Wednesday, August 02, 2006

But With Pictures!

Ohmygod are you all SO SICK AND TIRED of hearing about BlogHer? Well, I promise that I am nearly done with posting about it. But I had a few leftover thoughts, exchanges, and details that I’d like to relay before putting the matter to bed.

On a fun note, I got to test drive a Saturn Sky roadster and it was awesome and cool. The car felt amazing to drive and made me nostalgic for owning a car (a convertible, as it was) of my own again. I found it especially amusing that the gentlemen who reviewed my license before letting me drive away from the hotel in a brand-new vehicle seemed not to care that it was:
a) out of state
b) not my current name (not that he asked)
c) illegal, seeing as it expired in July of 2003

Yippee! (Also, let’s give a shout-out to GM, for having the presence of mind to bring cars to a female-centric event.)


On a personal note, I would also like to draw your attention to a few bloggers I failed to mention in my one re-cap. There’s Brit, who is a very cool person (and now real-life friends with both Whinger and P) and um, whose arm I apparently took to stroking sometime after my third glass of wine. (For reasons still unclear to me.)

Likewise, at the cocktail table I was entertained by Stacy and Kris and their brazen ways.

I also had a smash hanging out late-night with Jenny, as I mentioned, and also with the woman I kept referring to as Heather Graham. We shared amazingly intimate details about each other’s lives as though it were perfectly normal. Because it felt like it was.

NOW.

I feel like I need to get off my chest the biggest issue I had with the conference (which is similar in part to Whinger’s POV on the subject).

I THOUGHT my issue was with the Mommy Bloggers. And I thought this because there were a lot of them in the house, and many of them seemed to know one another and have quite a well-developed network that was amazing to witness but – I felt – impossible to infiltrate.

I felt like they were the event celebrities.

I felt left out.

Like, something big and huge and important was going on with “that” group and I didn’t know about it before-hand and I didn’t (couldn’t) prepare for it and just basically felt like I was forced into observer mode.

And that sort of made me bitter.

And then there was the conference itself, perhaps unintentionally focusing on the mommies. Like, giving us a bib (and a few other kid-centric things) as part of our swag and having a couple sponsors totally miss the mark as far as knowing who I am, how I live my life, and why I blog.

Meaning that when I left the conference, I left having felt a little ignored. Like maybe I wasn’t an important attendee because I was not a mommy.

But…

Well, I feel better now.

For one thing, I am not the only one who felt the conference was skewed and who took issue with the swag. (I was not the only one who wanted to smack the Janes upside their heads, either. Phew.)

But more importantly, I didn’t like feeling like the mommyblogging group itself contributed to my disappointment, so I put it out there. I posted on a blog about it, and got back an awesome reply that makes SO MUCH sense.

Liz, writer, professional, mother, superstar and owner of Mom-101 offered the following:

“…maybe there were just two disparate groups at the conference - those there to meet new friends and discover new blogs; and those there to cement online relationships they've had for months or years. I can see where it would suck to be in the former group with a whole bunch of women in the latter.”

A-ha!

I assumed everyone would be there for the former without giving any consideration for the latter. And that had nothing whatsoever to do with the unifying theme (“mommyblogging”) as it did with a big ole’ network of people finally getting to meet each other.

So all’s well that ends well.

And here’s the picture of me meeting Dooce – me, trying to smile while looking at Whinger like just make the camera work already! and Heather smiling politely about Crazy.

I Meet (and probably scare the shit out of) Dooce
Pretty!

18 comments:

  1. Funny -- one of the mommybloggers that I read regularly said she didn't attend BlogHer because she was afraid the mommybloggers wouldn't be taken seriously.

    Me? I didn't go because, well, you can only mutter "I'm not worthy" so many times before it starts sounding like something else entirely.

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  2. I should really go into photography.

    Or something.

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  3. There's such a thing as "mommybloggers"? Wow. I guess I should get out more.

    Kristy, you look so cute!

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  4. Not to rain on your parade, but of course GM brought a Saturn. It's a chick car. Ask anyone.

