26 July 2008

New York Times Commits a Fashion Faux-Pas about BlogHer

It's not often I get on my soapbox on my blog; my intention is to share with you, my good readers, a bit of widsom and insight and share everything I've learned in kind from all of you. But I'm hoppin' mad at the New York Times for how they've managed to undermine some fantastically accomplished and groundbreaking women from BlogHer.

BlogHer is a community of women bloggers who blog about everything from cars to health and wellness, technology, green causes, law, social change and dozens of other topics. With over 13,000 members and over 10,000 blogs on their directory, it's a powerhouse of content, expertise, and community building. These women are driven, and influential.

So imagine my frustration - nay, disgust - when the New York Times managed to write a story about their recent BlogHer08 conference and put it on their Fashion and Style page?

It prompted me to write a letter to the editor:

I’m so disappointed that you managed to completely undermine the professional, hardworking group at BlogHer by parking that article on your “Fashion & Style” page. Why not Business? Technology? These women are changing the face of technology and the online world, and you’re parking them off in a trivial corner instead of among the gamechanging minds of Web 2.0 where they belong.

This is exactly why glass ceilings exist. Way to take a legitimate, amazingly powerful event for professionals and treat it as “aw, how cute!”.

Shame on you.
That pretty much sums it up for me. I'm thankful that events and communities like BlogHer are garnering recognition in mainstream media for the incredible things they're doing. Blogging and social media are changing the face of marketing, communications, and mainstream media. But I am so distressed that this particular event was treated like it was some cutsie fashion show with a bunch of women getting manicures, drinking tea, and giggling with one another over soap operas. Even the article has a rather condescending tone, as if they NYT was surprised and amused at this little gathering of mommies who blog.

Blogging is a commitment. It takes dedication, passion, and focus to do it well. It is shifting boundaries all over the world about how people, businesses, and media get and share information. And communities like BlogHer are the essence of bringing people together to learn, share, and teach one another (sound like any of the definitions I've given about social media???).

So I repeat, shame on you New York Times. BlogHer members - and all of the evangelists of Web 2.0, social media, and community - deserve better than that.


Image credit: Wendy Piersall of Sparkplugging.com

11 comments:

Laura Pritchard said...

Excellent post! How could the NYT doing something so blatant? Women bloggers (and all women) deserve better than that! Kudos Amber!

Teeg said...

Great post, Amber! I loved your letter to the editor!

I couldn't believe the article in the NYT! With a title like Blogging’s Glass Ceiling, you'd at least expect it on the business page.

But it wasn't just the title and placement, to me the article itself was full of subtle (and not so subtle) put-downs, from starting off talking about ladies restrooms (do men get written about when they use the ladies restrooms?), lactation, and childcare, to the mention that K-Y Jelly was one of the sponsors.

Amber Naslund said...

@Laura thank you. I was surprised, too, that they didn't think a bit harder about this before they did it.

@Teeg, You're absolutely right to mention the not-so-subtle condescending remarks about the sponsors. Shameful. Really. Thanks for mentioning that!

Jane Chin said...

I understand the frustration at the "subtle" jabs from the tone of the article. However, I respectfully disagree that starting off with the talk of women's restrooms (or other women's health related topics like lactation or even who the sponsor is) is necessarily a put-down to women and women bloggers.

The reality is, bathrooms are important to women for reasons beyond "the biological". Those of us with babies and breastfeed care about lactation. It's a fact of physiological life for females. Perhaps the article could have portrayed the care taken to honor what is unique to women's biology and even approach to socialization instead of using a tone that may be easily misunderstood or deemed offensive. I don't think mentioning having K-Y Jelly as a sponsor is any more offensive than, for example, if Viagra is a sponsor of a predominantly male event (monster trucks, maybe?). I'd preferred to have just referred to the sponsoring companies instead of the products, to be on the "safe" side of the political correctness fence.

What I do find potentially subversive in the article is the suggestion that perhaps women are more targeted than men for expressing their opinions. Has NO male blogger ever received death threats for blogging inflammatory opinions? I'm sure this is not the case. However, by making an example of a woman blogger receiving death threats without due diligence in research similar cases with male bloggers is what REALLY creates a perceptual glass ceiling.

I have much more I can wax about this, but I'm aiming to submit a comment and not an Op/Ed article here :-D

Amber Naslund said...

@Jane thanks for your comments, but you and I are going to have to disagree here, which is just fine. If Viagra was a sponsor of a men's technology event, I still doubt whether that would take center stage, or whether they'd be discussing which restrooms the men were using in a tech article.

