the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Everyone is Welcome!


I really like Mocha Momma’s take on BlogHer, in her post “Inclusion and Exclusion.”  I’ve always been obsessed with this subject — inclusion and exclusion.   Maybe that’s why I’ve been writing so much about BlogHer — a blogging group that is about enpowerment, but also about inclusion AND exclusion.

Or maybe I’m still hurt about not being picked for the sixth grade softball team until last. 

As a child of the 1970s, social studies classes were all about feminism and civil rights, so my early education made this a central theme to my life.  In the olden times, people were not subtle.  There were signs that said “no blacks or Jews or women allowed.”  Those signs are long gone.  Now, every organization needs to be open to everyone else… at least in the public arena.  

BlogHer is great for women.  I just thought it was amusing how much effort was spent by some commenters telling me that men were happily welcome!  The FAQ actually says:

YES! Men are welcome to attend, and many do. About 25% of attendees are male.

25%?  So, where are all the men in the countless photos on Flickr?  Were they all in the lounge watching the Cubs playing on the TV?

(via the imperfect mom)

I think it would be better to not even allow men at all.  What happens if 3/4 of the participants become men?  Will it still be called BlogHer?

One of my very first posts was about how the Beverly Center in Los Angeles didn’t carry any clothes for women over a size 10-12.   At first, I thought this was because of an image of hipness and youth, but when I thought about it some more, the reason seemed more about inclusion and exclusion.   Since so many regular black and Mexican women are larger sizes, the lack of clothes in their size would keep them away — making the Beverly Center more “upscale” and less ethnic.   Let “them” shop at Target.   Sophia, who is a size 14, was actually told by the Macy’s sales clerk to go to the Fox Hills Mall, where the clientele was more African-American.   Of course, anyone is welcome to come to the Beverly Center — but if you are size 16, there will be nothing there catering to you! 

Izzy Mom is a popular mommyblogger who attended BlogHer.  She had such a good time that she is setting up a mini get-together called Mommycon!

Of course, “you don’t have to be a mom to join in the fun!”

Again, it sounds like a great idea, but I’m beginning to think that modern etiquette requires that everyone practice exclusiveness AND inclusiveness at the same time. 

Remember, this Saturday — The first Los Angeles meet-up of “Attractive Wealthy Men with Hot Trophy Wives” — but other men who don’t fit this description are welcome to show up.  Don’t feel uncomfortable or anything.   We are glad to have you hang with us.  Really.  Seriously.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month:  My Interview


  1. Lara

    i’ve been fortunate enough to generally feel very welcome, accepted, and even wanted in the mommyblog circles, despite my non-mom status. but i agree that it’s strange, and it’s easy to feel like a poser or an interloper of some kind.

  2. melanie

    I spend most of the time hoping everyone isn’t laughing at me, so I don’t have time to worry about if I have been included or not.

    And, if you drive up in a certain type of car with the word Malibu on your plates, you will definitely get the attention from the “hot trophy wives”. yes or no?

  3. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah

    I saw a lot of men there, but I certainly wouldn’t say 25%. Probably closer to 5%.

    Either way, it was a lot of fun. Does the inclusion/exclsuion thing also apply to the L.A. Bloggers party? That looked like a lot of fun – I’d like to crash that one next year.

  4. pam

    Mommycon. Not for a second would I consider going to that. BUT the idea underscores a question I have about BlogHer. If everyone is welcome, is it possible to offer something of value to everyone? (Ack. I said that out loud.)

    Mommycon makes perfect sense, even though I’d rather gouge out my own eyes with a fork than go. FoodBloggerCon makes sense. SnarkyJewishGirlBloggerCon, ImaginaryFriendsOfNeilCon, TravelBloggerCon… everyone is welcome, but the population would self select because well, obviously if you’re not a SnarkyJewishGirl, why would you go to SnarkyJewishGirlBloggerCon? What’s the appeal, even if you ARE welcome. (Besides, duh, snarky Jewish girls. We rule.)

  5. V-Grrrl

    Some days I run with scissors. Some days I play well with others. But every day, I avoid joining women’s groups.

  6. Izzy

    If MommyCon (of which the name is actually supposed to be a joke, but apparently a very subtle one) was billed as “just for moms” then people would be grousing about that rather than the fact that anyone is welcome if they don’t mind being surrounded by a fair amount of mothers. We understand that not everyone wants to listen to us talk about poop 24 hours a day.

    The fact is, mom bloggers and non-mom bloggers can be and are friends. I know it’s shocking that breeders and non-breeders sometimes fraternize but alas, it’s true.

    The bottom line is that you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. You can’t please everyone.

    As for the conference, there were a lot of men there this year. Many more than in 2006, in my estimation anyway.

  7. Lisa

    Neil, I’m beginning to sense a pattern here. Does someone need a cookie?

  8. Mocha

    My brain is fried today, Neil, so you’ll forgive this I’m sure.

    The BlogHer concept, to me, is to support women online. That’s it. Pretty simple. To do that, therefore, all are welcome to participate in the conferences and forums, etc…

    What I am trying to do is relate what I’ve learned to my life and find out where those two things meet. Sometimes, it’s a good meeting place and other times it’s painful.

    Also, since I feel solidarity with Sophia I will admit to being a size 14 though a dress at an upscale shop I bought recently was a 10. Not sure what to do with that information.

    Maybe I’ll post a pic of me in it. Because me and 10 haven’t been friends for a long time.

  9. Bloggrrl

    I’m glad you brought this up. I would be pissed as hell if there was a conference that was for men only, Hispanics only, etc. Wait, that happens all the time. Well, I still hate it. I have a hard time with the BlogHer thing for that reason. I would miss seeing all my hot guy blog friends!

  10. Neil

    Eh, you know what — I’m changing my mind on this whole thing. I have NO problem at all with conventions of Hispanic bloggers, black bloggers, etc. I’m all for cultural and ethnic identity. Every group is important in helping others in the group to succeed. If I moved to a new locale, my first question would be “Where is the temple and the other Jews?” That’s what community is all about. I would love to go to a meeting of Jewish bloggers. So, why should it be any different for women?!

    I appreciate BlogHer being an organization that empowers women. It is a good mission — to give women an opportunity to learn more about each other, to promote each other, and to create networking, work, and advertising opportunities — the same way men do for each other. I say, “go for it!” Whatever it takes to create a community. I have no real problem with Koreans helping other Koreans get jobs or businessmen making deals on the private golf course. That is a part of life. So, if women have special interests that are gender-specific and an organization exists that can help them advance their careers and money-making possibilities, they are smart to make it happen.

    I guess I just need to figure out what my community is.

  11. Laurie Ruettimann

    The men were busy rubbing my feet.

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