Are Mommy Bloggers a Bunch of Boobs?

I used to think I knew what blogging was about. Making a connection with your words. Credit for craft and community. Validation in the form of respect from your peers.

Last week I went to Mom 2.0 where I had lots of dreamy idealistic convos about authenticity, intention and conviction.  A deal with Martha Stewart Living might help, but only if it was a reflection of our true clever selves. (I made a mental note to share my Passover Pinterest board.)

I had the privilege, and I do consider it a privilege, to speak with some of the bloggers that defined blogging for me. Kristen & Liz, Catherine, Tracey, Kristen H, and many more. Women who paint with their words. For them, I get the feeling, that it’s always been about the connection, and not the attention. Not that the attention is so awful. But the point is, the attention came after. Their intention to share, tell stories and communicate, came first.

My favorite message from the closing keynote came from bestselling author Jenny Lawson, who is not a fan of the limelight, and not afraid to pass big opportunities up if they are not completely on her terms and right for her. She ratified the notion that while the money might be nice… we don’t need a brand alliance or network deal to make us “real”. In fact, these opportunities can be the death of your intentions, if you let them.

Intention is super tricky for me. When you state your intention, it’s supposed to be all pure. There are rules. For instance: you can say you intend to live in a beautiful well organized home. You can’t say you intend to hustle enough this year to fork it over for your kids tuition and hopefully have enough left over for all that awesome but expensive stuff from The Container Store.

Something you never hear bloggers state as their intention:

“This year I’m looking for five minutes of fame! Not for any reason in particular. I just want a brand, any brand really, to make an example of me. It’s not about the money. I just won’t feel validated until I see my face in Times Square!”

Note: My teenaged daughter often says she wants to be famous for having a reality show like the Kardashians. While I am horrified, I applaud her frankness. I also suspect hope she’s yanking my chain.

Immediately after Mom 2.0 I saw a Mom blogger who I respect and admire,  posting a  screen shot of her face on a billboard in Times Square. The image was there as a part of a promotion/campaign for Dove.

Ten minutes later she had about 40 likes and a similar number of comments on her Facebook wall.

The same day, another blogger whose writing I also love and business acumen I more than respect, also shared her picture in a magazine as part of a campaign for Chinet.

Whabam! Her Facebook stream got so bloated that it had to undo a button.

The comments  (for both) went like this:

“OMG!!!!”

“Totally Jealous!”

“You’re so awesome!”

“You so deserve this – more than anybody! ”

” Wow! I am so proud of you!”

Two things:

1.  These women are great writers. But not once have I seen that kind of comment velocity and messaging for one of their posts. Even the ones that made me cry.

2. Proud? Deserving? Jealous. Really?  It’s an enviable word cloud of emotions, but for all the wrong reasons.

The comments, while lovely and encouraging, smacked of pithy insincerity. They remind me of the comments that my Kardashian loving daughter and her friends leave on each other’s walls when one of them gets a bad haircut. OMG! Awesome. YOLO! You go girl! Is this kind of gratuitous stroking the new polite?

Regardless, it’s got to be a nice feeling to find yourself on the receiving end of that kind of comment shower. I won’t lie. I like it when people tell me my hair looks awesome as much as the next woman. It’s validating, still, for any reason, to be told you are awesome. Addictively so. So… slave over a post for hours and no comments. Suck it. 100 comments for your tweet in Times Square? Win!

My question is how far will mom bloggers go for attention and comments?

This is what showed up in my stream today:

 

Mom Blogger Jamie Grumet made the cover of Time Magazine in a deliberately, calculatedly, provocative photograph breastfeeding her 3yr old. The media is having a feeding frenzy.

The headline: “Are you Mom Enough?”

Enough for what?  To pose for a picture? To lend your image to a cause that seems clearly to be at least as much about selling news and views as it is about the topic?

Oh Jamie, I really want to support you. I understand how seductive the spotlight is.But I’m sad tonight. Sad that your left boob has it’s own twitter account and that Rush Limbaugh dummied up a version of the cover with your son sucking on Lady Liberty’s breast. I’m sad that this is your five minutes of fame and that it’s not about your thoughtful writing about adoption.

I was sick today and the news playing in a constant loop. I watched at least seven stories on the “Controversial Time Magazine Cover.” I noted how the media referred to Jamie. She was a “model” in most of the scripts , the fact that she was a mommy blogger mentioned in an afterthought. Model. Dummy. Pair of boobs attached to a three year. Cut to footage of ridiculous people making comments about milk & cookies.

