Thursday, April 5, 2012

Of Mommies (Commies?!?) and Mean Girls

So there was this contest, held by a popular site for moms and mommy bloggers. (Photo in case the page changes, now that the contest is over. Click the photo(s) to embiggen.):

The contest was open for three weeks. Folks would nominate themselves or their friends, and the general public would vote on their favorite political mommy blogs or, it seems, political blogs written by women who are mommies (though you'd scarcely know it by their posts). While the contest blurb did not make it clear, it was possible to vote for more than just your favorite blog; in fact, you could vote for as many blogs as you wanted, once every 24 hours.

Going into the final week, a liberal blog called Monologues of Dissent was at the top of the list. This did not make the conservative bloggers very happy.

So, this happened:

and this happened:

and this:

and this:

(The one above, along with the "Lonely Conservative" post at the top of the list, were subsequently deleted. I'll get to the likely reason why, shortly.):

and then there were these:

And that by no means concludes the list. This thing shot through this particular segment of the Con blogosphere like wildfire, and posts like these abounded.

On and on it went... Dismissive, partisan derision, like calling the liberals "Commie Mommies" became the theme. (Yes, one of the liberal bloggers in the contest did call herself a Commie Mommy Blogger at least one time (and though I can't prove it, common sense says she did so in response to the crazy "red scare" commentary of Right Wingnuttia). Whatever her reason though, one thing is clear to anyone who bothers to look; Right there in the SAME POST, she also said...:

...proving once again that satire is lost on quite a few conservatives.)

And, while the conservative mean girls and their like-minded, lunkheaded boyfriends were ginning up support for the popular clique and trashing the competition, so they could become the homecoming queens of the internet, or whatever, what were the liberal moms doing?


Political Mamas � The Mamafesto:

A few weeks ago I got an email saying I was nominated for a “Top 25 Political Mom Bloggers” award. After deciding it wasn’t actually spam, I admit I got a little giddy. I’m none too savvy as far as these blogging awards go, and to be honest, I’m not even sure what it really all means (a pretty little .gif to attach to my site? meh. More traffic = more folks reading about gender, feminism, reproductive rights, etc? Yes please!).

And, I’m pretty sure there isn’t even an actual prize.

So why has it turned so ugly?

I’ll be honest to say that I’m more than flattered that somebody thought to nominate me for top political blogger. I also think it’s pretty rad that there are enough moms out there interested and invested in politics to even have such a category. That in and of itself speaks volumes to me, and energizes the little activist in me. Regardless of where these women stand, they’re still engaged enough to want to discuss the political climate in our country today.

But somehow, it’s become less about the actual politics and issues and more about “sticking it to the other side.” When I saw some blogs rapidly spike through the polling list, I became curious and visited some of them. Instead of just asking for votes, there were posts that demeaned and ridiculed other bloggers whose views didn’t mesh with their own. Attack the politics, sure. But the bloggers? Why stoop to that level. Over an internet poll?

I just don’t get it.

I’ll debate the issues all you want, but when you start slinging out insults like “commie mommies?” What’s the point? What happened to winning on your own platform? Why do we need to malign others to build ourselves up? Seems like a hollow victory in the end to me.

Turning this into a popularity contest just adds more weight to the whole Mommy Wars game, and frankly I don’t want to play if those are the rules. I’m not going to badmouth anyone, or try to instill fear that the end of the world is near if the other side comes out victorious (again, we’re talking about a random internet voting poll. This ain’t the Hunger Games folks).

Yet, here I am, humbly asking for you to click this link and shoot a vote my way. You don’t need to sign up for anything, and actually – you can even vote for more than one blogger at a time!

For instance, you could also vote for Blue Milk, Mamapundit, MomsRising, PunditMom, The Radical Housewife, Hello Ladies, Femamom, The Feminist Breeder , Viva La Feminista and any others on the main site that tickle your political fancy.

