Bay Area Bites gives us the lowdown on what it takes to be a successful food blogger. While there are some items in their worth noting, the suggestion/editorial that caught my eye was the following:
Be a man: Okay, before all the guys start rolling their eyes here, let me say this: I’m no man hater. I’m a daddy’s girl who adored growing up with four boisterous brothers. I was married to a man for a very long time and we remain firm friends in the Ellen Barkin-Gabriel Byrne kind of way (versus the Ellen Barkin-Ronald Perelman way. No idea what I’m talking about? Take a little pit stop through this New York Times Magazine piece on same and then come back here.) My only child hails from planet XY. Some of my best friends are men…you know where this is going.
Got no issue with the other sex. And yet: Why is it in the blogosphere and at these food writing affairs, which, let’s face it, are afloat in a sea of estrogen, do so many men seem to be disproportionately represented in the ranks of speakers and award winners? I’m not the only one who notices. I can only surmise that they simply stand out in an overwhelmingly female field. In true rock star fashion, like Sting, they need only one name to be recognized. Think: Lebovitz, Leite and Ruhlman.
While I respect the sentiment behind this piece of advice, I simply can’t agree with it.
For one, it seems the author confuses food print journalism with food blogging, which are two, wildly different mediums. Pointing to Dianne Jacob’s post about the James Beard Association’s preference for nominating almost only white males in the Journalism Awards category, speaks more to the problems with the James Beard Awards than it does about “being successful in food blogging”. Trying to make this argument only goes to undercut the validity of the other points that are trying to be made.
Simply put, the food blog world is flush with talent of all genders, from Amy Sherman, Elise Bauer, Shauna James Ahern, and the ever lovely Pim, to yes, even David Lebovitz and Michael Ruhlman. The food blogging community is big enough to hold dozens, if not hundreds, of success stories.
Which brings me to my second point, one which I feel I must always make when someone decides to write a post (typically around the time that a food blogging conference has been held) on how to be a successful blogger – You, the writer of your blog, gets to decide on what defines success.
That’s it. Period. Success isn’t exclusively defined by the amount of page views, the amount of money you make per month, the number of awards, or the amount of press mentions your site gets. Success is defined by any variable you deem relevant for your own set of goals. If you choose to create a food blog in order to learn CSS, that’s just as valid of a reason as it is trying to leverage your site into a book deal. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise has their own agenda, one which you may not feel comfortable.