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The Blogosphere was abuzz with the rumor, verified last Monday, of several Mombloggers participating in an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. It was exciting to see our blog buddies on one of the most influential trend-watching programs on television. But the show garnered mixed reviews; while mombloggers were featured, there was nearly no acknowledgement of mommyblogging as a phenomenon. Some thought the angle of the show, entitled "The Secret Lives of Moms", made Moms seem more duplicitous, and perhaps crazy, than they collectively are. OK, so ONE mom could claim she wore her child's diapers in a desperate situation, but all in all, moms' lives are not so secret (at least, not since we started writing blogs).
Is there really a "secret life" Mombloggers live?
Everybody knows I’m insanely jealous of these people being on Oprah, but this is the part where I acknowledge that fact up front and cross my fingers that it won’t dilute the relevance of my opinion completely. Yes. I’m still super jealous, even if they didn’t publish web addresses up for most of the people. Even if the Skype reception made some of them look like they had bad skin. Obviously, I am a petty person who is dying to be on Oprah. Let’s not kid ourselves.
What follows is Anna's not-so-jealous take on the program, and it starts with a memory from her junior year in college, when she realizes that her interest in Camille Paglia stems from her sensing a wave in the backlash against the notion of "having it all" motherhood:
Was [Paglia] being sincere, truthful, or were her outrageous claims just exaggerated reaction the limitations of 70s feminism? Was it just Faludian backlash, after all? ... if the brand of my feminism didn’t change that night, perhaps my understanding of how the waves of feminism work did.
Perhaps, Anna argues, we are just smack-dab, in the center of yet another wave in the continuum toward enlightened motherhood, and that there are no "secrets"; we just need a name for this still-shady side of our understanding of this evolving phase.
Anna likens this exaggeration of motherhood to one perpetuated in the '90s and early '00s with the show Sex and the City. The program got the credit for liberating a class of women from repressing their sexuality. Anna argues that these women were already quite expressed; the show simply exploited a wave that had already happened.
...I hated ("Sex and the City") for reasons that are separate from the show itself ... I hated it because everyone acted like it was so ground-breaking, when in fact it just served to reinforce the same gender and class hierarchy as has every other show in the history of time–but it did so in a superfically subversive way, a misleading way. How do you make your life completely revolve around men (how to attract, how to catch, how to keep, how to seduce, how to marry, how to leave, how to forget) but make it seem as though you are a feminist? I know! Make them sexually liberal! Make them drink pink drinks, have spa days! They’re sluts, but they’re upper middle class sluts!
While you may or may not agree that the characters in SitC were sluts, or that moms today are dancing on the edge of sanity, we agreed that the media does like to throw a dart in time and proclaim a trend where it lands. We liked Anna's post because it went beyond simple analysis of Oprah's "Mommy" show, beyond the perspective of someone who had not been included and wished she had. It went to a core questioning of where we are really in the continnum of "liberating" ourselves from the constructs of what it means to be a mother.
We are all riding on the front of the feminist wave, whether it's because we admit to being a little drunk during a playdate or don't write about motherhood at all. Our "secrets" are out; it's our insistence on sharing them that is revolutionary.
And thanks to everyone for continuing to send in your nominated posts. Remember to nominate individual posts, not entire blogs, and keep them coming! If you want to check out all the BlogHer of the Week posts, check out the BlogHer of the Week archive.
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