Please – share this post and encourage your friends to vote as well. You can vote once every 24 hours. If anything, think of this as practice for the real, actually important impending national election.

and this:

Confessions of a Commie Mommy | One Flew Over the Playpen:

I started this blog for two reasons: 1) I was afraid being a stay-at-home mom was making a certain part of my brain mushy and 2) I was realizing that life as a mom “outside the Beltway” was like a slap in the face – there were so many things I thought I understood before, but clearly had no idea. Literally, my water broke, O popped out, and in an instant I went from insider to outsider, and started getting the education that came with it. I thought it would be fun to capture my thoughts and share them with my friends.

But what I hadn’t completely figured out was that leaving DC and becoming a mom in the ‘burbs of Illinois, where everything I knew and almost everyone I cared about was hundreds of miles away, had made me feel incredibly alone and sometimes really sad. I am so lucky to be able to stay home with O, but it’s been hard for me to redefine myself. Being a mom is amazing, but it’s also monotonous and isolating. It’s easy to feel like the whole world is passing you by.

This blog made me feel like I was a little bit “in the know” again. And people were sending me notes saying they liked a post or suggesting new ideas. I email with people I haven’t spoken to in ages. I even email with total strangers. It got me off my butt to start volunteering and getting involved with local issues. It was just what I needed.

I also realized there’s this whole community of moms who write about policy and politics. They are so much savvier than I am. And can clearly write faster in a baby nap than I can. I started thinking, wow, these people are taking the whole “the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand the rules the world” thing and trying to change the way people think. About women, about our kids, about life. Rockin’. I want to do that.

So when some nice person nominated my blog for this Circle of Moms competition, I 1) didn’t want to be in last place (duh) and 2) thought, well, it’s not like I’m getting paid, at least I might get some positive feedback other than O not throwing the food I made him all over the floor. I also learned about some other awesome blogs. I even voted for two of the super conservative blogs because I thought they were well written. That was the point of the competition, right?

I’m such a dope. Somewhere between Capitol Hill and Mommyland, I got all mushy, moms-are-the-best, we-all-just-want-right-by-our-kids and totally forgot what a bunch of assholes are out there with blogs. Yeah, I know, I’m the real asshole. Here I was writing a blog from my own perspective, and despite being a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, trying to be occasionally really critical of the Administration when I thought they deserved it. I try to write as well as I can in the 45 minutes I have allotted. And then I was naive enough to think this competition wasn’t just about who could be the craziest person dangling by their pinkie finger from the edge of the political spectrum.

Last night I got on the Circle of Moms site to see that a bunch of the conservative blogs had put out a call to “stop the Commie Mommies.” At first I laughed about it with Tedd. Ha, ha, there go those crazies. And then, I got indignant. This is why people – especially people in power – think blogs are ridiculous hobbies by people with nothing better to do than spout drivel and propaganda to readers who already drank the Kool-aid. Some of these blogs are definitely not trying to make our kids’ lives better. They’re spewing hate on an Internet that already has enough crap on it.

Circle of Moms is a really great resource for parents and it’s clearly not their fault their nice competition got hijacked. If you are a mom in need of info, they have awesome stuff. And I bet I sound like a sore loser. I am honestly nowhere near as cool as the vast majority of political mom blogs and don’t expect to be. But this list – as least what it has become – isn’t what I’m about and I’m kind of sorry for asking everyone to spend so much time voting for me. Yes, at the beginning I had a longing to beat certain sites. But I realized now I’m just playing into the BS.

I’m sure in real life these people are probably decent and hopefully wouldn’t call me a Commie Mommy to my face. (Who am I kidding? – I’ve seen enough of their protests to know better.) And there are extremes on both sides that are equally as intolerant. But I only have a small amount of time in my day to try to do some good after the other 99% of me I pour into O. I’m going to focus on that.

Sigh. Motherhood is isolating enough. The world is hateful enough. And I already spend my day surrounded by poop. Enough already.

Peace, love & happy babies,


Even if I weren't in sympathy with their liberal thinkin', I know which group I'd want to support, just based on the differences in the way they approached both the contest and the other blogs and bloggers competing.

And that's not my only beef with the contest.

I'm not a mother.

I'm not even a parent.

I haven't paid much attention to mommybloggers, except for Quinn Cummings at The QC Report (because I thought she was great as a child actress in the late 70's, but especially because her blog and book (Notes from the Underwire: Adventures from My Awkward and Lovely Life) are among the funniest things I've ever read), and my post about Shellie Ross, a young mother who lost a son in a tragic accident, and was pretty mercilessly attacked on some social media sites for how she responded to her son's death (What'd I Say?: Shellie Ross, Twitter, and The 'Right' Way to Grieve).

But reading through some of the blogs in this contest, I discovered that mommy bloggers who discuss politics bring a new dimension to the topics we politically-minded folks think about and discuss. While I do not want to slight female bloggers who discuss politics and are also mothers by any means, there's something different, refreshing, and special about mothers who discuss politics and society while looking through the lens of their children's present and future.

So, to my way of thinkin', anyway, it's too bad that this mom site chose to highlight political bloggers who are moms (even one's who seldom if ever discuss their children, parenting, or how politics and society affects either) rather than mommy bloggers who discuss politics, which as I said, brings a whole new dimension to the topics they discuss. And I'm not just saying that because, at least the way the contestants shook out this year, most of the conservative bloggers are political bloggers who happen to be moms, and most of the liberal bloggers are mommy bloggers who happen to discuss politics, or that of the top 25, 15 are conservative bloggers, but not mommy bloggers, and 4 are mommy bloggers who are liberal. (The rest of the 25: actual conservative mommy bloggers, and one liberal blogger who happens to be a mom.)

While they can certainly run their contest any way they wish, here's what I would do, next year...

Mommy bloggers only (or two categories: Mommy bloggers who discuss politics, and political bloggers who happen to have kids.)

Vote for one blog, one time. (Perhaps with an option to change your vote, from one blog to another, until the contest is over.)
NO voting once a day, and NO voting for as many blogs in a day as you want, both of which lead to the "poll freeping" that occurred this year. (While it wasn't against the rules to have folks who share one's politics, but likely never read word one of most of the blogs they voted for, vote en mass for every conservative blog on the list, it defeats the purpose. It wasn't the best blogs who won. It was the blogs who could muster up the most political support. It was the mean girls who attacked their fellow contestants. And it turned what could've been a pretty good contest for mothers and politically-minded folks everywhere into a joke.

As one person put it in a blog comment I saw (A post titled: "Lets Take Over Circle of Moms Political Blogger Contest!":

"Progressive bloggers: oh, cool, a fun little contest that will bring some new readers to my blog, thanks for the nomination. Oh, yeah, readers, go ahead and vote for me if you think of it.
Conservative bloggers: BATTLE OF GOOD VERSUS EVIL. TO THE DEATH. Vote for me every single day to control the minds of the public! Dig up grandma and get her vote! THIS MEANS WAR!
What is it about having fun that is so difficult for you people?"

Comment by MWS — April 2, 2012 @ 3:09 pm
Oh, almost forgot...
The reason some of the mean girls edited or deleted their attack posts?

The rules of the contest:
(From the Top25 Faqs - Circle of Moms):

And from the Blog with Integrity site:

It's all "hit, hit, harder, HARDER" until the bullies realize they may get thrown out of the game for their unsportsmanlike (mean girl) conduct...

I added a "Political MommyBlogger" blogroll to the site. I urge you to check a few of 'em out for a fresh perspective on politics, and on parenting...

And for the record, if the contest were run according to the rules I outlined, and I could only cast one vote for one blog, it would be for The Mamafesto. A class act all around, and passionate about her family and the world they (we) all live in... If you're only willing or able to click one of the links in the "mommy blogger" list, I recommend you make it hers...

Added link:
Commie Mommies, Yay! -