As I mentioned in my BlogHerDC recap post, I met one person I didn't like. Just one. Now, I don't expect to like everyone, and I don't expect everyone to like me. That's life. But I do expect to be treated with respect no matter what, and I certainly never expected to be dismissed like so much fluff by another woman at a BlogHer conference.
At BlogHerDC they did a "speed dating" exercise where they formed two circles of people facing each other, and you got to talk to the person opposite you, and every minute the inside circle moved to the left, so that each minute for however long they did it, you met someone new. It was done at BlogHer07 in Chicago, too, and I enjoyed it immensely, in part because it provides an opportunity to meet so many bloggers outside of your own genre. In Chicago I met some great bloggers with really neat blogs who I would never have met otherwise, but who I now read regularly (blogroll coming in future when I can finally get around to it), so I was excited when they announced it.
I lined up and started listening and running my mouth alternately. And sure enough, I met some great bloggers outside of my genre - food bloggers, life bloggers, professional bloggers, even a 15 year old blogger who was there with her mother (and how 'bout THAT for an experience? YAY, Mom!). And of course, the political bloggers. DC metro area blogging conference in an election year? There were TONS of political bloggers, even political bloggers who happen to be mothers.
With each person I met, I introduced myself as a mommyblogger, gave a brief description of what I blogged about, and then asked what the person I met blogged about. I had great conversations with everyone, save one. I introduced myself and immediately upon saying mommyblogger, I could see the light in her eyes change. Her smile no longer made it all the way to her eyes. She briefly told me she was a political blogger, and then started looking over my head at the next person she was going to talk to! I know I'm short and all, but it was just incredibly insulting. The person next to me was from the AAUW, and the political blogger started talking to her about a feminism initiative that AAUW was sponsoring, dismissing me. Thing is, the AAUW woman included me in the conversation. Political blogger woman kept giving me dismissive looks. Her body language made her message clear: you do not matter.
I may be a mommyblogger - that happens to be a big part of my identity right now. But they didn't cut my head open and remove my brain when they did my c-sections. I was a working professional woman for more than a decade, and just because I stay home now doesn't mean I forgot what that was like, or that I won't go back to the corporate world in the future. It doesn't mean I have nothing to contribute to political discussions; in fact, I would say I have more at stake and politics means more to me now precisely BECAUSE I am a mother and I not only care about the impact of the decisions that our country's leaders make on me, but on my daughters and sons.
And I am no less of a feminist because I stay home at this point in my life. My mother didn't work as a feminist to change corporate acceptance of females in professional positions for herself; she wanted to stay home. She did it for me, so that I would have the choice to do whatever I wanted, to be an astrophysicist or an engineer or a teacher or a doctor or a plumber or a truck driver or a nurse or a lawyer or a stay-at-home-mother, without being ostracized or marginalized for my choice. If she knew that more than 30 years later the same backward attitudes she battled are still at play, she'd roll over in her grave.
Ms. Political Blogger, I am a Mommyblogger, and I am proud. I am also a wife blogger, a daughter blogger, a sister blogger, a granddaughter blogger, a daughter-in-law blogger. I am a reader blogger, a writer blogger, a voter blogger. I am an activist blogger. I am an education blogger. I am a personal blogger. I blog about my life. And the things I have to say about that life are just as important, and valuable, and worthy of respect as anything you have to say, and vital, so that some day in the future my daughter won't have anyone looking over her head in a professional venue, dismissing her like she's so much fluff.