On the mom blogger boards, once again I witnessed an unparalleled firestorm of the “You Go Girl” commentary and congrats and exclamations of pride. Look at that! One of “us” made the big time! The MomsLA group came up with a hashtag to support Jamie. Bless them.

There was also a fair amount of  jealousy and anger that crept in from community members around the edges. It stemmed from confusion. Why did she do this? How does this really reflect on our community? How come she gets all the attention for being young, pretty, cute, skinny (insert adjective)? What was her intention?

I’ve met Jamie (and liked her, she’s super sweet) but I don’t know her well enough to even begin to accurately comment on her motivations for appearing in this photo. I wish I could say that it was a calculated move and that I knew she was a fierce breastfeeding advocate, a lactivist or attachment parenting expert who was a warrior for this cause.

I’d high five her for sure if that was/is the case. But if that was her “brand”, it wasn’t quite clear to me until today.

If lactivist wasn’t her brand yesterday, I sure as hell hope it will be her brand tomorrow. Because she has been made the face of this controversy, along with her 3 yr old son. The world will move along to the next willing “model” without her if she doesn’t use her words well. They probably will even if she does. Models are ultimately interchangeable.

To me, this doesn’t feel like a community win. It feels more like the opposite. Sure Jamie is going to be on the Today Show. Sure she might get a reality TV show or a book deal out of this. And some cash. Cash is good. I hope it’s a lot of cash, considering the long term commitment to being the public face of this magazine selling, boob bashing, “are you mom-enough?” challenging cause.

I’m just finding it hard to rally to what feels like a somewhat manufactured cause.

I do care about women’s rights and have no issues at all with attachment parenting and yet I just don’t care about this story. I cannot drum up the requisite outrage or vehemence for the “issue”. The controversy, for me, has been eclipsed by the fact that I feel like she, like so many attention craving bloggers, might have been taken advantage of here.

This is just my opinion, but Brand and Media “ops” like this and so many more are starting to feel like bad boyfriends. More and more bloggers are being motivated by the scraps of addictive fame that these pimps are peddling. This addiction to attention is dangerous. It runs the risk of undermining all the wonderful other things they do. And for what? 40 dubious comments about how pretty we are?

Five minutes of fame and fluffing is not enough!

I’m Mom enough to tell you. Hold out for more than a brand, more than a message, more than a sale.  Sure you looked pretty in that picture, but it’s not the reason why your real friends love you.

The story immediately after the Time magazine cover was all about Janet Evans’ comeback. There was a brief history of her competitive career and a look at her training schedule and efforts to make a comeback. A mom of two, Janet shared that at this point whether she goes to the Olympics or not, it’s all icing. She adores what she is doing.  She challenges herself daily to be better than the day before. She wants to be the best version of herself at 40.

No soap, no paper plates, no controversial magazine covers or billboard in Times Square. Just a mom doing her thing. Living authentically with passion and intention. More than enough.

I’m going to leave you with the last slide of the presentation I moderated last week, because frankly I need the dose of re-inspiration myself right now. Jenny is an inspiration. So real, always beautiful. She makes people believe, including slightly jaded ones like myself!

 

 

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66 Responses to Are Mommy Bloggers a Bunch of Boobs?
  1. Melissa
    May 11, 2012 | 6:18 am

    i 100% agree with you on this post. to me, so many people do so many things that they wouldn’t otherwise do, all in the name of their 5 minutes. all i could see, when i looked at that cover, was this little boy who is going to have to deal with THAT photo…forever. because that’s how long it will last, here on the internet.

  2. Carolyn
    May 11, 2012 | 7:15 am

    Just yesterday I was told that I was “doing it all wrong” when it comes to my blogging. After feeling like I’ve been punched in the gut, I spent the rest of the day realizing that I’m not doing this for anyone but me. I do it on my own terms or not at all… and that’s definitely good enough for me.

  3. Alpha Mom (TM)
    May 11, 2012 | 7:19 am

    oh Ciaran, you are a wise one. I don’t know the backstory to the photo and whether Jamie knew that when her photo was taken it had the potential to be the cover (i’m betting not), nor do i know Jamie, so I will reserve all thoughts on her and any motivations she may or may not have had.

    BUT, your commentary on our culture’s “addiction to attention” is scary. where’s the reset button on some people’s compasses?

  4. Florinda
    May 11, 2012 | 7:26 am

    I’ve been debating whether to write about this at all, because as a parent I’m SO far past it, but as a blogger and MomsLA member I feel like I need to address it. Having said that, some of my thoughts on the topic are along the same lines as yours, so I hope you won’t mind if I quote and link to this. Thanks for stepping up and saying this.

