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The Cliffs of Insanity: Mommy Bloggers
GeekMom News

So are GeekMoms “mommy bloggers?” Can’t speak for them but I won’t reject the title.

This week’s adventures climbing the cliffs of insanity include a rumination what being a “mommy blogger” means, a great article on why the new Wonder Woman series is disappointing one female comic reader, and a link to a continuing celebration of the 75th anniversary of Lois Lane, and where you can find me as Wonder Woman. Live and in person, even.

When I was doing the Geeky Jules radio show last Friday night, I was asked a question that I’ve been pondering ever since. Jules asked what I thought of GeekMom being called a “mommy blog,” as that term is a pejorative to some.

The term “mommy blogger” seems inherently somewhat dismissive because it’s not “mom blogger” or even “parenting blogger.” It uses the least formal parenting name for mothers. Plus, I’m immediately suspicious of those making judgments about the worth of something that’s inherently female.

In other words, if you call me  ”mommy blogger,” my initial reaction is to pick that label, wear it with pride, and say “and your point would be?,” just as I did years ago with the term “bitch.” (Yes, I actually possess a baseball cap with the word “Bitch” on it.) Just as I also do with the term “romance writer” especially when the last is accompanied by the unsaid assumption about “those” kind of books.

What the three terms have in common is that they all refer to an aspect of female experience. Our society has made great strides in equality but it’s not there yet in viewing female and male with equal respect. There’s a terrific column about that in the Hartford Courant this week.

Sometimes we don’t even know we have these positive/negative views of male/female terms. In the MOOC “Gender Through Comic Books,” I’m taking, one of the questions this week was “what super heroine is the most feminine?”

And it stumped me because I realized I don’t think of my favorite superheroines as feminine. Kick-ass, smart, strong, compassionate, yes but feminine? Apparently, at the back of my head, I didn’t associate feminine with any of those other qualities I listed.

My own inner, deep-down, self has to be reminded that feminine doesn’t equal weak.  And I didn’t realize that until the question was asked. I should have. It’s been over a decade since Legally Blonde, a movie featuring a very feminine woman who upends all assumptions about beautiful blondes, and yet I still have to think about why feminine is a positive term.

Johnny West, western toys, 1970s toysPart of this is my age. I’m 47. All the things I loved to do as a kid was “boy stuff.” Comics, science fiction/fantasy books and movies, sports…they were all twigged as not for girls. Therefore, I learned girl stuff was bad. I didn’t have Barbies, I had the Johnny West collection with cowboys, cowgirls and horses. I suppose my love of all things to do with horses was on the girly side but I wanted to be the cowgirl, not an equestrian show specialist. Boys got to do all the fun stuff, girls got pink. Not for me.

Thus, in my head, girl stuff became something to do avoided, something not as good as the boy stuff.

I hope it’s changed since then. I hope those a generation (or more!) younger than me reading this column don’t have those same inherent assumptions. Girls loving sports, for instance, is considered par for the course now. I never played organized soccer. My high school created a team after I graduated, a bit too late for me. But boys and girls join soccer leagues from age four now. All my kids did.

My biography tagline says that I’m a “writer, mom, geek and superhero.” The last term is a bit tongue-in-cheek but the other three? I wear those self-appointed labels with great pride. And that includes “Mom.” So if anyone out there wants to call me a “mommy blogger,” well, I don’t have a problem with that.

The question is why some people do?

Yes, I Am Real. Even If I’m Wearing My Wonder Woman Costume

This week, a chance to meet me in person. Twice and across the country.

I’ll be signing at a big book signing event hosted by the New England Romance Writers of America on Saturday, April 27th, in Burlington, Massachusetts. Details at the link and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Massachusetts Literacy Foundation.

And next week, I’ll be attending the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center Kansas City, Missouri.

I’ll be signing at their E-Book, Indie Publisher and Graphic Novel Expo, on Thursday, May 2. The attraction here is not so much me but the graphic novels, which might provide a head start on Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day.

Saturday, May 4, is the RT Convention’s Giant Book Fair. I’ll be there but so will Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Cassandra Carr, Julie Garwood, Melissa Marr, John Scalzi, Linnea Sinclair, and Laurin Wittig, among many, many others. Check out the complete list at the link.

