A month and a half ago, Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother was excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, and since then, she’s been the subject of intense controversy over her very specific style of parenting. In an interview with Jezebel, Chua explained that her “greatest disappointment is that this book is entering the public dialogue as part of the mommy wars, even if something good comes of it. I — foolishly or not — wish people would review it as a memoir, for its literary merits. It’s filled with contradictions and complexities and an unreliable narrator.” Chua’s frustration is apt; willingly or not, her opinions were boldly thrust into a national dialogue about what we should do with our children, and who is doing it best. But her choice to claim her book the latest victim of the mommy wars (or her recognition of it), Chua brought up deeper issues of what we think about “mommy bloggers.”
Mommy bloggers get a lot of heat. So much in fact, that writer Jessica Smith penned a list of the Top 10 Misconceptions About Mommy Bloggers that was culled from a call for tweets from other mommy bloggers. Many complaints of centered around the perception that they make either enough money or too much, and the perception the outside world has of mommy bloggers. According to Smith, the number three misconception is that mommy bloggers even like being referred to by that term. “There are quite a few moms that blog but really don’t touch on motherhood in their blogs at all,” says Smith. “Many blog about fitness, business, advertising, travel and while they are Moms…it’s not the focus. Moms are women before they embark on motherhood and being a mom …
Recently, the February issue of Esquire magazine taught me that model-slash-actress Brooklyn Decker likes to make dinner for her interviewers. Author Tom Chiarella goes to her house in, where else, Brooklyn, for a revolutionary meal of chicken and salad. The crux of the story surrounds Chiarella’s feelings about Decker (he seems to often be a central part of his profiles, not the person being interviewed), most specifically, his feelings about her and food. Chiarella notes that Brooklyn wants to know what he likes and what he does not like, and that “She even seems a little curious about my preferences. I’m cool with whatever, I say. I can handle anything she dishes up. But Brooklyn doesn’t cook like that. She doesn’t want to disappoint. She just wants me to like it. There is no protest or resistance in her voice. It’s just something she can do.”
Because that’s how women are always! They don’t protest or …
The Sunday issue of The New York Times Magazine looks familiar. Maybe that’s because it’s last year’s “Saving the World’s Women” issue, version 2.0. It’s now called the “Women’s Empowerment” issue, and the difference seems to lie in … well, what exactly is the difference?
“Saving the World’s Women,” which centered largely around an excerpt from Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky, was largely international in focus, in that it was meant to explore what Americans could do to help women in other countries, and what their incentive was for doing so. Surprisingly, it received quite a bit of criticism from the feminist community. Anna North from Jezebel wrote the most eloquently on the flaws in Kristof’s general premise:
A few weeks ago, we told you about how the New York Times isn’t really concerned with the deaths of women.
Since the original post ran, there has been a change in the numbers, however. On Friday, the blog reports:
In the last two weeks, nearly one in three NYT obituaries has been devoted to women — a jump of 150 percent over the four previous weeks, when nearly nine out of ten published NYT obits went to men.
The sudden awareness that notable women are also dying comes in the wake of a post from the anonymous, cranky NYT blog known as The NYTPicker, which first noted the NYT’s ongoing habit of publishing the vast majority of its obituaries about men. Prior to the last two weeks — in which the NYT has published six obituaries of prominent women, and 22 men — in 2010 the paper had noted the deaths of only 92 women, while reporting the demise of 606 men.