  5. LisaCrazyAdventuresinParenting
    May 11, 2012 | 7:27 am

    Yes. To all of it. Just, yes.

  6. […] the slew of status update opinions on Facebook and smiled. This morning I read Ciaran’s post Are Mom Bloggers a Bunch of Boobs? It’s really deep and worth a read or two. In fact, I’m going to have to give it a […]

  7. Megan
    May 11, 2012 | 8:02 am

    Attatchment parenting could make for some really good or really bad TV. Anything to stop the Real Housewives.
    I admire jaime for having the passion in her parenting choices to let herself be in the spotlight. I want to show that kind of passion for something.

  8. Jennifer James
    May 11, 2012 | 8:12 am

    Such wisdom here!

  9. Kristin Alexander
    May 11, 2012 | 8:26 am

    Couldn’t agree more. Aside from the obvious perpetuation of the “mommy wars,” which I won’t even get into, I just feel like this was a blatant and sensational attempt for a mom blogger to grab her 15 minutes of fame in the spotlight. And I’m sorry, but she did so at the expense of her child and his privacy. That photo is still going to be circulating ten years from now when he’s almost 14 years old. Kids his age lack the maturity to understand its context and now he runs the risk of being teased and bullied as a result. So, not only do I feel she sold out, I also think the way she did so lends credence to the critics who think mom bloggers are a bunch of self-centered narcissists who violate their kids’ trust. Sorry, but I just can’t see this as a “win” for the mom blogging community.

  10. Ana Flores
    May 11, 2012 | 8:46 am

    I kept nodding my head in agreement throughout this whole fabulous article….and then doing some introspecting in my end. Tune ups frequently needed, you know?

    You also put into words the concern I´ve been feeling for Jamie and her boy. Amongst all the banter and the many flags being waved, I feel there´s a woman, a blogger who was used. It´s just my gut feeling, and not a judgement since I don´t really know how it all came down. but the art direction of the cover just makes you think it was all very deliberate and that just makes me not even want to read what´s inside….

  11. Debbie Goldberg
    May 11, 2012 | 9:23 am

    Ciaran – You make a lot of great points. I’ve noticed a trend lately that’s really disturbing to me – bloggers spewing their guts and their personal horror stories – all in the name of “sharing.” Caring. Yah, right. There is a difference between being a writer and being a whore. If all you care about is getting publicity, then your closer to a whore. And to be clear, I’m not talking about Jamie, nor am I talking about you!
    XO

  12. Elle @SeeMomWorkBlog
    May 11, 2012 | 9:29 am

    I really loved your perspective on this complex issue. I like reading Jaime’s blog and hearing her stories. I was happy for her that she was getting publicity if that’s what she wants. But I was also scared and sad for her and her family too. So much for privacy and peace. The comments on the Time website can be pretty harsh. I don’t have that thick of skin.

    I loved your last slide from Mom 2.0 and the Velveteen Rabbit; so endearing. Mommy blogging seems very tacky and forced sometimes; not authentic enough for me. It’s also like a popularity contest and that’s not what I’m about. Don’t damage your kids in your quest for fame. Please.

  13. Anonymous
    May 11, 2012 | 10:01 am

    Ciaran,

    I really loved this post – and your message. And I’m sorry we didn’t get to hang out at Mom2.0.

    I think attachment parenting is fine. But I’m not sure that this was actually what it was all about. Exactly as you opined in your post.

    Well done. Exceptionally well done.

    Shelly
    @shellykramer

  14. Marcie Taylor
    May 11, 2012 | 10:20 am

    Thank you very much for so eloquently putting some of MY own feelings into words about the Time cover.

  15. Yvonne Condes
    May 11, 2012 | 10:30 am

    First of all, I think we’re all savvy enough to know that Jamie didn’t choose the photo and she didn’t write the headline. Time staged and chose that picture for shock value and Jamie is paying for it.
    You say that you wish you could say that she was a fierce breast feeding advocate. Well, you can. She writes about breastfeeding on her blog and also wrote about her participation in the Target Nurse In on MomsLA http://momsla.com/2011/12/nurse-in-at-target-in-los-angeles-operation-normalize-breastfeeding/. There she explains why she’s a breast feeding advocate and includes pictures of her nursing both of her children at the same time. This isn’t a one off. She was picked by Time Magazine because she practices attachment parenting.
    I get it that there are plenty of bloggers who will do anything for attention, but I honestly don’t believe Jamie is one of them.