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  5. Your blog entry led me to check out Mom-101. Liz's perspective offers an interesting counterpoint to yours. There you were at BlogHer, resenting that it seemed skewed to mommies (because that reminded you that you're not a mommy?) and you felt left out; then there's Liz, a mommyblogger resenting the term "mommyblogger" because it seems terribly limiting.

    Women can do more damage to women than men do! It's very frustrating to me that women continue to resent other women whose lives differ from theirs. How come we women tend to be so damned sensitive? Why does the grass so often seem greener in some other woman's yard?

    It seems perfectly logical that sponsors would offer "baby" items at an event which many mommies would be attending. Would it have been better if you'd been asked if you were a mommy and if you said, "No", you'd been told, "Then we won't give you a bib"? The sponsors to whom you objected weren't dissing non-mommies, they were merely using smart marketing. If anyone is to "blame", it seems it's the event organizers who may have been insensitive to the non-mommybloggers.

    And if Liz and other mommies who are bloggers don't like the perceived limitations of being referred to as "mommybloggers", they have the option of not making every blog entry about being a mommy.

    This mommyblogger vs. non-mommyblogger stuff is similar to differences between women who are single vs. married, mothers vs. non-mothers and those who work at home vs. those who don't. Why does it have to be "us" vs. them"??? Surely, if you'd wanted to badly enough, you could have found things in common with the mommybloggers. Did they exclude you or did you, by deciding that you were merely an observer, in effect, exclude them? And did others, on both sides, do the same?

    It's likely that each woman at BlogHer chose to limit her own experiences, but that ultimately doesn't matter. The reality is that as much as we all want to be liked by everyone, no one fits in everywhere. And that's okay! Women come in all shapes and sizes, with a huge variety of likes, dislikes, interests, etc. and it's perfectly natural to focus positively on some and not others.

    We can be our own worst enemies when our preconceived notions fall short of expectations. I'm glad that Liz enabled you to view the "skewing" from a different perspective. Once again, the honesty of your feelings is refreshing and enlightening.

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  6. You know, what's really interesting to me is that, over in my blog, I went to great lengths to avoid the mommybloggin thing for a long time, and I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe I felt like nobody would be interested in reading such drivel (or dribble) or maybe because I am tired of defining myself by my state of motherhood. Now and then, I do dabble in mommyblogging, but I still feel like I need to apologize for it.

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  7. i just wanted to go so i could meet peoples blogs i read and love! freaking mom blogger or not- you know? and it was fun.. i don't mean to be a "mommy blogger" but i am by default. and the fact that i birthed something. lol i wanted to meet everyone- but i especially wanted to meet those who were "familiar" to me.. you know?

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  8. It's interesting; it didn't even occur to me that a lot of blogs written by women would be about being mothers. I read very few blogs that are very personal: I read about food, politics, sustainable farming and green lifestyles, knitting and a few hodge-podge blogs. I wonder if there are lots of daddy-bloggers; I'm guessing not. Although some of the male bloggers I read have children and mention them in some posts, I can't imagine an all-male blogging conference emphasizing the dad role.

    I can certainly understand why someone who is raising a child would write about that experience: it's a huge thing. But I know I would have been put off by the idea of bibs in a swag-bag, because that choice implies that women are still identified primarily as mothers. As a woman who does not have children and does not expect (or want) to, that feels strange. However, I would assume the choice was really made for a much simpler reason. The majority of bloggers probably fit into the childbearing years, and parents buy stuff. Simple.

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  9. older & wiser and also jennster:

    yes, i realized that my feeling "outside" of things had nothing to do with labels or blog topics or mommies or not mommies or anything like that. there were just a bunch of women around who knew each other (or couldn't wait to meet each other). so, there was a big group of people who bonded, and then there was me going, "who ARE these people?"

    absolutely no reason to fault them. plus, it had nothing to do with WHAT the common denominator was (i.e., "mommyblogging") and everything to do with the simple fact that there WAS a common denominator...

    ...and that i didn't happen to share it.

    anyway! i still had a good time and am psyched about all the connections i made there and have made since. :)

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  10. I can't believe you got to meet Dooce. So. Freaking. Jealous.

