I couldn’t go to BlogHer, because conferences are inconvenient to plan for when you’re not sure how you’ll be feeling. I’ve blown enough money on trips and tickets that I had to back out on at the last minute to know better at this stage of the game.
But I’m a woman writer who does some of her writing for women, and that’s why BlogHer appeals to me. Or why it used to.
Because blogging has changed drastically in the last two years. Even though it’s always been an ever-evolving medium, the evolution of years past has turned into what almost looks like a corruption. Blogging, in the first years of its life, was a chance for people to finally have someone else in the wide world hear what was on their minds. I had one of those proto-blogs in 1998, before they had a name and when they were just about writing. Then I retired for awhile, coming out again when I came out as a writer, almost 5 years ago.
My blog has never and will never be about making money. I made that decision because I saw too many of the best minds of my generation dragged off the roof waving genitals and manuscripts in an attempt to get ducats in exchange for their words. My blog is like my marriage. If I wanted money for this thing that I love doing, I’d go to the streets. Here I do it for love.
I don’t know if I blame the recession or greed or newspapers trying to align themselves with a faster-moving culture. But somewhere in there, in the last 2 years the Mommyblogger Paradigm became the ultimate corruption of blogging. And I mean that literally.
Because now you have people who are busy turning their two-cents worth of opinion into a referendum for a new world order whereby they get to decide who deserves to make money off the exploitation of her children and who doesn’t. You have women who have decided that they are worthy of thousands of dollars of free goods and services in exchange for telling people about how they got thousands of dollars of free goods and services.
I’m having a somewhat schizophrenic reaction to all of this. I like seeing consumer advocacy in action. I like when real people talk in a real way about their real experiences and make a difference in this world. But it seems to have lately shifted from basic advocacy into a pell-mell dash for the loot. The examples are so numerous that I’d be all day throwing out links, so if you need more proof, just google “Mom Blog Sponsor” and “BlogHer Swag”. It makes for a sad day of reading.
In fact, it makes some of the old guard Mommy Bloggers reconsider their own blogs. These women are the ones who got in it for the love and don’t mind but don’t brag about the prizes that come every once in awhile.
[T]hose of us who were blogging at and around that time were pioneers in the mommyblogging field. We did it with pride, openness and quality. We told the stories of our lives. We shared stories about motherhood honestly and without apology. We took back the term “mommyblogger” and made it synonymous with power, integrity and respect. … Many women who are a part of this new breed of mommybloggers have come to the scene heralding with much pomp and circumstance a sense of entitlement. They feel they are owed something. They feel just by slapping the label mommyblogger on their blog (blogs where they barely if ever write about their personally lives or families at all), they have earned the same respect as those who are writing quality stories that engage their readers.
[I] heard the words, “I don’t even want to be called a mommyblogger anymore if this is what is has come down to.“ come out of my very own mouth, my heart dropped to my feet. The look on [Susan Getgood’s] face (and the tears that began rolling down my cheeks) said it all.
Literacy has long been the number-two way for women to obtain power. Right behind using their sexuality. When we learned to read and write we wrested control of our lives and destinies from a male-dominated culture. I firmly believe that writing is the alchemy which frees women’s minds and souls. To see it turned from that, to see it debased into a form of extortion, an exercise of greed is to watch this powerful medium poisoned and killed.