May 12, 2008
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?