I've been following Technorati tags (which I learned how to put in a Typepad post at BlogHer, thank you tech goddesses at the Tagging session!) for BlogHer, and noticed a number of attendees have only just today started to write about their impressions of the conference. So I'm not alone in wanting to let things process.
I've seen a few comments suggesting those of us who didn't have the best experience at BlogHer last weekend might have been put off by "cliques." I didn't feel that at all - I didn't notice any cliques and actually thought almost everyone was extraordinarily friendly and personally inclusive.
I've also seen myself quoted in a number of blogs, sometimes with attribution and sometimes not, and sometimes quoted out of context or inaccurately. But that's the risk you take when you open your mouth. Which is, you know, something I do a lot.
I've also seen the "mommybloggers" reacting very hostiley to suggestions that the conference was too mommy-ish. I don't blame them. If lesbians were as much the focus of the conference as mommys were (and yeah, I get there is overlap in the two groups), I'd have loved it and hated anyone saying it made them feel left out.
But I still feel the conference was too mommyish. Culturally it was alienating, for me as a lesbian and for many heterosexual women who aren't mothers or even ARE mothers but aren't interested in "mommyblogging."
And the conference really was too marketing-oriented, but there are a lot of other folks blogging about that, and it's something I'm still mulling over.
The assumption of heterosexuality as the norm was overwhelming. There wasn't even a "Birds of a Feather" sign up sheet for lesbian/bi women. At a WOMEN'S BLOGGING CONFERENCE IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA? Huh?
At one session on our identities and if we feel a need to represent and advocate for them as bloggers, not one of the wonderful panelists was a lesbian. I certainly wouldn't want to see fewer women of color up there, but is there some shortage of lesbians of color who blog I'm not aware of?
Didn't think so.
At that same session, if I hadn't spoken about blogging as a lesbian, would it have come up? I don't think so - no one else addressed it afterward, although I did get applause when I finished speaking. And I started out asking if I was the only lesbian in the room, which got a lot of hands in the air. Also a good way to meet women. Which brings me to...
Fluff. This is a topic that came up a lot in the post-mortems. It has to do with women who blog about shoes and hair and makeup, stuff that as you know I'm really into, although I don't actually blog about them all that much. Certainly not at all in proportion to how important they are in my life. And yeah, I saw a lot of really cute shoes at this thing. Bite me.
I was careful when introducing myself to say that my blog is about politics and also about dogs, and also that I edit a music blog and write about TV and movies for AfterEllen.com/AfterElton.com. Because I'm all about owning up to my fluffier side. I even told a few people I blog about Xena: Warrior Princess from time to time. I didn't mention my obsession with Gabrielle's abdominal muscles, though, because I have an image to preserve.
So, no, it wasn't the fluff thing that bothered me.
Some commentaries worth watching:
Goodbye Grassroots BlogHer (sourduck)
It Was Good, It Was Bad, I Made an Ass of Myself (feministe)
Meanwhile I'm still thinking.