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Because You Haven't Really Arrived As A Feminist Until You've Bitched About Being Condescended To By The New York Times

Nytjasper So, this story is a whole THREE DAYS OLD - which is like 6 months in gossip years - but still. It's not really gossip - it's internet feminist meta-commentary, yo - and it involves US (as in we, your betches, and not the print tabloid that is a mainstay of dentists' waiting rooms and cottage privvies everywhere) and so we would be remiss to overlook it. We are, after all, nothing if not self-absorbed.

Here's the thing: you see that picture on the upper left, there? That's me. Well, actually, that's my baby, and the back of my head. A little forward, right in front of me, is the stunning Sweetney. Dana is somewhere within licking distance. And holding the microphone for me while I prattle on and on and on and on about some matter of global importance is Mom-101 (honorary betch). Why do you care? Because that picture was on the front page of the New York Times Style section. Which, depending upon how you slice it, is either mind-bogglingly cool, or a slap in the face with a cold, wet patriarchal noodle.

The picture was taken at the BlogHer conference that took place the other weekend; the accompanying article was entitled "Blogging's Glass Ceiling," and it told a story of the conference that highlighted the upkeep of the restrooms and women bloggers' tendency to whine dramatically about being marginalized as members of writing and tech communities by those communities and by the mainstream media. Oh, and I think that it might have mentioned something about lactating. And make-up. And Oprah.

Which, you know, is a semi-accurate representation of the conference experience. I wore make-up; I was lactating. I didn't see Oprah there - last I checked, she wasn't keeping up with her blog - but I'm pretty sure that I whined a little bit. Here's the thing, though: that conference - and the women attending it - was and were and are about so much more than make-up and free chocolate. And we whine for a reason. We whine because when we raise our voices? We get relegated to the Style section. We're not news, we're not tech, we're not business - we're style. Which is a little irksome.

But I'm not interested in bitching about that right now. I'm still pretty tickled to have had my name dropped anywhere in the New York Times, so it would be disingenuous of me to voice full outrage at having been dropped onto the front page of the Style section. What I am interested in bitching about: the misogynist blowhards who have been bitching about the women who have chosen to bitch.

The blowhards, apparently, have nothing better to do than to stay on the lookout for any evidence of women forgetting their place in society. Have we dared to dip our toes into the dangerous waters of business and technology? Are we trying to swim with sharks? Well, then, we should not complain when someone points their fingers at our frilly bathing costumes! We should be grateful to be noticed, we with our puffy flotation devices and our silly mom-blogging girl-blogging dog-paddle splash-splash games! Which don't deserve any recognition to begin with! So suck it up, silly girls! And maybe try growing some balls and getting a real blog! (*grab crotch here*)

To wit:

This: And as for you, you idiot HuffPo woman whining because the New York Times ran this story in the "Style & Fashion" section: Look a gift horse in the mouth, why don't you? You're lucky they even bothered to cover your stupid "BlogHer" conference.

And this: If a female blogger wants to be taken seriously, it's not at all difficult:

1.  Have at least half a brain and demonstrate that it actually functions by not writing egregiously stupid stuff.

2.  At least 75 percent of your posts should have nothing to do with you or your life.

3.  Don't post a picture or talk about your romantic life, your children or your pets. 

4.  Don't threaten to quit blogging every time anyone criticizes you. 

5. Learn how to defend your positions with facts and logic instead of passive-aggressive parthian shots fired off as you run away.

The reality is that most female bloggers aren't taken seriously because they don't merit it.

(LATE EDIT: Oh, and? We are also, apparently - or at least I am, on the basis of having written this post - "narcissistic, brainless, lactating cows"! *pumps hoof in air*)

Whatever.

Here's a thought for you gentlemen: most male bloggers aren't taken seriously. Most bloggers, as has been pointed out in nearly every post that I read on the subject, don't make enough money for gum off of their personal sites, regardless of gender. But are male bloggers courted as relentlessly as female bloggers, individually and as a community? No. Women bloggers - and especially bloggers who fall into the 'parenting' niche of the blogosphere - are actively and aggressively courted by corporations and PR firms and literary agents and media conglomerates. LOTS of us. MOST of us. So we're not bitching about Big Business ignoring us - anyone who spent a minute at the conference could see that Big Business has a big mother-effing hard-on for women bloggers - we're bitching about getting respect out of the deal. They want us - they like our missives on lactation and body image and fear and depression and love and all that girly shit. They take us plenty seriously. They know that there's a big audience for that girly shit. But they're still being coy about showing us the money. So we're doing our damnedest to support each other in getting what we deserve - full credit and decent compensation for our talent - and not just putting out for a steak dinner and an "I'll call you" note in the morning.

