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Tuesday
Nov022010

Rooms Of Our Own @missbritt @homeanduncool 

I want to add to a conversation between two friends on Twitter that I saw last night that occurred in response to this post by Britt.  What I have to say cannot be limited to 140 characters.  In fact, what I have to say is one of the longest posts I've ever written.

People from the subcontinent have a lot of parties.

A lot. The head count at these parties averages around fifty or sixty, at least in the circle my parents navigated.

If you were to walk into one of these parties as a person outside of our heritage, you might find it strange. You would find that all of the women are gathered in one place and all of the men are gathered in another. There's no actual rule about it in my parent's home, and the edges of that gender segregation are quite fuzzy with the occasional infiltrator wandering over to the other side for a quick hello.

You might assume that this has something to do with religion, but I think that you might be wrong. Many of my parents friends are Hindu, and I notice the same thing at their parties. Women in one area, men in another. To me, having grown up like this, it's all perfectly normal.

As I read through the debate about Britt's post, which touches upon men being included as speakers at women's blogging conferences, I had one of those instances where I immediately saw a nugget of wisdom in my parent's culture.  At first glance, segregation of women and men seems sexist. It certainly seems that way to the very American part of my mind, anyway. But the Pakistani part of my brain understands the merit of this type of socialization.

It's about transmission.

When I sit at a party in my parent's house, surrounded by women both younger and older than me, there is a subtext conversation that is taking place. Many of the women don't even realize it's happening. We are women teaching each other what it is to be a woman, as we each define it.

There are attempts to transmit values, ideology, and behavior. The more thoughtful women will notice this attempt at transmission. We will accept or reject the behavioral norms we are presented with at will. But, the point is, we have our very own space to experience that.

One woman will talk about how she's having a tough time at work, another will talk about her husband's good or bad behavior, another will mention she's too afraid to get a mammogram, another will talk about how she always cooks with fresh ingredients, and, every now and then, one will emphatically state that she does not cook at all. Much, may I add, to the dismay to the women who are over fifty.  I'm not dismissing that many of those conversations among women in my parent's home or their friends' homes didn't propagate patriarchy itself.  There was a lot of patriarchy flying around in the women's section.

Still, patriarchy notwithstanding, these women discussed life in a way that they would never talk about if a man were there.  Too much, for these particular women, I think, was at stake.  Or maybe it was that they already knew what the men thought about life because so much of it centered around them, anyway.

The men, they sit on the other side of the house or room, and they don't really pay attention to what the women are talking about.  It's not, as you might imagine, that they don't care.  They just know that this is their time to be with each other.

Nobody's feelings are hurt.  Nobody questions why it's this way.  Everyone is okay letting everyone else have their space.

I tried to readjust this social norm when I first got married.  When we would have our "desi" parties, I set up the space so everyone would sit together.  And you know what?  It was awkward.  I quickly went back to my parent's way of doing things.  People can deny it all they want, but when a husband and wife are talking to you, they are a unit to a small degree, and this dynamic will inevitably inhibit your getting to know either one of them on a more intimate level.

We need our space so we can know each other and know ourselves.

In the context of conferences, I think it's crucial for women to retain control over these metaphorical spaces.  I think a lot of well meaning men miss the point that women swim in the waters constructed by the male perspective every single moment of our lives.  I know it's going to change, and that everyone (men and women) are working to change this, but the reality is still present.

The magazines and books we read, the shows we watch, and even the clothes we wear are constructed not necessarily by men, but most certainly keeping their point of view in mind.  These things are constructed in such a way that they inadvertently transmit ideas of "womanhood" to us.  So often, to me, at least, these notions of womanhood feel constricted and false.

It's only during a girl's nights out, a girlfriend getaway and, yes, conferences, do we enjoy the opportunity to thoughtfully concern ourselves with whether or not these ideals are appropriate for us.  In the real world, we simply do not have a space of our own.

We have to create that.

I think this applies to other groups that have what is considered "minority status."  It always makes me chuckle when someone criticizes a "African American ThisAndThat Association" or the like for being exclusionary because I feel like they're missing the point.  It's not about exclusion, it's about stepping away from realities which have inadvertently been constructed to benefit specific groups.

There is no bad guy here.  There is no evil white male we want to rid ourselves of.  There is just a society that has organically evolved based upon the power structures in place.  Men do not need to be offended by the idea that it's a man's world. In fact, I can safely say that men all over the world did not personally initiate the male dominated realities that we navigate.  Those were set in place hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago.  Furthermore, we are a fortunate generation of women to have so many men support our efforts to be financially and socially independent individuals.

