The “N” Factor

by Belle Waring on December 18, 2004

With the intention of writing some high-minded “whither chicks in the blogosphere” post, I once conducted a tally like Henry’s (referenced here.) Result: ain’t a whole lot of women academics blogging. (Or women blogging on politics). This subject gets raised and rather fruitlessly discussed periodically, and it generally founders on the rocky shoals of some more basic, also unanswered questions, such as: why do women not speak up in seminars? Why aren’t women interested in reading Talking Points Memo? How come the man is keeping everybody down? And so forth. I really don’t have much to add from a general perspective here, but I wanted to offer a personal reflection.

There are many contexts in which I find myself acting in a way stereotypically associated with guys. I like getting into arguments. I like pointless logico-philosophical hair-splitting. I like one-upsmanship involving rare 7-inch LPs. I like comic books. Along certain axes, this translates into the irreducible fact that I am a nerd. Yes, chicks can be nerds.

Evidence? I am a blogger. Strictly speaking, this is merely a tautological statement to the effect that I am a nerd. Still, if you need convincing, let me just go all out and reveal that as a teenager I wrote Elfquest fanfic involving me and my three best friends. And drew pictures. D&D? Awww, yeah. Rock me with a natural 20, people. I got mad charisma.

My sister is the same way. You can learn about her badness here. She started playing MMPG’s as a gender-neutral pseudonym, but changed to a girl name when it became apparent that male players would just give her various magical weapons and such. Even guys in NOr