So when NYT does a puff 'Style' piece on us, yeah, we roll our eyes. Chocolates and flowers. Thanks, but no thanks. We'd rather not be looked at as perfumed commodities, things to fuck and exploit.  We'd like to be recognized for the force that we are.

So. That photo that was featured on the front page? It was taken during a session on the topic of whether mom-blogging is still (STILL!) a radical act. It was taken in the moment just before I stood up, babe in arms, fresh off the tit, to say that we know that mom-blogging - WOMAN-blogging - is still radical because there is still so much animosity, so much hate toward it, so much deprecation of it, so much dismissal of it, so much effort put into its marginalization. What is radical about it is that we push on, demanding to be heard, and demanding recognition of our worth as mothers, women, writers, business-people, innovators, people, against the ignorance of those who would keep us down.

Thank you, misogynist blowhards of the Internet, for helping me to demonstrate my point.

Postscript: NYT responds.







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Comments

Snarky Amber

Catherine?

I love you.

You're fucking fierce, lady.

sweetney

fyi y'all, here's my version of the photo, with dorky labels:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sweetney/2703857006/

Barbara

Last I heard the Times ad revenue was down along with their profits. Newsprint media is becoming the weekend warrior parent of internet news. Blogging is keeping the "credible" media in check by busting their asses with facts *ahem Dan Rather*. So, as far as this article, consider it sour grapes from the parent who lost custody of the news.

baltimoregal

Damn, woman. You are always so, well, sane!

baltimoregal

Damn, woman. You are always so, well, sane!

Mandee

Nothing makes me prouder to be a woman than pieces like this. Thanks, Catherine.

AMomTwoBoys

You're awesome.

kdiddy

brava, mama. fuck the haters. I would say that we're generations away from men as a gender taking women seriously. as infuriating as it is, especially since the dumbest among our male counterparts tend to be the loudest and handed the most power, I have to just say fuck 'em. they're obviously threatened, otherwise they wouldn't condescend so hard.

sweetney

Catherine, will you marry me? (forget about the others i've asked to marry me in comments before.. i only have eyes for you, darling.)

Mr Lady

And with that, my heart is full for the rest of the day.

schmutzie

I'm dizzy with love. You said it, sister.

Redneck Mommy

I couldn't have said it better if I tried. So thank you Catherine. On behalf of all women bloggers.


Amy @ TasteLikeCrazy

"We'd rather not be looked at as perfumed commodities, things to fuck and exploit."

I absolutely loved that part.

ali

i kind of want to make out with you right now. this is AMAZING.

Marilyn

I puffy pink heart love you and this post.

Snarky Amber

Catherine, will you marry me? (forget about the others i've asked to marry me in comments before.. i only have eyes for you, darling.)

HEY!

*sniff*

I'll just be over here in the corner crying and plotting my revenge. No one scorns Snarky Amber without retribution!

Dana

Smooch. Damn girl, don't hurt 'em.

The NYT and most mainstream media STILL approach blogging - especially women in blogging - as though its a novelty.

So they stick us in "fashion and style" because clearly, women and technology don't mix. We like to get our nails did and watch Oprah and such.

Because we don't betray our sex and turn ourselves into men in order to compete, because we preserve our femininity and we hold a conference that both recognizes and celebrates this - the ULTIMATE fist in the air for feminism, IMHO - we're condemned for it by a dying publication. And the NYT wonders why their ad revenue is falling, the circulation is receding. Gee, maybe get a clue you chauvinistic pricks?

Assertagirl

I'm gonna come over and pull a John Cusack with Peter Gabriel on a boom box outside your window for this.

Liana

ROCK ON, Sister!

Victoria

Respect!

Loralee

This would be why I was shaking in my boots with intimidation when I thought about introducing myself to you.

And it is ALSO why I am sooooo fucking glad that I did.

I love your guts, woman.

Kerri Anne

Very awesome, this.

Miss Britt

A fucking Men to that.

Jess

Give em hell!!!

Aimee Greeblemonkey

Rock on. There's a reason you're the Bad Mother.

Maria

Thank you.

heels

*fist raised in solidarity*

the ex

Honestly, I wish we could all stop having this back and forth about the validity of mommybloggers. Dooce, Amalah, Sweetney. Those are the first three names I think of when anyone says blog. It’s fecking obvious that ‘mommybloggers’ are a valid force. So, catch up mainstream media! It’s about damn time.

Poppy Buxom

You tell 'em, Catherine!