On every level, I am a minority.  Whether I am here or in Pakistan, I will always be a minority.  And being a thoughtful and introspective person, I am painfully aware of how much of who I am supposed to be is dictated by those that outnumber, outpower, outclass or outmoney me.

Let me say it again, women wanting a space for themselves is not about exclusion.  It is not about not wanting men around.

Those of us who were socialized in those parties as young girls had a distinct reference point.  We didn't have to start from scratch wondering what it was like to be a woman.  We grew up enveloped in a community of women of varied backgrounds, imparting what they felt was necessary wisdom about life.

Those other girls and I, we had a full glass when we started being women.  Even better, because we lived in this country, we could pour it out or drink as much of that water as we liked.  Some of us poured, some of us drank, many of us did both.

I think men should have conferences like this, too.  I think they should enjoy the benefit of being able to say to each other, This is manhood, this is masculinity, as I see it... what do you think it is?

In fact, I think it's vital for them, given that they are, if you will, dealing with a whole new kind of woman.  They are also dealing with a media that is reinventing them slowly, but surely, in a way that I perceive to be decidedly negative.  If I see one more bumbling dad or goofy serial dating bachelor on TV, I think I'm going to scream.

We all need spaces of our very own.

Are BlogHer and Mom 2.0 even those spaces for women bloggers, though?  I don't know.  There's a lot of talk about empowerment in those circles, but much of it seems to be financially centered, focusing on sponsorship and the like.  Womanhood is not necessarily connected to the ability to make money with your blog.  In truth, I'm not sure how we, as women, can completely ignore men in that context.  For better or worse and for the most part, most corporations are run by men.  It's difficult to imagine these conferences without them being involved to a great degree.

But.

And I can't believe I'm saying this, men in these spaces should know their place.  They should exercise caution in terms of how involved they become.  They should realize that even if they're the number one expert/speaker in a specific area, that they cannot understand fully the impact of that subject area as it relates to a woman and her personal experience in this world.  They should understand that it's not just about the subject being discussed, it's about the subject that is being discussed as it relates to womanhood.

They should realize that every group, including them, needs a space apart designated for understanding and discerning the aspects of identity that are being imposed upon them and to inevitably practice what feels right about their identity.

It's nothing to be offended about.  It's not about exclusion.  It's not about... well, you.

Reader Comments (48)

Brilliantly said.

And you bring up a good point - maybe these conferences aren't those places anyway.

Thank God for weekends in Tampa.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

I am just curious to know why a man would make the special effort to even go to an event that is primarily meant for women? And I don't buy any of the following reasons because there are plenty of other avenues for these: self marketing, product marketing, different perspective, meet new people, just because, etc. I just ask...why? Is it really that important? The only exception I can think of is if the event organizers ask for a male speaker...but that's it.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertariq

Tariq:

I speak only for myself, and would never presume to speak for other men, but for me I'm interested in going to BlogHer (someday - I've never been as of yet) because it is the largest congregation of bloggers that I interact with on a semi-regular basis.

I think, at least from what I've seen, that if you looked at the men who attend BlogHer, it's dad bloggers and personal bloggers who have a large female readership and/or a large set of blogs written by women that they read.

It's not about crashing a party, or about going somewhere you're not "supposed" to be; it's about going to a location where you know you're going to have an opportunity to meet a number of people who are normally spread across a continent.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSciFi Dad

Faiqa, I first want to thank you for calling me "friend." Then, I want to thank Britt for having the whole discussion with me online in a rational, (mostly) calm way.

I agree with you that at a "women's conference" that men shouldn't be going around stirring the pot and interjecting themselves, trying to dominate the conversation. We are guests in your "space" and we should act as such. I didn't see that at BlogHer 10, though I heard about that happening in the past. What I saw was pretty peaceful co-existing in the manner you described on your culture.

The conversation between Britt and I was that 1) she felt WOMEN were behaving badly by fawning over men who attend these conferences and 2) that men shouldn't be speakers at women's conferences -- period.

I agreed with her on Point 1.

I disagreed on Point 2. I don't think having a man speak at a women's conference constitutes fawning or belittles women or says that they can't survive with men helping them, etc. I think it shows women are open-minded, willing to listen to other viewpoints and create a dialogue that leads to a better environment for all involved. Never said "men can teach you this," only that people can benefit from a different perspective. Conferences are supposed to be (at least somewhat) about learning and improving, and living in a vacuum doesn't do that.

