Every few months, it seems, the big news outlets write a story about ‘the mommy bloggers’ – and these articles are always bad. They serve as a reminder to these women and the rest of the world that mommy bloggers are silly, worthless and not to be taken seriously.
Case in point, last week’s bitch slap landed in the Fashion & Style section of the New York Times. Heaven forbid you put the bloggers in the Tech section. Because, the article reminds us, these aren’t really bloggers, they’re moms who fool around on their pink computers, talk about diapers, bitch about companies and do sippy cup giveaways. There was even a Tupperware party analogy. If the article had been anymore patronizing and condescending it would have had to have been posted in the classifieds next to the free puppies and SWF’s seeking SWM’s with BHCs.
What’s wrong here?
What’s missing? Why is it that women are moving and shaking things, and seeming to have freedom and independence and gumption in this country…but then crap like this happens over and over and over again?
Bonnie Marcus may be on to something. It might be a problem with leadership. Of the female kind. She has a new eBook out called Advancing Women’s Leadership that features 3 fantastic interviews from her (huge sensation of a) radio show, Head over Heels.
One of the interviewees featured is Marie Wilson, founder and President of The White House Project. (FYI copy buffs, the WHP’s stellar text: “Add women, change culture. Add women, change business. Add women, change politics. ADD WOMEN, CHANGE EVERYTHING“) Wilson notes something profound about our culture:
“We’ve measured the comfort level of the public, and that comfort level is up to 90 percent on most issues. The comfort level of women leading across these sectors is just great.
What hasn’t risen with the comfort level is the number of women who actually lead. What’s good is that you now have a public that trusts women to lead a technology firm, a journalistic organization, to lead in politics. Across these different areas, even in military, sports and religion the three I call guns, games and God, which are the hardest, it doesn’t drop below 70 percent.
So, the trust is there, and so I think it’s the right direction. It’s just that the political country needs to move along with it and know it’s right. Let’s put people in. We need to fill the pipeline. And the pipeline’s there. We need to just push the women in the pipeline.”
Attitudes are changing, but the action isn’t there.
I do know that mommy bloggers are only once slice of ‘women’ – but they’re a very vocal and impactful one – and they represent. So, it’s important to note that in the case of the media campaign that insists on putting mommy bloggers in their place, we have a bigger problem: A woman wrote the article. She’s a mommy blogger. She threw her peers under the bus. Her name is Jennifer Mendelsohn.
Is the problem leadership? Are mommy bloggers lacking leaders that show by example that this is a sisterhood? I’m not sure it’s that cut and dry. As far as I can see, there exist the following factions in the mommy blogger world:
- The power moms that are untouchable, revered, reviled, envied and ‘above it all’, making their millions and patting the rest of the herd on the head (if you’re lucky enough to be at arm’s length) (ie. Dooce)
- The upper-mid level moms that put on conferences, support people, interact, come up with ideas that are inclusive and helpful (ie. TypeAMom)
- The upper-mid level moms that are mean, nasty, selfish and cut from the every mom for herself cloth (ie…..I will not stoop to their level and mention names)
- The mom minions – thousands at this point of moms doing their thing, hoping one day to be a 2, praying to be a 1. (ie. there are too many to name)
Who’s supposed to lead?
The crowd is, well, crowded. And the competition is fierce. #2 above is the closest we get to leaders, but they’re also struggling to survive and constantly reaching for #1. They do lead, sometimes, but I’m not sure enough. And sadly, I’m not sure the mob would even let one or two people be ‘The Leaders’ because of the fierce jealousy and competition that pervades. Which just underlines and italicizes the basic problem even more.
And what about the rest of us, what about the women bloggers in general, the women business owners, the women every things? Where do we draw the line between independence and reliance? Following and leading? Mentoring and learning? Several strong women and the sisterhood?
I only voraciously read 1/3 of Bonnie’s (free) ebook before this all hit me and I had to come write about it…so I’m headed back into it now to learn more about women and leadership and how I can be part of using it to enact change. (I think I’ll start by sending a copy to Jennifer Mendelsohn).
Check it out…let me know what you think…
Image credit: whyamikeenan
(and yes, I ripped my title straight from the West Wing…)