Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not Enough Chicks?


“Randy look at all these page hits” I beamed one afternoon while checking my stat thingie for this blog from work. I was trying to show Randy that blogs are in fact valuable and having a voice, a strong voice among all the other chatter out there is important and may in fact bring us more customers…he was/is resisting, but that Julie and Julia movie seems to have softened him on the idea a bit. “Ah that’s because you’re a girl, men are always sniffing around women online” he scoffed. Um, ouch.

I was talking to a very dear friend yesterday and the same form of dismissive comment came up twice in the conversation. “Someone in Manhattan Beach has been reading for like 3 hours, going from post to post…like reading everything I’ve written in one sitting. Kinda makes me feel nervous or exposed.” I said, “He must have been looking at your picture and wanted to spend a few hours with you” my friend jokingly responded. Not really that funny by the way, and there is no reason to assume that the reader was a man. Then I moved on to talking about being blogrolled over at The New York Times, “I have no idea how I ended up there” I remarked only to hear once again, “He must have seen your picture”….ouch again.

Nothing, nothing about the work I put into this thing, nothing like, “well you’re fun to read” or “you have an interesting viewpoint” not even a, “your pictures are funny” just some dudes might think I’m cute or whatever…that sucks. I’ve never been comfortable with my looks, don’t know that anyone really is but it is a very real issue for me, (and before anyone thinks this is the time to lavish me with compliments…don’t. A) I’m not fishing, rather not hear it. B) Finish reading the post) it was a battle for me when I was younger but now, now I just hope that people find me compelling for much better reasons. Pretty, handsome, cute are all luck of the draw or genetics, these things aren’t earned they are given therefore they impress me very little. Now sexy, I think sexy can be earned so when/if someone finds me sexy at least then I feel that I had a part in causing the attraction, therefore it is a bigger compliment but…well, let’s just say that too can inspire some rather odd behavior, I fear my email a little more now.

So when I sat down in front of my laptop this morning thinking that I should post something I started wondering, does it even matter? If I removed my stupid picture would people stop reading? Have I been wasting my time, energy and whatever blip of talent I might have on a bunch of “sniffers”? Pretty shitty feeling I really must say, I was deflated, uninspired and seriously considered hanging it up, just letting it go by way of most other wine blogs…unread, unattended and unappreciated.

I went back through some of my older posts, sure there is some flirty stuff in the comments, that stuff is fun but most of what people commented on was the content, made my little head cock like a dog when they hear something in the distance. Sure most of the comments are from men but aren’t they on ALL wine blogs? The more I thought about it the more pissed off I got…why was my work, my effort, my voice and my time being excused or diminished…waved off as, “It’s because you’re a girl”?! Yes, I have a vagina but I also have opinions, a voice…one that is gonna get a lot louder if I keep being dismissed. I have feelings, facts and stories to tell about wine and the wine business, just like the rest of the bloggers out there.

My blog is no different than any other, mostly read and commented on by men but I do have some female posters and I am sure there are more women reading that just don’t post, (and C’mon ladies help a sister out here) either because they don’t feel the need to have their voice heard or out of fear of jumping into the testosterone infested waters, and now I can’t say as I blame them…..

I write because I have something to say, not to impress sniffing boys or have people think……or tell me they think I’m cute, and to assume or infer that my readership is driven by any other reason than my voice….. is fucking insulting and down-right discriminatory. Guess inspiration comes in many forms, even in the unintended, but still insulting comment. So I’ll keep writing, (always in my bra and panties of course. Oh C’mon you know I had to) until I can find nothing else to say, and hope that someone of either gender will find something compelling in it.

Um, yeah…end of rant.


Anonymous said...


Let it slide. What do you care what draws people to your thoughts and the words that convey them as long as people are drawn to them—that's the whole point, right?

Consider it a slight advantage, this "looks" thing.

I'm told on a regular basis I should replace the picture of myself that is on my blog because it doesn't represent well how I really look. "You look too mean in that picture," I'm told.

If there are folks that stop reading Fermentation once they see the picture, I'm pretty sure I have no interest in them reading it at all.

If there are those who don't read you because you are a woman, I'm pretty sure you don't want them reading you anyway.

Tom Wark...

Samantha Dugan said...

I was not talking about my readers, I was talking about the people that are not respecting how I got them...with my words. Pretty insulting when you think about it. But I will let it slide, I'll keep thumping my chest and writing love letters about certain wines or wine moments, but I had to get that off my chest.

Benito said...

True story:

I only recently put my picture on my blog, and it's certainly not there to impress the ladies. A couple of years ago, I went to a lunch with some local food bloggers and assorted readers, foodies, etc.

A friend pointed me towards a young woman he described as a big fan of my blog, so I decide to go over and talk to her. She's blowing me off, and I realize I should formally introduce myself. She got surprised, flustered, and then blurted out, "I love your blog but I thought you were a hot Italian guy!"