  16. Danielle Smith
    May 11, 2012 | 10:32 am

    Ciaran – Like Ana, I found myself nodding as I read and feeling very introspective. This is extremely well done. You said many things I have been thinking lately and many more I not yet dared to consider.

    I can’t begin to speculate on Jamie’s motivation, but I have read the article…and she (and her son) are only mentioned in one sentence. So, the symmetry between the cover, the title and the piece itself is lost on me. Which leads me to believe the intention of the cover was to ignite the controversy we are seeing and not simply begin an open discussion on attachment parenting.

    I suspect I will be coming back to read this again as your words are worth revisting.

    Thank you for this. Beautifully handled.

  17. CLEAR ME
    May 11, 2012 | 10:37 am

    ..

  18. Marty Coleman
    May 11, 2012 | 10:46 am

    I most often get my greatest response in both comments and likes when I state some publicity I have received or statistic that is impressive. Those same people seldom, if ever comment on a blog post. Most never go to my blog to begin with. They like it, but they don’t read it.

    I appreciate their support, no doubt. But it does feel at times as if what they really want is to be able to say they know a famous person, a famous blogger, more than they are interested in my ideas, images and creativity finding a wider audience because perhaps that would be good for the world.

    I am guilty of falling into that trap in little doses. I always do seem to be able to stop myself and think through WHY I want that publicity or deal or whatever it is. Maybe that is why I am the longest running ‘almost famous’ blogger many of my friends know!

    Marty Coleman, The Napkin Dad http://www.napkindad.com

  19. Sarah Hubbell
    May 11, 2012 | 11:05 am

    Damn girl, this may be the best post of yours I’ve read. Certainly couldn’t have said it better. I love some of Jamie’s excellent writing on adoption and am kind of sad to see her used as a pawn to sell magazines. I’m all for brand relationships and endorsements but this is just all kinds of wrong. And she’s sooo young, I just hope she and her family don’t get beat up too badly in all this.

  20. uneeka jay
    May 11, 2012 | 11:27 am

    When I saw the cover of Time, I rolled my eyes and did not even bother picking up the issue to read the story. Regardless of who the woman is on the cover, I thought, “How dare anyone ask if I am mom enough!?” It doesn’t matter if I breast feed or bottle feed, work or stay at home, blog or don’t blog, am married or a single mom! I AM MOM ENOUGH! You know why? Because I am a mom and THAT is good enough!
    Let’s make sure we don’t miss what is really happening here. The media continues to try and pit us against each other. A divided voice is not as powerful as one in unity.

  21. Andrew
    May 11, 2012 | 12:14 pm

    What a great and thoughtful post. As a guy I don’t have as much emotional attachment to either side of the argument. But as a professional writer (and semi-professional? blogger), I agree 100% with you. I’ve written a lot of posts that nary get a comment. But when I announce that I’ll be writing for a major website, I get all sorts of support and “awesome,” “jealous,” kind of things. I appreciate the support, but I would MUCH rather have them actually read my work and show support (or heck, even opposition) for what I have to say.

    Your Kardashian analogy is spot on. I hate all reality shows, but in particular I despise celebs who are famous for doing absolutely nothing more than… uh… being famous.

    The only upside I see to the controversy Jamie’s going through is hopefully she’ll now have a slew of new followers who WILL actually take the time to start reading her words. Did she sell out? Is she merely using her 5 minutes of fame for free marketing? Yes to both. Personally, I’d rather get there on my writing’s merit.

  22. Jessmarie
    May 11, 2012 | 12:32 pm

    I hope she gets a lot of cash for being on such a ridiculous cover. Who does this? She must have been desperate for attention. Clearly she is not succeeding on her blog and had to go to this extreme.

    Also, I feel it was done:

    1. To cause controversy, not discussion
    2. Drive traffic to her blog/book deal/etc.
    3. Get attention

    But I feel it’s going to backfire, because she will forever be immortalized as “the woman on the cover of Time with her boob hanging out for the world to see”. Real classy.

  23. Sammi
    May 11, 2012 | 12:50 pm

    What really hurts is when you go out of your way to support the ‘star bloggers’ and they don’t bother commenting on the ‘lower’ bloggers. Not all of them but a lot of them.

  24. Anonymous
    May 11, 2012 | 1:04 pm

    I’m glad that you have shared these links Yvonne! I’ve read some of Jamie’s posts but not those particular ones. I don’t think Jamie was anything worse than naive here. She’s a smart cookie. This is a great opportunity for her to turn a stupid controversy into a meaningful conversation. I hope that she is not a victim, but a warrior survivor of all the celebrity that’s been foisted upon her.

