Left of Labour here more).

    Russell is totally right when he points out that the white boys post more. With a few notable exceptions, they also comment more. But partly this reflects the content and culture here - it's a vicious cycle from my point of view.

    My perception, based on nothing remotely scientific, is also that the frequent posters tend to link much more to other male bloggers. Recently I read about something on a (US) feminist blog and then saw Russell mention it in a Hard News post, and I was disappointed that rather than link to a feminist blogger writing about he linked to a news story from CNN (or somewhere like that). Of course why shouldn't he, that's probably how he found out about it, and I realise my reaction was not totally rational. But I guess that gives you a little insight into how I'm feeling, after reading PA, and now PAS, for years.

    I don't mean to single out Russell at all; I'd like to put this challenge out there to all PA posters and commenters - how many of the blogs you read are written by women? Don't tell me they aren't out there because they are, I used to write one. They are a little harder to find than the XY variety, and this comment is already too long for me to expound my theory (reinforced by the demographic of those who ask questions at political forums) about why this is.

    Ok, that's enough for now. I'm glad we are having this korero and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Credits for sex? Is that an NCA thing? Or is it something I can put on my Xmas list?

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Julie: out of the 11 local blogs I have blog-rolled, 6 are exclusively written by women and another is 50-50. I also regularly read Pandagon and Majikthise . Firedoglake is not exclusively written by women but the core posters are mostly women.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    how many of the blogs you read are written by women?

    I find this question problematic, Julie, because I tend to read blogs in several categories:

    - people I know/friends from various places, online and IRL
    - issues which interest me (in my case, these subcategories are mostly TV, music, film, US politics, celeb gossip, and feminism. PA is in the 'general interest' category - I usually read all the posts, even if I have no idea what they're talking about. Red letter days, for me, are those with Jolisa/Fiona posts, though.)

    Now, I'd say that the 'people I know' category is fairly evenly split between men and women, but the other categories are sort of interesting when you break them down. Because the feminist stuff is usually written by women, and everything else is predominantly written by men. FourFour is written by a gay man, so I get a minority voice there - but how important is it that he is a gay blogger? The (hilarious and wonderful) blog is primarily about pop-cultural issues like America's Next Top Model and how much he loves Daft Punk, so... I don't know. In other words, I'm slightly dubious about how much a 'quota' of different voices helps my reading. But on the other hand, I *do* find it disturbing that most political blogs, or musical blogs, are a straight-white-penis-party. (And in fact, another community weblog I read, Metafilter, recently went through a fairly large upheaval about sexism within the ranks of its posters, and whether or not women felt comfortable posting there.)

    In other words: I am conflicted. Uh, I suppose that helps not one iota. Sorry. :)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • anjum rahman,

    this brings up a lot of conflicting thoughts for me. i agree that quotas aren't always helpful. they do provide access to those who currently don't have access. on the one hand, that's all they should do ie if you don't have the quality, then you shouldn't get access in any case. on the other hand, the ability to have access then ensures that you develop the quality ie there is a bit of nurturing that also needs to happen.

    it's true that PAS can't be all things to all people. but on the other hand, there is a need to increase the public space for minority voices, and this is a wonderful site to be doing that. posting things publicly can be very daunting - i've found it to be so - even in an environment that is basically friendly and accommodating.

    i'd also support the use of "speaker" to get writers up to speed, and to provide that mix of views readers here are looking for.

    hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    At last, a female dominated thread.

    I've just typed up a huge post, then deleted it all. What I have to say is simpler than the 500 feel-good words I was going to use to say it. My opinion on getting more people posting/commenting outside the liberal white middle classed straight male demographic is that they all need to harden up and post or comment more.

    I was going to pussy foot around, but actually, nah. It really is that simple. You can't make people participate, and they can't complain if they don't. If you can't stand toe-to-toe with the SNAGs that infest PAS, what chance do you have anywhere in the greater blogosphere?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • InternationalObserver,

    FYI (or should that be FWIW?)

    I can't remember what the first Busytown blog I read was actually about, but I do remember having to struggle to determine whether it was written by a man or a women. With apologies to all the Jolisa's out there, I'd never come across that name before and didn't know it's gender.

    Of course the gender issue was cleared up in a subsequent blog that was all about babies. It was clearly written by a woman.
    Or a Big Girls Blouse.

    Since Jun 2007 • 909 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa,

    With apologies to all the Jolisa's out there, I'd never come across that name before and didn't know its gender.

    Ha! That takes me back to when I won a prize off the radio (big thrills for a 13 year old), and the package arrived, addressed to Mr Joe Lisa. Guess I did live in South Auckland after all.

    I think it was a pretty rare name when my parents made it up in a moment of wild hippie inspiration, but it's not uncommon in the US -- although both times I've heard it said in public it belonged to a little African American girl. Which might explain why my first American flatmates were politely surprised at the paleness of my skin.

    It is nice to have an unusual name, even if in daily life I generally answer to a diminutive. But ooh, if I had a dollar for every time someone tried to add an "s" to it, I'd be so rich I could write for Public Address for free. Uh. Yeah.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Well, I didn't think Ben was an uncommon name until I went to Australia and they asked me what email address I wanted. I told them my first name and they went 'OK, that's pretty unusual, you might be able to get it just like that....yup, done'. 2 days later my account details arrived in the mails, and I was the very first bin@isp.com.au

    Flamin' Ozzies! I got that Jolisa was a chick at first glance, even though SNAGs like me talk about babies all the time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Margaret,

    I think that the reason I don't post here is less to do with being female and more to do with being young. I don't want to say something stupid and have clever people be mean to me. It is a bit pathetic but I've been scarred for life over an incident at NZmusic in 2004. Though perhaps this is to do with being female too. Would a 22 year old male me think the same thing? I don't know and can't ever know.

    80% of the blogs I read are by women. They are mostly craft blogs by women who have children. I don't craft or have children but I still find something about them relevant to me. Also, I read a lot of books/pop culture blogs and find the ones by women best for me. They tend to watch the same shows (America's Next Top Model anyone), read the same books, have crushes on the same celebrities, etc.

    Another reason that I don't post here is that I don't feel qualified. I have an arts degree in English and creative writing and no real experience of law, politics or the media (except for a disastrous Media 101 course). I guess this is also a fear of saying something stupid.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2007 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • paulalambert,

    As I recall, it was Russell who led me to PA but Tze Ming who kept me returning. What a great description this was :
    "You went through this place like a dose of the salts, in a good way. I will miss your brilliant prose, your assiduous non-taking of prisoners, and your (ahem) scouring wit. It already feels quiet and, dare I say it, a little boring without you."

    So I second that, and now shes gone I'm not quite as quick to click when I have enough spare time to sit and read __anything__for pleasure.

    I think it would be amazing to get anyone else as challenging and edgy as Tze Ming, who was outstandingly outstanding. Good luck with the idea of more guest contributors, male or female. The very enjoyable-to-read high standard of writing, as well as criticism, here may be a bit daunting to some (I'm also grinniing amd thinking of the post which said something like 'more voluntary work for women, are you MAD?').

    Oh, and more of the very good things about PA are the humour, and everyone seems to be relatively civil. Remarkable !

    chch • Since Dec 2006 • 107 posts Report Reply

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