That was fun. ;)


vickibarkley said...

This is a damned difficult thing that we deal with. I know how frustrating it can be when you don't know if you're valued for your work or your looks. Also, it it does seem to be skewed to the male end of the species here in the wine world. (At least online.) Having read E Asimov's blog, I take issue with whoever's comment about your pic being the reason you're listed. He wouldn't have you on the blogroll if there wasn't something compelling about your read. Period.

Samantha Dugan said...

Great story! Thanks for sharing that...makes me feel a bit better.

See here's the thing, there may be some readers that find me attractive, and I am sure there are just as many that don't...not to mention the big chunk that probably don't give a shit either way, that's why I was so annoyed by those comments. It should never be about that and after rereading a few comments from my loyal readers I knew it wasn't...just had to stomp my feet a bit.

Jessica said...


You rock in both the looks and talent arenas, so I say use whatever you have to your best advantage!


Oh - and PLEASE don't stop writing, I fear I couldn't stand to come to work if I thought there would be no Sans Dosage...

Kelly said...

Chick power all the way. As another female in the wine industry, I completely understand how you feel.


Plus, what would I do without all of those yummy Rose suggestions?

Nancy Deprez said...

Hi Sam,

First off, I can't believe that anyone would disregard your blog or your writing, or insult it. Sigh. I don't think people come to read a blog if they think a girl is cute - a blog is serious reading (in my mind) and to make a blog readable and interesting takes talent and writing ability.

Nancy Deprez said...

Since I said First Off, I should continue with a a Second thought, but I was interrupted by my hubby and now I forgot what it was.

I think I was trying to say congratulations on getting on the blogroll of the NYT guy! And I was happy today because one of my customers asked if he could put a link to my blog from their company blog! I certainly didn't think it was because I looked whatever!

Samantha Dugan said...

You girlie have been a loyal reader AND you came to visit me, freaking love that by the way...first reader that I ever met. Seriously you are lucky I didn't grab you and hug you! I will keep writing and I will keep in mind that there are chickies like you reading.

Um Yay! Another girl...thank God, was worried that all the responses would be from guys thus clouding my point...thanks for posting. I will get back on the wine writing soon, I have some new Roses that are waiting for some attention from me.

I don't think...no, I know what was said was not meant to be an insult, in fact I think the person was trying, in their way to flatter me but man does that kind of comment sting. Wonder how many dudes have heard shit like that? The Times thing happened a long time ago, my tummy flipped like crazy when I looked over while reading his blog and saw my name! I was like, "No freaking way!!!!" humbled, I was really humbled. Thanks for your constant support girlie, you have been reading this stupid blog longer than anyone, that means a lot.

John M. Kelly said...

If it wasn't for the writing I wouldn't be reading. Nuff said.

Samantha Dugan said...

My sweet friend...your words speak volumes. Been wondering where all my old timers were...you Sir have made my night.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My, Um, Gorgeous Samantha,

I'm not a woman, though I play one in the boudoir once in a while, and I am far from the most senior of your readers (in length of time reading, anyway, though I may be the oldest fart reading--no, no, there's Charlie), but I think it is safe to say that I've long been your most ardent admirer. That I find you "gorgeous" is simply a reflection of your brilliant and unique talent--we've never even met. But over the past few months that we've "flirted" through comments on our blogs I've come to love you and deeply admire you. You, Samantha, have courage, and courage is a rare gift in this stupid business. You have the courage to speak openly and express your opinions firmly and fearlessly, a trait sorely lacking in the wine blog world. Most of what one reads on blogs is treacle, pure unadulterated crap. What I get when I read SansDosage is not only informed wine choices, but intelligence and wit written with breathtaking style.

All the thoughtless comments in the world, whether meant to be funny or not, can't take that away from you. There is one thing about the wine business that we all have to get used to--you have to have a thick skin in order to survive all the morons with thick heads. But, boy, those clowns can really wear you down. You should see my hate mail.

I adore you, I love your work, keep on getting nekkid for us, your HoseMaster is watching.

Your HoseMaster
Your Ron

Marcia said...

From a sister…. Samantha…now don’t get your knickers all in a bunch today! OK, sorry, wrong analogy…. True, most wine bloggers and posters are men. True, the recent feedback you’ve received appears to be more visually-centered than content-centered. True, your posts are: “…fun to read” or “…have an interesting viewpoint” …and even, “your pictures are funny”. And true, there’s always a double-standard! Did it ever occur to you that the men who responded to your query about the value of your blog, your voice, your opinion – whom you asked directly – responded about it being “because you’re a girl” because (sorry about the word repetition!) they knew it’s your ‘easy’ button? They know they can get a rise out of you by saying that and perhaps…. (wait for it) get a fun blog post out of pushing your buttons!

