C. Jane Kendrick: Despite stereotypes, Salon article was compliment to Mormon bloggers
Last Sunday, I checked my Facebook wall.
Hannah, a reader of my blog, had written me a note. My blog, she said, was “name checked on Salon (salon.com) today!” And for my convenience, she posted the link.
I went on to read the article by Emily Matchar, a self-proclaimed “childless overeducated atheist feminist” who confessed to an obsession with reading Mormon Mommy Blogs. She admitted to finding the blogs addicting and reluctantly used the word “uplifiting” to describe their effect. In short, it was actually a sincere tribute to the Mormon Mommy Blogging genre.
I was honored to have my blog mentioned in the article. In a quick tweet to @emilymatchar I thanked her for the mention. I also linked it on several of my personal social media outlets as well as my own blog.
I was not prepared, however, for the onslaught of e-mails, phone calls and texts (including one from my own bishop) in response.
To be honest, I’ve received many e-mails in the course of blogging from a colorful sampling of women confessing a similar addiction. The e-mails start something like this:
“I am a single mother, Methodist in Texas.”
“I am a Jewish, Liberal Long Islander.”
“I am a mother of two in the adult entertainment industry."
It's as if they're saying, “I am not like you, but I like you.”
I am sure many Mormon bloggers out there have received similar correspondences. Articles like Emily’s tipped the media to something we’ve known for a long time — people are interested in Mormon bloggers.
Of course, the article didn’t quite get all the details right. The term "Bloggernacle" was defined too widely. The reasons for the huge presence of Latter-day Saints in the Bloggersphere were dimly proposed.
But maybe, most importantly, the stereotypes were a bit too generalized. Mormon bloggers were generally defined as traditional homemakers, with magazine-style blogs with youth and fertility to boot. (For starters, a couple of us mentioned in the article are older, and at least two of us started our blogs to work through infertility struggles. Some of us don’t use the term "Mommy Blogger" at all.)
But we were also characterized by our happiness, and I think maybe that’s true. Despite our differences in fertility, education or family life, Mormon bloggers do share a similar search for truth and enlightenment. Those truths can come through in blog posts about child-raising, home-decorating or cupcake baking — or something completely different.
Incidentally, I am writing this column on vacation. I am trying to use two hands to type even though my jealous toddler insists on occupying my left hand. (Now he’s licking it.) My husband is desperately trying to entertain our testy and teething baby while waiting for me to finish up this column so we can take the kids swimming. It’s been a sunny day and I’ve spent half of it working.
So when I read articles like Emily’s that pay a little tribute to what I try to create day in and day out, I have to believe I am doing something right.
We all are.
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