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  11. I'm smiling. Hugely.

    I feel so honored that we could continue this conversation here, even if it didn't get started until we both got home.

    And whoever older and wiser is (a relative?) I'm thinking maybe "wisest" would be more fitting. I've also been thinking about some of the damage we do to our own, with some of the post-BlogHer venom I've seen. It's like every worst stereotype about what happens when you get a big group of women together, and I don't like it one bit.

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  12. Regarding the swag: I'm the now infertile mom of a 10-year-old, so the bib and PBSKids stuff was useless to me, as was the condom. So what? I liked the corkscrew... not to mention the little flashdrive in the Saturn packet. The Janes WERE dreadful. But the bottom line is that sponsorship stuff made the conference somewhat affordable -- so I can put up with a few little things I cannot use and can tune out the stupid little commercial so I can get to the good stuff.

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  13. Hey chica,
    I'm a mom who happens to blog and I check your site to hear what you have to say every day.
    Sorry you felt that way at the conference, but to be honest, I probably would have been in the same boat.
    Rock on gurl. You don't have to be a mom to get noticed.
    Me

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  14. How cool that you met Dooce!

    And you're absolutely right about your expression in that photo. Priceless.

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  15. Wish we had something like that here, maybe we do, I hardly write anything anyway. The whole mummy/non-mummy issue seems to have been a bit controversial, a bit like real life really; most mummies talk about their children. My best friend has kids who are nearly grown now and is not keen on my current broodiness because it will change everything. Much as I might think that I won't be obsessed, I will, just as now I am obsessed with my weight! The whole BlogHer sounds phenomenal though; Phenomenal Women as by Maya Angelou; http://www.feminist.com/resources/artspeech/insp/maya.htm

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  16. I'm just bummed that I didn't get to meet you. I love your blog, and was so thrilled when one time I emailed you and you actually emailed me back, and we had a little conversation.

    I wish there was someway to know who all - namely, which blogs - are attending, in one easy off-line format. I'm going to talk to them about that!!

    I was surprised at how much attention the mommybloggers (myself included) got. If it's any consolation, we are The Ignored in the rest of the world.

    Maybe next year I'll get to meet you.

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  17. The weird thing is...I am a mommy blogger...a label others use to describe me and I feel suffocated by it because it is not all I am...but I digress. As a mommy blogger at the conference I felt like the attention we got was all negative...there was 'the post' there was 'the bib'....I agree with Mom 101...I was there to meet online friends. Which made me happy and I also met new friends....even if they like to stroke my arm...

    one thing I took away from the convention is that the feminist movement worked...we are now at a place in our history where women can choose whether or not they want to have children. It is no longer assumed you will. I think this is positive move for all women...krisco is right, most of the time we are ignored ( i spent a hour in a trailer at a fundraiser this week because I brought my nursing baby and it freaked the old men right out) or not taken seriously.

    While we may have gotten a lot of attention at blogher...i didn't think much of it was positive...which sucks

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  18. If it makes you feel better, I'm considered a "mommyblogger" (or whatEVER) and I felt left out at times. I'm not one to walk around with temporary tattoos on my arm or pasties on my tits...was there a place for me?

    I went to BlogHer with zero expectations. None. I had no idea what it was about or what I was getting myself into. I also get overwhelmed easily by large groups so that added nicely to the anxiety.

    I think because I kept my expectations low, I had an okay time. Socializing wasn't my main priority. I felt it was a by-product of the event. ("I'm here to learn about some cool stuff and if I meet people along the way, hoo-ray.")

    Sponsors. There was a lot of stuff in that shwag bag that I didn't need or want (including the bag itself). But I sure am glad BlogHer had sponsors otherwise I couldn't have afforded to go. (And about the bibs: even though they were geared towards moms, do all moms have kids under 1 year old? My kids don't use bibs, but now, their dollies do.)

    I was standing at the edge of a circle of women (as I am wont to do) when one of them said she was going to try and hunt you down. I've admired your writing for so long (every since the CL best of) that I regret not going along with her.

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