Sunday, August 17, 2008

"Woman to Woman, Online"

That was the headline of one of the most emailed stories in the NYTimes earlier this week, and it was picked up in today's Sacramento Bee, too. The story, which ran in the business pages under the "Advertising" subhead, is about how women bloggers are raking in the advertising dollars.

It inspired my blogpost on LegalRuralism yesterday, and as I thought further about what I wrote there, I realized there was more to say --from a feminist angle. What strikes me in this is the popularity of the so-called "mommy blogs." One woman featured is Heather Armstrong of Ad income has permitted both her and her husband to quit their jobs. Here's an excerpt from the NYTimes story, which notes the popularity of other standard women's fare -- fashion and make up:
Sites aimed primarily at women, from “mommy blogs” to makeup and fashion sites, grew 35 percent last year — faster than every other category on the Web except politics, according to comScore, an Internet traffic measurement company. Women’s sites had 84 million visitors in July, 27 percent more than the same month last year, comScore said.
Don't get me wrong, I'm delighted these women are making good money and better securing their own financial security, as well as that of their children. But I'd like to know more about women's blogs that are not in the "mommy" category -- or the hair, make-up, and fashion category. Are they equally successful? who reads them?

I am concerned about the romanticization of motherhood that may be signified by the popularity of these blogs. Is this another indication that motherhood is essentialized for women? (Bridget Crawford of Pace University gave a great talk on this topic at "Working from the Ground Up: Equality's Future, A New Legal Realism Conference Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Feminism and Legal Theory Project" in March, 2008). Or, does this just mean that mommies have more time on their hands to read these witty blogs? And, as the NYTimes story notes, that they are the ones who make many household goods purchasing decisions?

Could it be that my musings on this topic are just sour grapes because JCPenney, Crate & Barrel, and Walgreens are not supporting my blogging habit? Let's face it, domesticity is not my favored content topic . . . .

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