Where Are The Men?

My sewing snack yesterday. Get me!

I read a blog post last night that gave me so much food for thought. It was by male fashion blogger, Not So Lonely Londoners. I came across his blog via Yes, I Like That – thank you, my friend. He posted about Company magazine’s claim that blogging is really the domain of women and men should keep their noses out. (I haven’t read the article. I’m paraphrasing like mad and going for a cheap laugh, so don’t take that as gospel.)

But I was really intrigued by the exploration of men and blogging.

Here are the bald facts as I know them. 99.99999 per cent of my readers are female. I did receive one, cherished comment left by a male blog reader. Hello, if you’re reading!

I have always tried hard not to automatically address my audience as female. I avoid saying things like ‘Hello, ladies!’. I largely try to use a ‘he or she’ approach to subjects. I am aware that I often address my audience as ‘loves’, ‘darlings’ etc – and I don’t know how many men would feel comfortable with such grand gestures of affection. (I’m often not sure how many women like it. I’m sorry, I’m a gusher!) But, by and large, my rule to myself is that I don’t want a male reader to feel excluded from my blog. That would be bad.

There are some male readers. I’d call them ‘readers by proxy’. Female friends of mine dig their boyfriends in the ribs and angle the laptop screen: ‘Look what she’s gone and done this time!’ Some people’s partners get so bemused by the snorting and sniggering at a laptop screen that they eventually ask to see what the fuss is. I was delighted to hear that Handmade Jane‘s sons totally engaged with my Me Made June marathon last year (best post here), when I was photographed with a different stranger over the 31 days. So, men read. From over their girlfriend or wife’s shoulder and, I suspect, when none of their mates are looking.

Men also contribute to these sewing and knitting blogs. How many of them wield a camera, albeit sometimes reluctantly? Whose partner has ever made a suggestion for a make or requested a knitted hat for winter? Which boyfriends quietly recommend a clean up of the sewing room? Sew Busy Lizzy‘s husband was the total inspiration behind her being photographed wearing an apron in Sydney harbour! If that isn’t a man enabling his partner to create and grow in confidence, I don’t know what is.

Then, there are the male bloggers. How many do I read? Let’s see, there’s…

Now, this is largely a reflection of my areas of interest. There just aren’t that many men out there blogging about fashion, sewing etc.

Blogging does take some key skills/personality quirks:

  • A willingness to make an idiot of yourself on a public platform.
  • A desire to engage
  • Lots of self-discipline and application
  • An open mind
  • A voice

Are any of these qualities more female than male? No way! Women may have some cultural advantages. Society allows us to be much more emotionally open, for example, which lends itself well to blogging – or our type of blogging. Don’t know how emotional openness works on a blog about motorbikes…

But what do you think? Is this about sewing or blogging? Should we care about the gender of the writer or the reader? Everyone’s welcome, here at Didyoumakethat Towers! Just don’t ask me to make something for you…

PS Check out The Blogging Bloke!

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45 Responses to Where Are The Men?

  1. tailorfairy says:

    I totally agree! Why do people always feel like they need to decide if something is for men or women? Why cant be blogging for people who love blogging and sewing for people who love sewing?

  2. Vicki Kate says:

    Just a thought but… Company is aimed at a female readership and is very female interest led. So wouldn’t the blogs they’re interested in also follow their market audience? I mean, if it was a fishing mag, or engineering one ( broad brush strokes here…) wouldn’t the opposite be true with females in the minority?
    And as for men keeping their noses out (paraphrased I know!) they need to grow up a little! It’s just sexism to suggest that men can’t and even worse shouldn’t, blog.
    I’d imagine that the tone of a male blog could be different, according to the subject matter (sport or gadgets or gaming for instance – still broad brushstrokes). Same as fashion blogs have a slightly different tone to sewing ones. Even within our sewing blog community there are different tones; lladybird has a unique voice for instance!
    So after all that, to my mind the gender, orientation or anything else doesn’t bother me – author or reader. It’s whether I like the subject matter and enjoy that persons writing style. Simple really?

