Ok, let’s just get this out of the way. I don’t want to write this, I can’t imagine why anyone would read this, but if I just pretend it didn’t happen, I might make the same mistake in the future. Or worse, you might make my mistake when I could have warned you. This is also the longest blog I have ever posted here, so even if you dive in, you’ve been warned. To help, I have decided to bullet point the highlights so you can skip
the faulking manifesto diatribe if you desire. Also, let me just warn anyone new that this post is not representative of this site, not all that entertaining, and I encourage you to skip back to previous posts and ignore this one entirely. And yes I am counting on the fact that Google Analytics tells me my Sunday readership is less than 10 visitors.
So for those of you unfortunate enough to have stumbled here, please know that I don’t use LA Juice to gripe about my life and I will always make a concerted effort to keep my personal problems off these pages.
Unless and until I need one of your kidneys or a piece of your liver. Then I am going to work you and your sympathy like a burnt out tranny hooker on the corner of Santa Monica and Highland.
BULLET POINT SYNOPSIS: Blogher ’11
- Don’t ever use the phrase “Mommy Bloggers” not even as a joke.
- Women like Tempurpedic pillows, Philosophy hair products and Dr. Scholl’s- but not as much as they like their sex toys.
- Don’t EVER buy Hunt’s ketchup.
- There are still women out there who spend too much energy whining about how hard it is to juggle their lives and how men don’t do shit.
- I am well aware that in writing this blog I am potentially alienating a bazillion people, but I knew I was not amongst my own kind when my mockery of the Lady Gaga Flash Mob was met with derisive glares and cold silence at the lunch table.
- The Mommy Blogging Advertising Industry is a behemoth.
- The rest of us are not really welcome and barely tolerated.
- Coolest Swag? The WaterPik SinusSense, The Tempurpedic pillow and Yahoo’s Style Guide.
- Most Blatantly Pandering Sponsor? Proctor & Gamble.
- Most ill-conceived, creepy and aggressive Marketing Campaign? “Say No to Green” by the Bill my Parents company. And this says quite a bit given the gigantic PringlesMan that walked around creeping me out.
- Even a hundred years after high school graduation, wandering around the cafeteria with your lunch tray by yourself is one of the worst experiences you must suffer in life. Except for accidentally sitting at what appears to be an empty table, but is actually saved for a group of bloggers who do not want anything to do with you. Especially the Mommies. And you cannot make it better by trying too hard or by talking. Especially if you are me.
- Do I feel qualified to judge this conference even though I barely lasted 6 hours? You bet your ben-wah balls I do.
No its true, I lasted all of 6 hours at Blogher’11 before I walked out in semi defeat. I say semi because – well, LOOK AT THE SWAG:
and this is only representative of the non-mommy/child gifts. I had another bag of mommy-kid stuff I gave to my sister, niece and nephew. SWAG heaven. Seriously.
Will I ever learn my lesson?
Maybe I should just know by now, these sort of gatherings are not for me. Maybe next year those of you I don’t alienate by writing this post can remind me of my defeat before I consider heading out to one more “writing” convention of any sort without Dr. Gonzo’s briefcase.
Blogher 11 was primarily for, influenced mainly by, and overrun by mommies and the women who love them. But you knew that already didn’t you?
If I had bothered to read between the lines, or even just interpret the stats, I would have known too: 36 of 84 Expo vendors catered exclusively to and were there to talk to “Mommy Bloggers” (and another 10-15 only pretended not to be focused on mommies); 23 of 60 conference sessions were directed at Mommy Bloggers, and if the two non-mommy oriented sessions I walked out of were representative, the Mommy Bloggers took over then non-mommy sessions anyway.
Oh yea I said it – the faulking elephant in the room- “Mommy Bloggers”. Probably not incredibly wise that I also used the words “elephant” and “mommy” in the same sentence, but my bridges were ablaze before I even found my lighter.
The only rule of the Mommy Bloggers Club
Is that if you aren’t a mommy and a blogger, you are not welcome.
Also, don’t call us “Mommy Bloggers” you barren, selfish bitch.
I wish I could say I feel contrition for my flagrant foul, but since I pretty much already alienated half of the people I actually met and liked at this conference-
OF COURSE Your girl Juice inadvertently insulted nearly every Mommy Blogger she met and a couple of the Two-mommy Bloggers as well. May as well own it.
