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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

The blogging double standard (with addendum)

Let me just preface this post with this thought. I don't think I've been happier blogging in a very long time. I have been letting it rip for the past couple of days. I'm on a serious tear. And I've got no intention of stopping anytime soon. It takes a lot to get me really pissed off. A lot. I have not been this motivated to blog in, oh, I can't even say how long. Forever. But the floodgates are wide open now, and I'm going to say what I want on my blog, for as long as I want, until I'm spent. If you don't like it, don't read it. If you're here to make trouble, don't bother. Your comments won't be approved and I'll just shut the comments down completely. Remember, my blog, my opinions. And I have a ton of them.

Okay. Now that that's outta the way, lets talk about the huge blogging double standard within the so-called "community" of MommyBloggers. Here's a topic guaranteed to get some people royally pissed off, but I think the majority of women bloggers who happen to be mothers are going to find what I have to say not only compelling, but true. It's been said recently on other blogs. It's not original thinking, per se, just my take on it. Again...red X at right hand top of page if you need to go pee or something.

There are two levels of acceptance within the mommyblogging community. There are the established, we're too cool for school bloggers. They can do no wrong. Even when they only have one or two topics that they post about for months at a time, they have thousands of commenters right behind them with lots of (((((((hugs))))))))). It's enough to make me vomit. These are the bloggers that do not allow dissent. If you disagree with them, you are a troll. You are a bad person. You need to be swept from the blogging community. These bloggers are often highly insecure about themselves, and so they need the constant acceptance and cheers of their commenters. They live for other people telling them how nice they are, how smart they are, etc. In other words, sycophants are their best buddies. When someone tells them to buck up, or disagrees, they call in their reinforcements, the other sycophant heavy bloggers, who attack. We've seen this when that bitch Violent Acres first came out with her photoshopped pics of Sweetney's kid. We've seen this at the former Trainwrecks site. We've seen this a lot on Surburban (alcoholic) Bliss. And at Vodkarella (hmm, alcohol...isn't that a grand way to present yourself as a mother).

So where's the double standard? These posters whine and complain more than the average Josephine. How many "nobody will buy my house" posts have you read lately? On two specific sites. How many "TV misrepresented me and I'm really not an inarticulate boob, boo hoo hoo" posts did we see on a certain heavy drinker's site? When THEY whine and complain, it's allowed. They can go on and on ad nauseum, and the sycophants rise to the occasion. Why is that different than someone with a passion talking about a political issue? Because it's the "special" bloggers.

Note that these "special" bloggers constantly promote each other. They employ each other on their lame parenting blogs. They fire people whose 'voices don't fit' because they're the voices of sanity, experience, and rational thinking. They self-promote constantly. Read me HERE! I'm HERE today. And they promote each other. They invent little prizes and give them to each other. Squeeeee.... I had lunch with XXX today! I'm flying off on an alcoholic weekend with YYY today. Look at our pictures on flickr. It's just so.... pathetic. It's this whole cult of building each other up to make yourself feel better. The thinking is, if I'm friendly with ZZZ, then she'll promote me and I'll get more hits. So I'm going to comment about how wonderful she is, and send her emails, and then she'll be my friend and maybe I'll get a job at her lame-o aggregator site. You just have to look at the list of bloggers at the aggregated sites to see I'm being truthful. Babble? Could it BE more of an in-crowd? Could it BE more high school cheerleadery? I think not. Besides the fact that the site sucks for a huge majority of the blogging world who don't need to keep pretending to be 'hip and cool' when they're approaching (or have already hit) 40. What the fuck is the point of being 'hip and cool' when it's total conformity? You got me.

What you don't see from these particular sites is a promotion of unknown bloggers. Because they're so uncool. You don't see them promoting charities UNLESS it's one of their friends running a race, or collecting for something. You don't ever read about them doing good works, volunteering to help other people, working for their communities. Because that wouldn't be cool.
The double standard goes right to the top, the infamous BlogHer. Who keeps getting the editor jobs? Yeah, right. Who gets the speaking jobs. Again...right. It's pervasive and it's elitist and stupid. Personally, I'm sick of it.

