While it is not mandatory for any reader of any blog to vote for said blog in an award, it is common for the blog owner to solicit via social media, for example making readers aware that they are contending for an award and asking friends to vote for them. Some think this is fair, others think it is unfair.
Secondly, regarding the "male"/"female" divide - I can understand to an extent why people find it sexist, but I am of a differing opinion. I am a female, not a male, and I do not understand why there is a problem with separate categories. For example, male and female footballers do not contend for the same awards, just as male and female tennis players do not contend for the same awards. Males and females are different.
I understand the argument that there should simply be "a best blog regardless of gender award" but honestly, is it not true that many females would be completely and utterly overlooked in this scenario? Not due to sexist intentions, purely because if one was asked to recommend a football blog they may be more inclined to suggest a stereotypical, well-known male blog?
If the categories were instead "best football blog" and "best female blog" then yes I would agree that there is an element of sexism because it would be suggesting that women are unable to contend with the "top dogs" (men) - it would be diminishing women as inferior beings who are unable to contend for such an award. This is not the case. The sheer fact that there are categories for both men and women suggest that neither gender has been rated as superior. It merely suggests that both genders are being recognised.
I am a female - why on earth would I be ashamed of being categorised with other females? It is also probably true that if there was no female category, I would not be a finalist in these awards.
While I understand the argument that dividing between genders does nothing but increase inequality and sexism - it is something I disagree with. Surely having a female award promotes five or six talented bloggers who without the category would be unlikely to receive recognition?
It is likely that sexism will never cease to exist - but if the alleged victims of sexism (such as myself) do not feel like they are being discriminated against, surely there is no problem?