I suppose it's cool that the Blogher conference has gotten such high-profile attention from the Austin Chronicle, but I can't quite get over the fact that the editors ran with this cover.
Here Blogher is about empowering women's voices, and the spin they put on it uses cheap sex appeal, while also echoing the really bad movies of the '50s, like, um, Queen of Outer Space....
Three American astronauts are on the first manned mission to Venus, and when they arrive, they find the planet to be inhabited solely by women with high heels and short dresses. Unfortunately, they are immediately imprisoned, for the queen who rules Venus hates men... Suspecting the astronauts to be spies, she now plans to destroy the Earth. So now it's up to the three men (and some friendly Venusians) to overthrow the wicked queen and save the Earth.
Yes, that's right, get a few women together and they automatically hate men and want to take over the world. Those familiar with the genre of the times know that there were many movies like this, drawing on cultural fears of women who don't live to be in the arms of their man, much like the alien invasion movies played off of the red scare.
The final plot point of most of these movies was when the evil women finally succumbed to romantic advances by their male captives, dropped their guns and presumably rushed off to happy lives spending their nights on their backs and their days in the kitchen. Silly, uppity women, they just didn't know their place!
And this is the image the Austin Chronicle decides to run with to position Blogher in the minds of its readers.
The article itself is quite complimentary, introducing the founders of Blogher and the stuff they're talking about in panels at the SXSW festival.
"Women who write about family are 'mommybloggers,' while men who write about family are 'personal bloggers,' incorporating personal elements into their blogs," Des Jardins says. "It's so easy to call someone a 'mommyblogger,' to say that they write 'just' about family."
"As though so much of our great literature and art isn't about family relationships," Camahort points out. "When Arthur Miller wrote All My Sons, nobody said, 'Oh, he's just a 'daddy playwright.' Nobody calls him a 'male playwright.' I think that's why women are rightfully apprehensive."
Fellow BlogHers Stone and Casino â€“ who Stone describes as an "unashamed, unabashed feminist blogger" â€“ will continue the talk about marginalization, identity, and their implications in "Public Square or Private Club: Does Exclusivity Strengthen or Dilute?"
A serious enough take, and it's presented without any snark or sarcasm.
So what's with the overtly sexist cover? I've never been to Austin, but I hear tell it's a liberal town, so maybe they will all "get it." But really, this seems like a rather cheap shot to me. Imagine an African American blogger's conference with a Sambo-like caricature on the cover, or an Anti-Defamation League conference with a caricature of an "evil Jew" with a long hook nose. This cover says that women empowered want to emasculate men (note the three women seemingly doing just that) while lounging around as objects of desire.
If that's the political climate we have in liberal areas, no wonder ERA never passed and forced pregnancy is the political fad du jour.