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September 14, 2007

We Won't Be Ignored

StephanieLast week on our sister site, Silicon Valley Moms Blog, Rebecca wrote a post she has come to regret.  In it, she called Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic candidate John Edwards, a "terrible mother" for taking her kids on the campaign trail.  Rebecca, and the rest of us, got a big shock.  Ms. Edwards replied to her post within a few hours.  And the media picked up on it.  The original post no longer appears on the site, but our own Joanne wrote about the exchange for DC Metro Moms.

My point in dragging all of this up again is not to rehash the argument between Rebecca and Ms. Edwards.  I had the opportunity to hear Ms. Edwards speak at BlogHer in Chicago this Summer and I'm a big admirer.  I'm not here to start another Mommy War.  I just want to point out that the response from Ms. Edwards should be a big reminder to everyone, candidates and media alike, of the power and exposure women are gaining on the Internet.

In the aftermath of the Rebecca/Elizabeth Edwards squabble, a few of my fellow bloggers decided to remind politicians that women bloggers want to be involved in serious political discourse. Kim invited the spouses of the candidates to get together with the Chicago Metro Mom bloggers to discuss issues and Amie invited all of the candidates to a get together at her house.  Hell, I even generously offered to upgrade the beverages from box o' wine to screw top.  Maybe my attempt at beverage humor scared everyone away because we've only received one response, from Ms. Obama's publicist, declining our invitation.

I was disheartened at the underwhelming response we received.  I'm asking questions and frankly I'm annoyed.  If a large group of mostly male bloggers get together, politicians apparently take notice.  If a similar sized group of largely female bloggers get together, we're generally ignored.

I'm not basing my statements on pure conjecture either.  That is indeed what happened this summer.  The BlogHer '07 convention in Chicago was attended by some 800 bloggers, largely female.  All of the Presidential candidates were invited.  None of them came.  Ms. Edwards, of course, was the keynote speaker and there was a representative from the Hillary Clinton campaign.  I've heard rumors that someone from the Romney campaign was there as well.  That's it.

In contrast, at the yearly Kos Convention, held in Chicago the weekend after BlogHer, all of the major Democratic candidates appeared except Senator Biden. 

Why are the politicians ignoring us?

I'm slightly encouraged by an article in this morning's San Jose Mercury.  In the article, Julia Prodis Sulek, interviewing several Silicon Valley Mom Blog contributors, pointed out the political impact that women can have through their blogs.  I just wish that the media would focus on female bloggers in a substantive way and stop using us as grenades in the Mommy Wars.  We care about politics and not just in a maternally focused politics. If our politically charged thoughts are going to be cherry picked from the Internet, then why not focus on something of real substance: health care, the environment, the war in Iraq

I just want to remind the media and all of the Presidential candidates not to dismiss us.  We "Mommy bloggers" are a force that can't be denied.  We are well educated and vocal.  We are doctors and lawyers and journalists and political followers.  We care deeply about the future of our children and this country.  We have checkbooks and blogs and we aren't afraid to use them.

Take heed, candidates.  We may be mothers and we may be women, but we will not be ignored.

Stephanie is a lawyer with many opinions and a big mouth.  She rants and raves frequently at her other home, Lawyer Mama.

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