Homemakers But Not Opinion Makers?

Thu, August 30, 2007

Making Our Political Voices Heard

Mothers, however we define ourselves in terms of our employment, are not viewed by the world at large as opinion makers.

I had this sad revelation while the PunditMom family was away on vacation and I continued to stew about the lack of coverage or interest the media and the presidential candidates had when it came to this year’s BlogHer conference, the largest conference of women bloggers in the world.

We are the acknowledged spenders of household income. We’re the demographic that advertisers want.

Exhibit A? The huge Butterball turkey sitting on one of the exhibitor’s tables throughout the event. So they want our opinions (and money) when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, but not on one of the most important presidential elections of our time.

Only two presidential candidates deigned to send representatives to BlogHer, one of them being Elizabeth Edwards. Yet, when it came to the mostly middle-aged white male blogging conference the following week, the media couldn’t get enough and the Democratic presidential contenders were out in full force.

So my question that drifted into my jet-lagged fog when we returned was this:

Are there any real ‘Mommy’ opinion leaders?

If so, our voices don’t seem to be reaching any sort of critical mass. Even the one woman running for President was more interested in attending the Yearly Kos conference and making nice to the white men than she was in meeting with women bloggers. The lone representative Hillary Clinton sent to the BlogHer conference wasn’t that interested in making contact with the bloggers — she kind of hovered in the back of the political discussion rooms. When I introduced myself and told her I had a somewhat well-read political blog, she gave me the cold-shoulder brush-off.

OK, I’m no Kos or Arianna Huffington, but that’s a perfect example of the amazing short-sightedness of the candidates and the way women are viewed in the blogosphere.

So what do we do about that?

Maybe part of the problem is how we, as women, view the world.

We’re great at starting and having conversations. Mulling, considering, sharing. Yet, many times we don’t want to force our personal views and opinions on others. Now could be the time we need to put them out there in the blogosphere and not hold back.

We don’t have to get into a whole big row about it. As women, often we do have a different filter on issues that cover the front pages of newspapers and take up the first minutes of cable news shows. Maybe it’s time to be less reticent and fearful about putting other women off and start stating our case for those views in a way that would make the candidates and the main stream media perk up and pay some attention.

If a few of us put our toes in those political opinion-making waters, would other women follow?

Cross-posted from PunditMom’s Spin Cycle at Work It, Mom!

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11 Responses to “Homemakers But Not Opinion Makers?”

  1. Lawyer Mama Says:

    I think they would.

    And I agree that it was completely short sighted of the presidential candidates to practically ignore BlogHer. Even if we aren’t all political writers, we are all *writer* and *voters* and some of us have a pretty large audience. They really missed the boat on that one.

  2. QT Says:

    I agree, it was short-sighted.

    I don’t think I fall into the category of hiding my views from anyone…seriously!

  3. painted maypole Says:

    I think you’re right. We need to move beyond the “soccer mom” niche they’ve stuck us in and fought to be seen as women who communicate with each other, and have national issues that we care about.

  4. Oh, The Joys Says:

    I don’t know the answer, but my fist is pumping in the air and I’m yelling, “HELL YEAH, PUNDIT MOM!!!”

    (I look pretty dorky, but whatever.)

  5. my minivan is faster than yours Says:

    just somebody promise me they’re not lining up candidates at a MySpace event. Pleeeeaaasssseee!!

  6. Mrs. Chicky Says:

    You know I agree with you. At the very least there should have been more representation from the other candidates wives. And I do mean at the very least. IMO, the presidential candidates dropped the ball.

    As for a voice of the women in the blogosphere, I nominate you. ;)

  7. Julie Pippert Says:

    Okay I had lunch with my congressman yesterday.

    Thank the good fates of whatever that this means Nick Lampson these days and not Tom DeLay although let’s compare and contrast that for a sec, shall we?

    Nick—lunch at crappy hole in the wall BBQ joint, totally relaxed and at ease and in the crowd, goes by Nick

    Tom—chamber of Commerce members only at local chi chi country club, behind a Table of Honor, no glad-handing, goes by Your Royal Assness Mr. DeLay

    I brought up the issue of ignoring women in politics (umm among other issues).

    What a maelstrom that brought.

    First, Nick is happy to take a meeting with anyone who wants to present an issue. Call his office.

    Second, in my area, Angry Women Angry about This Topic have organized into a powerhouse group called BAD Women. (Bay Area Democrats, FYI)

    I will be joining, if you wondered.

    Third, I met a woman running for city council. She’s cool.

    What this demonstrates is the following:

    1. Organize

    2. Be a presence.

    3. Use our words, loudly.

    4. Organize.

    5. Applied economic principles.

    Let’s go.

    I’ll tell you what i find out from the BAD Women.

    Ravin’ Picture Maven

  8. Paige Says:

    What OTJ said.

    And I am every bit as dorky-looking.


  9. jen Says:

    you are leading. we will follow.

    we are louder than we think we are.

  10. Damselfly Says:

    I think you are a real “mommy” opinion leader!

  11. Daisy Says:

    Makes me (almost) want to work for a candidate, to let them know that there are women who make a difference and can spread the word — their word– widely, quickly, and efficiently.

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