I'm very supportive of providing a mom-friendly environment, but making the "feminine" qualities of the event a prominent feature of the article still undermines it's business and technology focus, to me.

It's not about PC - I don't have modesty issues about the products. What I take issue with is the fact that the whole picture of sponsors + bathrooms + "blush and eyeshadow" creates a "aren't they cute" mentality. They could have chosen instead to focus not on the message that women bloggers are still lacking credibility, but on how some of the female powerhouses are truly making an impact and changing things. Much more constructive, IMO.

Nancy N. said...

This isn't the first time I've personally come up against the Times doing this. They seem stuck in a 1950's, Desperate Housewives portrayal of women that is pathetic.

Check out this demeaning portrayal of the scrapbooking industry where the women who are angry over cheating in an important contest are portrayed as sore losers who need to get lives:

http://tinyurl.com/65t44q

I was quoted out of context in that article by their stellar reporter, and so was the Creating Keepsakes editor. The so-called expert quoted in the article defining the situation and defending the scrapbooker who was disqualified from the contest? She is a friend of that contestant and widely reviled in the industry.

The article fawns all over a contestant that was disqualified for cheating in a contest because the author obviously thinks she is cool and her detractors are not.

The Times treats women as sources of soap opera amusement and nothing more.

Erika said...

Amber,
I'm with you 100-percent. The piece should have been in the Business/Industry section and not in Fashion. It shows a blatant disrespect not only for BlogHer, but for women as readers, placing it in the Fashion dept with the assumption that's where women readers are going to turn. Women readers interested in Blogher and other business issues will be reading the Business section first thing with the morning cup. And, after reading about "lactation rooms," I'm a bit disappointed in the venue, because women can legally breastfeed where and when they need to and don't need to be shoved into a modified restroom to do it. Ah, but that's another issue for another day. Nice that the very paper that uses the Glass Ceiling headline is only helping to perpetuate it.

-Erika

lauralovesart said...

Here! Here! I totally agree with you 100%! great post!

~Laura Iriarte/aka @lauralovesart
http://lauralovesart.wordpress.com
http://thesmartmomsnetwork.com

Temple Stark said...

If the BlogHer gathering / convention isn't about the feminine side of things, then why is it called BlogHer?

thierryl said...

A warm hello from France Amber,

Completely agree with this post.
The NYT is looking very old fashioned, just like a low and conservative business of today.

Thierry

Reluctant Blogger said...

Good for you for taking the time to write to the Editor. It is indeed a nonsense that this piece should have been placed in Fashion and Style. It means that only women will read it in essence - a sexist statement but largely true - and yes, it does rather undermine what Blogher tries to do.

Not that I am a supporter of Blogher I have to say. But that's my choice. It's good that such things are there for those who want them.

I do wonder though if female bloggers are doing themselves a bit of a disservice by huddling together under the Mommy Blogger header. Often these bloggers are not terribly welcoming of men in their comment boxes (and I am not a man).

I love variety in my comment box - women, men, old, young. That's what makes blogging so great.

26 July 2008

New York Times Commits a Fashion Faux-Pas about BlogHer

It's not often I get on my soapbox on my blog; my intention is to share with you, my good readers, a bit of widsom and insight and share everything I've learned in kind from all of you. But I'm hoppin' mad at the New York Times for how they've managed to undermine some fantastically accomplished and groundbreaking women from BlogHer.

BlogHer is a community of women bloggers who blog about everything from cars to health and wellness, technology, green causes, law, social change and dozens of other topics. With over 13,000 members and over 10,000 blogs on their directory, it's a powerhouse of content, expertise, and community building. These women are driven, and influential.

So imagine my frustration - nay, disgust - when the New York Times managed to write a story about their recent BlogHer08 conference and put it on their Fashion and Style page?

It prompted me to write a letter to the editor:

I’m so disappointed that you managed to completely undermine the professional, hardworking group at BlogHer by parking that article on your “Fashion & Style” page. Why not Business? Technology? These women are changing the face of technology and the online world, and you’re parking them off in a trivial corner instead of among the gamechanging minds of Web 2.0 where they belong.

This is exactly why glass ceilings exist. Way to take a legitimate, amazingly powerful event for professionals and treat it as “aw, how cute!”.

Shame on you.
That pretty much sums it up for me. I'm thankful that events and communities like BlogHer are garnering recognition in mainstream media for the incredible things they're doing. Blogging and social media are changing the face of marketing, communications, and mainstream media. But I am so distressed that this particular event was treated like it was some cutsie fashion show with a bunch of women getting manicures, drinking tea, and giggling with one another over soap operas. Even the article has a rather condescending tone, as if they NYT was surprised and amused at this little gathering of mommies who blog.

