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Business Blogs For Women, Minorities, Etc… A Lament

Posted by on Jan 8, 2014
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I recently read an article on a blog called Under 30 CEO titled 8 Ways to Be Remarkable that I thought was pretty good. And yet, in my own way I felt I was intruding when, after the first post this was the first sentence: “You are a Wonder Woman!

Graduation Day at Nanjing University
Creative Commons License Kevin Dooley via Compfight

I saw the post via a retweet by another lady named Susan Clark, and it’s her that I responded to by saying “Not bad but only women? I don’t want to be Wonder Woman :-)” I said that because, well, I don’t want to be Wonder Woman. I’m not even sure I want to be Superman (okay, I do want to be Superman lol), but that’s not the point.

What I’ve been thinking about lately is how there are so many blogs and organizations these days that are geared towards specific groups that, for all intents and purposes, could be geared towards everyone. The “women’s club” blogs and groups are the fastest growing and probably the strongest groups out there, and many of them are set up to help women feel empowered.

Frankly, I don’t have a problem with that, and I don’t have a problem with minority or other select groups that want to do the same. Association within a group that people feel comfortable with can be quite beneficial at times, although that’s never worked well for me.

In my past, I’ve belonged to only one “black” group. We met the first Friday of every month for a year, and it’s initial goal was to find ways to help black businesses connect and help to raise awareness in black children that they could be something other than, well, folks who ended up doing bad things in black neighborhoods. It was a nice goal, but within 5 months that goal was gone and, with nothing left to really focus on except becoming another group where it seemed like everyone wanted connections to generate business rather than try to help others, it just kind of faded away; sad…

My real lament with many of the blogs, clubs, and presentations geared towards women is that many of them present great information that men could learn something from as well. There’s someone I know locally who puts on a lot of presentations geared towards women, and she was always inviting me to them. I told her one day that I appreciated the invitation, but everything in her marketing was geared towards women specifically and I’d feel like I was intruding because when it says “women”, it should only be women, even if the message was for everyone.

She said that learning was learning and that if I thought I could benefit that I should show up. That didn’t work for me, as it reminded me of when I first got to college and someone mentioned something about a fraternity and that even though they didn’t have any minority members I could come anyway and maybe they’d invite me to participate. That wasn’t happening because I hated the concept of fraternities, but I’d also already had experiences that told me not to foist myself into places where I didn’t think (okay, I knew) I wouldn’t have been invited to begin with; why cause discomfort on someone else right?

Palenqueras al natural
Creative Commons License Luz Adriana Villa via Compfight

Then again, I know someone else who was a member of my consulting group who was also a strong supporter of local women’s groups. She came to our group because she said she felt that women couldn’t really compete in business without learning some of the same things men learned. Unfortunately she spent a lot of time when she would offer her opinions in our meetings trying to get us to act more like how she felt women’s groups worked; that was a recipe for failure, and it led to her being dropped as a member later on.

Maybe I’m seeing things wrong, which is why I’m putting my thoughts out here. I don’t have a problem with “mommy blogs” talking about motherhood to other mothers. I don’t have a problem with female lead blogs trying to empower women to greater things. It’s not even necessarily a problem for me that what seems like a true business blog that could be for all then decides that it’s only for women, or at least caters to only women.

The problem is that I feel excluded, like I shouldn’t be there at all, and maybe it fosters old memories of going with a friend to an event like the Irish Fest and having everyone looking and wondering why I was there, kind of pushing themselves away from me or, every once in a while having someone come up and say “What part of Ireland are you from?” and laughing hysterically, as if they were the only one to come up with that joke. Maybe it’s why someone like Brian Gardner would write something like An Open Letter to Every Man Who Reads a Woman’s Blog, which I also found interesting when I first read it a couple of months ago.

Am I being sensitive because of parts of my past? Am I justified? For that matter am I alone? What do you ladies think? Have I ever made anyone feel uncomfortable in commenting on any article on that blog because of their gender, or not written global content where almost anyone can like or dislike it without that being a consideration? Or do some people see it like my short lived Black Web Friday series, where I tried to help some black blogs and websites get some recognition from the public because it seemed no one knew black people existed on the web?

