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Timely Click: It's Mommy Time(s)

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Mommy time: This is not about mommy taking off time -- for herself. This is about mommy taking on Times -- the New York Times -- which recently published a controversial article about mommy bloggers on the front page of the Style section.

Bloggers who felt the article was condescending and insulting are online, making their cases in the modern version of the town hall meeting.

Mommy is mad as hell and she's not going to take it anymore.

It's not only another skirmish in the ongoing war between online media and the ailing newspaper industry. Though I don't know how many mommy bloggers would say they are feminists -- to me, this battle feels familiar. Or maybe it's something about the New York Times as the voice of authority that pushes women's buttons.

Four decades ago the New York Times Magazine published a controversial piece describing the first coeds admitted to Yale College in its 300 year history. That article was just the beginning of the buzz surrounding the arrival of women in New Haven.

I showed up to register on my first day to find the Yale campus swarming with reporters. Immediately, I was approached by a reporter from the New York Times -- and I won't ever forget his question: Do women deserve to be at Yale?

Click.

In the women's movement, click was the code word for the "aha" moment of recognition. Though it would take months before I learned the word feminist to identify myself, that question was the instant it dawned on me where I stood as a woman.

My generation of feminists was considered angry; possibly in part because we were forced to break down barriers to enter places and careers that had been closed to us. With most doors open, most of the anger has dissipated.

Mommy bloggers don't represent all women; or all women bloggers. They attract sniping from both inside and outside -- targeted at their marketing muscle -- though it seems anachronistic to suggest mommy blogging is any different from other home-based businesses based on networking -- such as the armies of women selling Avon or Mary Kay.

The mommy blogging community has already learned it can lift someone up... or bring someone down. And maybe the anger of the moment offers an opportunity to flex the power of their collective voice as women, whatever they choose to be called.

I'm reading a book called When Everything Changed; The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, written ( ironically) by New York Times Op-Ed columnist Gail Collins.

For those who remember -- it's amazing how we forget -- that only a few decades ago:

A woman was ejected from a courtroom because she showed up in slacks-- to pay a traffic ticket.

Married women could not apply for a credit card without their husband's permission.

Newspaper ads were divided into Help Wanted: Male, or Help Wanted: Female.

United Airlines ran regular "Executive Flights" from New York to Chicago -- for men only.

Just a few decades ago. How quickly we forget.

Next weekend on the Yale campus is an event honoring 40 years of coeducation; a reminder of my wake-up call thanks to the New York Times (still my most trusted news source). The achievements and accomplishments of women since then are a measure of how far we've come; the controversy involving the Times and mommy bloggers is an indication of how far we still have to go.