Blogging is a commitment. It takes dedication, passion, and focus to do it well. It is shifting boundaries all over the world about how people, businesses, and media get and share information. And communities like BlogHer are the essence of bringing people together to learn, share, and teach one another (sound like any of the definitions I've given about social media???).

So I repeat, shame on you New York Times. BlogHer members - and all of the evangelists of Web 2.0, social media, and community - deserve better than that.


Image credit: Wendy Piersall of Sparkplugging.com

11 comments:

Laura Pritchard said...

Excellent post! How could the NYT doing something so blatant? Women bloggers (and all women) deserve better than that! Kudos Amber!

Teeg said...

Great post, Amber! I loved your letter to the editor!

I couldn't believe the article in the NYT! With a title like Blogging’s Glass Ceiling, you'd at least expect it on the business page.

But it wasn't just the title and placement, to me the article itself was full of subtle (and not so subtle) put-downs, from starting off talking about ladies restrooms (do men get written about when they use the ladies restrooms?), lactation, and childcare, to the mention that K-Y Jelly was one of the sponsors.

Amber Naslund said...

@Laura thank you. I was surprised, too, that they didn't think a bit harder about this before they did it.

@Teeg, You're absolutely right to mention the not-so-subtle condescending remarks about the sponsors. Shameful. Really. Thanks for mentioning that!

Jane Chin said...

I understand the frustration at the "subtle" jabs from the tone of the article. However, I respectfully disagree that starting off with the talk of women's restrooms (or other women's health related topics like lactation or even who the sponsor is) is necessarily a put-down to women and women bloggers.

The reality is, bathrooms are important to women for reasons beyond "the biological". Those of us with babies and breastfeed care about lactation. It's a fact of physiological life for females. Perhaps the article could have portrayed the care taken to honor what is unique to women's biology and even approach to socialization instead of using a tone that may be easily misunderstood or deemed offensive. I don't think mentioning having K-Y Jelly as a sponsor is any more offensive than, for example, if Viagra is a sponsor of a predominantly male event (monster trucks, maybe?). I'd preferred to have just referred to the sponsoring companies instead of the products, to be on the "safe" side of the political correctness fence.

What I do find potentially subversive in the article is the suggestion that perhaps women are more targeted than men for expressing their opinions. Has NO male blogger ever received death threats for blogging inflammatory opinions? I'm sure this is not the case. However, by making an example of a woman blogger receiving death threats without due diligence in research similar cases with male bloggers is what REALLY creates a perceptual glass ceiling.

I have much more I can wax about this, but I'm aiming to submit a comment and not an Op/Ed article here :-D

Amber Naslund said...

@Jane thanks for your comments, but you and I are going to have to disagree here, which is just fine. If Viagra was a sponsor of a men's technology event, I still doubt whether that would take center stage, or whether they'd be discussing which restrooms the men were using in a tech article.

I'm very supportive of providing a mom-friendly environment, but making the "feminine" qualities of the event a prominent feature of the article still undermines it's business and technology focus, to me.

It's not about PC - I don't have modesty issues about the products. What I take issue with is the fact that the whole picture of sponsors + bathrooms + "blush and eyeshadow" creates a "aren't they cute" mentality. They could have chosen instead to focus not on the message that women bloggers are still lacking credibility, but on how some of the female powerhouses are truly making an impact and changing things. Much more constructive, IMO.

Nancy N. said...

This isn't the first time I've personally come up against the Times doing this. They seem stuck in a 1950's, Desperate Housewives portrayal of women that is pathetic.

Check out this demeaning portrayal of the scrapbooking industry where the women who are angry over cheating in an important contest are portrayed as sore losers who need to get lives:

http://tinyurl.com/65t44q

I was quoted out of context in that article by their stellar reporter, and so was the Creating Keepsakes editor. The so-called expert quoted in the article defining the situation and defending the scrapbooker who was disqualified from the contest? She is a friend of that contestant and widely reviled in the industry.

The article fawns all over a contestant that was disqualified for cheating in a contest because the author obviously thinks she is cool and her detractors are not.

The Times treats women as sources of soap opera amusement and nothing more.

Erika said...