Should men dominate the speaking panels at women's conferences? No. Should the directors of women's conferences ask men to speak at them? If the speaker furthers the conference agenda and provide special insight -- regardless of gender -- why not?

Britt suggested that conferences with names like BlogHER and MOM 2.0 should be exclusionary to women because that would truly empower women. I said fine. Then don't allow companies that have male CEOs and male-dominated board of directors be sponsors because that scuttles your "only women can empower women at women's conference" argument.

I guess I was just fascinated by this whole thing because men who are trying to support women were being viewed, to a degree, as a hurting women. Meanwhile, I think Britt's underlying point is that women are bringing themselves down with there own actions.

In any case, my feelings weren't hurt. I wasn't on a rant about discrimination against men. I was just trying to understand her point of view (and that of some of the women who commented on Britt's piece) and that's something I couldn't get from talking to, say, my fellow writers at DadCentric.

TARIQ:

I went to BlogHer because it was affordable ($200!), 40 minutes from my house and many fellow bloggers I read or who read my stuff were there. I wanted to meet part of my audience and some of the people I admire and feel like more of a part of this "community" we talk so much about in the blogging world. A lot of these people weren't going to be at more general blog conferences, such as SXSW or BlogExpo, and I couldn't get away to those any way. Despite the conference name, most of what I witnessed at BlogHer applied to bloggers in general not just women.

Thanks for having me here. Cheers ...

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlways Home and Uncool

But I don't want to go to a conference with a bunch of men defining masculinity. That sounds like a step backwards. And stupid.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAvitable

I like what you wrote here. I think men bloggers have tried to have their "own" events, but I have never gone. I don't even have the desire to go. Personally I think its kind of silly to have separate men and women conferences. Have one big grand conference and split up the session tracks if you want gender specific topics. Perhaps I say that though without fully understanding what happens in the BlogHer sessions. If that's the case, I apologize for my ignorance.

I have only been to one and I knew my place at the event. I was an escort for my wife to all her parties and I entertained myself during the day with some of the other husbands also along for the ride. I have been to plenty of conferences that were centered around my work and they were just that, work. BlogHer was work for many, but it was also a lot of play and fun.

Personal blogging has a majority of female writers I think. At least what I read is a high majority of women writers. I attend BlogHer to meet those writers I enjoy reading and possibly share a conversation with during a social event. I will go again if it's possible, not for the content of the conference, but to socialize with friends in person instead of text.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

This articulates so many things that I know and have thought, but haven't been able to voice.

Thank you.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCherie Beyond

I am going to respectfully disagree. Let me preface this by saying that I am in no way a drum beating feminist, but for decades women have been fighting the equality battle to be able to go into spaces that men previously considered their own. Girls wanted to be in Boy Scouts, even though there were Girl Scouts. Women want to be on submarines and members of SEAL teams. Even if we as individuals don't want to actually do those things, we support the right of our sisters who do. We always tell them that if they are able to do the same job as men, that they should have that right.

So how can we deny the same thing to men? If a man is able to go to a women's conference and empower and support women, how can we as fighters for equality deny him that? The argument that it's a man's world and women need their own space doesn't hold water if you still want equality, because equality doesn't mean that you get more because you previously had less.

I would also argue that the very same thing would happen if there were Dad conferences. There will be women who want to be included. How are we going to feel when we aren't made to feel welcome there?

I agree that women's conferences should be centered around women, but if a man can respect that and support it, and maybe learn how to better empower the women in his life, then he absolutely has a place there. And we, the fighters for equality, gave him that right.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Well said.

I am so new to blogging that attending a conference is far from my agenda. However, it's the idea of a place where each gender can relax and be the truest version of themselves that speaks to me. In the world, in a conference, at a party - wherever.
I agree with Hockeymandad that a seemingly ideal solution is a non gender specific conference with special groupings, lectures, parties etc. Why must it be all or nothing?
Embrace the differences, learn about what makes you special etc.

