Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sex, Blogging Conferences and Knowing Your Place

Let’s talk sex.

Gender, actually. (I know. I’m disappointed, too.)

When I was making the rounds at BlogHer ‘10, handing out Pepsi Refresh / Cure JM voting cards and stepping through the throngs of fawning females treating me like I was a stray puppy, I met a woman.

A woman who worked for the federal government.

The “federal government source for women’s health information,” to be precise.

And she wanted to interview … me?

“Dude – I mean, Ms. – I’m a dude,” I said. “Really.”

Thankfully, didn’t I get mad, go into a rage and DM her proof of that fact on Twitter. That can cause a heap of problems these days.

(And, really, guys: distributing unsolicited photos of your shortcomings is plainly not cool. Ever. Distributing solicited ones generally isn’t smart either, doofuses. Not even to your spouse or significant other.)

No, she said, even though I was a man politely navigating my way around a den of Self-Empowered XX Chromosomes, I had a unique perspective and information about a health issue that affects young females significantly more than young males.

Her audience, she said, could learn something and they’d appreciate hearing my point of view.

Sure, she could have held out to talk to My Love, the woman who leads the foundation seeking a cure for the disease and the mastermind of our ambitious agenda to make the public aware of the need to make juvenile myositis a memory.

But face it, could you resist a stray puppy? Could you?


(There’s your Day 3 Movember moustache update! Please support me and the DadCentric crew as we grow ‘em to show ‘em our support for men’s health issues.)

So we exchanged business cards, and later we exchanged questions and answers. I think it was a win-win. Please read the interview.

* * *

Much of the above is my tongue-in-cheekiness about a recent public debate I’ve been in this week about men at “women’s conferences” with one blogger that carried over to another blogger who discussed the need for homogenous groups to occasionally rally together, celebrate themselves and support each other. I respect their opinions even though I don’t fully agree with some of the arguments. Please read them and weigh in (I have comments included at the end of each of their posts.)

Given that, I feel compelled to highlight one gender role question from my interview and response that probably doesn’t add to the debate, but at least may make you smile:

Q. What about other stay-at-home moms, do you think they ever treat you differently?

ME: Some seem a little wary of me, and I think it is somewhat understandable. I'm invading what has been traditionally been their territory, so obviously they are going to a bit suspicious of a guy volunteering at a bake sale in the middle of a school day or hanging around the ballet school on a Saturday morning. But if you let that bother you constantly then you're probably not cut out to be an at-home dad. You need to either: 1) smile, introduce yourself and try to be a constructive part of the group; 2) suck it up and carry on; or 3) make alternative arrangements. That said, I've also met many stay-at-home moms and work-at-home moms who think it is the greatest thing in the world that I do what they do. Of course, that may be some sort of revenge thing.

Cheers … and peace. We all need each other these days.

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  1. I have followed this argument/debate/discussion closely and with interest, mostly because I have no life. As a female, I have no problem sharing conference space with male panelists and attendees. I think they bring a different perspective to issues and that adds value to my experience.

    I think the trick to this though, is for men to be respectful that this is still our space and a much needed one.

    I just don't buy into the girls only argument. My vagina must be broken.

  2. Tanis - I agree. Well, not about the vagina part. On that, I respectfully and wisely decline to touch it.

  3. I've only had the pleasure of knowing (in a non-Biblical sense) one stay-at-home dad. And he was a breath of fresh air, let me tell you. It's tough hanging out with women all day. We are a critical species.

  4. I cannot even fathom the thought of hanging out with only women for days in a row, but more power to them if that's what they want. It would seriously make me stabby.

  5. Caught up on the debate now. And yikes. All I wanted to do was go to a blogging conference. To learn about writing and meet other writers.

    All this male/female/daddy/mommy/parent/non-parent controversy is not on my list of things to do.

  6. I don't think parenting belongs to any gender. I think it belongs to good parents. It's for that reason that I make no attempt to fit in with any parenting group. I just do the best I can for my kids. I'm not a huge fan of conferences just for men, or just for women or just for whoever. I get why people want to be around other people like themselves, but I think the whole mommy blogging thing (and for that matter, daddy blogging) is overrated. The most successful of each category ceases to be a mom blog or a dad blog and instead just becomes a parenting blog. Wow -- I got waaay off topic. Sorry about that. What I meant to say was, Good for you for going in there and supporting your cause! That's really what I wanted to say. :-)

  7. I've always thought it was super-cool of you to immerse yourself in things like BlogHer.

    You are one brave, secure dude.


