Does blogging empower women?
Well, I suppose that depends on what you mean.
And, as any university academic will tell you, the definition is everything. And, of course, who is doing the defining.
Empowering is one of those terms like my beloved "developmentally appropriate education". It gets easily hijacked and bastardized into something it never was intended to mean. It becomes a tool of condescension, or an excuse for mediocrity. The "Up with People" of terminology, if you will.
If by "empowering" you mean giving a wide variety of women ( and people) a voice with which to speak about the topics on their mind, then Yes. Blogging is clearly empowering. I marvel at the people I have come to know through this medium. People who I had no other earthly reason to encounter, but whom I can not imagine as parts and pieces of my life.
If by "empowering" you mean unleashing a forum in which strangers can attack other people's words, beliefs or thoughts, sending vitriol through the anonymity of the internet - then....yeah, not so good. I love being called a bitch by strangers, or getting the suggestion that my daughter will grow up to be a useless waste of space, just like me. Wow. Very evolved. Very brave.
In the end, I can only define for myself what is "empowered".
Would I be the same person were it not for blogging? Roughly, yes. I think so. My core personality hasn't changed through the act of blogging. It has, however, showed me that I am not as alone as I thought. In the difficulties of marriage or mothering. In my wacky sense of humor and sense of the absurd. In the depths of depression.
As a blogger, I am part of a community. I am not alone.
and that is how I define empowered.