  25. Anonymous
    May 11, 2012 | 1:12 pm

    Debbie I wish you had been at Mom 2.0. Would have loved your perspective as a blogger and producer on our panel. Sharing doesn’t have to mean baring all. We’re all the producers of our own reality shows ultimately. It’s important to get your story straight and self edit sometimes! This is just an aside…

  26. Nadia Carriere
    May 11, 2012 | 1:15 pm

    This is such a smart and thought provoking post Ciaran. You absolutely nailed it.

  27. amotherworld
    May 11, 2012 | 1:23 pm

    Nothing to add here – well said!

  28. Anonymous
    May 11, 2012 | 1:23 pm

    Nothing to add here – well said!

  29. Lcline
    May 11, 2012 | 1:27 pm

    AMEN! My thoughts exactly.

  30. Morgan (The818)
    May 11, 2012 | 2:18 pm

    While I do believe attachment parenting and breastfeeding have been Jamie’s cause for some time (I linked up one of my favorites of hers on my site) I think there are so many important important issues and concerns that affect our whole community being brought to light in this post. So wise, my friend. <3

  31. CandaceApril
    May 11, 2012 | 4:10 pm

    I am totally with you about the first part. The need to focus on the connection, the intention, the writing… and the frustration when the feedback loop favors the shallow laurels.

    I don’t know this blogger but I do not get the sense that she was looking for her five minutes of fame.

    I once was selected for a morning show about parenting and discipline…but something in the tone of one of the exchanges just sent up a red flag and I backed out. But I’ve been burned before by working with journalists so I am extra wary about these things.

    From what I know about journalism, I strongly suspect that the call went out for Attachment Parenting families to shadow. She answered and was selected. They probably had many conversations over several days about how she parents, why she parents that way, etc. 95% of what she said was probably very carefully considered, thoughtful, thought-provoking, etc.

    Then, there was a photo shoot. I’m sure hundreds of photographs were taken in dozens of poses. The photographer suggested this very strange pose. She may have thought it was odd but figured he was the pro.

    Now, I do not have any issue with her breastfeeding her son (who was only 3 at the time, despite how tall he looks). And lots of women have beautiful breastfeeding pictures–not my thing, personally, but that’s fine. What is weird about the picture is that it does not reflect an attached style of parenting. It looks aggressive and strange.

    But that is not this blogger’s fault.

    She could have refused to pose that way and stopped the shoot if necessary…but I just doubt she realized how the photograph would look.

    Or that they would choose such an aggressive looking picture.

    Or that they would caption it with such an awful headline.

    The photographer set up the shot.

    The editor chose the shot and the headline.

    She did not get approval of any of these things–it is a magazine article, not an ad campaign.

    Is she getting paid? I would be surprised if she is. Most magazines don’t pay interviewees for their stories unless we’re talking trash about celebrities.

    Was she looking for five minutes, or did she just naively think Time was interested in exploring AP parenting? I don’t know…but having seen how journalists work, I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt on this one.

  32. […] Ciaran Blumenfeld of Momfluential – Are Mommy Bloggers a Bunch of Boobs […]

  33. Anonymous
    May 11, 2012 | 4:34 pm

    I agree completely. I don’t think Jamie was looking for five minutes. My guess is that it played out exactly like you describe. Naive blogger, wanting some press, embracing a cause she *does* believe in, and not realizing the many wrong turns that this whole experience could take. Blogger beware! This is a cautionary tale for some who don’t quite get the way that media is used to manipulating willing victims and why we all need to be 100% on our toes with regard to any press and ops that come our way. This is why I noted how many people referred to her as a “model”. They stripped her of her story and used her image to sell their own story. That’s a model.

    This is also why I made the pimp analogy. Not to suggest that Jamie is a whore… to illustrate that she was possibly manipulated and taken advantage of.

    Or not. Only she can tell her own story.

    But my point remains – let’s laud people for their accomplishments, not their willingness to be objectified and posed for someone else’s gain! Attention does not equal success.

    I’m wishing Jamie REAL success now that she has the attention. Run with it. She’s got the goods, despite how she’s been used.

  34. Caryn
    May 11, 2012 | 5:28 pm

    Ciaran….you eloquently expressed much of how I’ve been feeling…..I feel sad about how this whole thing has played out….I don’t think I have anything more to say b/c you said it perfectly….

