Channeling Rodney Dangerfield

Mon, July 28, 2008


I’m supposed to be off-line this week, as the PunditMom family takes a break at the beach. But sometimes the New York Times can get me a little riled up.

Sunday, the NYT ran a story about the BlogHer conference. SCORE! Right?

Well, not exactly. Because, yet again, the MSM has run a story about women bloggers that tries to put us into a niche that doesn’t fit. I’m looking for a little respect as a blogger, but I think I’m in the same boat that Rodney Dangerfield found himself in so often — not a lot of respect.

In Blogging’s Glass Ceiling, the Times took a look at one of the largest women’s conferences in the nation. The bad news is that the intro talks about ladies’ rooms and lactation spaces. Yes, it’s nice to have those, but we’re about a lot more than that.

And saying that we are just channeling Katie Couric about not being taken as seriously like the The Daily Kos? Well, we’re not and I’ve been saying that for a long time, even before I met Katie Couric.

Why? Because it’s true. So many women who write blogs get labeled in a dismissive way as “mommy bloggers.” And while it sure would be nice for some more of us to make a few dollars from this writing, as the major sites do, that’s not why we’re out here.

Women’s voices are so sorely missing from the sphere of opinion writing, that we’re just looking for opportunities to get our thoughts and opinions out there. The bad news is that there are MSM outlets looking to exploit our eagerness to raise the volume on what we’re saying, thinking they can get it for next to nothing (or even nothing).

The next step to turn away from our inner Rodney Dangerfields is to demand the same kind of respect for our writing as so many men do. And, for better or worse, in our culture, that respect is usually shown by cold, hard cash.

As you may know, I’m not getting rich here at PunditMom, but a little respect from traditional news outlets — either in how they write about us or how they pay us for content — would be a giant leap for blogger-kind.

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7 Responses to “Channeling Rodney Dangerfield”

  1. anniegirl1138 Says:

    I hate the whole “mommy blogger” label.

    I started blogging as a way to think my way through the death of my husband. I don’t think I wrote a single thing about my daughter during those first six months. I was coping with loss, grieving and chafing under the expectations of my new label “widow” which unsurprisingly is even more restrictive than “wife” or “mom”.

    Even now, I very rarely go “family” on my blog. Anything I do write is largely focused on my current marriage, my interests, being immigrant, working on building a new career as a writer, being middle-aged and a whole slew of other things that wouldn’t give a new reader clue one to my maternity status.

    Perhaps it is easier for the NYT’s to think that women blogging is a benign thing. Maybe they sleep better at night this way, who knows.

    Mommy blogger, bleh. I think I feel a blog post coming on.

  2. Shonda Little Says:

    I don’t necessarily hate the whole “mommy blogger” label, but moreover, hate the definition most people give it. For example, yes, I have blogged about one of my kids this week. I also blogged about a insane homophobic politician who seriously made and distributed a comic book that has him and an angel fighting gays and Satan. Later in the week I blogged about Elliot Spitzer’s call girl and her $2 million reality tv show offer.
    Society has always wanted to water down our influence and, often, we do the same thing to other women. I don’t know how many women who told me that they wouldn’t vote Hillary because she’s a woman. Now, I didn’t vote for her, but that has nothing to do with it. I was totally awestruck that WOMAN actually bought into this bullshit.

    Great post! I will be back.

  3. Liz Says:

    And can someone please tell me why an article about what is essentially a business conference was relegated to the FASHION section of the paper?

  4. Caroline Says:

    I’m a mommy and a blogger so I guess I can’t deny the fact that am a “Mommy Blogger”. But ironically, I started blogging b/c I was tired of talking about diapers, and time outs, and using nice words. I needed a fast escape from the circular groundhog day tedium I found myself in – and blogging was a way OUT of that – so I only blog about life as a mom now and then. But I have actually embraced the “title” to some degree b/c I am finding out how many ppl DO want to listen, have listened and find mommy bloggers a force to be reckoned with. I am kind of proud of that. But to put this conference in the fashion section? And to be all cute about the fact that we needed all the bathrooms? As if we were all giggling, putting on make-up, peeing and breast-feeding together? Ew. Come on. Enough already. That is NOT what BlogHer was about and I am kind of insulted too.

  5. West Coast Grrlie Blather Says:

    Thanks for this post. That NYT article creeped me out. The tone was haughty. I especially bristled at the Katie Couric comment. Feh.

  6. Tracee Says:

    I found that story dismissive and condescending as well.

    I am super-impressed by the lactation room and the childcare – I want to tell all the patriarchal conference planners “see no one goes bankrupt if you acknowledge children exist in professional environments.”

    But, the story made us – women bloggers – sound like whiners. “You never listen to me!” I can’t figure out why I feel minimized by the term “mommy blogging” except that I think they do mean to minimize what we have to say.

    Most women have children so most women writers are lumped into this category.

    I was very excited to see women with so much to say and finally a non-corporate but widely accessed and self-owned way to say it. This didn’t happen in my mother’s generation. There may have been “freedom of speech” but how would anyone hear her?

    My theory? They’ll come to us when they realize how much money we have to spend and how much they stand to make from our influence.

  7. Says:

    I followed you over from Salon. With all those assignments and connections, you sound like you’re doing okay to me. I don’t understand who exactly you are being victimized by as a blogger any more than anybody else trying to establish themselves in the blogosphere. I thought it remarkable nobody mentioned Joan Walsh in the trace, given that she has as high a profile as anybody else on the internet–and by gosh, she’s a female too! Ben Sen

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