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the eric update: cultural bias?

when i was interviewed by salon for a overview piece about flickr, i could understand why odin was edited out in favor a healthy baby born to two moms who live in berkeley. it's an easier story to tell in the space provided and the "two moms" angle certainly would play well with the salon demographic. and, of course, writing about moms and their babies is sort of like writing about, well, moms and apple pie.

today i see that none other than the new york times has written an article about parent blogs. sure, i didn't even get interviewed, but that's not really the point (really. sniff.). what's irksome is that the article is titled "Mommy (and Me)". that's right. not "Mommy and Daddy (and Me), just Mommy (and Me). and the header graphic shows a mom and her daughter. and 90 percent of the links in the article are to mothers writing online. granted, there are two links to blogs written by dads, but one is the trixie update and you can't not write an article about parent blogs without mentioning the trixie update. conveniently, the other daddy blogger mentioned fits into the mold of the dad-as-the-breadwinner stereotype as he gets about two sentences of copy wherein we learn that he hopes the blog will, "help him sell a manuscript he has written about being a father". nice.

maybe i'm making a mountain out of a molehill, but i can't help wondering if i'm witnessing a bit of cultural bias. certainly it can't be because the blog is uninteresting :-)

but i guess i can't complain too much since the web is the web and i can always ignore the old gray lady and her reinforcement of cultural biases. there's always bound to be something more interesting over at daddytypes anyhows.

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1/29/2005 10:30:00 AM 8 comments

8 Comments:

Hey, I've never been a stereotype before. I'm movin' on up!

Incidentally, my book is about becoming a better husband and partner - not a "daddy book". I explained that to the Times, but apparently their spin worked better for them than the facts.

By Blogger The Zero Boss, at 4:26 PM  

ahhh well, what can you do. congratulations on the story, regardless of the spinnification.

By Blogger e3, at 4:40 PM  

i should probably clarify, since it's not entirely clear from my original post - i'm not in anyway implying that the bloggers mentioned in the piece are sterotypical or writing sterotypically. my irritation is more with the times and the not-so-subtle subcontext that moms who blog write "moving, confessional entries" or "candid, motherhood-theme[d]" posts, while dads are either keeping baseball style stats on "...every nap, bottle feeding and diaper change..." or heeding an ulterior profit motive while "...publicizing the private...".

but after reading the article again a few more times, i still can't tell if i was having a kneejerk reaction based on the title and the graphic or if the subcontext is "really" there. maybe i'm just reading too far between the lines :-)

By Blogger e3, at 7:25 PM  

I assumed that's what you meant. No worries. And no, you're not imagining that there's a subtext.

The subtext I got was that we were all a little odd for documenting the trivia of our parental lives, and that we risked either (a) disfiguring our children when they're grown, or (b) causing a "parenting blog bust" by encouraging everyone to do it. (a) is overblown, and (b) doesn't take into account that people blog for different reasons, and do it with different levels of talent.

The biggest risk anyone in the article runs is being stereotyped AS a "parenting blogger". Most of us write on diverse subject matter. We include our parenting experiences because they're an integral part of who we are - but that doesn't make them the sum total of our beings.

By Blogger The Zero Boss, at 11:59 PM  

The Times Style section is stereotype central -- each week they cobble together a titillating article or two on a provocative "trend" -- which is usually exemplified by a mere one or two real-life examples and a whole lot of spin and speculation. Note that inside yesterday's section was a blurb on the "growing number" of brides and grooms who schedule plastic surgery before they walk down the aisle, ooh aah! I'm sure one day they'll do a piece on "preemie blogs" and misquote you up and down the street -- hang in there! :) PS - The mom and baby pictured are Dooce (as in .com) and Leta, and Dooce being arguably the world's most controversial blogger (for getting fired for blogging) I think they shaped the article around her (forgive me if you already know of her!).

By Blogger emily, at 10:30 AM  

"forgive me if you already know of her!" |

as someone who has been blogging for probably far too long ( in fact, i just noticed it's been 5 years! ) i'm certainly aware of the perils of getting dooced and i probably should have just linked directly to heather's fantastic site. thanks for reminding me that not everyone might want to register for the nyt puff to get a link to the site.

By Blogger e3, at 3:10 PM  

I got the repeated feeling from the piece that parent blogging was some kind of self-absorbed neurotic crutch, or an emotional minefield that you're unwittingly dragging your kid into.

The Times' Style section has an article a month about The Trouble With Blogs; one month it's high schooler blogs, then dating a blogger, then two bloggers dating. This week just happened to be about bloggers mating. Watch out E3, your pitch will come. For your sake, I just hope it comes when you have a favorite project to promote.

By Blogger greg, at 10:51 PM  

For your sake, I just hope it comes when you have a favorite project to promote.i guess i need to get cracking on all those evil plans i've been slyly working on :-)

or not. new kids can get in the way of executing on evil plans for world domination.

By Blogger e3, at 11:19 PM  

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.



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