Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Blokeism, laddishness and other specialities

Some blogs cater exclusively for those with particular professional or cultural interests: if you are a proctologist, say, or a Karlheinz Stockhausen fan, you can exchange news and discuss controversial issues with others with the same enthusiasm. These blogs are not widely read, and the only quality they generally have in common is that they rarely feature any good jokes or funny pictures.

There are other blogs which cover a wider range of topics but are still restricted in scope, and the most common of these are blogs which appeal to blokes or lads. The OED describes both these words as colloquial (mainly British), so for the benefit of North Americans who may be unfamiliar with their usage here are the OED definitions of them or their derivatives:

blokeish adj.
Characteristic of a man, or of men socializing together; straightforward, affable, bluff, down-to-earth (or keen to appear so); typically or stereotypically male in behaviour or interests. Freq. also depreciative (esp. with reference to the behaviour of all-male social groups): chauvinistic, boorish.

lad n.
A young man characterized by his enjoyment of social drinking, sport, and other activities considered to be male-oriented, his engagement in casual sexual relationships, and often by attitudes or behaviour regarded as irresponsible, sexist, or boorish; (usually) one belonging to a close-knit social group.

lad mag n.
a magazine aimed at young men, featuring esp. interviews with and pin-ups of female celebrities.

Then there are blogs for the opposite sex:
girly adj.
1a Characteristic of or befitting a girl; girlish. Also: effeminate. Freq. depreciative.
1b Involving girls or women and girlish or female concerns.
2 Of a publication, entertainment, etc.: featuring young women, usually naked or partially naked, in erotic contexts.

...and, of course, there are feminist blogs, which come under 1b above, but are really in a special category of their own.

Blogs written for any of these groups vary enormously in sophistication and literacy, but all are specialised and therefore with very limited appeal. Other Men's Flowers tries to straddle their constituencies and to cater for the interests of them all by providing the lads with notes on such topics as the latest weaponry, moustaches, powerful cars, skateboarding, lewd Ice Age implements, beach volleyball and booze.
...and the girls with comprehensive information on washing up, shopping, famous women writers and composers, where to find gigolos, astrology and crochet.

1 comment:

Froog said...

It is a shameful lexical inequality, is it not, that a 'lad mag' is for boys and a 'girly mag' is also for boys?

However, in my distant youth (I'm talking about the 1970s here) I'm pretty sure 'girly' in this latter sense was usually spelled 'girlie'. This might be a useful distinction, allowing us to designate the likes of Cosmo and Marie Claire as 'girly mags'. I suppose the lack of differentiation in the pronunciation would still lead to a confusion in usage, though. Too bad.