    ;-) A.

  8. I'm going to skip over the debate portion because I have already respectfully thrown in my two cents elsewhere.

    MY comment is about the SAHD situation. I think that rocks. I think the parenting styles of men and women differ and it's a whole new world of possibilities. If there was anyway this arrangement would work in our family it would be done. We both working and always shall be.

    Kudos to you home daddy.

  9. When did Favre become a dad blogger?

  10. Love that summation of the attitude necessary to be a stay at home dad. Less cryin' more parenting.

    Of course, I've yet to read the debate. I shoot my mouth off before I know what I'm talking about. It's my style.

  11. First off, thanks for the tip on wang picture etiquette! I almost made a really embarrassing gaffe.

    I read your comments on the other blogs and I tend to agree. I've never been to a blogging conference of any sort, but I've definitely been the only guy in the crowd many times, including in a Women's Studies class in college. It's just like any social situation: be mindful of the group dynamic and unless you are there to provoke or alienate, try to compliment it rather than disrupt it.

  12. I was very curious about the reception of men at BlogHer - I didn't go, but this was the first year that I was aware of the event itself, and a lot of the dadbloggers I follow did attend. It sounds like they were made welcome (although not be everyone, apparently). The next Blogher will take place in my town - I think I may just have to go and see it for myself.

  13. I don't get all the debate about mommy/daddy blogs. Can't we just be friends. Must we so vigilantly mark our internet territory? I guess I am not serious enough about the roll we all play. I prefer to have fun.

  14. I'm so new at this blogging thing, my page still has that new plastic smell on it. From what I can tell the whole dad blogger is still straying into estrogen territory. But from my extremely limited experience however ,my few monologues have been accepted without immediate demands for castration. And for that I'm extremely thankful.

  15. The more I work outside my home, the more I see my kids need me in it. Male or female, to work from home, I'd be living my dream. -J

  16. Unlike Tanis, I have a life, so I didn't read the back and forth on Twitter. But I saw the post and thought it was ridiculous.

  17. I agree with Muskrat, what a moronic post. I think you deserve to go anywhere you want and applaud you for your status as a SAHD!!

  18. Thanks for this. I've been experiencing a lot of bad vibes from the moms at my daughter's school lately. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I have a penis and I take care of my kids! I volunteer at her school, and it's like I've invaded their turf. It's always good to see(hear) someone other than myself who deals with this, and how they do so.

  19. Dang .... away for one day and look what I miss!

  20. I've stayed far away from the debate. Since you've never placed a linkback that wasn't relevant, I check 'em out. Second conversation was far more civil and succinct.

    It is still very much a man's world and I understand the desire to want a place of our own as long as there's clear delineation of the agenda. I'm not in favor of exclusion for the sake of exclusion. Passive-aggressiveness isn't pretty.

    Loved your interview. So glad you chose your language more appropriately than she who interviewed you. I prefer gender neutral language and also like to see credit given where it's due. Your wife if one rockin' chairwoman!

  21. I work for a women, I manage all women, and we sell things only for women. I am sick of women. I'm even sick of myself.

    So going to blogher was a huge step for me. And I actually found a group of women that I like and would love to hang out with more.

    You, I only saw as you walked past me during a panel, snubbing me. Sigh. I am not sure how I will ever get over it.

    Also I wish I could be a stay at home anything, I need to figure this one out.

  22. Wow, you have stirred up a whole lot of crazy. This sort of explains some of the reasons why I don't go to these conferences. This and they cost too much, I go to a billion other conferences for work and I've worked in all women offices and that's a unique place of estrogen-laden nuts. The only reason I'd go is to meet my favorite bloggers in real life. If those bloggers are guys or gals it just doesn't matter to me.

  23. That's a great interview Kevin... I didn't see your comment on my page until recently...yes, Taylor and I were in Chicago. My sister and I ran the 1/2... but didn't stick around too much after, my body was calling for a shower and a cold beer.

    Thanks so much to you and your family for all you do!!! We owe Taylor's health to the CureJM organization...


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