  35. Niri
    May 11, 2012 | 5:54 pm

    I love the clarity you bring and I have been thinking a lot of this recently. In fact I wondered when I labored over projects which barely got a nod in the industry and then I do some video, which represents zero of me being me in any creative way, for a brand and people congratulate me on it. I begin to wonder is that what the symbol of success is and it makes me sad. It makes me incredibly sad that glitter stuff gets more attention and we become glorified pawns and we prefer that to creating something new and different

  36. Anonymous
    May 11, 2012 | 5:57 pm

    I’m going to come out and say it Niri. I think you’re amazing. I haven’t seen your fluffy videos and I’ll bet that your hair looks great in them, but that’s not why I love you.

  37. Susan (5 Minutes For Mom)
    May 11, 2012 | 7:58 pm

    Like most of the commenters here, I think you’re written a great response here with lots for us as a community to consider.

    I don’t personally know Jaime, but I give her the benefit of the doubt and presume that she didn’t intend for the photo shoot and article to come across like this. I sincerely wish her all the best.

    I’m disgusted by Time magazine’s exploitation of Jaime and the attachment parenting community to shock and sell.

  38. Karen
    May 11, 2012 | 10:08 pm

    I love this. Thank you. I write because I can’t help myself. It makes me whole again. If five people read it, and one is moved by my words, I’m successful.

  39. Jean Parks
    May 12, 2012 | 3:04 am

    I try to give other bloggers the respect of assuming that they know their own goals & objectives better than I do. If a woman manages to get a chance at grabbing her “5 minutes” I just hope that what she pays for that opportunity will seriously benefit her family. I also hope that she will then extend her hand down, to help a good cause or to pull a blogging sister or two up another rung of the ladder.

    I trust that Jamie will use this media exposure in ways that will ultimately benefit herself & the causes she believes in.

  40. Jean Parks
    May 12, 2012 | 3:14 am

    Niri, As somebody who is new to your work, let me say that I am impressed by your generous spirit. Your giving & support of charitable causes & your solidarity with other bloggers is truly inspiring. I’m very glad to have discovered you.

  41. Anonymous
    May 12, 2012 | 7:52 am

    Really different and interesting perspective. Thanks so much for this. I really never thought about the bloggy chase for fame and how it relates to this situation. I do hear a lot of talk about lists and perks and contracts, and definitely, the mom blog world has a ‘class system’ not unlike that in Britain. Do you think that Jamie did it for the fame? Because, I’ll tell you, that will backfire, because the only place she needs to be famous is in her own house. And in about 5 years, that boy is going to wish he never met her.

  42. Anonymous
    May 12, 2012 | 11:36 am

    Great post. It reminds me that there is much ego involved in the blogging world that I didn’t realize until I entered it myself. Sadly, I have watched people change before my eyes which is never the intention when you start blogging.
    Thank you for sharing

  43. […] This post is cross-posted with permission from Momfluential. […]

  44. Aliza
    May 12, 2012 | 4:56 pm

    I’ve been contemplating the next step in writing for me. Thanks for grounding me, once again, with what is real and what is art. Love you. Onward.

  45. Katja Presnal
    May 12, 2012 | 10:51 pm

    This is the best post I’ve read about the subject.

    I sadly do think that some bloggers DO think the five-minute-fame sounds like a great strategy. There are bloggers whose main business strategy seems to be a “spokesperson,” and whose brands and business models are very closely tied into the fact they are “real moms who get paid to talk about products to other moms.” For those I too think being a face on a consumer product ad on a magazine is a big WIN, especially when they are being highly PAID for the spot. It IS these women’s intent. The intent might not be what I want for myself or for my own brand, but I do recognize it as a win for them.

    I don’t know Jamie, and I can’t even start guessing her motives for doing this. But what I find even more disgusting that whenever something like this happens (a big controversy or media buzz among one of our own) – the others come like circling prey to get a piece of this “fame.” The blogosphere is filled with posts about the topic, moms are even pitching themselves to local media “are you covering the Time magazine cover – I’m a local blogger and could come and say my opinion.” Instead of writing great posts like this one, that discusses the state of our industry, the social media becomes full of content where the exact intent IS to get a piece of Jamie’s fame.

    But our industry is young, and the entry level is easy. Sticking to your guns and using this medium to promote the topics and ideas you are passionate about isn’t easy. I hope as our industry evolves, we will get much more known for the issues we believe in than the products we like recommending and hopefully the “I want my fame” business intention will completely die. In a very sad way, Jamie’s cover is a step to the right direction IF she truly is a lactation activist. Because I much rather see the bloggers I know in the cover of a magazine as faces for the issues they believe in than in the back cover in an ad of a product that they in reality might never even buy from a mass retailer.

