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Joanne Bamberger

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Homemakers But Not Opinion Makers?

Posted: 08/30/07 10:28 PM ET

Mothers, however we define ourselves in terms of our employment, are not viewed by the world at large as opinion makers.

I had this sad revelation while the PunditMom family was away on vacation and I continued to stew about the lack of coverage or interest the media and the presidential candidates had when it came to this year's BlogHer conference, the largest conference of women bloggers in the world.

We are the acknowledged spenders of household income. We're the demographic that advertisers want.

Exhibit A? The huge Butterball turkey sitting on one of the exhibitor's tables throughout the event. So they want our opinions (and money) when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, but not on one of the most important presidential elections of our time.

Only two presidential candidates deigned to send representatives to BlogHer, one of them being Elizabeth Edwards. Yet, when it came to the mostly middle-aged white male blogging conference the following week, the media couldn't get enough and the Democratic presidential contenders were out in full force.

So my question that drifted into my jet-lagged fog when we returned was this:

Are there any real 'Mommy' opinion leaders?

If so, our voices don't seem to be reaching any sort of critical mass. Even the one woman running for President was more interested in attending the Yearly Kos conference and making nice to the white men than she was in meeting with women bloggers. The lone representative Hillary Clinton sent to the BlogHer conference wasn't that interested in making contact with the bloggers -- she kind of hovered in the back of the political discussion rooms. When I introduced myself and told her I had a somewhat well-read political blog, she gave me the cold-shoulder brush-off.

OK, I'm no Kos or Arianna Huffington, but that's a perfect example of the amazing short-sightedness of the candidates and the way women are viewed in the blogosphere.

So what do we do about that?

Maybe part of the problem is how we, as women, view the world.

We're great at starting and having conversations. Mulling, considering, sharing. Yet, many times we don't want to force our personal views and opinions on others. Now could be the time we need to put them out there in the blogosphere and not hold back.

We don't have to get into a whole big row about it. As women, often we do have a different filter on issues that cover the front pages of newspapers and take up the first minutes of cable news shows. Maybe it's time to be less reticent and fearful about putting other women off and start stating our case for those views in a way that would make the candidates and the main stream media perk up and pay some attention.

If a few of us put our toes in those political opinion-making waters, would other women follow?

This post was originally posted at Work It, Mom!

 

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