I don’t read your blog because it’s The Vagina & Wine Monologues. I read it because you have something interesting to say. Your observations of wine buyers, wine, experiences, your specific conversational writing style, etc., is wholly unique. You just happen to also be a girl… writing about wine. So stop stamping your feet. Stop worrying about the comments. Reread what Tom said ‘cuz he’s right. And go write about something that inspires you. Something that we readers look forward to learning about from you each week. (And I’d say more about the male feedback, but this IS a public forum, and we don’t want to start a row here!)


Merritt said...

Sham, Sham, Sham,
I love this post, especially after the week we've had so far. I never comment on your blog, because I see you just about every day and can tell you how much I adore it in person! (Felling envious Ron? You should be!) I do feel the need to comment on this one, though.

I think that most people who have posted comments so far have misunderstood what you are saying. You are not the kind of person that seeks approval or someone that would ever ask anyone for their opinion on your blog. You don't care what people think about you or what they say about you.

The comments that Sam has received about her blog have been given to her, whether she wants them or not. I don't think these comments were made to push buttons they were made out of jealousy. I know Randy, he's my boss too, and I know Sam's friend. They weren't saying it to be malicious or to hurt her feelings or to get a great blog post out of her. They said it because she's getting attention...attention they wish they had. Attention from the New York Times, customers, wine makers, etc. They were ignorant statements, but everyone has said something they don't mean because their emotions have gotten the better of them.

I know the frustration. The frustration of some man making a sly remark about you because your a women. Fuck, I'm the beer and spirits buyer here. Oh, and if you didn't know already. There's nothing more "manly" and "macho" than beer. Yeah, how shocked are most guys when they find out the beer buyer has a vagina and not one but two large, soft and supple breats (I'm Sam's mini me...if you couldn't tell already). But, I'm also smart, strong, sassy and tough. I've earned mad respect because of it, just like Sam has, from the people that count.

So...I guess where I'm getting with this rant is...stay strong Sam, just like I know you will. You don't just speak with your voice in this blog, you speak for me, Amy, and every other women that's fighting for her place in this business. I adore you and your blog. Your my mentor, my counselor, my dearest friend, my family, and a very important part of life. I love you and respect you and I know I'm one of many that feel this way. Keep on writing and giving those boys a run for their money.


Samantha Dugan said...

Damn...go to work and some junk and I come back to find a couple of novels in my comments section, freaking sweet.

First of all welcome and it's nice to see that a chicka is worried about my crunders for once, they are fine...no bunching today, thanks for checking. Can I just say I kind of dig that you are like breakin' my bawls and stuff. Couple of things, I did not ask either of those dudes to comment on my blog, I write for me and the handful of people that seem to dig it. Those comments were just things they said...nothing that I asked for, but I don't think either of them were trying to hurt me but the fact remains that they did. Hard enough being a chick in this business...and a blonde busty one at that, so to have anyone...make or female, act like your best feature is something other than your mind or palate...fucking sucks. But I am happy to report that writing that little piece helped me sort my feelings out...and rant so I am feeling much better. Cannot tell you how much I appreciate you reading and taking the time to post your comment...and like I said, dig that you were kicking my ass a little, I'm sure I will still stomp my feet from time to time but like you said, least we can get a fun blog post about it right? Thanks again.

My Love...butta, you melted me like butta. Man those keystokes of yours seem to soothe me and make me feel proud at the same time. Thank you, as always for your support, findertips in my back and adoration...love you kid.

You feisty thang you! Damn make me feel all proud and junk. I will correct you on one point though, I don't think those guys were jealous, they are both brilliant, (far greater than I) writers that get plenty of attention...I think part of it is "generational" in that they are close to the same age, and I think it was more lack of thought than trying to hurt me. I love and trust both those dudes, would walk through fire for either of them...would not do that for douchebags, shit you know that better than anyone.
As far as that last little bit of your comment, you made me tear up sweet thing. It has been such a pleasure to know you, teach you and just be around you...still need to tame some of that "rawr" outta you, SOME not all but you have a very exciting young palate, a tremendous work ethic and you make me proud to be your..."big you". I love you girlie. Thanks for jumping in to defend me...so sweet.

Thomas Pellechia said...


Just write and don't think about what others think or say--unless they are planning to send you a check for it.

The last time I checked, we are only a chromesone apart us mens and womens...

(how do you spell chromesone? damned if I know)

Nancy Deprez said...

Chromosome! :)

Nancy Deprez said...

Yeah, damn, Merzie, great comment post!

Thomas Pellechia said...

Thanks Nancy,

Chromosome. Got it.

Yours truly,

Nancy Deprez said...



Samantha Dugan said...

Sage advice and what I ended up feeling by the time I finished thumping out this post...felt good to say it, fuck em' if they don't want to hear it. Okay you and Nancy can go back to chatting now...