  46. Katja Presnal
    May 12, 2012 | 10:52 pm

    I love the quote “Attention does not equal success.”

  47. Jenny Ingram
    May 12, 2012 | 11:07 pm

    Ciaran. Yes. What Niri said, and Katja, and so many others. Well written and well said. Anyway, I really can’t say anything that hasn’t been said. Amen.

  48. Tracy Morrison
    May 14, 2012 | 2:49 am

    Thank you for saying this. I so agree.

  49. Amy Locurto
    May 14, 2012 | 5:56 am

    Great article! I agree with everything you said. Having been a blogger for many years now, it’s really interesting to me how so many people perceive success in blogging by working with a well known brand or having your face on a billboard. When in reality many “not as popular” bloggers are doing very very well in this industry by working hard and doing their own thing with their own product lines, shops, books, and online communities. Most of these bloggers don’t have time to travel to every event because they are running successful businesses, so you don’t hear much about them. In the business world, people are more famous for the companies they build. Maybe blogging is the new Hollywood? It seems to be more in that direction to me these days.

    I cheer on those in this industry who get the fame they have worked hard at getting. I think it’s great to see faces in our world out there on commercials, etc. That obviously was their goal for their brand. Is that the new goal with blogging now? I can’t keep up, I’m too busy writing blog posts, trying to balance work with family and running businesses:-)

  50. Anonymous
    May 14, 2012 | 7:01 am

    I love the honesty in your post! I found myself nodding in agreement as I read it. I had no idea that this model on the front was a blogger. I was so put off by the tagline that I didn’t bother to read the article. I wrote what I HOPE was a “gentle” response to the controversy here: http://embracingbeauty.com/2012/05/13/are-you-mom-enough-mommy-wars-controversy/ My response may have been slightly different knowing that it was a blogger who was a part of this controversial firestorm. So sad.

  51. Anonymous
    May 14, 2012 | 9:02 am

    Katja,

    Interesting that you noticed the bandwagoning. I’ve been noting that too. It’s wonderful that attachment parenting pals are supporting Jamie, but it gets a little creepy when that crosses over into them trying to get a piece of the media attention by posting their own shocking images. Such a slippery slope to work with press. We all want to be recognized as good parents, as experts, as ENOUGH. Our opinions and expertise matter. And yes, if your intention is to be a spokesperson or a model, then the photo op and stump may be enough. I just long for a day when Mom Bloggers are lauded for their opinions, and not just their partnerships with the latest yogurt campaign.

  52. Anonymous
    May 14, 2012 | 9:07 am

    I wasn’t familiar with Jamie’s advocacy of attachment parenting when I wrote this Morgan, but I am now. I was aware of her adoption advocacy and charity work. She’s done a lot of great stuff but in the eyes of the media, I guess we are supposed to have one thing… Which is not fair of them or me. I just wasn’t aware. And I don’t judge her, I am sure she wanted to do good, I am sure she had no control over that message and had no idea how that photo would be manipulated. Which is precisely the problem. We trust the media to make us real and make us known, but the fact is that media has it’s own agenda and what we become known for is often not our reality! I’m not totally anti media either. I just believe in a healthy dose of blogger beware! And I feel for sweet Jamie!

  53. Anonymous
    May 14, 2012 | 10:10 am

    Amy – you are a rock star and a role model. Truly!

  54. Annie Stow
    May 14, 2012 | 3:38 pm

    Love this post. Reminds me of what was said at Mom 2.0 “Know your bottom line,” which was so eloquently reiterated in the closing remarks by Jenny Lawson. Of course, everyone likes money. It’s ok to say it. But working it all out is a very fine line. We have to know our bottom line for ourselves and our kids. It’s super hard not to sell out when you see the dollar signs, I’m sure. Well said, Ciaran.

  55. Amy Allen Clark
    May 15, 2012 | 11:00 am

    So many great points here and so much to chew upon.

    I don’t know Jamie and am not a reader of her blog, but I understand that media often works in different ways than we originally intended it to. I once did a piece that I thought was to educate moms on work-at-home scams. It turned out that they came to do a story on how I was gullible enough to fall for a work-at-home scam. Joke was definitely on me. Who knows what this mother’s real story and motivation was for this shoot?

    I also have appreciated the friendship of other bloggers through social media that gives us the opportunity to share our good news. I have never thought of it as attention seeking, but finally having an audience that finally *gets me.*

    That said, I also know that I have had to step away from Facebook & Twitter recently and re-prioritize about who I want to impress anymore. It is a hard balance.

