This is kyriarchy in action: the New York Times on “Mommy bloggers”

Type A Mom and Mom101 have done brilliant jobs explaining why the NYT piece Honey, Don’t Bother Mommy. I’m Too Busy Building My Brand is disgustingly discriminatory — and just another example of a larger mainstream media bias against blogs, and “mommy bloggers” in particular. Without quite naming it, they describe how this is typical misogyny.

But — stop me if you’re surprised — I think it’s deeper than that.

What we have here is a number of highly paid mostly-white women (and mostly-white women hoping to be highly paid) coming up in the world and trying to get a piece of the pie so long hoarded by rich white men (like the owners and editors of the New York Times), and getting pissed about the misogyny used against them when it becomes apparent that they’re succeeding.

Which is completely understandable — there’s every reason and right to be righteously angry, and to mobilize against the mainstream media for their continued marginalization of moms-who-blog. This is certainly not an indictment of the women who have “made it” in blogging, nor those who are trying to get there, who are so rightfully angered by the contempt displayed toward them by the New York Times.

But let’s talk about who’s getting belittled here — and who’s getting ignored entirely.

The “mommy blogger” as described in the NYT is solidly middle class (with debt, perhaps, but also minivans and lattes and money to burn on an “expensive hobby”). She is understood to be straight, by way of being married. She is assumed to be white, by being both middle class and married. (And look at the pictures on the NYT article, and the graphic which originally accompanied the post in large, found at the bottom of Mom101′s post — which is a whole ‘nother blob of misogynistic turditry.)

And to be fair, the women-with-children-who-blog (especially about parenting) who get attention and marketing sponsorships and book deals and offers of swag and all-expenses-paid trips are overwhelmingly white and married and middle class.

But in addition to portraying that group offensively, as vapid and concerned more with appearance than parenting, more with parenting-as-competition than politics and cultural change, this leaves out vast numbers of bloggers who are women with children. It leaves out those of us who are not white. It leaves out those of us who are more concerned with getting food on the table than getting it all organically grown. It leaves out those of us who are not straight, not married, not male partnered, not partnered all all, or partnered with more than one other. And it leaves out those of us who are trying to build a revolution instead of, or along with (as though that were such a sin?), a brand.

It is a problem that the work of successful women — who have learned to play the SEO game, who have stood up and demanded fair pay from major companies and PR firms, who have worked long days and late nights to build a business powerful enough even the likes of Nestle have to pay attention — is dismissed as so much vanity indulgence, that new thing that those silly mommies are doing.

But it is no less of a problem that who is successful, who is getting smeared, is a very specific, privileged sort of woman. Those of us who are in this gig to tell our long-suppressed stories (which don’t show up in the papers, not even in the “Fashion” and “Living” section where newspaper editors deign to give privileged women a nod on occasion), to save our sanity in a society that damages us daily, to join together and oppose the multitude of oppressions we and our children face unceasingly — as well as, as Mom101 pointed out, to share our knowledge in the field of our passion or our profession, to influence politics and government proceedings, to contribute to the human conversation, to do the 100s of other things women-with-children who blog do — why, they don’t even bother smearing us, because we’re not even worthy of acknowledgment.

Whether she is out to make a living, or eschews monitization in favor of revolution, or tries to balance both, the “mommy blogger” who is not white and straight and living that suburban life does not even have the dubious “honor” of being derided by the old guard media — to them, she does not exist at all.

Now that’s a story worth investigating.

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19 Responses to This is kyriarchy in action: the New York Times on “Mommy bloggers”

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  2. I should probably take a moment and read this again and fully digest its awesomeness before commenting, but I just can’t. All I can say is… THIS! I read the other posts you linked to and all I kept thinking was what you wrote here. I wanted to comment on Liz’s post but I just can’t without coming off as the “angry black chick.” But seriously, where are the moms of color? Where are the lesbians? The single moms? The moms who aren’t married? I am in the same boat as you as far as the purpose of my blog. I work full-time, that is how I make my living. My blog is not about building a brand or trying to get a job or make money (although, of course, that would be nice, too.) It’s about changing people’s minds, about, as you say, starting a revolution.
    It’s hard for me to even READ the NY Times anymore because it’s just so not my reality. I mean, a blog post about how tough it is for rich white women to talk to their nannies. Really?! These are the problems that the NY Times thinks it’s important to tackle? How to TALK to the women who are raising your children? People are getting riled up because the NY Times made fun of their work, but the subtext is much worse than that. Thanks for posting this and giving me a place to vent my feelings. I know I already told you, but I can’t wait to meet you at BlogHer!

  3. “And it leaves out those of us who are trying to build a revolution instead of, or along with (as though that were such a sin?), a brand.”

    Good thing I don’t believe in sin then, eh?

  4. And this is exactly why I don’t write. The kyriarchy has done such a good job that I am convinced that there are only white bloggers out there because the audience IS white –and I am just a little anomaly out there in the net.

  5. Thank you. I want to link to this.

    Elita: I hope you do comment on the other piece. Your voice needs to be heard. And: how to talk to their nannies?? Seriously? The NY Times??

    Andy: I hope you do write and find the audience who deserves you.

    And now I’ll shut up, because I am a middle-class, white, straight mommy blogger who hates when people nitpick at her but is realizing there are many more powerful struggles in life than that.

  6. Pingback: Does the world see moms the same way the New York Times does? | PhD in Parenting

  7. MM they also seem to be letting out the non-American mom bloggers (or not Canadian).
    I completely agree with what you are saying. I don’t necessarily see something inherently wrong in being smeared, at least you are being regarded.

  8. Ugh. I can’t stomach those sorts of “mommy blogs”. I find that their lifestyle is something I’ve only read about in books, never experienced in my life. I mainly read this blog and a few science-based parenting blogs (such as Science-Based Parenting, written by a group of skeptics including an at-home father). I’m glad you write about your perspectives on life – it is very meaningful to me.

  9. I guess I’d only say to The Nerd that the NY Times article is making every mommy blog sound like “those sorts” — the vapid, obnoxious sorts. I like plenty of traditional mommy blogs that bring worthy voices to the table, and I like plenty of non-traditional ones (such as Raising My Boychick), too. I don’t read any blogs that I don’t find genuine and that don’t have something to speak into my life, but I find a wide range of ones that manage both.

  10. Hi there, Twitter friend! Thank you for your article. I could not stop myself from giving my 2 cents as well. :)

    http://dagmarbleasdale.com/2010/03/mommy-bloggers-and-their-depiction-in-the-new-york-times/

    Best,
    Dagmar
    Dagmar’s momsense

  11. I stumbled on your blog today by way of a FB friend who posted a link, whew! and wow, I’m so very thrilled to have found you. I’ve been reading over the last hour and nothing you’ve said I’ve disagreed with, and more, so much of what you’ve written explores the many fragments of thought I’ve had bouncing around in my skull for far to long and it’s so good to see someone has put words (and what words!) to them. I don’t have any idea where I fit in as a blogger, but I think your thoughts on this topic are so spot on. In no way am I going to articulate just how excited I am to find your blog. Just know that I am!

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  14. Pingback: Is this a mommy blog? « Raising My Boychick

  15. Thanks for putting into words something that I’ve been trying, and unable, to articulate for some time now.

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