The blogs that I love best have never been the popular bloggers. Oh, I like Dooce well enough, but she doesn't participate much in this whole 'we're cooler than you are' crap. Plus, she actually writes well, something we can't say for some of the other popular bloggers. The blogs I love are uplifting, funny, and that rarest of rare, raw. They don't have 90 commenters telling them how wonderful they are because they don't ask or want that. They have content that speaks for itself, so there is no need for sycophants.

The analogy I keep drawing about this double standard is that of a gated community. Inside the gates are those few bloggers that look down their collective schnoozes at everyone else. Because they honestly think that they're better people. Outside the gates are two groups. The jealous onlookers (commenters) who believe that by licking the feet of the gated community residents, maybe someday they'll be given the code to the gate. They're going to be waiting a long long time, because there really isn't a code. And if they get inside, they'll be kicked back outside if they utter a word of disagreement from the gated groupspeak clones. The second group is the rest of us. The people who look at this insane makeup and say "what the fuck is this all about?" Who died and made this small group of gated jackasses God?

Most of us go on our merry way, talking about what we want to. But sometimes, just sometimes, we start coaching our words. We start blogging about crap that isn't even interesting in the hopes that we'll be considered nice and sweet and maybe cool enough to be hanging at the gate. We stop blogging about what's really going on inside, because we don't want to ruffle the feathers of the mighty powerful insiders.

Until the insiders attack. Which they do with stunning regularity. And then the outsiders switch places. Some move back a tier, others move forward. Depends on your opinion on the attack.

Me, I've moved way back in the crowd. I've decided I'm going to say what I want, when I want, how I want on my blog. I've decided that I'm not going to pretend that there isn't a double standard, one perpetuated by a small cadre of bitches who need to constantly have their backs rubbed in order to build themselves up. I'm tired of the mentally unfit being told that they're good moms when in fact they teach their children how to be judgemental meanies, just like them. Or the teach their children that the only way they can be happy is when they're drinking way too much alcohol. These are the parents who are going to wonder where they went wrong when their kids get caught dead drunk at 2:30 AM at the age of 13.

I'm going to talk about it. All of it. A lot. Because it needs to be said. It needs to be exposed. It isn't being judgemental. It's being dead honest. I looked in the mirror and saw a woman that had closed off her passion for fairness and honesty in order to be a hanger-on. I don't like that part of myself. I've never been one of the 'in crowd' because I think the people who are always seem to be the most mentally fragile. That's so not me. I'm incredibly secure in who I am. Always have been. I'm a very strong person. Very creative. Very smart. And very very opinionated. I'm never going to stop voicing my opinions. And I'm never going to pretend again that it's OK to support people who are obviously unfit to be parents. Not for one cold second.

Addendum: I'm not the only one that came up with the gatekeeper analogy. Interesting that Seth wrote about it in 2004 and it's only gotten worse!

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18 Comments:

Blogger CaHwyGuy - Daniel the California Highway Guy said...

As long as I have known you, you have always said what you wanted, and never minced your words. It is one of the things that attracts me to you.

(and yes, I do read your blog on every post, although usually it is through the LiveJournal syndication (RSS feed) I created. You really need to create an account over on LJ, if only so you can express your opinion on my various observations.)

10/6/07 12:58 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

I want to say this as absolutely gently as possible:

You are expending an inordinate amount of energy on things that you yourself say are not worth your time.

Why worry about what "other bloggers" are doing AT ALL? I don't. Do your own thing, build your own community, and devote all these energy stores to that pursuit.

I have never understood the phenomenon of blogging about other bloggers...especially to gripe about them. What difference does it make to MY writing, what someone else is writing, especially if it's something with which I fundamentally disagree?

Take a breath, step away from the computer for a while, and LET GO. There are many more important things on which you could spend your time--indeed, more important things about which you could write.

10/6/07 2:36 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Belinda, that is EXACTLY the point of the double standard. It's not OK for me to devote 3 whole days to something that was outrageously mean and nasty. But it's OK for Melissa S to blog for 6 freaking months about her stupid appearance on whatever morning show it was. Did you tell HER to shut up? I bet you didn't. Ditto for Mir. My house won't sell, my house won't sell...booo hooo hooo. How many months has that been going on, and nobody tells her to cram it. But me... I'm not supposed to spend any amount of time on something that is irking me to death. And I'm sick of it. I'm going to post what I think now. I've held off for a long long time. I'm finished pretending that everything is cool as a cuke in the blogging world. It isn't. And I'm going to talk about it.

