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Tuesday
Nov292011

Is there anything worse than people who perpetuate stereotypes?

Today on Gawker, Brian Moylan opened his post with with this:

Is there anything worse than mommy bloggers? That is a rhetorical question because if you have two firing synapses, you know the answer to that question.


Yeah, and people wonder why most of us don't like being called mommy bloggers. Usually it is me sitting here, writing about how ridiculous it is when people claim that they don't want to have to explain things to their kids. Or explaining why, in some circumstances, "I don't know" is the best answer you can give a child. And now, all of a sudden, because I'm a mom and a blogger, I'm being painted with the same brush as a woman who didn't want to have to explain a billboard of two men almost kissing to her child.

For what it's worth, I drive by a sex shop with a variety of interesting window displays on the way to drop my kids off at school and have never complained about that. The KFC we drive by, yeah, I kind of wish it would burn to the ground like the McDonald's around the corner did, but my fairy godmother doesn't grant all of my wishes.

My kids know they are welcome to love anyone they want to love. We have lesbian friends. We took our three year old and five year old to the gay pride parade in Berlin last summer.  But somehow, I'm just like that mommy blogger who complained about the billboard, because we're all the same.

What if Brian had opened a post with...

  • Is there anything worse than coaches? Because, you know, some of them allow children to be raped right under their noses and therefore all of them are bad. 

  • Is there anything worse than men? Because, you know, some of them beat their wives, and therefore all of them are bad.

  • Is there anything worse than Muslims? Because, you know, some of them stone people to death, and therefore all of them must be bad.

  • Is there anything worse than Americans? Because...you don't really need me to finish that sentence, do you?


I could go on, but you get it. Moms are an easy scapegoat. It is okay to criticize moms and to paint them all with the same brush.

The really annoying thing is that most of Brian's article was excellent. He did an excellent job explaining why the billboard (just like the "toy store for adults" that I pass on the way to school), isn't really a big problem.

What if he asks what it's an ad for? Tell him it's for a way for men who fall in love with other men to meet. Easy as that. You don't have to tell him it's for sex. You can tell him it's for love.


Brian may be right, the blog post he was critiquing may be "mommy blogging at its worst" (although he'd probably be surprised to find out that there is much, much, much worse than that out there). Homophobia shouldn't be tolerated under any circumstances, even under the veiled "I'm such a liberal mom" circumstances. Brian seems like a smart guy and he makes a very important point.

So why did he need to use a ridiculous "straw mommy" to throw us all under the bus?

Image credit: All in One Training on flickr
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Reader Comments (29)

I guess he thinks it's okay to stereotype one group of people while decrying the stereotyping of another group? Weakens the intended message, for sure.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

I think he did it to be incendiary. And he did it because we put ourselves forward as Uber Parents with platforms, and that sword has two edges. It was a nasty dig, but it also worries me if most mom bloggers pay more attention to that dig than they do to the homophobia and his other commentary. WE are the ones being generalists by jumping to defend an attack on mommy blogging whole cloth at the expense of looking at how we condone -isms.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeb Rox

I think most people who read my blog would know that I don't defend mommy blogging whole cloth. It is something I've taken a lot of grief for over the years, for sure, but I think it is important to have conversations about the things that are wrong within our community.

Condoning -isms is certainly part of the problem. If I had seen that woman's blog post before I saw Brian's or if I had seen Brian's without the first paragraph, I would probably have been one of the first people to write a scathing post about it. Or, I would have happily retweeted a version of Brian's post that focused on her, instead of on the community as a whole.

Most of my mom blog community is made up of women who are either part of the LBGT community or allies of the LGBT community. Brian's view of us couldn't be further from the reality that I know. That said, I also know that there are plenty of homophobic moms out there. But I just don't see them as the typical mommy blogger. Or I hope they aren't.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I think the fact that she's a "mommy blogger" is completely irrelevant. Lots of bloggers, "mommies" or no, are homophobic. Lots of journalists, politicians, famous actors & various other people whose words might be found on the internet are also homophobic. I am seriously annoyed to be lumped his made-up category of not-admitting-to-be-homophobic mommy bloggers.

What also bugs me is that she thinks that it's somehow wrong that these billboards are determining when she talks to her son about sex. Maybe she's a fan of having The Birds & The Bees Talk at a scheduled time? I think she's missing out on an important concept here. If she is as progressive & sex-positive as she claims to be, why isn't the drive to school a good time to answer a question her son has about something sex-related? By trying to put it off or control when they talk about it, she's sending the message that you're not really supposed to talk about sex & she doesn't feel comfortable answering questions about it.

Another thing that I'm a bit surprised about is that she seems to think her son sees this ad & knows that the two guys are going to have sex. I'm not getting the impression that she realizes her son doesn't have all that background knowledge to (necessarily) read that much into the ad. I agree with Brian that answering only what he asks (not adding a bunch of information like that they're just hooking up for casual sex) in a matter-of-fact way whenever they come up is the best way to deal with this. Trying to eliminate all sexual imagery from anywhere her son's going to see it is impossible.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Glad I waited for your version. You rock as always. As does Miss Rox.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteraimee giese | greeblemonkey

Agree. Don't even want to read his blog with an opening comment like that. I'm a mom, I have opinions, I write. That doesn't put me in the same camp as every other woman who has both children and opinions. There are plenty of moms with opinions that I disagree with, there are plenty of moms who disagree with my opinions. This particular blogger had a mis-firing of his two synapses.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLara

You know after thinking about it, it almost reads as if the editors changed up his lede and added it in for shock value. Not to defend him or the company, your argument is of course spot on.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

don't forget priests!

