There has been an interesting conversation happening over on BlogHer in response to a post written by Loralee Choate. She wonders in her post if “big bloggers” owe it to “small bloggers” to help them out and pull them up.
I left a comment suggesting that it’d be nice for bloggers to help each other and pointing out that some very famous bloggers often support each other for mutual gain, but that there should be no expectation of help.
And I believe this. Really. Sort of. But some days it annoys me that I do. Because if I believe this, I must also believe that bloggers who make something of themselves on their own deserve what they achieve and some days…I’m not convinced.
I’m breaking some big personal rules by even writing this, but I can’t stay quiet about Jennifer Mendelsohn’s piece last Friday in the New York Times.
Yet again, another woman is willing to sell out her sisters for the price of entry to the boy’s club.
When will it stop? What are we standing to gain? What are we standing to lose?
If you believe the article millions. And we who are called “mommybloggers” are alternately “girly-bonding” and clawing each other out of the way to get at them.
Many smart women have written about the problems with the author’s article–and there are many–and I didn’t think I had anything to add, until I read Lindsay’s post today. It was the way she addressed the author directly not the main stream media at large that got me thinking about what I would say if she were standing in front of me.
1. “Girly-bonding”??!!! Seriously? I attend meetings and conferences for work all the time. Never, not once have they ever been referred to as “girly-bonding” sessions. You severely underestimate the intellect, power and professionalism of mom bloggers at your peril by using this term. When I attend these events–and men are there–it IS called a networking event? (Okay Joanne made this same point very well but I had to add my $.02 because I am THAT enraged by the term.)
2. We’re not all blogging for SEO and pageviews (Sure I’d love rockstar pageviews. Name one person writing online who wouldn’t like to have others appreciate their work.). I am a full-time political consultant. I don’t blog for the money or my kids would be in rags. Is it okay if I “ignore” my children while I’m at work? Or should I give that up too? Is it a problem that there are other women online who write well or that you don’t believe women should be doing anything but taking care of their children? And if the latter is true, where is your child while you are writing and researching your stories?
3. As a woman writing about other women writers, you did a disservice to many of the communities to which you belong (mother, writer, woman online, female professional). Haven’t we trudged a long way enough baby? I don’t think women should be given a bye by a female writer because they are women, and I maintain that no one blogger or writer owes it to anyone to pull others up (though Anna Quindlen would disagree. You’ve heard of her, right?) but to tear them down? You only make it harder on yourself in the long run.
edited to add:
4. There’s a fourth point. My children actually benefit from my blogging. Just one example happened last week. My 7 year old went to a premiere for The Discovery Channel’s forthcoming documentary Life. Not only did he get to see it, he got to hear from the very people who made it. He learned that there are real people whose job it is to film animals (a topic of great interest to him), that there are people whose job it is to make movies. Oh and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra accompanied the premiere, so he got to experience a live orchestra and learn that there are people who make a living playing instruments other than a guitar. The event made a big impression on my second grader. And the only reason I had the opportunity to take him to this special event was because relationships I’ve made through blogging.
All this has me so fired up I need to go out and “help” a small blogger now.
Oh wait. I am a small blogger.