Amber,
I'm with you 100-percent. The piece should have been in the Business/Industry section and not in Fashion. It shows a blatant disrespect not only for BlogHer, but for women as readers, placing it in the Fashion dept with the assumption that's where women readers are going to turn. Women readers interested in Blogher and other business issues will be reading the Business section first thing with the morning cup. And, after reading about "lactation rooms," I'm a bit disappointed in the venue, because women can legally breastfeed where and when they need to and don't need to be shoved into a modified restroom to do it. Ah, but that's another issue for another day. Nice that the very paper that uses the Glass Ceiling headline is only helping to perpetuate it.

-Erika

lauralovesart said...

Here! Here! I totally agree with you 100%! great post!

~Laura Iriarte/aka @lauralovesart
http://lauralovesart.wordpress.com
http://thesmartmomsnetwork.com

Temple Stark said...

If the BlogHer gathering / convention isn't about the feminine side of things, then why is it called BlogHer?

thierryl said...

A warm hello from France Amber,

Completely agree with this post.
The NYT is looking very old fashioned, just like a low and conservative business of today.

Thierry

Reluctant Blogger said...

Good for you for taking the time to write to the Editor. It is indeed a nonsense that this piece should have been placed in Fashion and Style. It means that only women will read it in essence - a sexist statement but largely true - and yes, it does rather undermine what Blogher tries to do.

Not that I am a supporter of Blogher I have to say. But that's my choice. It's good that such things are there for those who want them.

I do wonder though if female bloggers are doing themselves a bit of a disservice by huddling together under the Mommy Blogger header. Often these bloggers are not terribly welcoming of men in their comment boxes (and I am not a man).

I love variety in my comment box - women, men, old, young. That's what makes blogging so great.

26 July 2008

New York Times Commits a Fashion Faux-Pas about BlogHer

It's not often I get on my soapbox on my blog; my intention is to share with you, my good readers, a bit of widsom and insight and share everything I've learned in kind from all of you. But I'm hoppin' mad at the New York Times for how they've managed to undermine some fantastically accomplished and groundbreaking women from BlogHer.

BlogHer is a community of women bloggers who blog about everything from cars to health and wellness, technology, green causes, law, social change and dozens of other topics. With over 13,000 members and over 10,000 blogs on their directory, it's a powerhouse of content, expertise, and community building. These women are driven, and influential.

So imagine my frustration - nay, disgust - when the New York Times managed to write a story about their recent BlogHer08 conference and put it on their Fashion and Style page?

It prompted me to write a letter to the editor:

I’m so disappointed that you managed to completely undermine the professional, hardworking group at BlogHer by parking that article on your “Fashion & Style” page. Why not Business? Technology? These women are changing the face of technology and the online world, and you’re parking them off in a trivial corner instead of among the gamechanging minds of Web 2.0 where they belong.

This is exactly why glass ceilings exist. Way to take a legitimate, amazingly powerful event for professionals and treat it as “aw, how cute!”.

Shame on you.
That pretty much sums it up for me. I'm thankful that events and communities like BlogHer are garnering recognition in mainstream media for the incredible things they're doing. Blogging and social media are changing the face of marketing, communications, and mainstream media. But I am so distressed that this particular event was treated like it was some cutsie fashion show with a bunch of women getting manicures, drinking tea, and giggling with one another over soap operas. Even the article has a rather condescending tone, as if they NYT was surprised and amused at this little gathering of mommies who blog.

Blogging is a commitment. It takes dedication, passion, and focus to do it well. It is shifting boundaries all over the world about how people, businesses, and media get and share information. And communities like BlogHer are the essence of bringing people together to learn, share, and teach one another (sound like any of the definitions I've given about social media???).

So I repeat, shame on you New York Times. BlogHer members - and all of the evangelists of Web 2.0, social media, and community - deserve better than that.


Image credit: Wendy Piersall of Sparkplugging.com

11 comments:

Laura Pritchard said...

Excellent post! How could the NYT doing something so blatant? Women bloggers (and all women) deserve better than that! Kudos Amber!

Teeg said...

Great post, Amber! I loved your letter to the editor!

I couldn't believe the article in the NYT! With a title like Blogging’s Glass Ceiling, you'd at least expect it on the business page.

But it wasn't just the title and placement, to me the article itself was full of subtle (and not so subtle) put-downs, from starting off talking about ladies restrooms (do men get written about when they use the ladies restrooms?), lactation, and childcare, to the mention that K-Y Jelly was one of the sponsors.

Amber Naslund said...

@Laura thank you. I was surprised, too, that they didn't think a bit harder about this before they did it.

@Teeg, You're absolutely right to mention the not-so-subtle condescending remarks about the sponsors. Shameful. Really. Thanks for mentioning that!