What kills me is this is the same controversy female novelists were embroiled in in the 19th and 20th centuries. "They just write silly romances for silly women." Um, George Elliot, anyone? Georges Sand? Virginia Woolf? Jane Austen?

We're WRITERS. And so fucking what is you're not our audience.

Now go cover another videogaming convention in Vegas.

Ammie aka Sleeping Mommy

Will you take me under your wing and teach me your ways sensei?

misha

its funny but (i think b/c of the previous post) last night I had a dream that Dooce was like the new Ellen of amex commercials. Odd.

misha

duh - she was in a plane (all the cross country travel that "A list" bloggers do. I almost never remember my dreams and what an odd one to remember

anna

Yay for the misogynist blowhards.

Bottom line: the NYT printed the articlewhere the editors felt that it would be best received. And the writer of the article can bitch all she wants about 70s feminist issues but she’s the one who focuses on eyeshadow and uses Katie Couric as a verb.

theclevermom

Hear hear!

Nadine/Scarbiedoll

The piece irked me and I couldn't put my finger on why. Thanks for putting it all together so passionately and articulately.

Katie Kat

I think I luff you... (and the slow clap starts...)

Right on, AND beautifully said.

Queen of Spain

I love you.

That is all.

xoxoxo,

the blowhard's favorite and mentioned 'idiot huffpo woman'

jaelithe

I'll admit, a part of me did feel kind of bad that the first thing I Tweeted when you sent out a link this ADORABLE picture of your bebeh in the NYT was, "It's in the STYLE section?!?!?!" Instead of "Jasper is so cute! And he's in the New York Times! And so are women bloggers!"

But then I saw all these wonderful women agree with me that such was dumb, and write about it.

And then I saw this unlovely ungentleman you mention illustrate our point.

And now I don't feel bad at all. Jasper IS cute. It's great that he, and BlogHer, were in the NYT. But we want the Technology section, please. Now.

Stefania/CityMama

My girl-crush on you just grew even more ardent. Marry me?

Glennia

"...anyone who spent a minute at the conference could see that Big Business has a big mother-effing hard-on for women bloggers..." The brilliance of that line alone blows my mind.

The thing is, the male blowhard-osphere is not something I take too seriously. They need to get a grip on something other than their small dicks.

sweetney

back off Stefania, she's MINE. :)

Lisa Stone

HerBadAssMother, right on.

While I hate to send these guys traffic, I'll definitely be using these links as a perfect example of the hatred aimed at women who dast raise their voices -- I just wish I had saved other examples from print, tv, Internet, because I've seen this in every newsroom I've ever worked in. The higher a woman's profile, the more hate mail and vitriol aimed at her. These constant exhortations to Shaddupville, snuck into posts and comments and emails are part of the reason this community means so much to me. The good news: Looks like we'll be providing the haters for material for years, saddling up our computers (implanted chips?) in the rest home. Nobody better Twitter my Depends.

Suburban Turmoil

*Stands and applauds* *for an inappropriately long time*

Suebob

A perfect 10.

It just kills these guys that women's truths about their lives are being read and taken seriously. It is unimaginable to them how the experiences of half the population are of interest to anyone.

laurie

Yes. Yes. Yes. Thanks for writing what I felt. Thanks for putting it so well. Just thank you, thank you, thank you.

April

They're just jealous because there's no such thing as BlogHim.

Mom Bloggers and Woman Bloggers are courted so hard, I'm on a first name basis with my UPS delivery guy. And I'm not even an A-Lister. I'm what I call an "LMNOP-List" Mom blogger.

Companies are discovering the Power (yes, with a capital P) that women and moms have and I think it scares the bejeebus out of these "blowhards". Anytime a woman or group of women becomes a threat to the patriarchy, they puff up their chests and try to dismiss us. So thanks for deflating them. You rock. That is all.

Gwen Bell

Said it on Twitter, I'll say it here: this is one of the best posts I've read in days...+for serious, I hope people GET THE MESSAGE.

We're looking at just the NYT article right now, but I see the covers of this month's technology review w/Leah Culver blowing a massive bubble that _completely covers_ her mouth. Wired's cover model, Julia Allison dressed to the hilt...

I'm saying, we can see this as an isolated event, but I really think we need to ask questions of _all_ that surrounds women in tech right now. And push back. And raise our voices. And do it in as level-headed way as we can...

I don't want to play by the guys rules of blogging or technology. I want us to make our own...BlogHer is proof on top of proof that we are.

