Friday, December 18, 2009

She's a Man, Baby!

"Do Male Bloggers Receive More Respect?" is the headline over at Freelance Writing Jobs,, from a few days ago.

It ignites an interesting question in me and fascinating perspectives from others who visit the site, which I've been reading for, I think, a few years now. I read the article just a couple days ago, and so I've had a little time to digest the concept and unfurl the wrinkles and create some new ones.

This debate really gets at the heart of this new blog of mine, C cubed. I had a blog in late 2006, that I kept up and going through about, oh, 2008 or early 2009. I could be a year off in either direction on the years (that is, with the "old blog" being started in 2007 and given up in 2009); as those who know me know, time is not my forte.

That is: what is my blog's raison d'etre? Where do I want it to go? What should it be?

Of course we know, as writers, that people import their own meanings into our texts, so we can't possibly be such control freaks as to direct, conduct, condone, and create every possible perspective of our writings. And why would we want to, really? Each person (reader) brings a different set of skills, emotions, experiences, and, ultimately, his or her own point of view.

So, over at FWJ, the site administrator, Deb Ng, posts that she resists being called a "mommy blogger."

Now, without making my post go on and on and on, I love language. As you all know. Methinks, however, that it is ALL about context. As Marshall McLuhan said, "the medium is the message," but I would also go so far as to say that the forum is the message, too. Freelance Writing Jobs is clearly not a "mommy blog." Nor is it even a "mom blog," which, to me, has a much friendlier (and less patronizing or condescending) connotation. It carries a better tone and tune to it than "mommy." However, I personally love being called "mommy" by my 26-month-old. It is a role I never thought, let's say even 5 years ago, that I would fulfill, much less love.

However, like Deb, I would much rather be known as a blogger than anything. Well, actually, in my case, I'd rather be known as a writer than a blogger. (No offense whatsoever to bloggers. Of which I suppose I am one. I blog therefore I am?)

And yet there are a great many blogs that I follow that could be called "mommy blogs." In fact, they wear that chapeau--I really should say "hats," for being a parent entails at least a hat a day, if not many more!--proudly. And I don't think that these blogs, taken in and of themselves and in their context (they are in their element, awash in coupons, toy and clothing reviews, children's literature giveaways and so on, as much as I am awash in a spit-up vomitus of, well, spit-up as a second-time mom of a brand-new newborn who's about to officially morph into an infant shortly), are abashed at all about using this phrase.

If you remember the book The Awakening, by Kate Chopin, one of my favorites, you might recall that the lead character Edna Pontellier, as I recall, has this sort of dilemma. How does she define herself? Is she a "mother woman" (the phrase used in this excellent book, again, if memory serves; you should check it out if you haven't already), or is she something above and beyond that? Something, someone nebulous and infinite but finitely defined as wife and mother. That is, when we wedge people into a narrow context or definition (he's gay or she's African American or she wears glasses or she's a tech geek or he has asthma), we do the worst kind of pigeonholing and, with the exception of Bert of Sesame Street, not too many people look kindly upon the lowly pigeon. All it does is, uh, mess things up, let's say to keep it clean (apart from the pij poo!).

So, rather than defining myself or my blog--which, by the way, it's taken me a year to just rename the damn thing, and it's still not that original of a name; I wanted Mom de Plume, but that, alas, was already taken (nothing new under the sun, damn ye, Bard!)--it really should be defined by my readers. All three of you. : )

For it is for you that this blog exists. Otherwise, it would be a private endeavor known only to me and done only for my enjoyment or disappointment or consternation or .... You get my drift. And because this blog is not an interior monologue, I am struggling with figuring out how to get it to people, if I should get it to people, what people should I get it to, what information should I disclose, what the blog's about (again, raison d'etre), and so on.

All this while, again, being a mom. And wife. And part-time freelance editor, fact-checker, and writer.

How the "mommy bloggers" do it, not to mention the other bloggers with a score of irons in the fire, I will never know. Loads of coffee or No-Doz, I suppose!

In any case, you will discover, if you don't already know, when you read the post at FWJ how a well-known writerly blogger came out as a woman when she had been posing as a man. Victor/Victoria, anyone?

It is with this last thought that I will leave you as you, I hope, head over to the FWJ post or at least consider yourself in terms of the mask, the facade you present to the world around you (if it is indeed a facade), whether you are a writer or other artist or simply, and significantly, a simple human "bean": WHO ARE YOU, WHO-WHO, WHO-WHO?

Tell me, who are you?!


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