Daniel, yeah, no kidding. I was thinking about SCJM and how fired up I was over that, and how I hadn't been so fired up in such a long time. It's been like 14 years or something. You've known me long enough to know that when I get on a tear, I don't stop until I'm ready. Right now, not ready!

BTW, we were just talking about you last weekend. We went out to eat with A.U. at Not Your Average Joes, and the kids wanted to know if they had been there before. I told them that the last time we were there was with you. :-)

10/6/07 4:12 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

aradac3 said:

FYI..your not alone in your opinions. I am all for everything you said at troll mommy. You were respectful and just let them know how it is from the other side, but that's just the problem. They don't see life from the other side. It's the same with the infertiles. They are a pack of wild lions there as well. One thing that truly surprised me from the whole argument was that chris from the trenches seemed to agree with her. I am shocked she is into being friends with that sort. But you know....oh well, huh? You have a right to be mad. Just thought I would tell ya my opinion on the whole deal.

10/6/07 5:11 PM  
Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

My teensy little crunchy crustacean of a blog is so under the radar it's not funny.

Just once I said something--I believe I mentioned finslippy--along the lines of "What's with all the whining? Are these mommyblogers mental?" and this Sweetney person of whom I had never heard was over at my blog commenting almost immediately, saying "So? What's your point?"

My first thought is: 1. Who the fuck found my blog and told her to head over? This was followed almost immediately by thought 2: Please don't tell me my writing is so incoherent that you didn't get my point, because I think I made myself quite clear.

Good for you for bringing this up. In my opinion, the emperor isn't actually naked ... but he's dressed rather scantily.

10/6/07 6:39 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Poppy, you got to experience first hand the Mommybloggers circling the wagon. They do exactly what I said they do... protect each other and attack everyone else outside the gates. Some "community" huh? It's akin to apartheid, with them being the Afrikaans, and the rest of us the po' black folks who can't ever be let into the club. It literally makes me sick.

10/6/07 8:31 PM  
Blogger FENICLE said...

"They invent prizes & give them to each other..."

Uh, you do have a lot of those invented buttons on your blog. So you'll love this:

I'm having a WORST Father of sorts....come check it out....even if your dad is Father of the Year!

http://www.fenicle.com

10/6/07 9:17 PM  
Blogger Belinda said...

"It's not OK for me to devote 3 whole days to something that was outrageously mean and nasty."

Of COURSE it's OK. It's your blog, to say whatever you want! To me personally, it seems like a waste of breath, but it's NOT MY BLOG.

"But it's OK for Melissa S to blog for 6 freaking months about her stupid appearance on whatever morning show it was."

Of COURSE it is, because it's HER blog! See what I'm saying? If it bothers you, don't waste your time and energy on it--find a blog you really, really appreciate, and hang out there!

" Did you tell HER to shut up?"

Of COURSE I didn't, and I didn't say that to you, either. Like I said, I just don't get investing myself in what other people are doing, to the point that I get incensed about it. Believe me, there is enough angst and aggravation in my OWN personal life! I don't have any desire to go looking for it. Heck, I can't turn on the TV or the computer without seeing GWB and feeling my BP go up.

This is why I don't read Violent Acres, or IT2M, or any other sites devoted purely to hating on other bloggers. It's a waste. (To me.)

Humbly,

Belinda

11/6/07 12:23 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that the double standard exists to such an extent that the sycophants behind the "cheerleaders" will tolerate literally ANYTHING from those blogs, but will attack anyone who "plays in the marching band" for the exact same thing.

I don't like it, I'm never gonna like it, but I'm not all that invested in it that I have to spend 6 months on it, like SOME people.

I just want to make sure that everyone has equal rights, even in the blogosphere, because unless I'm mistaken, this has never been a monarchy, even though some people act like it is. And I agree that the emperor is looking mighty nekked these days.

11/6/07 2:05 AM  
Blogger Alice said...