And I guess I should caveat here that I have good friends who are both mommies and bloggers, and some of who even write about being a mommy. But guess what? They are clever interesting educated women too. They write well, are funny as shit, they do not define themselves by their “momminess”, nor do they use their mommy status like a weapon. So I had no idea this other world of mommies who blog existed.
Geebus, enough with the disclaimers already Juice. Strap on a set will ya?
Fine. I was overwhelmed by the exclusionary attitudes of the Mommy Bloggers at Blogher11, annoyed by the dominant whining, and totally disappointed that while many of these women latently defined themselves by their momminess, god help the pathetic single- and probably barren- of us who got in their way, or used the phrase “Mommy Blogger”.
I guess its like a nationality. You can’t talk about Dumb Blondes unless you are one yourself.
I should also say that I would love to be a mom, and if my sister’s crazy non-stop life as a single mom is a good example (and it is), I get it. Its mind bogglingly challenging. Its just that I had no idea that there was a whole world stuck in 1994 still complaining that supermoms have it hard and men suck.
And yet it was clear, that as far as others at Blogher 11 were concerned, I just don’t know how hard it is to make it on the Prairie, so I should just shut the fuck up or get out.
The Sprout Booth
You can tell the Blogher ’11 organizers know they are caught in the middle. They exhibited signs of trying to include and address those attendees amongst us who have nothing to do with the Mommy World, but it’s a rough row to hoe. Even sponsors who should be neutral, including those with gigantic EXPO presence -P&G- make it clear in their focus and swag offerings that they are there to tap into the marketing money making machine that is the Mommy Blogger.
And with that I bring you my first story: The Sprout Booth. Sprout is a company catering to kids and mommies. I don’t know what they really do, I just know that when I walked by, they were empty and desperate to talk to anyone. They made the judgment call that I was a Mommy. Probably because my dress and my ass made it look like I was about 4 months preggers.
The Sprout Girl launched a pitch to lure me over. Because I have a niece and nephew and Sprout was giving away fun looking ninja star crayons- I bit. The ruse was simple. They want Mommy Bloggers to review their products on their Mommy Blogs. Trouble is, as the girl handed me two of everything, once she asked what my blog was about, she FAULKING RECOILED IN HORROR.
I shit you not. And then she asked “Are you a mommy?”
Yes she said “Mommy”. So I said “yes, I have three little ones. Well, one is not so little, She’s 18 already- a geriatric. And my 10 year old is diabetic. The 4 year old is a holy terror- when we adopted him the agency dropped him off at my door only saying “This one is gonna need a lot of love”.
Oh don’t start with me, she deserved it. Consider my restraint in that I didn’t also rub my belly and use the phrase “bun in the oven”.
“Dropped him off?” she asked.
“And we know nothing about his background, genetics or anything.”
She grew suspicious.
“What are your children’s names?”
“I don’t have kids, unless you count the goat. Although we usually don’t. I was talking about my cats.”
She furtively glanced at my arms cradling all the kiddie swag she had just bestowed upon me, then gave me the most judgmental look ever.
“Oh” as icily as a New York City maitre’d. With that she abruptly walked away from me.
And I’d love to tell you this was a unique occurrence, but … with the exception of Chucky Cheese (who had awesome, fun, interesting people working their booth) non-mommies were basically pariah to the family based exhibitors/sponsors.
Swagivus for the Rest of Us: Sex Toys, Tempurpedic Pillows, Dr. Scholls and Wine Glasses.
NB: Links in this section are NSFW!
Luckily there were ample and impressive non-family oriented exhibitors. My favorites were Yahoo Contributor Network, Tempurpedic, and Eggland’s best. So bravo to Blogher 11 for trying to accommodate the barren and incomplete.
And let me tell you- the one exhibitor who knows what these women want? “EdenFantasys” (never mind the spelling, that is the company name, I see it too and its driving me nuts). The EdenFantasys booth continually maintained a line 20-40 women deep and had to schedule regularly timed runners (every 15 minutes) to cart (as in “used multiple dollies”) boxes of swag to the booth. EdenFantasys was – BY FAR- the hit of the Expo.
EdenFantasys gave away sex toy swag (NSFW link). And they know that women cannot get enough of their double headed vibrators. I can’t tell you the number of times I heard a women walk away from the table peering happily into her swag bag and verbosely planning an evening alone in her hotel room.
