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.