I just ask the questions; I’d really like to know your thoughts.
 

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17 Comments »

Holly Jahangiri:

No one likes to feel excluded.

I think maybe you’re picking up on something that’s more like a backlash to all the old boys’ networks women and minorities felt excluded from, once upon a time (or maybe they still do feel that way – I’m usually pretty oblivious to these things). I tend to avoid groups where I don’t feel welcome, regardless of who runs them.

I’m curious, though – and I left a comment to this effect on Brian’s “open letter” – do you think of my blog as “a woman’s blog” or “a women’s blog”? I think there’s a difference, but I wonder if EITHER is something you ever even consciously think of when you’re there. And I know you do read it (at least sometimes). I never really thought about it. And frankly, I am a woman but I feel very much an outsider over on BlogHer.com. I don’t know the secret handshake. I don’t even know why I feel that way; no one’s ever “made” me feel that way. I just don’t feel welcome there at all, so consequently, I’ve never made much of an effort to become part of the community. I know other women have, and enjoy it very much.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Holly, I’ve never seen you in that vein. I see you more as an intellectual, kind of like Mitch, and I’ll admit that sometimes I don’t immediately understand and might have to read your articles 2 or 3 times, which I had to do with some of his stuff as well. Even when you write on stuff that might pertain more to women, it feels like you’re trying to make sure men are engaged as well.

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January 8th, 2014 | 4:59 PM

The issue exist worldwide, Mitch. I don’t want to go into examples, but I think that the gap is getting wider, if some media say something else, than this is just propaganda. I’ve worked in many countries with many people from different nationalities. Separation between people, based on color and gender is always presented, unfortunately.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

I hadn’t thought that it happened in other countries but I guess it makes sense Carl. I think some of the separation makes sense while some of the rest of it doesn’t. But it’s just how I see things I figure.

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January 9th, 2014 | 12:35 AM

So true, people judge too easily by gender, race or color. I just hope a lot more people would be more openminded to this. Thanks for sharing this great article about it.
Claude Skye recently posted…SEO Training And CareerMy Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

No problem Claude, and thanks for your words. If nothing else the post is out there so we’ll see if it makes any kind of difference.

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January 9th, 2014 | 10:36 PM
Aaron:

Hi Mitch,

I completely understand what you’re saying. I come across it frequently- a fitness or exercise or diet blog(dedicated for women) that while it may having some interesting and valuable info, and I would really like to comment and join in on the conversation I won’t because I would feel uncomfortable by being the only male to participate.
I can understand the concept of creating a forum to make certain people feel more welcome and comfortable but close to what you said, why not create a better platform that could make more people feel welcome. To me it seems that when you try hard to make certain individuals feel comfortable it can unknowingly make others feel uncomfortable.
Happy New Year Mitch.

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Welcome Aaron, and thanks for your comment. I’m with you; if what’s being shared would be great for everyone, why not go that route? One can still be a woman & write in that manner. If it’s advice that’s only for women, I don’t have a problem with that. Actually, overall I don’t have a major problem with the way things are now either; I figure it’s just one more area where I can stay away, like I do with blogs that have certain comment formats.

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January 10th, 2014 | 2:59 PM

And, I want to be Batman. Because Batman seems to be a lot cooler :D

I have a lot of mompreneur blogs on my reading list. It was kind of weird at first, still is. I can’t relate back to a lot of things these bloggers talk about. But, the fact is that I have learned a lot from those blogs and those blogs have also helped me to gain more connections online (In the end, that is what that matters to me).

I do like the concept of groups, but I hate them at the same time (this sort of group categorization has caused a lot of problems in our world…still is causing a lot of problems).

Of course, there are groups that work together to improve this world (which is great).

I think we should all be part of one big group – humanity, work within that group.

Discuss topics with an open mind and take action based on the discussion (why discuss it at all, if we are not going to do anything about it?).

