Blogging: The Female Phenomenon
There was a time when a chat-room was a place for those who failed to comply with the social norms of society; a safe haven for the socially inept some would say. It is ironic that a world created for escapism for some has now become more of an outlet of creativity for others. It would be naïve to say that the internet has only just become a channel for showcasing talent but it seems that finally, people are combining their talents with the steadily increasing online communities to influence a shift in society.
The presence of online communities is at it’s peak with websites such as lookbook for aspiring fashionistas and Foodgawker for food lovers! Almost every hobby has a niche online community.
In the UK a shocking 30.9 per cent of the most senior positions across 11 key sectors are occupied by women according to the BBC. Not only that, but men represent a massive 86.8 per cent of the most senior judges in our judiciary leaving women with a measly 13.2 per cent. Time and time again women have fought for better opportunities, better pay and better representation but there never seems to be a way of combating the fact that men occupy a much higher percentage of the country’s top jobs.
There was a recent news bulletin that covered the topic of whether the government should introduce quotas to get more women on company boards. Ex-MP Edwina Currie argued on this show that women need to work harder and they will manage to reach the top just as she did. She also remarked that women are not interested in the many different jobs that society has to offer, but more inclined to take the stereotypical feminine job titles such as those in the media industry. She argued this by asking Cosmopolitan’s features editor, Fiona Cowood, why she did not want to be a rocket scientist. When Cowood answered that it was because she wasn’t interested, Currie simply said “Exactly”. If this is the argument that some women agree with, it makes sense as to why there is such a struggle. The opinion that women are only interested in the more female dominated industries is a big assumption to make based on immense stereotyping. As mentioned above there are at least 30 per cent of women who are interested in other professions and there are bound to be more, but whether they have been given the opportunity is another kettle of fish.
However, instead of arguing against it, it seems as though the online female community has decided ‘you know what, if this is how you see us, we will take this in our stride and figure out our own way of getting to the top even if it is within these industries!’ It is as if they have embraced this notion and ran with it. The answer for these women is blogging.
A study conducted by Blogher, iVillage and Compass Partners in the US found that more than 53 per cent of the female internet population of 79 million participate in social media at least on a weekly basis if not more. Out of those women 55 per cent participate through blogs. These statistics were reported in 2009 so there is no doubt that the numbers have risen since.
It is not just the stay at home mums that are buying into this phenomenon, the younger generation have realised a great opportunity to change the ways of the career ladder. Blogger, Lily Melrose, took an alternative route to becoming a successful business owner and freelance media consultant at the tender age of 22. She began her blogging in 2009 as part of a university project and has since become very popular with over 13,000 followers. It wasn’t till 2010 that she started her fashion blog where she now promotes her jewellery business and owns advertising space. She has worked with numerous high street shops on blogging projects and has since created her second blog. Not least the budding entrepreneur has featured in The Times and Company Magazine as well as winning two blog awards.
Melrose receives so many emails on a daily basis that she even has her own FAQ section, there she writes:
“I don’t get paid to blog, I get money because I blog. This is done through advertising units based on how many people view specific advertising units. The three advertising units (top, sidebar and then the lower side bar ad) on my blog through Glam Media. I also monetize through affiliate marketing through the Skimlinks network.”
Melrose has definitely understood how to channel her creativity into a money making business. This is the thing that seems the most striking about the younger female blogosphere, there seems to be such a high demand for it that most girls with a keen eye for fashion and good literacy skills can write a popular blog. And if they are particularly determined and business-savvy they can take a massive step towards self-employment.
Whatoliviadid.com is an example of an up and coming blog, winning Cosmopolitans ‘Best New Fashion Blog’ in 2011. The owner of the blog, Olivia Purvis, is only 18 years old and has already had interest from several big name brands and companies. This blogger has 3,300 followers which is significantly less than Melrose, yet she has still had great success within the blogging world and her blog is only just over a year old.
“I think blogging certainly helps make connections in specific industries, but I do think it’s a matter of ’putting yourself out there’ too, and networking as much as you can. Like anything, I think with blogging, the more you put into it, the more you get out,” Purvis told Falmouth Navigator.
Charlestown Vintage is an even younger blog created by Charlie Murray who has just less than 550 followers of which 99 per cent are female. This is another great example of a fashion blog that is on its way to the top. Murray only started blogging properly last September but she has also been approached by companies.
“A couple of clothing companies have contacted me about sending me samples to showcase on my blog, and I do really think that my blog had a part in me getting my internship with Homes&Antiques magazine.
“I think that social networking alongside blogging is becoming increasingly important if you want it to aid your career seeking,” said Murray.
It seems as though technology is becoming a great tool in doing what we, as a society, should have done a long time ago. Women have found an outlet that they can use to independently work their own way to the top of an industry. Now it’s only a matter of time before there is a blogging phenomenon within the field of science so that we can all finally become rocket scientists.
The above blogs can be found at these web addresses: