Don't call me a 'mommyblogger' - the Motrin brouhaha

Don't call me a 'mommyblogger' - the Motrin brouhaha

Summary: * Jennifer Leggio is on vacationGuest editorial by Joanne BambergerThings got a little heated in the blogosphere last week over a Motrin ad suggesting that babies were the new mommy accessory. I don't know what was going on the heads of the people at Johnson & Johnson, but it's really not rocket science that maybe that idea wouldn't go over too well with their target audience of moms.

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* Jennifer Leggio is on vacation

Guest editorial by Joanne Bamberger

Don’t call me a ‘mommyblogger’ - the Motrin brouhahaThings got a little heated in the blogosphere last week over a Motrin ad suggesting that babies were the new mommy accessory. I don't know what was going on the heads of the people at Johnson & Johnson, but it's really not rocket science that maybe that idea wouldn't go over too well with their target audience of moms.

I was going to stay away from this one. But there was a last straw that finally broke my back. The ad was the insult. The injury was the continued references to women online writing about and protesting the ad as a group of "mommybloggers."

Why do I think the term "mommyblogger" is an insult? Well, it depends on the context, but too often the term "mommy," unless it's used by one of our children, is meant to be an adjective to diminish the authority of the writer.

When the main stream media talks about "mommybloggers" it's often meant to refer to a group of stay-at-home mothers who, in their spare time, write about the trials of motherhood. Some of us fit into that category, but there's a lot of shortsightedness if people think that's all that "mommybloggers" are.

What if a network reporter had broken this story first, let's say a woman network reporter who just happens to be a mother? Then, other networks and cable shows pick up on it and, hey, the reporters covering it also happen to be mothers or fathers -- would we call them a bunch of "mommy journalists" or "daddy reporters?"

Would a male attorney dare to refer to me in open court as a "mommylawyer" if I decided to get back to practicing law? Would you refer to your internist as a "mommydoctor?" And why not? Because it would be a major insult, suggesting that their profession was somehow less important or that they were somehow less qualified because of their parental status.

Some may be curious about my pique because sometimes being a mom blogger is a brand, one that can be used to one's benefit. But when others try to flip the title to describe us as writers and, yes, sometimes activists, it ends up as shorthand for someone who is less deserving of respect or influence. It makes our opinions much easier to ignore.

We don't hear men described in the media in terms of a diminutive phrase about their fatherhood and there's a reason for that -- it would short-change what a man was saying. No one calls Markos Moulitsas a "daddyblogger."

Motherhood doesn't make our writing, our activism or our critiques any less worthy of place at the table. As a professional writer, who happens to be a mother, with a lengthy history in broadcast news and law, you can call me a lot of things, but don't call me a mommyblogger.

'Nuf said.

Joanne Bamberger is a writer and political analyst who lives outside Washington, D.C. She is the founder of the political blog, PunditMom, and writes about politics for BlogHer, The Huffington Post, and a variety of other blogs. Yes, her blog name has the word 'mom' in it, but that doesn't make her less of a pundit!

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17 comments
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  • The ad perfectly targeted the intended audience

    Moms who despise the "look at my fashion accessory baby" women.
    frgough
  • shoe fits

    If you write solely about motherhood issues on a blog, you can certainly be labeled a 'mommyblogger'. Being a mother in general has nothing to do with it.

    Your arguments about other professions are unrelated, it just seems they've hit a sore spot in your psyche.

    If you're a professional writer or journalist, it seems you could easily ignore this kind of label, or in the alternative, rebrand it with your own set of credentials.

    I think mommyblogger is a term used to describe amateur writers that blog as a hobby. You perceive this to be a negative, I would bet that many mommybloggers do not.
    coffeeshark
    • I think you made her point

      There's a perception. And the perception might be inaccurate. There are a lot of women out there lumped into mommyblogger lists when they say nothing about being a mommyblogger on their socnet profiles or on their own blogs. On the other hand, there's a huge number who pride themselves on being mommybloggers. But each should have the freedom to brand themselves versus being lumped together.
      Jennifer Leggio
  • RE: Don't call me a 'mommyblogger' - the Motrin brouhaha

    I take issue with this. Perhaps the issue is that being labled anything mommy or daddy should not be an insult and women are wearing this lable proudly because they see it has an honor to do many things successfully. Write, blogs, be an advocate, have a business, be sought after for opinions and be a parent.

    Perhaps people see it as an insult because they don't value what stay at home moms or dads do enough. This should change verses a title changing because it might make someone like yourself or others feel devalued or looked down upon. Any number of words can mean different things based on how they are said, the tone and what the inclination is. I don't think Mommy Blogger is negative and if someone wanted to call themselves a mommylawyer...good for them.
    greennmom
    • I think what Joanne is saying...

      ...isn't that being a "mommyblogger" is bad. It's that being a "mommy" does not have to be the lead for a blogger's identity. Sure, some women pride themselves on being a mom and a mom alone. More power to them. But there are others that do not want to be lumped in as a mommyblogger just because they are mothers (even if their blog name says "mom") and want to be known as political thought leaders, insightful reporters, and so on.

      I can't relate not being a mother, but I am a daughter, and to me it's just as odd to be classified as a "daughterblogger" just because I happen to be one when I write about social business issues. I'm also Italian. I wouldn't want to be known as an "Italianblogger" and I also wouldn't want to be known as a "hockeyblogger" even though I am a huge hockey fan.

      Women are lumping in other moms who happen to blog as mommybloggers, not giving any thought to the point that maybe the others don't want to be known to the world as "mommy." They want to be known to the world as the person they are regardless of their parental status.
      Jennifer Leggio
      • what about "PunditMom"

        I agree with both you and Joanne in essence ... but she should've been a bit more careful seeing how she does have a blog called "PunditMom".
        PRJack
        • Which...

          ...she calls out in her bio. Not wanting to be known as "mommyblogger" is not the same as hiding the fact that one is a mom. Very different distinctions.
          Jennifer Leggio
  • What was the point of this blog?

    Seriously.

    Does debating the term mommyblogger have any place on ZDNET?

    I would take seriously a discussion about some sort of new breast pump. Maybe some discussion about patents as it might relate to something females might tend to use more.

    But come on, a discussion about bloggers not liking having a particular label applied to them? How does that have anything to do with technology?

    As an aside, I would tend to agree "mommyblogger" is being used dismissively to call into question the competence, credibility, and ability of female bloggers who happen to be moms. The implication is that moms stay at home, are disconnected from the greater world, and would blog for "fun" and therefore take it less seriously than a "real" job.

    But the real issue isn't "mommy blogger". How does anyone on the web judge the knowledge and credibility of *any* blogger? Female mothers are just easier to pick on as an identifiable group.

    So I see why people would dislike the term, but if you step back the bigger issue of blogger credibility needs to be addressed for all bloggers. Now *that's* a topic for discussion.
    croberts
    • FYI

      This blog addresses social media / technology / business issues relative to social networks. This stemmed from a social media business campaign for one of the nation's largest companies that failed (which was linked within the post and explains it all).
      Jennifer Leggio
  • Jen, I think you're missing the point

    They aren't called mommybloggers because they are moms who happen to blog. They are called mommybloggers because they are moms who blog almost entirely about being moms, raising kids, etc. You wouldn't be called a daughterblogger or a hockeyblogger because that's not the primary topic of your blog.

    Also, there's no double standard with daddybloggers. It's a way to identify the subject matter, not to diminish the author.

    -chris
    chriseng
    • That's exactly the point

      Women who happen to be moms but who do not write about mommy issues *are* being lumped in under the category of mommyblogger. It's as if they mention their kids or some parent-type thing (I can't think of one) on their blogs once or twice and suddenly they are branded. Against their will, they show up on "mommyblog" blog rolls, or are referred to as mommybloggers. The rest of us get to define our brands. These women aren't all given the ability to do so -- unless they completely hide the fact that they have children. And that is just wrong.
      Jennifer Leggio
  • RE: Don't call me a 'mommyblogger' - the Motrin brouhaha

    I'm a pundit and a mom. I chose the name carefully, but before the media decided to start lumping all mothers who blog into one category. My motherhood informs my politics, hence the name.

    Many of my friends proudly wear the mommyblogger label when they use it on their own terms. But many in the media do use it as a backhanded way to suggest that our opinions are less than worthy.

    PunditMom
    PunditMom
  • Are you ashamed at being a mommy or ...

    a blogger? Small minds are generally offended by words.

    Plus your example of doctors and lawyers is lame. Neither stay home with their children or have their children in tow like a stay at home mom. Any mother offended by this terminology is probably not sure enough of themselevs. Or they are not as proud of their role as the nuturer as they would have you believe. A real mommy would wear that distinction like a crown, as well she should.

    The removal of the stay at home mom in our society is a big factor in the deterioartion of family and the culture that made America great. A lack of nurturing leads young children to turn to other less wholesome means of self assurance. It leads to self doubt and a lack of assurance in oneself.

    Any woman that takes offense at being called anything so noble as a mommy is probably trying to impress others with her motherhood as opposed to sincerely being a mommy.
    bjbrock
    • The Deterioration of the Position of "Mother"

      While this blog has taken the time to deviate from
      traditional tech speak, I will add just a little bit of insight to
      the comments.

      This blog stems from the cultural deterioration of the job
      and position of being a mother. Quite frankly I don't blame
      women who take offense or look down upon traditional
      "stay at home mothers" or the term "mother."

      Our culture is not supporting or honoring the position of
      motherhood as it has been in the past. I agree with bjbrock
      in that the removal of honored mothers in our society is a
      big factor in deterioration of the American culture at its
      foundational level for the future.

      Without honorable and intelligent children for the future, a
      society will become apathetic and will have little or no regard for others or for that matter, life. We can only look
      to the horror stories of elementary school children and the
      increase in violence at younger and younger ages.

      While my statements seem bold and pointed, however I do
      not look down upon mothers who work and parent
      children. I only ask that we as both men and women,
      would take a close look at the importance of raising
      children in homes where the children can grow, and want
      to be like their parents.

      Mothers and also fathers I honor your hard work in raising
      children.
      Evan13
  • Maunufactured Controversy

    I remember reading a story about a man who developed an unusual deformity in middle age. His nerves grew on the outside of his skin and actually hung from his body. They dragged behind him as he walked. He was incredibly sensitive to any kind of touch.

    People tired of his continual warnings to others that they needed to stay away and not come to close to him or he would have pain. It seemed whenever he was in a room, the spirit changed and all attention was focused on not upsetting him. He was no fun to be around anymore and became a drag.

    One day a friend of the man went over and started stomping on his nerves. The man shouted, cried out in pain, but the nerves began to recede into his skin. The deformity went away.

    This posting about "mommybloggers" is manufactured controversy. Get a life and get over it.

    One more thing... What is it with people who end their posts with 'Nuff Said? Is that some term for "end of discussion", or "I'm right and you're wrong"? Why "Nuff Said? Why not "Enough Said"? ...I guess I'm just too sensitive...
    Karlkoenig
    • Wow! S-E-N-S-I-T-I-V-E!

      This is beyond ridiculous! First a blip on the marketing radar screen successfully pull a multi-billion dollar, multi-national company's ad down -- then we get criticized about a nickname for a demographic of the online community.

      Come on, this is getting out of hand, stop looking for offense in every single thing that is said on the Internet. For someone who appears to have some life experiences under her belt, it amazes me that you aren't familiar with the little mantra we chanted as little children -- taught to us by none other than our mommies -- "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

      Are you kidding me?! You are acting like a little child here, stop swatting at gnats. This is a continuation of a vocal minority. Let this go and let's deal with topics that are of infinite more worth.
      krisbeldin
  • I can't speak first hand

    Neither silicon or saline implants make it possible to nurse babies. Mothers have noticed.
    Motrin misjudged their audience.
    Are there enough breast implants to make a market Motrin can profit by catering to?
    I guess Motrin has no choice now that they've alienated women lacking implants and deliberately never marketed to men.
    epcraig