  3. Joanne says:

    Ooh I do think men are blogging just as much as women, but just not in this sphere. There are loads of gadget blogs and music blogs where men reign supreme. I had a comment once from a bloke and I was bowled over! Agree gender shouldn’t matter – it’s all about subject, tone and humour for me. I did read though that Pinterest has been taken over by women so maybe we’re more visual as a gender and more willing to share inspiration?

  4. It’s true that the majority of blogs I read are written by women, but certainly not all. One of my favourites – you’ll have to bear with me, we’re a cycling family – is http://allseasonscyclist.com/ where some of the reviews have piqued my interest sufficiently that I share them with my menfolk (and they, after all, are the serious cyclists in this outfit who also cycle most of the year in some of the worst of our climate). In terms of knitting, I enjoy http://knittingwithay.blogspot.com/ though it’s a touch infrequent. But what beautiful knitting!

  5. Anna says:

    I didn’t really expect to see Charlie Brooker’s blog in your list of (what I thought was going to be) sewing blogs! I would love to see him show off his newly knitted jumper though, accompanied by a huge angry rant against the high street, acrylic yarns, not pointy enough knitted needles, circulars that won’t uncoil etc. Ah, I can only dream. Sewing and knitting blogs might be dominated by women, but if we’re talking about blogging in general, or even political/commentary blogging and I think Brooker belongs in this category) then of course, men are plentiful. I primarily read commentary/rambling about anything and everything sort of blogs and although many of them are written by women I still sometimes wish there were more, so I suppose I don’t really feel any male bloggers absence the way I would if I only read sewing blogs. So I’d say that this discussion is specifically about sewing/knitting blogs and has nothing to do with tone, skills etc as those are more related to the subject of the blog and not the gender of the author. As someone who likes to wear a shirt, trousers and blazer uniform as much as just a dress, I would like to see more male sewing bloggers, although I do wonder if I’d really take inspiration from them the way I do from female ones as I primarily like to make dresses and tops.

    • I would crawl over people to read a sewing blog post from Charlie Brooker! Wouldn’t it be hilarious? Apart from Charlie, I didn’t touch on journalist bloggers here because I think that’s a whole different kettle of fish. Those commentators are word smiths being paid for their blogging duties. But you have some great thoughts here – thank you!

      • Anna says:

        Not all of them! As with sewing blogs, the best journalist blogs are often the ones from people who do it in their spare time. (I can’t help but mention the debate about whether part of a blog dies when it becomes a full time job…) I’ve never seen the appeal of fan fiction, but Charlie Brooker’s sew-wipe blog? Hmmm! I suspect David Mitchell could write some smashing guest posts on the importance of the organised wardrobe too.

    • Ah, very interesting. Please do raise the ‘do blogs die when they become full-time’ debate! I love that debate! It’s a comment theme amongst novelists. The novel they write when they have to get up at 5.30am every morning to write before the day job may sometimes end up being the best thing they ever wrote…

    • By the way, you clever lady – when are you going to start a blog?!!! I love everything you’ve had to say here.

      • Anna says:

        Thank you for your kind words, truly appreciated! I have been thinking about starting a blog…

        As for that debate, I’m an outsider when it comes to crafty blogs as I rarely leave comments and they’re only a small percentage of my reader, but I can think of a few sewing and some “lifestyle” blogs that lost their appeal once they started promoting other work, or even when they just started doing sponsored posts (I mention sewing and lifestyle blogs together but I know they can be vastly different in content and ideology, but they’re also related at a basic level). I know it’s very complicated though, and I do like to see people I respect earn money from their passion, but my feelings remain the same regarding content. I have to say though, as I don’t have a blog myself I can only approach this as a reader, and I’m aware this can be self-absorbed as in the end I’m only consuming content for free without any of the struggles the authors face, so who am I to judge? What you say about authors is very interesting! I prefer “ideas” blogs, about feminism, politics, architecture, art, books, music etc and often the people behind them are authors but when they get work published or post about other work it doesn’t seem to detract from their blogs’ content as much, I don’t know why.. maybe I’m just biased.