Of course I got a bag, but of course I found a way to piss people off in the execution. By cutting in line. Not on purpose. Accidentally, while I was on reconnaissance.: I had to know what I was getting into before I wasted all my time.
See, several sponsors offer a variety of swag according to a tiered system:
1.”GPS” or General Public Swag: Some item that anyone could have just by reaching into the bowl.
2. “Twitter Swag”: Where you have to tweet about the product to get the item.
3. Ultra special super happy funtime Swag: Where you have to interact, sign up and engage with the vendor, suffer the sales pitch, or humiliate yourself to get the goods.
I was sure that people had to engage in Third Tier interaction with the EdenFantasys vendor before they just handed over sex toys. (WAIT this link is NSFW!!!!) I didn’t want to wait in line and then suffer a sales pitch (or worse) just for a vibrator- not even for the comic relief of it all. So I headed to the front of the table, ostensibly to take a photo of the burgeoning line, but really to listen in and find out the catch. It turned out that did you not have to do anything other than add yourself to their mailing list. Wow. And naturally, because it was kind of a chaotic scene, they thought I was at the front of the line and gave me my bag. It was merely first time in the day I pissed off an entire group of bloggers.
My Swag bag had TWO sex toys: including that “couples toy“ (WAIT this link is NSFW!!!!) that my sister and I initially and horrifyingly thought was for heterosexual use. My sister likened it to a sex taser and even uttered the phrase “Don’t Tase me Ho”. We were terrified by the item until we deduced that it must be for lesbian couples. EdenFantasys gave me single sex couple toys. Great. I can’t even bring these things into our house without scarring Lance for life. So I hid one in my sister’s medicine cabinet for her boyfriend to find, and the other I left in my car.
I will say this about EdenFantasys, at least they weren’t judgmental. They may have made an assumption about my sexual preferences, but at least they didn’t treat me badly because I was not a Mommy.
The Grande Finale:
Your mother was a hamster, but your father is a useless, dumbassed, un-potty trained mutt,
according to the Huffington Post Panel.
Sure its sounds like I am complaining, but most of the mommy “myopathy “amused me until the Friday Afternoon Session. I am certain I would not have abruptly walked out of the conference but for the Huffington Post Panel session.
I was really looking forward to hearing a panel of wildly successful women, lead by a senior editor of The Huffington Post, talk about their careers in blogging. 6 women, 4 of which have incredible resumes: One worked with Oprah, several published authors, television journalists, successful magazine editor.
Was I supposed to expect that a session called “Success on your own terms” was code for “Men suck and my life is soo hard. Wah faulking Wah, poor me”?
Not 10 minutes into the session and the esteemed panel, encouraged by a significant and vocal portion of the audience, launch into a whiny bitch fest, where husbands are less trainable than puppies, life is hard when you are trying to do it all, no one understands how hard it is to be a Mommy.
In other words, Bitches will shank you if you bring Hunts Ketchup home. Shank you with a Ninja Star Shaped Crayon.
I’ve heard about these women. The ones that perpetuate their alleged misery by expending enormous energy crying and commiserating about how horrible and hard their lives are- but I had so far successfully avoided them. Until Blogher’11.
And the male bashing. One panel member continually referred to her husband as a dog. Ladies, let me tell you- caveating “he’s an untrained puppy” with “But I love him, he’s wonderful” does not absolve your sin.
Another told us the most boring story about how unfucking forgivable it is for your husband to bring Hunts, rather than Heinz, Ketchup home. And a fair portion of the crowd nodded in wry bemusement, they understood the plight of ketchup lady.
Then members of the audience got started.
I could not and do not understand how these successful women could sit up there and not only encourage a bitch fest but lead the charge. To be fair, not all of the panelists engaged in this behavior. But they didn’t try to turn the conversation from that myopic, negative, useless path either.
Here we had people at our disposal who have massive success in professional arenas we all want to be a part of and instead of intellectual discussion or helpful advice, the panelists spend their time calling their husbands names caveated by “oh this is gonna get me in trouble”.
Its been a long time since I have felt this alienated from my own gender, so thanks Blogher ’11 for put me smack back in the middle of all that bullshit.
And it wasn’t even cleverly offered. Rather than tell me your husband is an untrained Labrador who can’t wag his tail without peeing on your shoes, it would have been more honest to have cut his penis off, taken it to a taxidermist and had it fashioned into a unicorn horn that you could have worn as a hat for us while piggy blew the conch shell.