Thats just my two cents.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnnabelle

@Always Home and Uncool, I apologize for all my typos, but I wanted to give my point of view early since I was part of the original debate and I was rushing to get out of the house this morning.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlways Home and Uncool

i was going to make a silly comment about the fact that i am a woman and don't want to go to these events so i sure as shit can't get why men wanna go, but i won't. instead i will say, yet again, how much i love the way you make me look at things in a way i never would otherwise. you are a gifted writer and so passionate about your beliefs. i love that.
i'm really glad you took the time to write this piece.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterhello haha narf

I think it was Lisa, above, who wrote about how girls wanted to be in boy scouts even though there were girl scouts, and I remember reading about it (forever ago). I also remember being outraged, because what is so WRONG about having a girls' only club and a boys' only club? I remember being a kid (tomboy) and the boys in my neighborhood decided to start a boy's only clubhouse. I was sooo pissed off. So I asked my dad to help me build a clubhouse and mine was better and then all the boys wanted to come in, but I wouldn't let them until they agreed I could be part of their boy clubhouse, too. Either way, the whole boy/ girl only crap didn't last long when we were kids - because it got kind of boring after a while.
All that useless shit said, I've never wanted to go to Blogher, specifically because I'd go insane with all the estrogen in the room, but more power to those women who actually like it! Basically, I overall agree with what Britt said, but I get where the men are coming from, totally.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Law

@Sybil Law, I could NEVER live in an all-girl world. I mean, procreation aside, GAH! BORING!

But a weekend here and there to just revel in being a woman away from the testosterone that touches every other thing in my life? BLISS!

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

I completely understand what you are saying in this post and am truly baffled by the amount of people who do not get this concept. I have always understood the need to "hang with the girls" but never really thought anymore about it until @missbritt wrote her post. As a middle-class white male it is easy to take for granted and forget that not everyone is afforded the same access that I have available to me.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJared

@Hockeymandad, I feel that conferences like Blogher have two parts. The conference for women of blogging and the social gathering of internet friends. I think you can have both and judging by the comments of this post it sounds like there is a need for both.

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJared

I love your explanation!! We get the same flack at work when we have a classification team meeting, but it is necessary and vital to have this time to ourselves.

I know I've mixed what you are saying but with corrections it is often very similar. We work with a crapload of males, but when it comes to classification it is mostly female. I have learned everything I know about corrections from those women, and I will be forever grateful!

November 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecca

very well said.

my mom actually went thru something similar with her garden club a couple of years ago. it's all female and men are NOT invited to any of the meetings, the dinners, nada. a couple of the husbands have complained (mostly for missing the covered dish potluck - those women can COOK) and the grand dame of the garden club said flat out that she catered to her husband at home, and she loved him, but if men showed up, women would start catering to them and she didn't want any part of it - this time was her girl time. motion passed - no men.

i kind of rolled my eyes at the time, but i understand better now. i'll stay out of your poker game so you can complain about me; you stay out of my girl time and we'll all play pool in the garage. works for me.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEricka

@Avitable, And no one would appreciate your pedicure...

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

I don't know. I'm comfortable hanging with the boys and the girls. And I do enjoy a girls getaway weekend as much as you or the next girl, but at a conference as big as BlogHer, despite the fact that it is called BlogHer, I think it's cool that some men are there. To me it's about the connections, the friendships, getting to see your online friends again... Men, women. I think it is nice to have everyone represented, to hear from both sexes. Even at BlissDom, there were a few guys and that didn't affect the emotions, the tears, the quality of the panels, you know?
Coming from a Greek household I get what you're saying, though. It's just when it comes to blogging, I think it's kind of okay. :)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

@Miss Britt, This issue of the conferences is complicated because it seems to me, and my experience is limited having only attended one, that the overall idea of empowerment is not completely defined by the organizers. I think they should be clearer about what they're trying to accomplish exactly. Is it economic empowerment? Social empowerment? And how do they define their strategy? I'd like to be able to read that intent prior to making a decision about whether I want to be part of it. That way I won't be disappointed when I get there.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@tariq, Well, SOME guys would like to understand women better. I know that might seem weird, but there's merit to that. ::Long, pointed and meaningful silence::

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@SciFi Dad, And I think that's fine. It feels like (and this doesn't necessarily apply to you) that people are missing the point here. It's fine if men attend, it's even fine if they speak, but their participation should fit within the parameters of empowering women specifically if that is how the organizers of such conferences are billing them. Sometimes, this might mean passing over a man who may be more popular or qualified and putting a women in a speakers position... in order to empower her. This is not, IMHO, something that should be employed all the time (like, for example, work), but it is something that the organizers of BlogHER and the like should consider.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Always Home and Uncool, Now, I'm not just saying this to score points with you, but I think a person like you would be an appropriate speaker at BlogHer or Mom 2.0, if the subject matter called for it. The reason being that you're a stay at home dad. The fact that you occupy a space that has been traditionally female offers a unique insight into the idea that domesticity as a female realm is socially constructed and not a "natural" state. I think women would absolutely benefit from this because, in a lot of ways, your experience is an excellent forum for women to deconstruct and reconstruct values associated with the "home" and how it relates to individual experiences whether they be male or female. I agree with you as well, that my experience with the men who attended BlogHer was very positive, and that they were very respectful of the idea that the conference was for women.

