Why No Female Pundits, Part MXVII

A Newsweek piece by Steve Levy and Maureen Dowd‘s weekend pity party have reignited the never dormant “Why is it so hard for women to break through as opinion writers?” discussion.

While a man writing a column taking on the powerful may be seen as authoritative, a woman doing the same thing may be seen as castrating. If a man writes a scathing piece about men in power, it’s seen as his job; a woman can be cast as an emasculating man-hater. I’m often asked how I can be so “mean” – a question that Tom Friedman, who writes plenty of tough columns, doesn’t get.

Of course, the fact that Friedman actually writes thoughtful analysis and seldom calls anyone names might factor into the equation, too. O! the plight of the beautiful woman trying to make it in the world of competitive journalism. Why, any white male who wants a column at the New York Times is simply handed one–no questions asked.

Michelle Malkin, who has somehow overcome the obstacles Dowd lists to land a nationally syndicated column, publish a couple of books, become a regular guest on the television talking head circuit, and rise to the top reaches of the blogosphere, manages to rattle off the names of dozens of women bloggers writing about politics and world affairs.

LaShawn Barber has some thoughts on why white males link to one another and how women and those of color can break through. In a nutshell, they boil down to working hard, writing interesting stuff, and networking. Coincidentally, this is the exact same formula that the white males atop the blogosphere have employed. Who the hell let the secret out?!

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere, Gender Issues, Media
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. bryan says:

    Almost all of the women listed on Malkin’s site are conservatives.

    Does that imply that the conservatives are keeping down left-wing women who want to blog about politics?!?!

    I smell Karl Rovian machinations here.

  2. kilgore trout says:

    Do they count women in syndication? If so, there is a plethora of female pundits: Molly Ivins, Ann Coulter, Gallagher, Goodman, Eleanor Clift, etc. It’s really hard to believe that women are downtrodden in the pundit world. The diversity warriors are becoming a parody.

  3. Attila Girl says:

    This whole issue is so boring. I like the way Cassandra put it: there are those who like to “count boobies in the blogosphere.”