  6. lauriesannie says:

    I wish you had reposted your entry about Hugh and Guy. It was a great entry. Would have been perfect for today. And it might increase your male readership, at least for one day. BTW, I am a faithful follower and I love your blog.

  7. I think there’s a lot of gender-stereotypes-still-reflecting-the-truth in the sewing world and therefore the sewing blog world. I think in this case it is the content that has a gender bias (which is wrong, but it is true) rather than the blogging. Certainly there are plenty of subjects that would have more male bloggers on account of other remaining gender stereotypes.

    I know that in the one month since I re-launched and altered the content of my blog I’ve had more male readers engage with me than I did in two years of craft-heavy blogging. In particular with photography based posts and (perhaps surprisingly) the most personal posts I’ve written.

    Hi, by the way! Hope you’re well. So sad to be missing Crafty Pint this year!

  8. Charlotte says:

    I hold out hope for the male readers. There are men who sew and there are men who write blogs, so naturally there must be men who read and/or write sewing blogs. Maybe? Mainely Dad is sewing his way through a Japanese coat sewing book and there was that one man who had a patternmaking blog, but I can’t for the life of me find it.

    I think it’s more about sewing than about blogging. I read tons of male-written blogs (even male-written fashion blogs) but so few about sewing. I suppose it’s because sewing might carry a bit of a stigma and having a sewing blog—with the expectation of pictures, etc.—doesn’t offer a sufficient veil of anonymity.

  9. photosarah says:

    My boyfriend is a key, though sometimes reluctant, part of my blog. He takes a lot of the photos and is my constant consultant on ideas. He’s also helped me out with math related quandaries, including a layout for a quilt! I think there are many men behind the women that go above tolerating and encourage the women in their lives in their creative endeavors. I’d say most just prefer to remain on the sidelines.

    I do know a few men who quilt/sew/knit but they aren’t the type to start blogs.

  10. It’s almost certainly more about sewing than blogging. In political blogs (where I spend most of my online time when I’m paying attention) a regular call is “where are all the women”. When it’s pointed out the actual stats (about 60% of blog writers, overall, are female), jaws drop. When it’s also pointed out that it’s partially a categorisation thing (men are more likely to write about systems/partisan stuff, women more about issues/campaigns) and that there are blogs by women writing about issues and campaigns but not as many about elections and process, you get a more dismissive response-one of the best politics blogs I read is The F Word-an avowedly feminist blog written mostly by women. So it gets classed as “other”, not “politics” and doesn’t count.

    I’m a bloke, I read blogs, and most of the ones I like to read have a large number of female contributors. But the higher I go up the chain of political analysis, the more likely I am to find a male dominated blog.

    So yeah, spheres of interest and also, I suspect, social pressure and fear-I write about politics a lot, but less so about baking and cooking, and even less about personal childcare issues (as opposed to policy), even thought they’re all part of my life. Maybe I self censor, writing about somethign geeky is fine, writing about something that’s, well, housework, isn’t? So some men that’re interested in sewing don’t want to write about it as a man as, well, it’s not manly? that bothers far too many men a lot more than it should.

    • Hi Mat – Thank you SO much for contributing to the debate. I really appreciate it. Very interesting to hear the percentages of female bloggers and how feminist blogs are seen as ‘other’ in the political sphere.

    • Anna says:

      Not many phrases infuriate me as much as “women’s interest”, and as for “other”, that sums up the entire feminist struggle perfectly. I think that’s an excellent point about categorisation. Maybe the same way women are seen as “other” in many areas, men are seen as “other” in crafty blogs. Even if a male blogger did write about his wardrobe organisation system (whether in earnest or in a sort of humorous geeky self-deprecating way), would he get the same response as a similar post written in a crafty blog? Although that might be stretching the point a bit as there still aren’t as many male blogs exclusively about sewing.

