From Tracie: -Why the New York Times Can Kiss My Blogging *SS!

Monday, March 15, 2010

-Why the New York Times Can Kiss My Blogging *SS!

The New York Times ran an article entitled, "Honey Don't Bother Mommy, I'm Too Busy Building My Brand" It was supposed to cover the SITS Bloggy Boot Camp  (There is the link to Bloggy Boot Camp since the NYT couldn't be bothered to include it in their article!)  I haven't read such female-marginalizing, condescending, tripe in a long time.  I cringe to think that this tripe was written by a woman, and one who blogs at that. 

For those of you who don't have time to read the entire article, I will share what you are missing, statements like this, "Teaching your baby to read? Please. How to hide vegetables in your children’s food? Oh, that’s so 2008." Really? Because I think I have read at least three blog posts in the last month that discussed hiding veggies in food. To describe the speaker, the author wrote,"She went barefoot for much of the day and said 'You guys!' a lot." I honestly don't know what this had to do with anything.

Also, the event was described as a chance to "bring together some virtual friends for some real-time girly bonding" (I'm trying to remember the last time when I read an article about a conference targeted at men described as a time for "boy-ish fun")  The author needs to make up her mind, doesn't she?  On one hand we have a conference that was a chance for a bunch of silly women to get together and have a pajama party, on the other hand it was an educational seminar for women to learn how to build your brand while sacrificing your children to hunger, loneliness, and neglect.  The New York Times can't have it both ways...because obviously the women, in their world, aren't allowed to have it all! 

I have never identified myself as a "mommy blogger", but I am a mom who blogs.  I haven't had lots of PR or made any money off of my blog.  I do write about my life, my daughter, my family, surviving childhood sexual abuse and living in joy.  I connect with other people and I have conversations. I don't know much about SEO or effective media kits, but in May I will use my blog to raise money for the Angela Shelton Foundation through a blog-a-thon.  And I will do all of this while raising an incredible daughter, who loves to read (I know the NYT is concerned about this) and without engaging in any of the actions portrayed in the picture that the New York Times chose to run as an illustration of this article.


  1. I read it, I didn't go to the boot camp and I was offended for them. Apparently if we aren't published authors as the article writer is, then we are simply moms who ignore our kids trying to make money from home. I am angry because unlike the personna she described I do not advertise on my blog, or make money or any of that. I care for 3 children one who is bipolar. I also care for my mom full time.. so yeah I was ticked..

  2. Amen, sister. I am especially insulted that they didn't link back to SITS in the process.

    Stopping by from SITS.

  3. Well said. Not only do I applaud you, but I Tweeted for you. ;o)

    Keep up the good work!

    (Stopping by from SITS)

  4. You've done a wonderful job highlighting the different, and demeaning, way that events that inform or organize women are trivialized. Thanks for helping bring attention to both this article and the wider problem.

  5. You know, I read that article (thanks to SITS) and I didn't even look at the picture. That's more offensive than the article!

    For me, it wasn't so much WHAT the article said as HOW she wrote it. It was condescending, patronizing, and full of assumptions.

    Confessions From A Working Mom

  6. Thanks!

    I linked to you on my post -


  7. Yep, I hated the picture, too. I was at Bloggy Boot Camp and I blog. And I am also a good mom of 5 kids. And what we do is so much more than what she decided to focus on.

  8. Our news media is heading down the toilet in general and I guess the NYT is leading the way.

  9. I don't even want to read that article. Ecky. But you wrote a good reply to it :)

  10. Requisite Disclaimer: I used to be a copy editor and I've been a writer and an editor at a few different magazines, so I have a fair bit of practice interpreting what a writer means to say and translating it into language that conveys the intended message rather more successfully ... and I also have experience with less-than-sterling editing jobs that introduce factual errors and bad phrasing. ;)

    From that POV, I actually think the article itself is more badly-written in places, or maybe badly-edited, than it is condescending. Like, with this sentence that you pointed out:

    "Teaching your baby to read? Please. How to hide vegetables in your children’s food? Oh, that’s so 2008."

    I'd bet money the author wasn't making fun of those concepts. Looking at it in context, the paragraph before that refers to women arriving at "a daylong conference that offered to school them in the latest must-have skill set for the minivan crowd."

    So I'd bet quite a lot she was trying to say, "The skill set the women were learning didn't include teaching your baby to read or how to hide vegetables in your children's food. The skill set was much more 'modern' than that!" At which point the reader is supposed to ask, "What WERE the women learning about?"

    And the next paragraph answers that question: "The topics on that day’s agenda included search-engine optimization, building a 'comment tribe' and how to create an effective media kit."

    Now, I didn't see the first draft of the article, so the bad transition might not even be the author's fault. It could well be that one or more of potentially several editors changed something around during the editing process and didn't notice that the result made that paragraph seem ambiguous and open to negative interpretation.