This whole "circling the wagons" thing is ridiculous. It goes like this: you link to someone else, and that person is stupid enough to check out Technorati or look at their stats and see who's linking to them. Then they read something hateful that you've written. And they email their friends about it because they're upset. Then their friends, perhaps foolishly, attempt to defend them on your site.

Margalit, Melissa is my FRIEND. She's one of my best friends. I love her. If I defend her, it's because she's dear to me, because I think she's wonderful. It's not because I think you should shut up, for god's sake.

And Poppy: you can enjoy the illusion that you're "under the radar," but if you link to me, I'm going to see you. I often discover great blogs this way. In your case I read something that was nasty and dismissive. The comments, though, they took it to a whole new level. They were just breathtakingly mean. And I was in fact going through a difficult time, and you made me feel like shit. Even though you're "under the radar!" What do you know! And despite all of your commenters gleefully proclaiming that you were really going to get it (I guess because I'm so all-mighty?) I left it alone, and asked the friends I emailed to, as well. I've even played nice when you comment on my site, and when you list me as a "friend" on your Twitter account. Although it completely galls me.

You know, you all write about these a-list people and how mean and petty and nasty they are. Maybe you're talking about people I don't even know. But I've never seen any blog posts from these supposed bitches EVER, EVER tear down another blogger. Or another blogger's CHILD.

You hurt people, Margalit. And Poppy. This is hurtful. Should I not read it? Absolutely. And if you don't like what we're doing, you shouldn't read, either.

11/6/07 11:01 AM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

I don't know whether I qualify as a mommyblogger or not. I read some of the bigger mom blogs, but I don't give a flying rat's arse if they read or comment on mine. It's nice when they do, like getting a hello from a celebrity when you bump into them in The Nature Shop on Newbury St (oh, hi, Ric Ocasek, I didn't see you there, you were standing sideways, you see, and you're just a line from that angle.) but I don't write to please them or anyone. I just write because I want to and I need to.

I have opinions and I have expressed them on my blog, not always with great results, but again, I don't care if people don't like my opinions. I make no bones about my political leanings so anyone who is surprised when I do a post on current events obviously hasn't been paying attention.

11/6/07 12:54 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Alice,

The only reason I'm even giving you a voice on my site is to tell you to look in the mirror. On two separate occasions you have attacked me. You said that you never saw anything nice from me. Which is an out and out lie, considering that I commented MANY times on your blog and never said one negative thing. I was out and out shocked that you did that. And then you did it a second time, and I figured it out. You're just another one of the bitchy mommmybloggers that is going to attack ANYONE that disgrees with the sacred cheerleaders. I'm sorry, but you're a doublefaced idiot if you think that YOU don't hurt people. You do. You are just as culpable as your nasty little friend Melissa. Who collected about a million comments about how cute she was on her sad appearance on TV, but who got one comment (which I stand by) suggesting that dental work might be a better use of her meager resources than the bazillions she spends on alcohol, and you're all up in my face. Fuck you. I get to say what I want. That's what America is all about. If you don't like it, go move to Canada with your brilliant Trolly friend Ms Anorexia. Please.

The sad thing is, all I did was disagree with Troll. I was exceedingly polite. You find ONE word in my exchanges there that wasn't polite and respectful. Try. I can find THOUSANDS that were disrespectful, nasty, and untoward about me, about the US, and about anyone who is poor. So... your arguments are specious, just as specious as your choices regarding circling the wagons. Which you do. Which you ADMITTED to doing. Nice!

And for what it's worth, I never wrote anything hateful on Melissa's site either. In fact, if you search my archives, you'll find the entire exchange, which I carefully lifted from her comments with NO omissions. You find something nasty in that. There wasn't.

Melissa is a head case. She has the self esteem of an ant. If she's your friend, more power to you. Maybe you deserve each other. I don't give a shit. But you DO NOT get to perpetuate LIES on my site. And you tried pretty damn hard.

NOTHING I said on either Karen's site or Melissa's site was nasty. I disagreed with their (both totally confounding and based on emotions and not facts) posts and said so. And was castigated, insulted, and spammed by your so called "friends". With friends like that, who the hell needs enemies.