I'm thinking of making a list of people that mommy bloggers are better than.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarinka

Anyone who doesn't actually read his whole piece b/c of the lede is missing out...and I think the end tie-in to the "mommy blog" gripe is this: "then maybe you should be the one reading about parenting instead of writing about it." I don't consider PhD or TFB to be "mommy bloggers" exactly. They blog about social and political issues and happen to be moms. I, too, strongly dislike "mommy bloggers" there are just too damn many of them, most don't write very well and on top of that, yeah, seem to have some need to be hot-headed and outraged about every little thing (the billboard) without thinking through all the stuff Moylan explains...all these chicks are oh so "smart" and "outspoken" (not!) and I, for one, enjoy seeing an attempt to take these types down a notch.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

A bigger concern for me would be the kid being entranced by "Army Guys" by the way...surely she would have had to explain the deep issues of being owned by the government, killing people, etc. etc. etc. after all that, man love should be a piece of cake.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

I wonder if it's a symptom of a larger problem with the Internet: write a flashy title and intro to get people to click over.
The problem here is that his message was lost among some and the important conversation to be had about privilege and prejudice was missed.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex@LateEnough

Exactly. The fact that he made this about "mommies" instead of about homophobia is the big problem with his post. A true missed opportunity to make an important point.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Exactly!

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Yeah, I wrote about "scandal-click-bonanza" a while ago in my post on blog monetization: http://www.phdinparenting.com/2011/10/22/is-blogging-your-santa-claus/

I wonder if there are bonuses for page views and comments at Gawker?

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

The problem isn't that she's a mommy blogger, the problem is that the woman in question is a bigot. I think what we say was a case of his male privilege showing more than anything else. It was his way of dismissing her rather than simply sticking to the facts.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Martin

EXACTLY .

Instead of logically and intellectually picking apart her post, he simply moved directly to name calling.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercagey (Kelli Oliver George)

Which is too bad, because he did eventually get to the facts. But by dismissing all of us first, he missed an opportunity to engage us in the conversation.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Interesting. A blog about a blogger stereotyping 'mommy bloggers' as a platform to stereotype men serving in the military? I'm surprised that you were so quick to agree with Mrs Rochester's comment.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTB

amen, Renee.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBon

I didn't see any stereotype about men serving in the military. I saw a recognition of the complexity of explaining the use of military force to children. I think a simple "Yay, Army Men are Great!" statement is problematic.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I don't get the "male privilege" angle...

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMrs Rochester

It is the patronizing, "oh those little mommies over there" tone that he took. He is dismissing the voices of women as irrelevant/annoying, instead of simply pointing out the problem with this individual's arguments.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Well he chose to paint with broad strokes and deride her based on her gender. Men blog about fatherhood, yet his issue was not about blogs run about parenting and instead he specifically chose to attacked based in the womans gender.

It is also worth noting that mommy bloggers are often publicly derided even though many are politically active such as this very blog and speaking about very important issues. The point here is that a woman was speaking and so instead of saying her argument was faulty for specific reasons, his first path of attack was based solely in gender which is a common tactic of men when dealing with women's speech.

Please keep in mind that I am no way defending what she had to say because her speech was indeed bigoted but I do however feel that first avenue of attack should not have been gender based nor should all mommy bloggers have been represented in such a monolithic fashion. He might as well have referred to mommy bloggers as a group of clucking women because that is what I took away from his initial position.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Martin

Sometimes it almost makes you too tired to even try, you know? Isn't the term "Mommy Blogger" essentially meaningless at this point? I suppose if some woman blogged exclusively about her children that would make her a Mommy Blogger, but aren't most of us bloggers who just happen to be mothers? Agh, I'm just trying to say I agree with you without being lazy and just saying "I agree with you".

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterallison

I probably get lumped into the "mommy blogger" title and I hate it. I dislike that term because it is so limiting. Most "mommy bloggers" are not, in fact, blogging exclusively about motherhood. I am a blogger. Period. Had that been the mindset of this man - that the woman is a blogger - perhaps he would have gotten it right and rightly called her out for her message and not perpetuated yet another negative stereotype.

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I think I probably am a "mommy blogger" -- my blog is exclusively a baby (now toddler)book. I post pics and videos for the grands and great-grands who live in different parts of the country (and also to avoid clogging up my facebook feed with babypalooza).

It really is offensive to dismiss the work of women who blog who are also parents in that way, though. ("Oh, isn't that cute! You're a MOMMY BLOGGER! What a great way to keep yourself busy" and all that.)

November 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercrystal_b

Um, isn't writing a post about how you are so much better than other mommy bloggers just feeding right into those stereotypes of Mommy bloggers?! Judgmental, competitive (you have lesbian friends! wow! I'm sure that woman who doesn't like posters of two naked men doesn't have any of those!), and a little whiny. Not your best work by any means.

December 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChanna

Ummm yeah mommy blogger are not a monolithic group and I for one resent the implication that we should be. Some of us like Annnie, are highly political aware and practice social justice parenting. There is a big leap from that position to a blog that posts what about the kiddez to justify privilege and ignorance. It is not okay to take a reductive approach to women's work now or ever.

Also reducing her work to whining is sexist.

December 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Martin

Agreed Kelly - his message loses a bit of its punch.

December 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDionna @ Code Name: Mama

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