Thanks for the all words of support from female readers in the in-tray. Unfiltered feedback on our Facebook page. A reader writes:
I am a stay-at-home mom and a political junkie, two things that don't always go together. You are one of my main sources of political and international news (and not "just the political stuff", as your love of the Pet Shop Boys is one of my favorite things about you). I don't know why your site skews more male than female. Many women my age (mid-40s) seem so overwhelmed with kids, jobs, carpools, care of elderly parents, that they just don't seem to take the time to delve deeper than listening to NPR on the way to the next soccer practice, or watching a snippet of the Today show while making the kids' sack lunches.
Keeping with stereotypes, your blog is perfect for people at office jobs to take breaks during their monotonous day. Maybe a majority these types of workers are men? I am a student now, but I was the most well-read on current events when I worked in investment banking and consulting (ugh – talk about monotony).
Another dispenses some tough love:
I am a woman, and I have been following you for many years – chasing you, more like – from the New Republic, to your original blog, to Time, to the Atlantic, and now to the Daily Beast. I love you, and I do not say that lightly. Your impact on my short-term thinking and long-term world view is more influential than that of my parents, my women's college BFFs, and my husband. I would love to meet you someday, but I know it would be sort of like meeting Barack Obama – I probably just start to weep and embarrass myself, so let's don't, I guess.
All of that said, if you truly have no awareness of why most women are not as taken with you as I am, then I believe you lack some critical self-awareness.
Andrew, you can be really mean, and your rhetoric concerning certain prominent women – however dreadful they can be – is not the kind of language that most women appreciate. When I think of how you have described the likes of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Nancy Pelosi, and Ann Coulter over the years, I cannot believe the names you have called them. The words that come to mind now are "monster" and "unhinged" – but you have used far worse. And though you have sheepishly come around regarding Hillary, you have done so only mildly. I can't think of any women, beyond Margaret Thatcher and Tina Brown, perhaps, about whom the nice things you have to say match in degree the venom you have directed at those others (perhaps you give them extra credit for being British).
Also, the pains that you have taken to distinguish gay men from lesbians seems a bit fraught. My impression is that, as a group, the lesbians are not sufficiently attentive to their looks, in your opinion, and so you don't care to be compared to such a dowdy bunch. And have you ever called attention to a great popular song performed by a woman? Maybe, but I can't think of one. You like the dudes. These are just some examples.
I think you should just admit it: You just aren't that into women.
Marriage equality, my two-decade crusade, has been supported by female couples more fervently than by male ones. And my venom is obviously gender-neutral. Think of what I have said about Dick Cheney for example compared with Condi Rice. But I think being somehow nicer to women in public life is condescending. Another:
I don't think the lack of female readers has anything to do with the site's content or your own sensibility. I think it reflects a very common pattern in the political blogosphere. It is a surprisingly male world, with a few notable exceptions. I am an avid consumer of political news on the net. It is clear that male voices dominate the political discourse on the web. But that is not surprising. Male voices dominate the media and politics itself, although not as much as in the past.
I also tend to spend more time than I probably should reading the comments threads on the various sites. I can assure you that men dominate these threads too. If you do have a large percentage of women who contact you, that's a good sign. Interestingly, it might be because you DON'T publish comments.
I don't want to generalize from a single example – me – but I often start to write a comment on a thread, but then, about halfway through, I say, nah, I don't think this is "good enough" or "original enough" or "interesting enough" or something or other. This hesitation does not seem to affect the largely male commentariat.
Please don't think I'm a shrinking violet. Indeed I am a retired professor who went to an Ivy League school in a male dominated field at a time when women didn't go to graduate school. And I have always had a reputation for speaking my mind. But I wonder if many women are still not as interested in being controversialists, if they just don't think it's worth the nastiness that can sometimes accompany putting their ideas forward in the wild and wooly blogosphere.
Your blog is so very personal. I really hope you keep it that way.
The above screenshot was taken from the results of our reader-centric survey (the exact percentage of surveyed females is 22 percent, from a sample of 26,000 readers). Some interesting findings: 50 percent of female readers have emailed the Dish, compared to 58 percent of male readers; 18 percent of female emailers have had something posted, compared to 21 percent for men; 66 percent of female readers read the Dish as their primary blog, compared to 71 percent of male readers; 69 percent of female readers agree with me most of the time, compared to 75 percent of men; 20 percent of female readers have been so mad at me that they stopped reading the Dish for a day or more, compared to 17 percent of male readers; 61 percent of female readers have cried in reaction to a post, compared to 34 percent of male readers; 27 percent of female readers watch South Park, compared to 46 percent of male readers.