Where does the costume fit in? I’ll be wearing my Wonder Woman costume for a special reader’s event for conference attendees on Thursday, Romance Pride: Over the Rainbow. Others are going to dress as their genre. I figured since I write superhero romance, I should be a superhero. I won’t be wearing the full costume again but look for me in the tiara at the two book signings.

Who’s Got You, Superman?

Lois, of course. DCWomenKickingAss is continuing to celebrate her 75th anniversary with a special series of interviews with comic creators.

As for Wonder Woman, who DC thinks will replace Lois in Superman’s affections, there’s a terrific post at Comics Beat about her current series, and you can find an incredible discussion in the comments, including some from former  Wonder Woman writer Phil Jimenez.

Writer, Mom, Geek and Superhero. Content Director of GeekMom and fiction author of six novels of superhero and alternate history romances that can be found at www.corrina-lawson.com

2 Comments
Maya

April 26, 2013 11:11 am Reply

I agree with you, some of this is age. I’m 48 (for a couple more months anyway), they had just made gym co-ed when I hit Jr. High. I was never athletic but I loved comic books and math. I didn’t like wearing dresses or make up. It was a different era than our daughters are living in.

It is interesting to me though how the pendulum has sort of swung in a direction where proudly wearing the label “Mom” is somehow not feminist? When Michelle Obama called herself Mom first she got some backlash.

On my twitter & tumblr labels I say “Mom, Electrical Engineer…” . For me, being a mom is part of my identity an important one. This from somebody who never wanted kids (my husband wanted them, we had some intense debates). Now, I feel it’s the most important job I’ll ever do. Raising responsible and productive members of society who hopefully add something of value to this planet.

This is a very thoughtful piece,Thank You!

Kristi Lea

May 1, 2013 4:23 pm Reply

Sticks and stones…

I’m a mommy blogger, and proud of it. I’m also a romance novelist. (Or a Sci Fi novelist or a Fantasy novelist, all depending on which manuscript I’m playing with). Proud of that too. And a software engineer who works in aerospace (talk about a male-dominated profession in a male-dominated industry). A pretty successful software engineer. And a bit of a ditzy blonde upon occasion.

I spent my high school years angsting about the fact that I wasn’t as “popular” as my cheerleader sister. i was the smart, fat sister (not that my sister is at all dumb, she just tried harder to hide it back then). Then I went to college and found a whole larger group of smart geeks and realized that I wasn’t alone. When I started work in IT consulting in the late 90′s, I tried my best to dress as drably as all of my (male) co-workers so that the fact that I was a girl didn’t influence their reactions towards me. Folks tended to assume that I was the secretary, or that I was a less capable programmer if I wore a lavender-colored suit. I didn’t even try to write my first book until I was 30 because, you know, engineers can’t write because they don’t have English degrees. And then I wasn’t particularly vocal about writing romance amongst “certain” groups because romance isn’t literary fiction.

When I was a kid, being a geek was, well, geeky. But many of the most successful people these days are geeks–who has better earning potential, the high-school football hero who went on to take a blue-collar job, or the computer nerd? I’ll take the computer nerd any day (in fact, I married me a computer nerd and we have a pair of beautifully geeky children who love Harry Potter and Mythbusters as much as we do). I grew up. I’m still a geek. I can’t even imagine my life without the rooms full of books, the dragon figurines we have all around the house, playing D&D with friends, without sharing stupid coding jokes with my husband, or trying to describe the digestive system to my 6-year old (right after attempting to explain some rudimentary computer networking…and shortly before he broke out the craft supplies to build some sort of engine). I am just me and I’d be miserable as anyone else.

We all struggle with overcoming the labels that other people ascribe to us. I think the trick is to realize that if someone (be it a lone individual or some big media conglomerate) talks disparagingly about something we love, then it isn’t the end of the world. If the NYTimes book reviews doesn’t cover romances, and romances are what you write or read, then why are you reading NYTimes book reviews? If a radio host doesn’t think highly of mommy bloggers, then don’t try to entice her to comment on your blog.

Ignore those folks and look for someone else like you. Quit using someone else’s yardstick to measure your own self worth.

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