    Thanks for the thoughtful article and it was so lovely to meet you in person!

  56. Morgan (The818)
    May 15, 2012 | 5:56 pm

    Couldn’t agree more with “blogger beware.” A cautionary tale, c/o TIME, for sure!

  57. Emily Hill
    May 15, 2012 | 8:17 pm

    Your beautifully written and wonderfully insightful post is a great example of why we women blog (i.e., because we have something important to say and we’re damn good at saying it). Your words also serve as a gentle reminder (thank you) that those desperately sought-after minutes of fame can turn around and bite you in the butt if you’re not careful. I can’t thank you enough for inspiring me to really think about what I want to be when my blog grows up–and how I want to go about doing it.

  58. Michelle Clark
    May 17, 2012 | 5:59 am

    This was well said! Thank you for this! I’ve needed the reminder lately of just WHY I blog. It’s become a competition and a race to get the most comments and LIKES and FB exposure. But it boils down to the fact that I believe in what I write about. I’m passionate about mothers and making them better and all of us banding together and being an inspiration to each other. Not about the brand or exposure. Thank you for being so transparent in this article. I agree wholeheartedly. And you have a beautiful way with words. ;)

  59. Time to Go. « The Worthington Post
    May 17, 2012 | 7:52 am

    […] other two used it as a jumping off point to discuss what is relevant to me at the moment – writing and […]

  60. […] case study in brand partnership as a “win” for the mom blogging community. In her post, Are Mommy Bloggers a Bunch of Boobs?, Ciaran of Momfluential explores this topic more in depth – and asks the haunting question, […]

  61. […] case study in brand partnership as a “win” for the mom blogging community. In her post, Are Mommy Bloggers a Bunch of Boobs?, Ciaran of Momfluential Media explores this topic more in depth – and asks the haunting […]

  62. Holly Rosen Fink
    May 17, 2012 | 7:58 pm

    I am so honored to have met you IRL. You continue to amaze and educate me through your words. ” Living authentically with passion and intention. More than enough.” I want to carry your words with me as I try to figure out who the heck I am.

  63. IASoupMama
    May 18, 2012 | 12:18 pm

    I couldn’t fathom to guess what Jamie’s motives were. I do know that I have gotten a bit of local press for a group blog on which I write (billboards, radio interview, TV interview and an upcoming webcast) and the attention was never my primary focus — blogging for that site is a paid gig, one that I got because of a connection to the business. I’m not paid much, but I have full control over what I write and am being paid to write about parenting (something which I was doing anyway on my own blog).

    The funny thing is that since this gig fell into my lap, other local mommy bloggers have been coming out of the woodwork to give me some umm… interesting and not-quite-altogether genuine compliments. There’s been a good bit of jealousy, which really surprised me. And what I’m doing is totally small potatoes compared to the cover of Time.

  64. Anonymous
    May 18, 2012 | 1:18 pm

    I’m honored to have met YOU Holly! xoxo

  65. Anna
    July 3, 2013 | 3:15 pm

    Aren’t you precious. Since you’re “just a mom, trying to be authentic” you could have at least taken 5 seconds to take a look at Jamie’s blog to check your facts. I hate to break it to you, but not all bloggers care about “brand” but about real issues. Having a blog isn’t something revolutionary or unique. Everyone has a blog and Jamie’s blog isn’t her identity. Maybe YOU care that much about your blog – where every life decision is hopefully something for your blog, but a majority of people use a blog as a journal. I do know that Jamie’s blog raised a lot of money for worthy causes after the TIME cover came out because she was using the traffic from her ads to benefit Fayye Foundation, and whenever she is on TV, she is promoting charities, and never mentions anything about her blog. It’s a year later…can you tell us how her new-found fame furthered her super important blog? I believe this article is a reflection on your own blog, not “mommy bloggers”.

  66. momfluential
    July 15, 2013 | 3:05 pm

    If you read through the comments you will see that I have no animosity towards Jamie, and I don’t think she does towards me either. I respect the work she has done. What I resent is the media machine that packages and paints and uses bloggers, often to their own detriment. We are portrayed as black and white, and at the time Jamie was as much a victim of that as anyone. I hate to see anyone play into that, even when their motives are good ones because it’s unfair to the community and women in general. It’s one step forward, two steps back. But I don’t think that Jamie acted maliciously, or manipulatively. She fell into a trap and made the most of it. Nothing is black and white, or all that simple, including how I feel about this topic.

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