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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

caroline

thank you Catherine for throwing something into the ring here. The New York Times, while great in many ways, is far from perfect and we demonstrate the power of blogging when we critique the problems with mainstream media when we find them. And a technology conference that women attend that happens to include some fun trinkets women might enjoy is not a style item last time i checked either. And even if most of us aren't getting paid for it, many of us would like to.

This makes me proud to blog- we are as much the media as they are and our feedback stands to make them (the times) better if they are willing to listen and respect our point of view.

RookieMom Heather

Shyly jumping around behind you and trying to give you a high five. Maybe just waving at your baby instead.

You go, mama!

Maura

Really fantastic post. As someone who didn't get to BlogHer and has read a lot about it in the days following, you really brought home why the conference is important for women, no matter what they blog about. Way to tell 'em!

The Diva Muse

Okay, I am still fairly new to the blog world and I just want to thank you for a heavy dose of reality.

And to be honest,in my mind it has always been about women bloggers oh and then everything else.

Jennifer Taggart

My mom (who still uses dial up and doesn't understand what I do when I say I blog) called me and told me the BlogHer conference made the NYT. She still gets it. In print. I was so excited since I went to the conference that I went and bought the f-ing NYT just to read the article and keep it (if it was good). Okay, silly me. I thought it would be on something other than the Style section. Silly me. I thought it would actually talk about what happened at the conference. I deluded myself yet again but I thought hey, perhaps we won't be dismissed.

Boy, was I wrong.

Right on with the blog post!

Jennifer
www.thesmartmama.com

tysdaddy

My Reader? Full of blogs written by women. Confident, strong, talented and intelligent women. Women who parent with courage and tenderness. Women who desire more than a pat on the back. More than a parting shot in the Style section.

Excellent post . . .

tysdaddy

My Reader? Full of blogs written by women. Confident, strong, talented and intelligent women. Women who parent with courage and tenderness. Women who desire more than a pat on the back. More than a parting shot in the Style section.

Excellent post . . .

tysdaddy

I'm not really sure what just happened. Somehow, I'm Jennifer Taggart?

And then I have a comment where I said . . . nothing?

Wow. That was a very frustrating comment experience . . .

(tysdaddy)

allison

Beautiful. Fabulous. Prolific.
Thanks.

Allison

rednexmama

So I was thinking a bit that things were getting pretty blown up, and then I read this :"they like our missives on lactation and body image and fear and depression and love and all that girly shit." With the exception of lactation (I hope!) couldn't this be describing being a freaking human being??? If talking about love and fear and depression were strictly relegated to the Style section, where would they ever put politics, or health, or op-ed??? I think an important point is that this wasn't some random chauvinist blogger thumping his chest. This was the TIMES. Which is to say, generally not ignored, and usually respected. Because they wield such influence is EXACTLY why this is NOT blown out of proportion. They are a national paper, widely respected internationally, and THAT was how they chose to represent an entire community of women (and men, for that matter).
Though to give guys, even the blowhards a teensy bit of credit, and hopefully bring in a little perspective: I don't think they're intentionally attacking women. Unfortunately what they're attacking are the things we hold dear. Which might as well be the same thing. As any mom can tell you, attack my love for my family and I will take you down. How would THEY like it if we informed them that spending all that time discussing their cars, their teams, and their dicks is nothing but "egregiously stupid stuff"?
Also this is hysterical: "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."

dana

The back of my head is in that photo, too...and I thought it was pretty damn cool. Even if the NYT has it all wrong, it was just awesome to see them there...taking notice.

I only found RSM's post because he re-linked to me via Pajamas Media. Then I see Katherine Berry criticizing me, because God forbid I blog about the fun time I had at the BlogHer cocktail parties.

Jeez Louise. Why is it so damn wrong for women to step out of their mothering roles for a weekend and, gasp!, have a good time with their friends?

It's no different than men going for drinks at the bar for Happy Hour.

But, we women are supposed to forget about taking time for ourselves and reconnecting with our gal pals because we have children to raise and housework to do...right? According to RSM, I'm just supposed to conform to that old fashioned way and know my place.

Ugh. What a crock.

NTE

I can see the slow clap has started without me, but better late than never, right? This is an amazing post, and says things exactly right.

ilinap

My legs are getting tired from this standing ovation.

Velma

Catherine? Can I give you a pedicure?

Jenny, Bloggess

You are my own personal rockstar.






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