The New York Times Has NO Fashion Sense

Apparently I can push political agendas, but I’ll always be seen as an Oprah-watching, bon-bon eating, Katie Couric-esq, shoe-shopping, GIRL.

Even the New York Times will write about how powerful I am, and how I’m not getting my props-yet they will publish the article in the ‘Fashion and Style‘ section.

Sure they will write about about heart attacks and blogging and place it in “Technology.” But WOMEN bloggers? Oh, they belong next to “It’s Botox for You, Dear Bridesmaids” and “The BreakUps That Got Under My Skin.

Perhaps, with all the talk of us being “…a corporate-sponsored Oprah-inflected version of a ’60s consciousness-raising group” they missed the part about 36 million of us taking over as power-users of the web while raising our children and supporting our families.

Perhaps, I need to remind or at the very least provide some additional information that may or may not affect the future placement of a piece on women bloggers.

Women are outnumbering men on the web.

Women control .83cents of every household dollar spent. That means from buying a lawnmower to buying laundry detergent, women hold the purse strings.

Women have been turning off DayTime television and canceling their subscriptions to ‘female’ based magazines in favor of going online.

Yet when we get together yearly to learn from one another on the business and practices of blogging, the NYT sees fit to discuss us in the same breath as “what women are wearing on their feet this summer.”

Maybe they missed the part where we discussed open source with 2008 Google-O’Reilly Open Source Award Winner Angela Byron? Or where we met to create a position paper to be submitted to the Democratic National Committee for inclusion in the party platform? Or what about the BlogHer/NBC Universal deal worth 5 million?

I am thrilled the New York Times sees fit to cover a women’s blogging conference. I look at it as a step in the right direction.

But you surely don’t see stories about men bloggers in the Sports section or an article on the latest strategic partnership laced with phrases like “And though women and men are creating blogs in roughly equal numbers, many women at the conference were becoming very Katie Couric about their belief that they are not taken as seriously as their male counterparts…”

Is Michael Arrington of TechCrunch very Rupert Murdoch? Is Jason Calacanis of Mahalo very Matt Lauer?

Are the men in tech and blogging consistently being compared to their male, traditional media counterparts?

Not so much.

For every article on women and tech and blogging, you will see the words “Oprah” and “Couric” and “Fashion.”

New York Times…thanks for coming out to BlogHer ’08. Thanks for taking some photos. Thanks for raising awareness.

Next time I’m hoping you’re over our lactation station and daycare and “nurturing messages,” because if that is all you see…you’re missing out on a tour de force, online and off.

Crossposted at the Huffington Post
Erin Kotecki Vest is the Political Director at BlogHer.com and writes a !gasp! MommyBlog at Queen of Spain blog.

Comments

  1. Yes, I am tired of this. I’m tired of not getting invited to discussions on “civic blogging” in my own community (in which I am the most prolific civic blogger) because I am a “mommy blogger.” Yeah, I’m a mom, and there’s “mama” in the blog name, and you can learn about where to publicly lactate or send your kid to preschool on my site. But it’s about a lot more than that, just like talking about Bob Maher and lactation on your blog doesn’t make it just a lactivist blog, or talking about gaming on a male-run blog doesn’t make it just a gaming blog.

    We are not a niche. We are more than half the human race. It gets old. It *is* old. And I think increasingly women who write and think and communicate and transform will just abandon traditional media because it doesn’t even try to understand them. Fortunately, we *are* powerful, and we don’t really need them as much as they need us.

  2. Queen of Spain says:

    Yeah. I’m between the AP, Red Lasso issues, and this…I’m firmly moving into “Main Stream Media Can #suckit” territory.

  3. Some of the best blogs I’ve read are blogs written by women. A good portion of the people at b5media (where I blog) are women writers and they take an active role in community. I’m usually one of the few guys in a community chat. Plus, they’re writing so much better than me. Perhaps it’s because I’m a teen and just starting out, but they also have sometimes five blogs that they post to. I can barely get two.

    Mommybloggers may be overlooked now, but I definitely see the medium being dominated by women down the road.

    And the “Main Stream Media Can #suckit” has always been in force for me.

  4. Yeah here’s me looking at it from the other side………maybe if there wasn’t such glee over the “shoe porn” at BlogHer we could move out of the fashion section.

  5. A commenter over at Huffington asks “What do women blog about other than fashion and style?” Gah.

    Well, ladies, I say we show him. I challenge everyone to post your favorite blogs as proof positive that we have a varied, intelligent and powerful voice.

  6. Queen of Spain says:

    But I heard just as much glee over the NFL training camp….

  7. I’ve sometimes thought the same thing as Adrienne…but then I wonder why. Why do I have shut off the part of me that wants to squee about a shoes in order to be taken seriously? I’m a “personal/life/whatever” blogger and that is part of me. Why do I have to shut off part of who I am in my own space? I won’t. And I don’t. And I’ll squee over shoes.

    And maybe someday they’ll want to write about the shoes at BlogHer and put that in Fashion and Style and put the meat and potatoes of the conference where they belong – in Tech or Business.

  8. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Catching up my twitter this morning, I see Jeremiah Owyang’s link to the NYT article, (retweet: “Great writing here from NYT on Blogher”). I read it & bristle at its placement in F&S, the amount of “mommy” references and the lack of techie references.
    Next tweet from Jeremiah quotes “Women control .83cents of every household dollar spent” – that’s what he gets from ur blog post. (Note – i like Jeremiah’s analysis & insight, this just hit me wrong)

    Your response to NYT nails it!

