In the "State of the Momosphere" session on day 1 of Blogher07, I listened as not one, but two PR guys stood up to tell us mothers how proud they were of their strategy to "hook" moms into trying their products by pretending to read our blogs (so we'll trust them) before offering up whatever it is that they'd like us to blog for free.
And I fumed.
My hand shot up and Jory passed me the mike, and I told them (essentially) to stop treating us all like we're stupid. We all know PR people don't read our blogs. I mean, if one more PR person starts and email with, "Hey! How was Hawaii!" because a quick glance through last month's posts mentions my trip, I'm gonna scream.
I also told them that even though I get pitches everyday at CityMama, over at Kimchi Mamas (the Korean Mama culture and identity blog to which I contribute) we get none. Not a one. Ever.
Because people of color do not matter to advertisers. (Edited to add: many of our contributors are white or half-white, BTW. So what does that mean?)
To his credit one of the PR dudes came up to me after the session and asked "How should we pitch to mommy bloggers?"
And I said, "Tell me you looked up my stats on Alexa. Tell me you picked me because you *think* I may be influential. Tell me that you know mombloggers get pitched to all the time but that you'd *pretty please* like me to listen to you. Just don't bullshit me by telling me 'you read my blog.' I know you don't."
Then he admitted, "You're right. We don't pitch to bloggers of color." And here's the money quote: "We just don't know what to do with them."
Yes, I did thank him for making me feel like a second class citizen.
But the most important thing I forgot to say as I was giving the PR dude that smackdown was that when the BlogHer ad network was starting and Lisa Stone asked me if I'd like to join it, I said, "Sure, but I'm also starting this blog called Kimchi Mamas with some other moms..."
Without hesitating, Lisa said, "Great. We'd love to have you all, too."
I didn't have to qualify. I didn't have to explain. I didn't have to pitch. I didn't have to justify. And because of that, I remember her words.
She just GOT IT. No further questions asked, and Kimchi Mamas has been part of the ad network since the Day 1. That right there is why I have so much respect for BlogHer.
So why is it that no PR people will pitch to us?
When I pointed out sarcastically that maybe it's because "Asians don't clean," (since I do get an extraordinary amount of cleaning product pitches) an Asian sistah from the back of the room added, "Yeah, we just do laundry."
This brings up so many issues for me. Like, why are all the people in commercials white? And why aren't there any sitcoms about Asian families? (Where are the Asian Huxtables or Waltons?) Why are we so invisible in the media? Why is it that when I see an Asian couple (or even rarer) a mixed-race couple on TV, I secretly take pleasure in it even though the novelty and tokenness of it pisses me off and then I get angry at myself for feeling happy in the first place?
What are these people saying about me if I'm desirable as a "CityMama" and not as a "Kimchi Mama?"
What we as BlogHers—as humans—going to do about it?
photo: Jupiter Images
[cross-posted on Kimchi Mamas, where we do more than laundry.]