I want us to be able to wear the heels to work and still be taken seriously as a computer developer or a graphic designer. If you want to tell me it can't be done, I'll tell you we haven't made any progress as a society since the 40s or earlier.

Let's show that it can be done by doing it. And supporting the women who are.

Major Bedhead

(I haven't read all the comments; apologies if this has been said already.)

Why is it such a bad thing to write about women's...stuff? Like our lives, our kids, our pets, our friggin' periods. Why, if those topics are covered well, written well, why is it less important that a man wittering on about baseball or bars or hunting? We are women, right? Should we remove every vestige of being women by refusing to write about anything that has anything to do with being a woman? Why can't we write about those things in addition to writing about depression and politics and all that other stuff? I don't get the comments from the NYTimes readers - they seem to be suggesting that, in order to be taken seriously, we must be more like men.

Well. Fuck that for a game of soldiers.

Barchbo

I don't blog, but I respect and enjoy the dialogue and profile that blogging fosters. Great post - I linked it to Kirtsy.

myrnatheminx

I had a comment on my own site along these lines (the majority of my readers are men). I responded by telling them "I had just attended the OpEd project session with Jennifer Pozner and Catherine Orenstein---about as serious, educated, and hard-nosed as they come. Pozner takes on the likes of Bill O'Reilly day in and day out. Suck it!" (or something to that effect). It's like they're determined to prove out points for us by those idiotic comments but don't realize it. The biggest problem is that it still continues to happen. That's why more women needed to attend that session, so that we know how to call ourselves experts, take names, and kick ass like we should--as a huge force!

Julie

What Gwen said about making our own rules. There's really no reason to get angry at these nitwits, because they're betting on the wrong horse - and they're SCARED.

We'll just keep doing what we love, in the way that we want to do it.

sweetney

Re: Making our own rules, AGREED. I love how internet troll douchebags decide they know how things are supposed to run -- The Rules of The Internet and Blogging WRIT IN CAPITALS -- and feel they can just lay that on us and we'll take it as gospel truth. ORLY? I CALL BULLSHIT.

It's no different than the comment trolls who tried to convince me that, like, OMG, you CAN'T moderate comments! It's against the rules of the internet and stuff! WHAT? Umm no, not MY rules, asshat. Convenient that The Rules they speak of always conform to their tastes, their desires, their needs, their expectations, no? Well fuck a bunch of that. It's what men have been doing to women forever: claiming the playing field and the decision-making power as their own and expecting us to cower in submission and agree to follow what they say is The One True Way.

Guess what, blowhards? There is no One True Way anymore. Your modus operandi is obsolete, dudes. Rage and snipe all you want, I'll be over here laughing at you and your ineffectual bluster... and then TOTALLY IGNORING YOU. Because frankly I've got better things to do than pay attention to your antiquated ideas about the way the world -- and yes, the internet -- works. Welcome to our new world order.

Oh and PS: SUCK IT.

West Coast Grrlie Blather

Amen. Though apparently I am a defeatist, because I named my blog West Coast Grrlie Blather. Hang on...I might be ironic!

slynnro

Sweetney- I was at the Naked Blogging panel and that was one thing that really resonated with me and was really validating- your statement that just because you allow comments doesn't mean people are OWED comments.

Kat

Damn girl, you have done it again. Beautifully written - once again!

Chicky Chicky Baby

Oh my CHRIST, YES!

That is all.

KrisUnderwood

That fucking rocks. For Real. That's all

Heidi

i'm a super newbie blogger and not at all informed about feminist issues, but am i the only one who is bothered by the fact that the google ads at the top of the page are for 1) perfume, 2) handbags, and 3) make-up? don't get me wrong, i love me some google (and perfume, handbags, and make-up) but isn't that kinda more of the same?

bevson

I remember the NYT photographer being at the conference and I had such high hopes. Sigh. What was I thinking? I was also outraged that the conference was in the style section. Good Lord. While we were all snappily dressed with great shoes, I think the real news was totally missed. 1,000 women (and some men) bloggers were gathered together to talk about important issues, build a community, excel at our craft and support one another. Disappointed, I clicked away with the expletive "Idiots!" and moved on. Thank you for expressing our collective outrage. We will not be marginalized!

Her Bad Mother

Lisa - the blogger from that second link now has a vitriolic hate post about me and my argument above. I believe he uses the words, "narcissistic, brainless, lactating cow..."

Megan

You go girl! Thanks for saying everything I was thinking.

Megan

Lilly Munster

Who the fuck cares if they like women blogging or not? Their IS a market for for it and that is what irritates those guys. I bet they developed their dislike of women while in college-when their only "hot date" was a microwaved jar of valeline.

