Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Last Thing I'm Gonna Say About It All

In the 8 years that I've been married, my husband has gone to 2 or 3 professional conferences a year. I've been to several, myself.

My husband has never come home from a conference angry because one person got X and he didn't, or he got Y or Z instead.

My husband has never come home from a conference talking about who was sleeping with whom.

My husband has never come home from a conference and said anything about what anyone wore (or didn't wear).

My husband has never come home and complained that someone was invited to a party that he wasn't invited to.

My husband has never come home and criticized the behavior of his fellow professionals.

Don't get me wrong, I get a full breakdown of what happened at the conference, but you know what he's talking about, 99% of the time? He's talking about the topic of the conference. No gossip, no in-fighting, no bullshit. (The other 1% of the time he is talking about what he ate.)

And I don't think he's unique, either. I've wracked my brain trying to think of a time when my dad came home from work and said, "You won't BELIEVE who hooked up!" I'm driving myself nuts trying to remember a time when my brother said, "He had on the same outfit I did, and I died!" Try as I might, I can't think of a single time when any of my uncles have said, "And that bastard got the very last of the giveaways..."

What I'm saying, is that if we, as women, want to be taken seriously, then we need to quit with all the bashing and the gossip and the cattyness and the bullshit. WE create the glass ceiling with our behavior, ladies. At this point in history, I'm sure there are plenty of woman-friendly companies out there, but when WE act like 14 year old girls in the locker room, rather than like professionals, WE hurt ourselves.

A lot of the focus of BlogHer was on dealing with companies, "monetizing" our blogs, getting the opportunity to try products, etc. I mean this as the helpfullest hint possible - we are NEVER going to be taken seriously as professional writers or professional anythings if we don't knock it off.

I know that not everyone was there for the "monetizing" stuff - I wasn't, either (although I'm grateful to the companies I interacted with, and I believe that I behaved with dignity and treated all the vendors with respect). But I'm really disappointed that what was a really great experience, at first, is now taking on a different hue as I read all the bitching. My God, can we just quit with the bitching?

I hope by the time my daughters are adults, this sort of behavior is the exception, rather than the rule. Sadly though, more often than not, I've heard, "Well, what did you expect? When you get that many women together..."

We should expect more of ourselves.

If not for each other, then for our daughters.

And that is all I have to say about BlogHer. Next up, cute stories about the pretty babies of PrettyBabies.

(updated to fix an embarrassing typo - my proofreader is on vaca, y'all)


Melisa with one S said...

I think I'm in love with you.

Well put.

Karl said...

First off, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.

Second, in my years of attending BlogHer, the behavior you're describing (and yes, I witnessed those things myself) IS the exception rather than the rule.

Yeah, there was more grabbiness for swag this year, but that's because the swag just keeps getting better and better every year. Many of these gals have been hearing about BlogHer swag for years so they kinda freak and tremble at the prospect of getting their hands on a free video camera or a free pair of Gap jeans. Hell, if you were in the Cheeseburger party, you know some people will kill for a damn cheeseburger. :)

I'm certainly not saying you're wrong. There is the drama and there is the cattiness and the shoving people out of the way for swag. But from what I saw personally this weekend (and in previous conferences), that's on the fringe.

Most of the women I saw throughout the conference were respectful and courteous and not behaving like animals. I really hope that you haven't been soured on BlogHer because that'll make me sad. The whole thing is quite overwhelming and I just don't want a few bad apples to ruin such an amazing orchard.


Anonymous said...

How does that saying go? Intelligent people talk about ideas
the in between people talk about things
And stupid people talk about each other?
Or something like that anyway. The point being, that anyone with any intelligence spends their time talking about ideas and not each other.
You are absolutely right. At least in the workforce we women need to start pulling up our big girl panties and acting more like men do in the workplace. And ACTING more like men do in the workplace.
Well said Amy, you score by hitting the bullseye again!

RobMonroe said...

I'm in an industry that is very lady-oriented and promise you it's not just BHer that this is an issue at. Sorry, because I know it sucks.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe it's strictly a gender issue. I know men who gossip about who's doing whom at conferences that cater to both the academic and legal professions. And I think the participants could be classified as "intelligent" since they all have graduate degrees. Perhaps we need to take care when we start stereotyping about particular groups of people. The only behavior we can control is our own.

Zoe said...

Makes me glad that I didn't even try to fit in where I know I just don't. The Queerophere party rocked, and all were welcome. And I don't recall the gay girls gossiping or commenting on what anyone else wore or didn't wear. But maybe I just wasn't around for it if they did. For us, for me, it was about community.

Funny thing was, going into BlogHer con I didn't even know who the popular bloggers were. I know my circle of bloggers, my community, and I was familiar with many of my fellow CE's at BlogHer. What I found more interesting was the number of people who didn't know who the BlogHer CE's were.

CJ said...

This is THE best post I have read regarding BlogHer. Bravo! Well said!

Mrs4444 said...

Bravo! I especially hate those posts because they are getting far too much attention and making bloggers (and women) look bad.