Laura McKenna writes about the lack of respect offered to "Mommybloggers" by the MSM courtesy of a simply awful sounding "interview" conducted by Kathie Lee Gifford (uh, duh!?) for The Today Show. Mommybloggers run the gambit from personal diarists reflecting upon the exploits of themselves and their children to those, like McKenna, who blur the lines of distinction between personal and political blogging. McKenna offers links to a good number of these blogs, so read her write-up to get a good feel for the culture of the "Mommyblog."
I’m not sure I qualify for the title of "Mommyblogger" though I’m certainly a "Mommy" and it’s been alleged, on occasion, that I’m a blogger. Still, after reading McKenna’s discussion of Mommybloggers, I think there are additional requirements. I don’t--for example--feel particularly compelled to discuss potty training in a detailed and graphic manner; though I have noted my inability to be shocked by such things.
McKenna notes that while Mommyblogs and Mommybloggers tend to be subjected to disrespectful treatment in the media and in the culture, there are reasons for Mommybloggers to be of good cheer in the face of what she considers a temporary condition. First, much of the dismissal comes from those who (still!) want to dismiss the whole phenomenon of blogging as the ramblings of madmen and madwomen in their underwear. This is no longer a serious or a defensible opinion about the whole of the blogosphere, but honesty compels those who want to defend blogging to admit that it is not unfair to characterize a good chunk of it that way. Yet for Mommybloggers, McKenna argues, there is the additional burden that much of what they cover is dismissed as "girlie talk" and somehow unworthy of serious reflection or attention. To that, I say re-read what I said above about what honesty compels. But insofar as there are serious (and seriously compelling, intelligent and witty) Mommybloggers, at least marketers are sitting up and taking notice. Johnson and Johnson, for instance, tried to sponsor a Mommyblogger conference--though they seem to have suffered from some old school hang-ups about the propriety of including infant children--as if this was an ordinary "business" conference. McKenna seems to think that despite this blunder from JnJ, corporate America is only a few steps behind figuring out how to adapt to and make use of this new cultural phenomenon. As it grows--and I think it must--I wonder if the response from the political world will be as quick or as adept in "getting it" as the private sector has been. I wonder, further, whether conservatives will be able to make use of their natural edge in this market or if they, like JnJ (whose product line ought to give it a natural edge), will fumble. McKenna ends her post by pointing to this poignant post from Surrender Dorothy in which SD notes, "Here we are, world. Here we are." Not quite, "I am woman, hear me roar . . ." but then, it’s that much more believable.
Mark Baerlein’s musings about the Dumbest Generation and the stupefying power of technology aside, I think this is just one example of the ways in which the world will change--for good or ill (though I think mostly, for good)--in the coming generation. Moms of all stripes and varieties will enter the blogosphere (with varying degrees of success and value, to be sure) but at least they have the potential to be refreshingly less monolithic and pathetic than are the offerings of so-called women’s television and morning talk shows.