I can't speak for Britt, but my point wasn't about excluding men altogether. I think that organizers of conferences that state that "women's empowerment" is paramount need to define their vision of empowerment and methodology of achieving it in a clearer and more specific way.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, And um, you ARE a stay at home dad (I know you work from home, too) RIGHT? Because if you're not, I am so sorry and completely embarrassed right now.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, I'm going to stick my nose in here and defend your husband because in doing so I'm defending MY husband, who has spent the lat few days going "Thank God for Tariq, at least HE gets it!"

I don't think men who have no interest in going to an event meant primarily for women don't necessarily want to understand women better. They may, however, respect the boundaries within which a woman wants to be known by men.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

@Avitable, "It sounds stupid because you don't understand my point," she said as condescendingly as is humanly possible. Defining masculinity doesn't mean saying, "Being a man is watching football games, going to strip clubs and playing poker." Defining masculinity is ASKING why you do that, who is telling you to do it, why they're telling you to do it and then deciding if it's right for you. That's not stupid. It's awareness and conscious living.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Loukia, Maybe they would... they'll never know until they talk about it...

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Miss Britt, Suck up. But, no, you're right, I was just teasing him. I appreciate very much that I have a husband that gets it. Also, please keep this moment in mind the next time I defend Jared. ::Even LONGER pointed and meaningful silence:: HAHAHA :-)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Hockeymandad, I like the idea of having one big conference with separate tracks. It's probably a cost thing that prevents it from happening. And, you know, even if women dominate the field of personal blogging, they're still operating within an overall structure that is dominated by men. That can't be ignored. I have been in instances where I've seen a male blogger get a lot of positive attention for pieces that if it had been written by a female blogger wouldn't garner any response, at all. It's kind of like that thing when people say, "Oh, you're SUCH a GOOD dad" because you're paying attention to your kid but don't even blink when they see your wife do the same thing. I don't know if that makes sense... you know, thinking hurts my brain. Because I'm a woman. :-)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Cherie Beyond, You're welcome. I appreciate that.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, Dear Jared - do you see this? I'm going to have to endure some kind of retaliation down the road for this.

Please remember that Christmas is coming.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

@Lisa, Well, it actually looks like we agree at least on the point of conferences. I don't think men should be excluded, either. I do think, though, that their inclusion should be well thought out and conscious. If I were an organizer of a women's conference, I would absolutely make men feel "welcome," but only in the capacity of being students. I don't want a man teaching me how to empower myself as a woman... I don't think that's very useful.

On the issue of "equality," we do disagree. Respectfully, of course. I don't think women are being treated equal to men, Lisa. Not in the workplace, not in social strata, and definitely not in the cultural strata. Are we living in episodes of Mad Men? No. Things are a lot better, but our positions as they relate to men are not equitable. Because of that, I don't think asking men to respect our space by being sensitive to their roles during those moments is asking for "more." I think it's asking for a moment to breathe our own air so we can figure out exactly what we can do in order to create equality. It's simply a moment to focus on areas that need improvement or need strengthening. Men are welcome to offer their perspective, but I think it's wholly inappropriate for them to lead those discussions.

As for dads not making women feel welcome at their own conferences, no I don't agree with that, and as I said, I don't agree with women not making men feel welcome. I do, however, think it would annoy the hell out of the dads to have a mom stand on stage and tell them what she thinks a dad should be, how they can make more money as dads, or how they can be better at being dads. And even if it's just a mom standing on stage talking about how much she loves her husband and what a great dad he is, she's still a woman presenting an ideal to a bunch of men. I would be annoyed by that.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Annabelle, I think it must be all or nothing because it would cost A LOT of money to do. :-)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@hello haha narf, Thanks, honey.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Sybil Law, What Britt said.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Jared, Of course, you completely understand what I'm saying. You're married to the white version of me... she's probably tortured you into compliance by now. Haha