11/6/07 1:07 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Alice,

One more thing I forgot. You say you never told me to shut up. But you did. Since your first incredible attack on me (totally unwarranted since it had NOTHING to do with you), I've never once commented on your site. And I never will. Nor will I ever say anything nice about you, which I used to do all the time. YOU told me to shut up when you said you've never read one nice thing I've ever said.

Take responsibility for your actions. Or are you as incapable of that as Melissa and Karen?

11/6/07 1:11 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

And and another thing. YOU were going through a hard time and Poppy made YOU feel like shit. LOOK IN THE FUCKING MIRROR, Alice. I write a post about poverty (something you've whined about yourself) and YOU attack me. I was so sick after that little attack I ended up in the ER for 6 hour. I have a life threatening illness. That kind of attack could easily have KILLED me. Dead. Like my kids would be orphans. YOU were having a hard time? Boo hoo hoo. Think of someone besides yourself and your little cadre of cheerleaders. There's a whole world out there with a lot bigger problems than moving to suburbia.

11/6/07 1:15 PM  
Blogger FENICLE said...

HOLY CRAP!!! Seriously, not that I know you at all....but I've been on here some and I know you write for PnP, like I do. Maybe you need a breather. A time out of sorts??

11/6/07 5:04 PM  
Blogger Malady said...

Margalit--
I support you and you know that I am regular reader of your blog. But I have to agree with Bethany. I had never read ANY of those blogs before I read about them on your blog. You have every right to defend yourself but by bringing this stuff up over and over again you are drawing attention to the very people you are railing against. Why not take the high road? And honestly, I think Alice was being pretty reasonable in her comment. I know nothing about your history with her but I don't think you advance your side by calling her "a doublefaced idiot." It makes it hard for those of us who are trying to speak up for you. I know you are more articulate than that and can state your case in a more effective and less vindictive way. Now, why not put all this stuff behind you and start sharing your thoughts on other things with us?

11/6/07 9:14 PM  
Blogger Poppy Buxom said...

Hm. If someone said something slighting about me on her blog (which has never happened, and probably never will, due to my crunchy crustacean status) I might see it in technorati (although I don't check technorati very often, due to my crunchy crustacean status--I mean, what's the point? No one links to me) and I probably wouldn't like it. I might even send that person an email.

I would not bother mentioning it to my friends, and I would be completely nonplussed and embarrassed if one of my friends left a comment on that person's blog that could be construed as even marginally hostile.

I'm too old for that kind of nonsense. And mostly, I believe in taking the high road.

And so I shall. Alice, I'm sorry that some thoughtless remarks of mine ever hurt your feelings. I suppose I thought the internet has all kinds of levels of permeability, and I was over in some corner of it that was invisible. Well, surprise--it isn't.

Oh ... and I follow you in Twitter for the same reason I read your blog ... I think you're funny.

And Margalit--I have to say--you're moderating comments and you let this stuff in? You've got all kinds of balls!

12/6/07 12:55 AM  
Blogger paper napkin said...

I think it's unfair to deem a blogger mentally unfit, because blogging is a very partial picture of a person's life. We don't know what a blogger is like in real life unless we know them in real life.

In general I think popular bloggers are popular because they have an entertaining style of writing (not necessarily because their content is stimulating or varied-- this is blogging after all, and most personal bloggers write about the minutia of their lives).

Yes, sometimes news events, writing gigs, or linkage does prop them up.
Skilled unknown writers aren't promoted on aggregators, and e-zines simply because they're unknown. These companies don't troll the blogosphere looking for talent, they offer jobs to writers who are already popular because they will bring traffic and make the company money. It's not the blogger's "fault" it's just the way things roll.

As for the unsavory aspects of blogging: cat fights, symbiosis, and the rest, I simply opt out. I don't read sites like trainwrecks, or violent acres, or even sites that are all in good fun, like go fug yourself because making fun of people makes me uncomfortable.

If a site I regularly read has some melodramatic episode brewing, I generally go on to the next feed, or maybe try to interject a little peace into the comments.

I don't check my stats (haven't in about a year), I don't look at who links or doesn't link to me, and if a troll gets their muddy footprints all over my comment section, I just delete it w/o calling attention to it, or let it stay, and caution my readers not to feed the trolls. You will never find any drama happening on my site, because I simply won't allow it. Homey don't play that.

12/6/07 3:52 AM  

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