Jane Chin said...

I understand the frustration at the "subtle" jabs from the tone of the article. However, I respectfully disagree that starting off with the talk of women's restrooms (or other women's health related topics like lactation or even who the sponsor is) is necessarily a put-down to women and women bloggers.

The reality is, bathrooms are important to women for reasons beyond "the biological". Those of us with babies and breastfeed care about lactation. It's a fact of physiological life for females. Perhaps the article could have portrayed the care taken to honor what is unique to women's biology and even approach to socialization instead of using a tone that may be easily misunderstood or deemed offensive. I don't think mentioning having K-Y Jelly as a sponsor is any more offensive than, for example, if Viagra is a sponsor of a predominantly male event (monster trucks, maybe?). I'd preferred to have just referred to the sponsoring companies instead of the products, to be on the "safe" side of the political correctness fence.

What I do find potentially subversive in the article is the suggestion that perhaps women are more targeted than men for expressing their opinions. Has NO male blogger ever received death threats for blogging inflammatory opinions? I'm sure this is not the case. However, by making an example of a woman blogger receiving death threats without due diligence in research similar cases with male bloggers is what REALLY creates a perceptual glass ceiling.

I have much more I can wax about this, but I'm aiming to submit a comment and not an Op/Ed article here :-D

Amber Naslund said...

@Jane thanks for your comments, but you and I are going to have to disagree here, which is just fine. If Viagra was a sponsor of a men's technology event, I still doubt whether that would take center stage, or whether they'd be discussing which restrooms the men were using in a tech article.

I'm very supportive of providing a mom-friendly environment, but making the "feminine" qualities of the event a prominent feature of the article still undermines it's business and technology focus, to me.

It's not about PC - I don't have modesty issues about the products. What I take issue with is the fact that the whole picture of sponsors + bathrooms + "blush and eyeshadow" creates a "aren't they cute" mentality. They could have chosen instead to focus not on the message that women bloggers are still lacking credibility, but on how some of the female powerhouses are truly making an impact and changing things. Much more constructive, IMO.

Nancy N. said...

This isn't the first time I've personally come up against the Times doing this. They seem stuck in a 1950's, Desperate Housewives portrayal of women that is pathetic.

Check out this demeaning portrayal of the scrapbooking industry where the women who are angry over cheating in an important contest are portrayed as sore losers who need to get lives:

http://tinyurl.com/65t44q

I was quoted out of context in that article by their stellar reporter, and so was the Creating Keepsakes editor. The so-called expert quoted in the article defining the situation and defending the scrapbooker who was disqualified from the contest? She is a friend of that contestant and widely reviled in the industry.

The article fawns all over a contestant that was disqualified for cheating in a contest because the author obviously thinks she is cool and her detractors are not.

The Times treats women as sources of soap opera amusement and nothing more.

Erika said...

Amber,
I'm with you 100-percent. The piece should have been in the Business/Industry section and not in Fashion. It shows a blatant disrespect not only for BlogHer, but for women as readers, placing it in the Fashion dept with the assumption that's where women readers are going to turn. Women readers interested in Blogher and other business issues will be reading the Business section first thing with the morning cup. And, after reading about "lactation rooms," I'm a bit disappointed in the venue, because women can legally breastfeed where and when they need to and don't need to be shoved into a modified restroom to do it. Ah, but that's another issue for another day. Nice that the very paper that uses the Glass Ceiling headline is only helping to perpetuate it.

-Erika

lauralovesart said...

Here! Here! I totally agree with you 100%! great post!

~Laura Iriarte/aka @lauralovesart
http://lauralovesart.wordpress.com
http://thesmartmomsnetwork.com

Temple Stark said...

If the BlogHer gathering / convention isn't about the feminine side of things, then why is it called BlogHer?

thierryl said...

A warm hello from France Amber,

Completely agree with this post.
The NYT is looking very old fashioned, just like a low and conservative business of today.

Thierry

Reluctant Blogger said...

Good for you for taking the time to write to the Editor. It is indeed a nonsense that this piece should have been placed in Fashion and Style. It means that only women will read it in essence - a sexist statement but largely true - and yes, it does rather undermine what Blogher tries to do.

Not that I am a supporter of Blogher I have to say. But that's my choice. It's good that such things are there for those who want them.

I do wonder though if female bloggers are doing themselves a bit of a disservice by huddling together under the Mommy Blogger header. Often these bloggers are not terribly welcoming of men in their comment boxes (and I am not a man).

I love variety in my comment box - women, men, old, young. That's what makes blogging so great.