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Becca, That's what I mean.. learning from each other.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Ericka, Exactly. And it's not the garden club's fault that the men couldn't cook as well as them... :-)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Loukia, But. Why do they call it BlogHER, then? I agree with you, it is nice to hang out with the boys, and I really enjoyed getting to meet the men I read when I was in NY. But, this issue isn't about that. It's about the integrity of an organization's intention. For me, it's like this: having men play primary roles at a women's conference implies that we're all on the same page financially, socially and culturally... it implies that there is no more work to be done and that as a group that now enjoys equal standing with men, we can now invite them to tell us what they think about us. That bothers me.

I don't think the guys shouldn't be allowed to come. I just think organizers touting women's empowerment should be careful about the level of men's active participation.

I do have to add one more thing. I saw so many women at BlogHer people with small blogs like mine or people who had just started a blog attend the conference... Interestingly, every male I met had a large readership and was, at any given moment, surrounded by a GROUP of women. I can't put my finger on this as to why, but this bothered me. A lot. I guess I felt like those guys were distracting women from getting to know each other better. And, this is actually something that has happened throughout history... this idea of men distracting women from strengthening their ties with each other... I'm not saying they do it on purpose, I'm just saying that I saw it and it made me a little sad.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, Yes, I get what you are saying, actually. Of course some men come for the attention - 2,000 women will give you some attention, and of course, there are women who will want the same attention back from the handful of men who are there. As for the integrity of the organization of BlogHer, well, I'm not sure what they could do differently. Do you think there shouldn't have been a male keynote speaker, maybe?

However for the most part, for me, it's just about the friendships and getting to talk to the people you want to spend the most time with. The thing that sucked about BlogHer and BlissDom is that there is just not enough TIME to talk to and hang with everyone you want to be with. Sometimes it feels so rushed, you know?

And hey, if it wasn't for Adam, I wouldn't have met YOU. So see how it helps having men there a tiny bit? ;)

Actually, the truth is I became very aware of you during your keynote. You made me cry like a baby and I completely love you and your blog so actually it has everything to do with you and I really hope we get to spend even more time together in San Diego. You're an amazing person and blogger.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

Clearly I didn't edit my comment so please excuse my typos and stuff. :)

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLoukia

@Faiqa, I totally agree that we're still not there yet with the equality. I guess my point is that if we want it for ourselves we have to give it as well. And maybe we have to give it before we fully get it ourselves.

I also agree that men should absolutely respect the venue and purpose of the gathering, I just wouldn't want to see them excluded - and I get now that you weren't talking about total exclusion. I, too, wouldn't want to be told how to be a better Mom by a Dad at a Mom-centric conference. Absolutely. But I don't think that discounting their potential for thoughtful contribution solely based on gender would always be in the best interest of a conference. I agree that it should be a well thought out exception, I just would like to see the possibility remain open.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

@Faiqa, I stay at home and work mostly on laundry, honey-dos and kid-wrangling these days, but sometimes actually as a writer albeit one who needs to proof his copy better before hitting "submit."

Now where do I send your check to? ;-)

Thanks.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlways Home and Uncool

@Always Home and Uncool, I am REALLY this nice. I promise.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFaiqa

@Faiqa, You have a brain? I didn't think women got those! Haha, I kid of course, it was too easy and just like a man, I go for the easy score.

Chris Rock told some jokes about men bragging they take care of their kids. Personally I don;t understand why men don't "parent" their children. They are missing out on some great stuff.

November 3, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHockeymandad

Somewhere I remember reading that BlogHer wasn't ever intended to be solely for women. But that aside, I think that the discussion should be focused on topics.

I wouldn't expect a man to lecture women on how to be a mother or what it is like to be a woman.

But there is no reason he couldn't lead a discussion on how to be a better blogger or ways to monetize a blog etc...

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJack

I adore men, but I adore women as well and relish the opportunity to just spend time with people who get me in a way no man, no matter how wonderful, ever could.

I've not been to any of these conferences, but from what I am gathering here and there, there needs to be some more clarity on what exactly the goal of conferences like BlogHER and MOM 2.0 actually are. It would appear, by their names, that they have some focus on women, but now they say they don't?

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFinn

We should just schedule a Muskrat conference and invite everyone to whatever city I deem to be cool that year, and everyone drinks a bunch and talks about how wonderful I am.

November 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermuskrat

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