22 Jul 2008

If I’d been at BlogHer, it wouldn’t have been to hear Graywolf speak

No offense at all to Graywolf, who believes it was sexist of BlogHer not to have male speakers at its 2008 conference, but I wouldn’t have gone there to hear him speak. If I’d gone at all, that is.

Let me back the train up a bit.

Until a few weeks ago, I was just your average mommyblogger. You’ve never heard of my mommyblog, and I’m not going to share it with you either. This world and that world exist on separate planes for me.

Had I been able to afford to accept the invitation to BlogHer, I would’ve wanted to hear women speak. Why? Because I would’ve been expecting to hear from other women who were doing what I was doing. Peers, not experts. Whatever expertise a man could have about blogging, he still can’t understand what it is to be a woman who blogs.

Like Michael Gray. From the crash course I’ve had in SEO and linkbait and whatnot over the past few weeks, he’s become one of the people whose advice and authority I respect. (By the way, this whole BlogHer controversy he’s kicked up is quite the linkbait. Nicely done.) But if I wanted to hear him speak, it would be at an SEO conference, not at the BlogHer conference.

I don’t think it’s about being closed-minded to new ideas, it’s about similarity. Sisterhood, if you will, but I think that has a rather campy connotation to it. A man who has all the know-how as far as creating and marketing a successful blog can certainly give an informative, educational presentation about blogging. But he can’t relate to me in the same way as a woman can.

On a very basic level, I think women join the BlogHer network because it’s the one place where they don’t have to face the "there are no girls on the internets" wall. (You know the "old" saying: on the internet, all the men are men, the women are men, and the kids are police officers.)

It’s not to say that the women of BlogHer only associate with the women of the BlogHer network. You can be a BlogHer member and still make your rounds in other internet circles, circles that include some brilliant male speakers. But when you’re in with BlogHer, I’ll be quite frank, you expect to be associating with other women who have been where you are.

It’s all about expectations. If I go to some big political shindig, I expect to hear from members of my own party. Al Gore may have lots of interesting things to say, but people aren’t going to the GOP convention to listen to him. Likewise, Karl Rove isn’t going to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention.

Maybe I’ll get to go to BlogHer next year (Jim?) and Graywolf can prove me wrong by delivering a really amazing presentation when he’s in the spotlight.

– QualityGal

P.S. I do hope to hear you speak at some point in the future, GrayWolf!

 

Comments

  1. Jebus July 22, 2008 at 3:51 PM

    Gee, well, glad we’ve been able to take tired identify politics into every possible freaking place, including SEO.

    Of course, you can’t know what that mean unless you’re a middle aged right handed southern man with one ear just a tidge lower than the other.

  2. graywolf July 22, 2008 at 4:07 PM

    There’s a line from classic star trek where MR Spock says his most valuable place was with human not vulcans. in a nutshel on vulcan he didn’t bring as much to group, and among humans he filled a role that was missing. That’s what diversity brings to any group.

    The big objection everyone brings to the party is “bonding with other women”, when I go to conferences sure I like to spend time with my friends but i don’t make the distinction between male friends and women, buts maybe thats me.

    The whole mommy blog argument is actually kinda humorous when people throw it up for me. I pick the kids up after school every day, I bring them to parties, karate, school dance school, play dates and other events they have to go to. I do all the food shopping, and I see all the other mom’s around town when I’m doing my errands. We chat before and after school and the intimate details that many of them have shared make me feel I’ve been accepted into “the tribe”. What we as a society need to stop associating primary childcare with gender, and realize that sometimes mommy bloggers might just be dad’s.

    While I do have a point everytime I pull one of these there also a bit of learning quality to. For example the majority of my tweets yesterday had the word “blogher” to catch anyone using twitter search engines or monitoring tools and draw in a bit of traffic, and twitter was my number 2 referral for yesterday beating out Google. So while I’m not everyone’s cup of tea I am willing to teach and share things with anyone who’s willing to listen.

  3. Tom (Mr.Mom) Royce July 23, 2008 at 8:10 AM

    Michael is right, not all of the Mommy Bloggers are women. Not all of the child care providers in the family are women. There is this great ruckus made that men have to take an active role in the household, and then when we do, Mom’s feel threatened and don’t want men to participate?
    What is truly ironic is that for a Dad to stay at home with the kids he is expected to work full time also, and internet marketing and blogging is a great outlet for that.
    Yet if men created an exclusive type atmosphere at a conference in this day and age they would be attacked as being sexist.
    I am with Graywolf on this one.

  4. Josh July 24, 2008 at 6:52 AM

    i have absolutely no problems with ladies having a ladies related blogging conference, but gray has a point.

    if men had a man only SEO conference, what would the women think? i reckon there would be a bit of an uproar.

  5. GeekMommy August 3, 2008 at 4:11 AM

    The funny part is that we will probably have male speakers at BlogHer in the next couple of years – but I’d be terribly surprised if he’s ever invited to be one of them. Seeing as he’s completely missed the reason any of us opt to go to BlogHer, he’s not exactly someone any of us would go out of our way to hear.

    Had his position been one of “I realize why it has been this way up to now, but honestly? There are some things that certain male speakers could teach you that would benefit you if they were allowed to speak here – such as…” instead of “now you’re the sexist pigs because you won’t let me come speak there and make marketing connections!” he’d likely have gotten a much better reception.

    That said, when “Booth Babes” stop being standard at tech conferences and a “good ratio of male-to-female speakers” isn’t one where women = 40% then he’s got room to say he’s being discriminated against in the tech field.

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