  11. yesilikethat says:

    Really interesting post. There are more men in the interior design/homewares world, I think, but they do tend to be professional websites rather than just hobby blogs (check out Bright.Bazaar, great design blog written by a man).

    I really like the Not So Lonely Londoners blog because it’s a very different perspective on the fashion world. I can think of a quite a few male knitters who blog – Franklin Habit, Jared Flood of Brooklyn Tweed, Stephen West – and they’ve all been very successful and now make money from their previous hobby. Maybe that’s because you have to be pretty dedicated to knitting to start a blog about it as a man? I imagine you face a lot of sexist push-back from society.

  12. pat says:

    My sons are really helpful in taking pics for me or being (reluctant) critics on the fit of a garment I’m making. My youngest son started a Pinterest board because a lot of people repinned the pics of his food from his restaurant that I had on my board. He dabbles in some “crafty things” as well. Sometimes I read male bloggers reviews of stuff he’s interested in and vice versa. Good thought provoking blog today Karen.

  13. Sewing princess says:

    Loads of guys blog… About photography, technology and even cooking… I guess the topic makes a difference 😉

  14. kittysdrawings says:

    I think it’s definitely the genre. There are a LOT of drawing blogs out there that are run by men – for the same reason I’d started mine for (originally as a drawing blog hahah – how times have changed) – documenting your artistic progress. The same reason we write sewing blogs too I suppose!

    My boyfriend also runs a blog alongside his business. He sells ‘tactical gear’ online – things like cargo pants, backpacks, torches and knives. In the blog he writes reviews and things like that.
    He also does sew!
    Heh – It surprised me too when he asked to use my machine!
    He mocked up a backpack he’s going to take to a manufacturer he deals with. So he’s always been quite proficient on the sewing machine, but making ‘manly’ things hehe.

    So I guess this little corner of the interwebs is dominated by girls – but things will change and even out eventually I’m sure.

  15. Shams says:

    I follow male blogs, but they aren’t about sewing. Even my ex blogs, but about gardening. I think it’s more about the genre.

  16. Amy says:

    I love how broadly you cover topics here. And, more to the point, I know quite a few male bloggers. In fact, I first learned what it really meant to blog from a male friend. Not to mention another male friend of mine was one of the first people on the WordPress team. I do wish articles wouldn’t make such bold statements as the one you paraphrased…

  17. Mary M says:

    One of my most favorite blogs is
    intergalactictransport (dot) blogspot (dot) com
    Sewing, pattern making, quilts, gardening, pickling…. Good stuff.
    It is interesting to see the different voice used by women and men – sometimes I feel guys are maybe less chit chatty and more to the point.

  18. Fascinating topic! In the non-sewing sections of my blog reader there are probably slightly more male bloggers than female ones. I suspect the sewing section will remain female-dominated though, because one of the things I like is finding inspiration for my own sewing. Unless anyone knows of men writing blogs about sewing ladies wear? (Other than Peter, of course, he’s in my blog reader already 🙂

  19. Pingback: Where Are The Men? Everywhere. « The Perfect Nose

  20. Just so you know: We do exist.

  21. Tanit-Isis says:

    I think it’s pretty subject driven, really. Some of the other blog topics I read are much more “male-dominated” topics, and there are plenty of male authors. I think it’d be pretty hard to untangle issues of subject to even figure out why (if there is an overall gender bias) it actually is. I do tend to read a disproportionate number of blogs by women… Probably because I am one. Or just latent sexism on my part. Hmm.

  22. sara says:

    I agree with Tanit-Isis. If you look at the subjects of gaming, audio-video, and piloting you will find many male bloggers. Also some male cooking bloggers out there, although not as many as female. Style, knitting and sewing blogs are definitely more female-authored.

