I was watching Eden of the East (very good-you should check it out if you haven’t seen it yet) and at one point the main character says, “There are a lot of intelligent people in this country, but none of them are willing to step up and lead the way.”
I thought this was brilliant because I’m always a bit suspicious of anyone who pursues a political career; sure, I want intelligent people making intelligent decisions (as in, decisions I would make if I were in charge, hehe) but I always think, “Who in their right mind would subject themselves to the election process?” Everything is fair game–your looks, your family, your personal life, what you said in college 10-20 years ago, all of it. Everything is on display. In certain cases, if the opposition can’t find anything juicy enough, they’ll just make shit up. Not to play the vagina card but the attacks seem especially brutal towards women candidates–nothing is off-limits.
While this example isn’t an attack nor is the person a current candidate, I feel it reinforces my point (if I have a point, anyway): the other day on twitter, several guys who I respect and are “good guys” were talking about Sarah Palin, whom they generally like and think is hot. However, they had one problem with her: her voice. I don’t remember the exact tweet but it had something to do with “I’d hate to have that voice harping on me for leaving dirty underwear on the floor.” Now, my initial response was, “That’s kinda funny. Boys will be boys.” But then I got a little sad because I realized that (this is hypothetical, love her or hate her just go with me on this for a sec) Sarah Palin could be speaking, coming up with the most brilliant ideas ever, and a large percentage of men in the audience would only be thinking, “She’s hot, but I could not stand that voice bitching at me for leaving dirty underwear on the floor.”
Now, I also occasionally write [nonsense] for another somewhat-political blog. A few days ago the Jefe de Jefe de senores of the blog was teasing me about people speculating what I look like and asking if I ever planned on posting a picture. I simply replied that no, I’m hideous, pictures must be avoided at all costs. Honestly though, this is the main reason why I choose to remain a shapeless anonymous blob:
“When a man gets up to speak, people listen, then look. When a woman gets up, people look; then, if they like what they see, they listen.” -Pauline Frederick
As I was thinking about the picture reveal, I realized that of all the successful/semi-successful female bloggers I can think of (I’m thinking of mostly political/conservative bloggers, but I believe this applies even in a broader sense) I know what every one looks like. And they are all hot to at least moderately attractive. Can I say that about the guy bloggers? Nope. Right off the bat I can think of several who are anonymous. Sure, there are some who are handsome/cute/more-or-less-alright. Some are not at all attractive. Heck, one blogger I really enjoyed and always assumed looked like Jabba the Hutt turned out to be incredibly hot. But is an identity, a profile pic, essential to the success of the male blogger? Nah, I don’t think so.
So you might be saying, “Don’t you want readers? Don’t you want blog hits? Give us a pic!” Or maybe you’re saying, “This sounds like an ugly-girl-with-baggage post. If she won’t post a pic, there must be a real reason.” Or maybe you’re thinking (I’ll admit, I would think this if I were a reader), “I bet she’s a fatty.”
Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not. But is my writing any better or worse because I’m hideous? If people read my stuff and like it, I want them to like it because of my ideas/concepts/words. Not because I’m flashing cleavage or have a sexy mouth. And if people hate my stuff, hate it because it’s stupid! Don’t hate it because I have buck teeth and am slightly cross-eyed!
As Doc Holliday once said [in a movie], “My hypocrisy goes only so far.” So I have to admit (though my readers already know this about me) that I’m as catty as the next person. If a person has a picture of their real face for their profile, I assume it’s because they want me to compliment it or rip it to shreds. I’m totally guilty of looking at an avatar of some “hot” blogger and thinking, “Oh my gosh, she looks like hell. I can’t believe she used that picture. And I can’t believe people are telling her she looks good in it.” On the other hand, some of these women are genuinely beautiful. Should they be ashamed of that? Not at all! Should they hide that from readers? Of course not. Am I saying that men can’t read and therefore only look at blogs written by women with pretty profile pics? Nooooo. But does a pretty profile pic help boost hits and readership?
Yeah. I think so.
And that’s okay. That’s just the way of the world. I’m not raging against the machine here or trying to go all feminazi and rail against the chauvinists. I don’t think it is chauvinistic; I think it’s simply human nature. Men love beautiful women. Most men I know love smart women. So if they can read a blog by a smart woman who also happens to be beautiful or a beautiful woman who also happens to be smart, that’s just the icing on the blogcake.
But because it is human nature for men to love beautiful women and women to love being catty, the only option I can think of right now is to remain pictureless.
I want my words and concepts to be the only things that matter in a blog post and I want them to be judged on their merit alone.