I just got home yesterday from the BlogHer conference in NYC after staying a few extra days. It was fun to be away in NewYork and at a conference meeting new people, but was BlogHer fun? Was it worth it?
BlogHer is a conference of women bloggers. Actually, I don’t really know how to define it. It’s more than a conference; it’s a brilliant connecting of people and of blog promotion, but it is also a promotion of women as writers, entrepreneurs, and ‘movers and shakers’ in this wide world.
Elisa and Lisa’s story is that they were connected by friends, began talking, and created BlogHer. Of course it has grown over the years, but it was at their first meeting that they decided to go for it. Did I mention women are creative and powerful. That’s just rad!
The BlogHer conference I went to had five thousand women, and maybe forty men, who blog. I’m still not sure why the men were there. Some were husbands of other participants, but others, just there. It’s BlogHer, so again, not sure why.
I met tons of women there at the conference, but as it was my first time going, it was a constant cocktail party of introductions and small talk. It was often overwhelming, but I networked and kept meeting awesome people. It was tiring and exciting at the same time.
There were also times when it was lonely. I walked up and down New York’s streets with a gazillion people and that never felt lonely, but in a conference with 5,000 people, there were times I would walk into a large room or into one of the parties and felt like, who are these people? Who is anyone here? Where are the people I’ve met? With five thousand people, it was easy to meet people and never see them again or to meet them and not recognize them a day later.
Another question I had was: Where are the feminists?
There weren’t a lot of feminist bloggers there or at least I didn’t meet a lot. Maybe I should phrase that differently. Most women I met were feminists or definitely expressed to me that they felt that women’s rights were important, but they weren’t blogging about feminism. This was both okay and frustrating. Frustrating because I wanted to connect with other feminist bloggers, but okay because women are so much more than feminists.
We are more than beings that having to stick up for their rights at every turn of the road. We are fuller more evolved beings than that and I assume what women think and feel comes out in their writing. So if they believe in women’s equality, it will come out in their writing.
At this precarious time for women’s rights, it’s easy to pigeon-hole women into writing/blogging/speaking about what women “should” speak about according to traditional gender roles, which would be “mommy” stuff, hence the majority of women there were “Mommy bloggers.”
But Mommy bloggers are important. I’m a mommy and I blog about feminism. Most women of the world are mothers, of course we blog about motherhood and about our children. This is not only a major part of women’s lives, but a valuable and important part. Women at the conference also blogged about menopause, empty-nest, change of life, their families, their lives, where they live, what they eat, how they exercise, body image, and all kinds of things. It was 5,000 women who were using their voices about their lives and worlds; that in itself was beautiful and perhaps the largest grain of hope I’ve seen in a while.
The conference started out BIG with President Obama addressing the audience over a Live Feed. Then there was Martha Stewart interviewed on stage during lunch and Katie Couric. Soledad O’brien was there conducting her own interviews. And lots of amazing women fit right in between those women with big names.
Aside from all the glam and blog bling (or SWAG- there was a lot of SWAG), I think the best thing about BlogHer for me was the women I met and got to listen to present or read their writing. Each of them was inspiring in their own way and all together at the conference, it was energizing to know that so many women are doing amazing things and writing about their lives, thoughts, and feelings.
BlogHer was women blogging about women and all that we are, mothers, shoppers, feminists, activists, the hope holders. And yes, it was worth it!