  23. Andrea says:

    Yeah, where were all the male participants in the Apronalong?! I know they’re out there somewhere, keeping their sewing all to themselves. C’mon now boys.
    I started following TaylorTailor (http://www.taylortailor.com/), a male seamster, awhile ago… his mission is to “design and create [his] wardrobe from scratch.” His clothing really is impeccable (mostly trousers), but his posts are quite infrequent.

  24. chiquitar says:

    It is my boyfriend who is my sewing teacher. He introduced me to patternreview.com, where there are a surprising number of male members, and has gotten a ton of helpful advice from a male swimsuit designer who has a website. His friends and coworkers (and mine, when I get complimented on my swimsuit or dive skin and tell them my boyfriend made it) are ALWAYS surprised, however, that he sews. I think it’s just that most guys wouldn’t want to get a lot of attention for sewing because it isn’t seen as masculine these days. My sweetie doesn’t want a lot of attention for anything at all–too introverted!

  25. JHS says:

    Well I’m not much of a commenter, and I don’t blog these days, but I am a man and I have been reading your blog since… I don’t know when. I don’t even recall how long ago I started reading it. Anyhoo, I just wanted to let you know I’m out here, watching and enjoying! Thanks a bunch!

  26. kiwiendormi says:

    I’ve also been thinking about the background role men play in our community, and I like that idea a lot… they take pictures for us, cheer us on. It’s nice to meet some of the men who read your blog in the comments above, but I wonder why these are not more visible more generally. Do they sew? Do they have blogs? If not, why not?
    I wonder if it’s because the unwritten rules of community are not “too feminine”, from the communication style (always be positive, don’t criticize, lots of mutual encouragement and exclamation marks and lots of “xoxo”) to the visual aspects of our blogs (a lot of pink, feminine graphics). Something being “too feminine” is not a problem per se (I’m the first one to do all these things above and I love that aspect of the community). But often in our culture, something masculine will be “cool” for both gender (for example, action movies), while something feminine will only be cool for women (eg. “chick flicks” or “chick litt”). So for men to engage in a traditionally feminine hobby means a cultural loss, if that makes sense. I do believe things are changing though, with knitting and sewing becoming more widespread for both genders now. 🙂
    Another element is that the clothes we sew within the community are gender-specific, and mostly for women… unless men are willing to break with gender rules, such as our dear Peter from Male Pattern Boldness.

    • kiwiendormi says:

      p.s.: From Adrienne at All Style and All Substance! Great post by the way. 🙂

    • You make an extremely valid point about ‘masculine’ culture being cool across both genders. I work in children’s publishing, and the general philosophy (which many of us shake our fists at!) is that girls will read books aimed at boys, but boys won’t read books aimed at girls. I can never decide of these generalisations are annoying because they’re not true, or annoying because they’re annoyingly true!

  27. Great Post – Many thanks for the link too 🙂 I totally agree about the ‘behind the scenes’ aspects of it, I know from my Girlfriend’s involvement in fashion and beauty blogging, there are a lot of partners providing support in many different ways. Its an interesting world – even in the more male dominated areas such as tech and food blogs, there is still a large proportion of women blogging on the subject, perhaps more than in traditional media. I think in most subject areas there are guys involved, but you do have to look a little harder for us!

  28. I just finished reading a research article on the differences in gender and perceptions of computer use among adolescents. I think the findings probably hold true for adults as well. Girls primarily viewed computers as a means to communicate whereas boys focused on the computer’s utility as a machine (a super high tech calculator, toy, etc.). It’s usage as a communicative tool wasn’t mentioned by the boys in the study. This might provide insight to why men don’t tend to blog- blogging is all about communication and that’s not how many males view computer use!

  29. smittenness says:

    I read that Company article. I never ever buy magazines but picked it up last year. It’s very, very lightweight and is about “fashion” as consumerism rather than as an act of creation or construction. Granted, putting together an outfit is still a creative act but is not a craft. I think the arrival of pinterest will negate a lot a of this type of blogging. I still have the article knocking about somewhere in my flat. I think

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