Interesting topic, Mitch :) Thank you for sharing it!
Jeevanjacobjohn recently posted…Goals, Resolutions and Motives – Why?My Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Jeevan. Let me ask you, do you leave comments on all those mompreneur blogs, and if you do, are there times when you feel a little odd?

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Jeevanjacobjohn Reply:

Yes. I’ve felt weird several times (at least at first). Nowadays, I don’t pay attention to all that. Just read the post, see if I can relate to it somehow (even if I can’t..there are some cases in which I could just add my observations).

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

It’s good if you can work your way through it. A god lesson to learn at your age for sure.

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January 10th, 2014 | 3:33 PM

Hi Mitch,
My first time here buddy all the way from the UK. I just come across your blog from Adrienne Smiths Blog and I must say this was an interesting read!

I think this may be a generation issue going on here! I myself don’t feel excluded from any group or from any blogging communities and I visit multiple blogs all over the place.

I really don’t care about weather the blog is run by male or female, young or old, black or white all that matters to me is the opinions and the content being presented on the blog. what matters I think is friendship, love and trust is all and to develop relationships with other bloggers.

Why do I think it’s a generation thing? Well this for some unknown reason reminds me of a film I recently watched called “The Butler” with Forest Whitaker which is the story of a young black slave boy from the south who ended up being a top butler in the White House and how over the years Attitudes and Times Changed around his Life!

A really interesting film to watch I thought and one I thoroughly enjoyed watching as it was really thought provoking!

Anyway just wanted to say thanks for sharing your thoughts Mitch and I look forward to your next installment!
Thanks for letting me comment and Happy New Year.
– Phillip
Phillip Dews recently posted…Rocket Speed! Ten Ways to Speed up your BlogMy Profile

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Hey, welcome Phillip!

I just want to make sure you understand the distinction I’m making. There are lots of women and minorities who write blogs that I enjoy and feel comfortable participating with. There are those few who write only for women or a specific minority on topics for women and motivation for only that group and I’m okay with that, though I probably won’t be visiting more than once; well, maybe the black blogs every so often, but I have to admit that’s rare as well.

The ones I’m mentioning are those that have great information for everyone but decide to take a turn towards only one group instead of being inclusive. At that point I feel like I’m intruding even moreso than those writing specifically for a certain group because at least with the second group I mentioned I know what to expect, while I feel suckered into the groups I’m talking about now. Then again, you’re just meeting me, so you’ve missed other types of blogs I won’t visit, commenting systems I won’t participate on, blogs that don’t accept comments (that’s not a blog in my opinion) etc. I bring attention to it because when all is said and done I’m about inclusion overall, though I know I don’t have the right to expect that everyone would go my route.

But you’re right, it could be a generational thing. I’m fairly open when it comes to diversity and feel I’ve fought the good fight for inclusion across the board, no matter what the particular event might be (well, except for racists), thus when I see something that seemingly goes against that… I’m bothered. But when all is said and done that’s my problem right? :-)

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January 13th, 2014 | 7:31 AM

Hi Mitch!

Why there is a discrimination? A wide gap just like Carl said. Gender discrimination is very rampant as time goes on and on. We women have this patience, knowledge and skills that we are proud of.

If guys underestimate our skills, then I guess, it is better to snob those negative opinions. It isn’t healthy, and better keep moving.

This comment was left in kingged.com where this post was already “kingged” and shared for Internet marketers.

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January 13th, 2014 | 10:22 PM

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us,i completely agree with you Mitch there should be a bigger platform where more and more people are welcome instead of target audience. media must have to play a positive role so to decrease these gaps.liked your ideas and thoughts.so keep working and posting hope to learn more from you. And definitely i would love to recommend others.
Thanks

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Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Tafoor, though I didn’t quite say that. I don’t mind the target audience as long as the content really only fits that target audience. The possibility of excluding someone who just might be your perfect customer should be enough to help one think about reaching out to a larger audience sometimes.

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January 14th, 2014 | 1:57 AM
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