Lilly Munster

Who the fuck cares if they like women blogging or not? Their IS a market for for it and that is what irritates those guys. I bet they developed their dislike of women while in college-when their only "hot date" was a microwaved jar of vaseline.

moosh in indy.

Whee! It almost wants to make me burn my bra and dance around naked. Almost.
As Sam said.
I heart you so hard.

Karen Sugarpants

This is fantastic, Catherine. Absolutely fantastic.

blogversary

Well said.

Lawyer Mama

Catherine - I want to effin' KISS you!

I may not necessarily agree that blogging about motherhood is a radical act, but putting yourself out there and trying to change things is. And that's certainly what you've done here!

Go, YOU!

Don Mills Diva

Brilliant post!

Donna

Wow. Beautifully stated. Thank you, Catherine.

Kimberly

Amazing and brilliant - just like you, girl. Roar!

Angella

I am late to the party (per usual) but wanted to give you a HUGE high-five. Or kudos. Or hug.

LOVED THIS.

Jack

This is blown so far out of proportion.

Jessica (aka Rose from It's my life...)

YEAH!
I so wanted to comment on that blowhard's blog, but I didn't want to give him more grist for the mill. Also, didn't want to waste any more time on his site.
You, on the other hand, ROCK. Thanks for posting this!

becky

Resisting the urge to go over there and call the blowhard an asshat for the irritating personal attacks on Catherine. I enjoyed your post, HBM. You did a fabulous job.

Lara

it's things like this that make me ashamed to have such stellar taste in shoes. i think my fashion-forwardness is what put us in the style section. my apologies to you all.

okay, i'm kidding, obviously. is this not the place for a joke? i'm supposed to be taking this seriously? trust me, I AM. but i'm also not going to let some asshat douchebags convince me that i'm not allowed to be stylish AND taken seriously. if you want to write about fashion and style and how those things played out at blogher, fine. write the story, take pictures of the stylish ladies, put it in the style section. but if you want to write about issues of blogging itself, including advertising, marketing, publicity, tech issues, etc., then fucking learn to put it in the appropriate section.

Karen Andrews (miscmum)

Coming in late here, but had to add, well said, well said indeed.

ozma

I'm all HER WHOLE HEAD HER WHOLE HEAD IS IN THE STYLE SECTION!!

Oh, serious ideas. But HER THE STYLE SECTION. NEW YORK TIMES!)

Mmmmm. (Full disclosure: My whole head was alspo once in the Style Section of the NY Times.)

To the serious ideas I say: This almost goes without saying. I smiled at the crotchety sexist idiot blogger thinking of how his stats measure up to Dooce or yours or most of the women at that conference, probably. And of course, not merely stats but cultural impact.

How amusing to think that the route to seriousness is not to talk about one's life. What is wrong with Nicholas Kristof? He's always talking about his life! And God, that Samuel Johnson. SHUT UP ALREADY.

It reminds me of the smack they used to talk about lady novelists. "Oh that Jane Austen! Thinks she can write, does she?"

It's too absurd to dignify with a response but your response was right on the mark in any case.

motherbumper

I thump my chest in agreement and pride for knowing you and just so I don't sound to ladylike, I also grab my crotch in the international sign of fuck the haters.

Lara

LOVE IT! LOVE IT! LOVE IT!

Phil

Guy commenting here, don't hit me.

After reading the article, and your take on it I got really pissed. Not at you, not at the fool who wrote the article with the really demeaning slant. I got mad at people in general. I have been blogging for going on a couple of years now. I read mainly womens blogs. Why? Because women know how to do it. How to take their lives, step back and look at themselves, and write about it in a way that makes people feel something. I learn from women. Men? We talk about sports, beer, farts, etc. It gets boring after the first post.

Recognize excellence when you see it. Recognize crap when you see it. Not everyone likes everyone. As parents we teach our kids this, and yes it is hard to put into practice. Blogging is an art form. Be true to yourself, and your art no matter what. And to paraphrase Eleanor Roosevelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent".

And if all of that sounds too schmalty:
Fuck em.

Namaste.

Amy

Good God, you make me embarrassed to be a woman. Get over yourself, please.

sweetney

GO PHIL!

zchamu

Catherine wins at the internet. Well done.

No Minimom

Personal attacks are the weakest form of argument. You'd think someone with a "higher" SAT score would know that.

- Signed: Another Narcissistic, Lactating Cow (with a brain).

califmom

You can't see me right now, but I'm giving you a standing O.

I agree, you should henceforth be referred to as "HerBadAssMother."






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