Further sadness: this final straw for me was destined to alienate the single sex couple that had befriended me. Sadly, I had gone to the session with a new friend and her life partner, only to find them practically whooping it up every time someone said something negative about men. Even more irritating, the life partner actually followed up a moment of male bashing by hypocritically lamenting “why do we always end up talking about men at these things?”
I Make my Escape before the Ketchup Inquisition Begins
Rather than stare at her like she was nuts, I just realized I was done and needed to get the faulk out of there. I wasn’t alone. Younger girls all began to shift in their chairs and ignore the panel, many people began to tune the entire fiasco out, furiously typing on their smartphones. Judging by the eye roll I exchanged with the adorable 20 something graphic designer across the table, she was as fed up as me by the turn of these events.
(p.s.: I am not naming the women who stood up in the face of hypocrisy, because a lot of women associated with Blogher would totally to take exception to my opinions here, if they were to ever read them and well, that it might invite unwelcome attention to the other unhappy attendees.)
The very quiet travel blogger who sat to the right of me said it best: “Why can’t we all just have an intellectual discussion?”
And our heroine, a member of the audience who identified herself as a reporter from the New York Times, chastised the panel by bravely and boldly calling them out on the male bashing, reminded them that some in the audience were men and by politely asking if we could to turn the conversation back to something else, oh say like to the profession of BLOGGING. Even more impressive because, she is actually a blogger who writes about Parenting. She restored my faith.
But you should have seen the offending panel members turned on her, like a pack of hyenas, choosing to interpret her call to arms as a full frontal attack. We then were subjected to backpedaling and tired explanations, paraphrased as follows “OF COURSE we did not in ANY WAY mean to insult men or our own canine husbands, but- come on, we all know men are what they are, and we stand by our advice that for supreme happiness and marital bliss you must treat your men like unpotty trained 4 year olds.”
The barely contained indignation with which the offending/ed panelists responded to New York Times reporter was delightfully absurd in its hypocrisy, as the one with the Labrador for a husband had previously admonished us to “stop judging each other and start helping each other”.
Steeled by the obvious majority opinion, my same sex couple friends became more vocal in their male bashing which I find ironic since as far as I know, lesbians don’t usually have untrained Labradors responsible for buying ketchup in their households.
The overwhelming life perspective rallied and bandied about in this session was and is aberrant to me and I guarantee its not helpful to anyone in audience. In fact, I think it’s a guaranteed defeat for any woman who buys into that shit. And I further guarantee the truly successful panelists on that platform didn’t get anywhere in life by espousing the “man hating, woe is me life is so hard for a mommy” waste of time attitude that they so clearly encouraged in that session.
And so, I could not take anymore, I got up mid-session and I walked out. I wasn’t alone.
In sum, my experience at Blogher11: comes down to this: a significant and imposing component of the conference is clique-y, myopic and unapologetic-ally directed to a very narrow but lucrative group of bloggers. I can live with that, its faulking expensive to run these things and sponsors are only gonna spend big bucks if they think something is in it for them. Mommy Bloggers = Advertising Gold. I get it, I am pretty much fine with it.
Unfortunately far too many elements of this conference encouraged attitudes that help no one, least of all the women strong arming the rest of us. The Blogher organization might truly believe it is encouraging and supporting “lifting each other up”, but not as far as I saw. Maybe its not their fault, and these women don;t actually want to be “lifted up, and have real discussions about success. But I don’t believe its productive to encourage each other to complain, I don’t believe its beneficial to any woman to waste energy bashing men. I definitely don’t believe having sex with a Labarador should EVER be encouraged. And I don’t give a shit what ketchup you bring home.
Luckily, there was some effort made to address the non- mommies. I also saw that a tiny contingent of attendees had the strength to rally against the madness, and I can only hope the voices from left of center were heard and that in the future the Blogher powers that be decide whether they want strictly cater to the mommy blogger world, or whether they want to expand and empower all women. If its the former, I encourage them to be more honest about their agenda.
As it stands in 2011, I see some attempts to expand, and I am hopeful. Almost half of the sponsors/vendors that didn’t pander to mommies at all. Of course one of those vendors gave me a double headed vibrator, so I may not have been their demographic either.