It is time for me to weigh in on the New York Times article. Yeah, THAT article. The one I was quoted in. The one that everyone is freaking out about. News to you? Well, then I invite you to take a moment to read it. It is okay. I’ll wait….
I wasn’t planning on speaking out on it, I was perfectly content to let it ride and read what others were saying. They were all much more eloquent then I, anyway.
But then I started musing about a couple of things:
1. Who EXACTLY is the adversary here? The author? Or perhaps the powers that be at the New York Times?
2. Why was everyone so riled up? Perhaps there was there a bigger issue at stake? I think the answer to that is a RESOUNDING YES. It is a bigger issue. And I am not alone in my thinking, Kelby Carr believes the same. Mom 101 wrote a letter to the New York Times. And PunditMom also addressed the issues behind it.
So what pushed me over the edge to take to my own computer? Two things, actually. My quote was being misinterpreted AND I personally spoke to the author, Jennifer Mendelsohn.
Yep. I reached out to her.
But first let me address my own quote. I was quoted as saying “We all live online.” Yes, that is what I said BUT it was part of a bigger discussion about putting our lives out there online and relating to each other and finding companionship. I actually wrote an article for Maryland Life Magazine in the March/April 2010 issue talking about “mommy bloggers” and connecting with others via the Internet. (I personally prefer the term DIGITAL MOM, by the way.) Some have misconstrued my quote as me saying “we live way too much online.” NOPE. Not what I meant. At. All.
Anyway…. back to the author. I reached out to her because I was wondering her thoughts on all of this. I was wondering how she was holding up and frankly, I was wondering if she felt a backlash. I know that when women mobilize we can be a force to be reckoned with. My opinion on the whole piece was that the GRAPHIC and the HEADLINE were insulting and DEGRADING. Now, I don’t claim to know much about the newspaper industry but one thing I do know is that the author has no control over any of that. And if you read the headline and look at the graphic, well, they have exactly ZERO to do with the story she wrote.
My own dealings with her at the conference were very pleasant and were consistent with our phone conversation afterwards. She has actually posted her official response on her blog. You might want to hop over and give it a read. If you read through the comments on her blog post (which incidentally have been closed at this point) you can deduce that she has indeed felt the backlash. It is a shame, really. It marred what would have been one of a writer’s most glorious moments. (“Oh My Gosh, I am published in the New York Times!!!)
You know what I wish? I wish I had the name of the jerk who put the headline and graphic on that story. THAT is where the real prejudice and bias begins. HE is the person we should take to task. (I am assuming it is a HE but I could be wrong.)
I invite you to re-read the article and IGNORE the headline and graphic. Try to read it without being insulted by those two things and you may not come away with the same anger. Or maybe you do. We each interpret things a bit differently. Who am I to tell you how to feel?
I encourage you to read the articles I referenced above by Kelby Carr, Mom101 and Pundit Mom and weigh in for yourself. Where do you stand on the controversy? Was it fueled by the author or by a deeper more cultural bias?