    Regarding the seemingly arbitrary mention of a speaker going barefoot and saying "You guys!" a lot, that's that "quirky" NYT writing style. The sentence was meant to support her previous idea with examples: "A summer-camp director from Los Angeles, she steered the proceedings with the good-natured sass of a sorority social chairwoman and the enthusiasm of a, well, summer-camp director."

    I also think the "girly bonding" idea wasn't meant to be condescending — I think it was supposed to make the conference sound fun as well as educational, since it mentions the educational part immediately after the girly bonding. I'm really not getting the "Moms are abandoning their kids to hunger, loneliness and neglect" idea out of this article, personally — except for in the title, and in that graphic you pointed out. The graphic is pretty much completely negative, but if the New York Times is like other newspapers, it's very possible the author had little to nothing to do with creating the graphic.

    The headline also does sound pretty negative, although it could be a misdirected attempt at being cute, but I don't know whether NYT authors even write their own headlines, since at some newspapers, it's the copy-editor who does that; it's also possible the headline was changed by an editor without the author's permission; or maybe the author really did write that title — but I don't know whether she realized how negative it (potentially) sounds.

    I could definitely be completely wrong, but I personally didn't get the idea that the author looks down on "mommy bloggers." I think she's just (potentially) slightly inept (or maybe an NYT editor is) and wanted to highlight that blogging is still on the rise, which makes it a bigger target for corporations, marketers, etc. The second page of the article is pretty much completely about that side of the issue.

    Just my impression!

  11. Tracie - well stated. Were you there? I was... and bummed we didn't meet if so!

    You made great points... loved your dig about your daughter loving to read !!

    Sooo pumped I found your site. I'm pretty confident we'll be connected from here on out!!

    Hugs, Kat

  12. Seriously right!! We were just discussing this at SITS.

  13. very well said. I agree with the others. I felt this article was very condescending.

  14. It sounds condescending and like stereotyping. I hate the way the mainstream portrays birth too, another stereotype.

    Most of the time that writers (Washington Post and others) come to Floyd and do a story they HAVE to mention tie dye or the word "hippie." They are finally getting away from that now that so mnay of us are business owners and such.

  15. don't have email responses enabled, so I though I would respond here.

    On the first quote...I totally understood that she wasn't making fun of those concepts. That she was trying to say they were learning a "more modern" concept. What I didn't appreciate was the inferred statement that unlike "good mothers" the participants weren't here to learn about those important issues.

    Second quote, I understood that she was using that as an example to back up her previous statement (I am able to read an understand most articles without someone's help you see) my point was that her description, although backing up her previous statement, didn't really have any purpose except to marginalize the speaker further. It was condescending.

    Maybe "girly bonding" was meant to make it sound fun, but to me it was condescending. It was unnecessary. The very use of the word "girly" seemed a little infantalizing to me. This is why I used the example "boy-ish fun" in response to it. I could have said "macho bonding", but I wanted to point out the use of "girly" in little girls!

    Maybe the headline and picture weren't picked out by the author, but I really could care less. That is why I mentioned not only the author, but also the NYT as being in the wrong here.

    I really can't imagine that if the author did pick our this title, she didn't realize how negative it sounded. While I disagree with her on many points, I refuse to believe that she is stupid. So given that, I refuse to believe that she wouldn't have realized how negative it was.

    Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  16. Tsk. Yeah, the pictures are all wrong. It's not my computer in the car with me. It's my camera, to take pictures to post on my blog. :) Since I'm not in NY, they wouldn't be aware of people like me.

  17. NYC is so cosmopolitan. i don't know. I'm not impressed with them.

    Book Review - Moving In

  18. I have to say that the article didn't seem so bad. But the headline writer obviously was trying to stir something up. And I didn't understand why the reporter shared links with many of her subjects, but left the SITS link out.

  19. It was such a terrible article. What's the deal with that mom blogger putting down mom bloggers? I didn't attend the conference, but I am a SITSta and that article was so unfair and one sided.

    There were actually some parts when I thought, okay, the author will redeem herself here, but then, nope. Just bad stuff all around.

  20. Came by from TMC and am now following.

    Great post - a lot of people were outraged by this article, and with good reason. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  21. I read the article but didn't even notice the picture at the time. The picture is really offensive - and ugly but that's beside the point. I wonder how much the NYT's traffic increased with all the hullabaloo?

  22. It was so condescending. I felt like there was this disbelief in the article that moms could actually take themselves and their interests seriously. Like we should just all stay home, watch Oprah and do laundry all day.

  23. Me and my bloggy friends on Facebook had a big ol' talk going on about this very article!!! I agree with everything you said! And as a blogger who does do giveaways and reviews I found it especially rude. No one cries about celebrities being on commercials (and getting paid THOUSANDS) to endorse brands they might not even like/use. What is SO wrong with mommies getting a product in exchange for their honest opinion?! I've never seen any payment in the form of cash either! Silly New York Times!