Hating on female websites

This is not a diss of Mashable, cause they know I love them… but may I humbly submit that their list of top 10 social networking sites for women made me throw up in my mouth a little? Umm… do you not see a certain THEME in your choice of sites? Hint: if a woman is neither a mom, nor does she think lip gloss merits more than a 2-minute glance at the drugstore — or even if a woman IS a mom and loves lip gloss, but doesn’t define herself that way — there’s no place for her in your taxonomy of chick sites.

I’d say the Huffington Post offers a strong community of people interested in organizing politically around what are often trivialized as “family issues”. Personally I enjoy Jezebel’s snarky takedowns of media images of femininity, which are all the more powerful because the writers and commenters acknowledge their allure as well as their danger. Salon has a proud track record of keeping us informed about political and social news affecting women (especially valuable for non-US news) and highlighting developments in the feminist blogosphere. And if Etsy isn’t primarily a site for women, I don’t know why not… and a lot of them turn out to have some interesting stuff to say about the personal (having a happy life while not making a huge income) being the political (eliding the division between career and home by means of not buying into “normal” consumerism). Unfortunately I can’t say I’ve found the perfect community for hard-core career-minded women, especially those in “traditionally male” fields… but when it happens, I’ll be there.

More importantly, many social networking sites — Facebook, MySpace, even GaiaOnline and Piczo — are now de facto “female first”. Even if the number of registered users aren’t overwhelmingly women, the gentler sex tends to be far more expressive and engaged on these sites. This has enormous implications for the whole business of technology — because for the very first time in the entire history of Silicon Valley, our “cutting-edge customer” is not a white geeky guy buying something from a white geeky guy… but a young woman talking to other young women. Facebook and MySpace ARE women’s sites now… so how come the media keeps shoving us in the ghetto of iVillage or Yahoo’s putrid Shine?

Team in training

If you have just been waiting for someone to suggest a Team in Training superstar to support, feel free to go here and pledge your support to my friend Erica and feel great. Thank you — really, I’m truly grateful.

If you don’t yet know about the fantastic work that Team in Training does, allow me to mention that since 1998 they have raised $850mm for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodkin’s disease, and myeloma research. It’s their 20th anniversary this year, and I think you’d feel awesome if you pledged right now.

I’m always amazed how many people’s lives have been affected by blood and lymph cancers. Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, but an awful lot of adult are afflicted by lymphomas too. My mom was just telling me about a friend of hers whose 11-year old son died of leukemia. If you ever hope to have kids, it would be awfully propitious to join in the fight against blood cancers. More to the point, one of Renkoo’s team members is a survivor, so it’s a cause near to our heart.

Team in Training also helps train runners, cyclists, and triathletes to go further than they ever thought they could. My sponsored athlete, Erica, went from total novice to riding a century in just a few months. I’m too big a wimp to follow her achievement except in a vicarious way — but I salute and support her. I hope you can too.