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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Smokin' Hot Babes! and a Feminist Critique of Blog Traffic Strategy

Babe photos! Click here!

Irony of the week: Todd Epp resorts to objectification of women to drive blog traffic, and the only critique of this anti-feminist behavior comes not from the lovable lefties at DakotaWomen, but from one-note right-wing Pastor Steve Hickey. (Insert Beavis & Butthead snort here: As an added bonus, Pastor Hickey says "horny.")

Mr. Epp is carrying out a dramatic blog overhaul, consolidating his diverse blogging efforts under one new brand and new modular layout. He's also apparently trying to generate more Google juice with babe headlines and photos.

And I'm probably feeding that effort by talking about it.

Here is the difference between Sonia Sotomayor's "sexism" and the sexism perpetrated by us members of the patriarchy: Judge Sotomayor says women may make more caring and compassionate decisions in various situations because of the richness of their experience. That experience includes being viewed by men.

I had a longer sentence in the chute, but the period works there. Viewed by men. Literally.

Men view women in a way women rarely view men. Mr. Epp's babe posts carry the subtext that women are worth paying attention to only because they are pretty. Even if women have numerous other talents to recommend them, we still too often tie them to their appearance. Local TV veteran Shannon Stevens leaves Planned Parenthood, and she's a "fabulous babe." Local TV veteran Mitch Krebs leaves KSFY to become Governor Rounds's press secretary, and he's "honest, hardworking, articulate, mannerly, smart, funny, loyal, and about as good a friend as a guy could ever want," but we don't hear a word about his looks. (Bonus textual analysis: Krebs leaves Pierre, and his "appearance-consciousness" is compared with apparent disfavor by a reporter to the "no-nonsense print reporter" who replaces him.)

Mr. Epp and I are good blog friends. He's been very supportive of my blog efforts, and he is my eager co-host for the big South Dakota Blogosphere Open House. We are both man enough to disagree with each other.

It is in that spirit that I remind Mr. Epp of a conversation we had last year about blog success. We love following our Web stats. Even I look forward to seeing my hit counter break 200K in the coming months. But "success" as a blogger may be better measured in terms not of hits but of influence, our ability to tell stories that are worth reading, that stick in people's memories, that help change things in our community that need to be changed.

Pictures of pretty women we don't even know probably don't create change. Drawing more random Google hits from horny guys probably doesn't build much community... at least not the kind of community we're hoping for.

Besides, Todd, if we want more traffic, what we really need is a Sibby-PP-style blog war!


  1. Cory:

    Fair enough. But thanks for viewing.

    Do you ever read Esquire? I rest my case.

    Todd Epp
    Middle Border Sun

  2. Esquire... isn't that some Brit mag about polo?

  3. It's more like Playboy, except you actually read it for the articles.

  4. Cory:

    BTW, your KELOLAND site is sending me oodles of traffic--to all the "babes" links on my blog. Thanks.

    Middle Border Sun

  5. I subscribed to Esquire because it was cheap. Not in the $5.99 Cheap for MAD magazine, but in the around a buck a copy cheap.

    It does seem hard to find anything worth reading although the last issue had a story about a cop and the Mexican mobs which was interesting.

    Main pain is ripping out all the ghastly perfume and cologne ads that are near instant headaches and sneeze producers and make the magazine open up like a bale of wood shingles.

    500th issue of MAD magazine is on stands. I bought it even if it really wasn't cheap. Years...and I do mean years ago, I had a pile of them with 25 cents CHEAP! on them. But $5.99 and now only 4 times a year...it is a true decline of Western Civilization.

    But, BABES at Epp's Blog...who would have guessed...he must be emulating Ben Hanten's Dirty Flowers and the never-ending pursuit of knowledge.

  6. Douglas:

    As we learned from National Lampoon's Animal House, "Knowledge is good."

    Middle Border Sun

  7. Excellent points, Cory, which could be said about far too many blogs today. Seems to me that traffic v. content is much akin to quantity v. quality and the blogs that can combine the two are far, far too rare.

  8. As usual, spot-on analysis, Cory! When I saw the "babe" headlines, I simply cringed and skimmed over.

    I guess it seemed pretty par for the course from the guy who brought us several months of "Pant Suit" posts during the primary in 08.


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