    I’ve been a techie for over 25 yrs – from programming in assembly language to co-founder of viddler.com. There were 2 girls in my computer science class in 1978 and when I went back for my masters in 2002, there were 3 women in the class. The lack of women in formal tech careers is depressing. The plethora of women blogging is awe inspiring.

    I applaud all the women bloggers – blogging, family, careers. And taking it all in stride, producing insightful, fun, informative articles.

    I’m still waiting for the day when it doesn’t matter that the author is male or female, black or white – their just a person with something to say. Maybe my kids will live to see that day.

  9. This is why we need to support the efforts of the Women’s Media Center — not only to have our voices heard, but to have them taken seriously. We ARE news, but as long as men own and run the major media outlets, we will be relegated to the Style section.

  10. Like Sassymonkey said, if you want to have two different sides of blogging (personal and business), I believe you should go with that. I have two topic blogs and then another of mine is my personal blog where I can just let out whatever I want to say and even more so on Twitter. If you want to talk about shoes and your personal, go for it and there is no doubt you will get readers. Not me per se, because I’m not into shoes. ;)

    @PunditMom: Like I mentioned earlier, women will definitely get a bigger stronghold in the media market. Now that BlogHer has a deal with NBC Universal (a HUGE success, in my opinion) and mainstream people (Michelle Obama) are now blogging to many people’s delight, this will speed it all up.

  11. It’s upsetting, but not to be unexpected. We definitely need to step up and force them to see women as more than just stereotypical fluff.

  12. they just don’t know who they’re messing with, do they? they’ll learn.

  13. (was going to post this at HuffPo, but their registration email was delayed…)

    Erin, this is me, giving you a standing ovation. I read that article and tweeted that it was crap in my opinion. It really made me angry. I was glad to see you responding to it, because now I don’t have to write a huge post about it, I can just link to you.

    As to the woman who was miffed regarding shoe porn at BlogHer? The wonderful thing about the Blogosphere is that as women, we are diverse and interesting. So, I may be into BlogHer shoe porn, but the makeover booth left me cold. I was much more interested in Podcasting. Or maybe the Writing Panel. Because I am much more than the caricature that the NY Times wanted to portray: my life is more than shoes or makeup or whatever boat was missed this time. (and I don’t even watch Katie Couric or Oprah, so that little comparison dies)

    We all had an opportunity at BlogHer. An opportunity to network, to be heard, to understand. Apparently, the NY Times missed their opportunity. I am not sure they will get another one. Their credibility has hit an all-time low. If all they found out of BlogHer was shoes and lactation? They seriously didn’t attend the same conference I did.

    T.

  14. I was a technology professional and so much more before I ever was a mom, and all anyone ever saw was that I was a woman. I would be disgusted, but I know we’re going to take over the world. Muahahaaa.

    This rocks, your response to the rest of the idiots who were obviously raised by wolves rocks. I am never going to keep up with all of my new reader entries and I love it.

  15. Hi Erin,

    This is Allison Blass. The one from the NYT article. I just wanted to leave a comment to say that I agree with what you and the other women are saying. I didn’t think the NYT article itself was really terrible, but I do feel it was incomplete. I think my quote “It’s disheartening and frustrating” – which was referring to men getting all the attention in the web 2.0 sector (Scoble, Arrington, Owyang , et al.) and women be marginalized into the frivolous areas of life – is even more accurate now than when I said it. Kara asked me why I came to these conferences and I told her that as someone who works in social media, it’s inspiring to come to a conference like this to see women who are at the top of their fields. That’s what it was all about for me. I’m not even a mommyblogger or even a mom. I’m a health blogger so none of the stories about women blogging have ever really included me. I’m also a type 1 diabetic and my disease is consistently misrepresented in the media. I suppose I will have to resign myself to the fact that the media considers me, a female blogger with type 1 diabetes, to be an incomprehensible anomaly.

    Cheers,
    Allison

  16. It’s not only bloggers, it’s everywhere. My PET scan was declined last week for my cancer. As my CT scan showed unspecified changes and my radiologist and Doctor thought a scan was needed to verify I didn’t have more cancer. Insurance companies, politicians, newscasters, where does it all end for us. We fight for everything. I’m doing a video tomorrow to tell my story and hope it will be seen by many (U-Tube). To start…

    Dorothy from grammology
    grammology.com

  17. Erin, thanks for this. I saw that article in the Style section and was pissed, of course, but none too surprised, as just a couple of weeks ago Jessica Valenti (of Feministing.com)’s book, _He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut_ was also reviewed in the Style section. Really? For the life of me I can’t fathom why. It’s f*cking 2008. Why are we still having this conversation? Please send my #suckit sticker to them. Send a couple.

  18. QoS, this is why YOU RULE.

    And why Dead Tree Media is flailing.

  19. Just catching up on this, QoS — great post.

    Tom Peters, among others, has been hammering nonstop on the point you raise about women controlling the OVERWHELMING majority of household spending in the U.S. Smart companies (e.g. Procter & Gamble, Lowe’s) get this and respond accordingly. It’s high time the media did the same. The NYT is doing its readers a disservice by misleading them to think that women bloggers are “just” a women’s issue — it’s a major cultural force.

Trackbacks

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