Monday, October 29, 2007

Professor Mimi, limited time only!

Hi. Sorry for being such a crappy blogizen of late. Ms. Munchkin continues her sleep strikes (also known as 'teething') and, after all getting up at around 4:45 this morning for not the first time this week, we're all feeling, well, awful.

As a member of the waking dead-tired, I'm not too smart at work lately, so the deadlines approach and the tasks pile up and the grading does not go away on its own, and as I work on it all late into the night and then get up way too early in the morning, I start to feel that I'm burning out.

I do get a real lift, though, from posting and from reading your comments--as much as I enjoy reading your blogs too, which I've been trying to squeeze in here and there.

Anyhow. I wanted to post something, but I really don't have the energy or the time to craft something other than another pitiful list, so here's a proposal I've been writing for a paper I want to give at the 1ntern@tional Aut0bi0graphy conference in Hawaii this spring (it's getting harder to feel sorry for me now, isn't it?). I'd actually really like to know what you think--I'm only going to leave this up for a couple of days, because I'm sending the proposal off and I don't want to be traced.

So! For a limited time only ...

‘Mommy blogging’ is a phenomenon of the blog world, attracting vast numbers of authors and readers; its participants are increasingly hailed as a group by advertisers and aggregated as a definable ‘community’ in social networking sites like Maya’s Mom. Mommy-blogging is seldom a solitary or isolated activity, comprised as it is of tight networks of commenting, reading, and authoring.

However, to describe this space as a monolithic community is inaccurate. From a rejection of the generic label ‘mommy blogger’ itself to more serious disagreements about shared politics or experience, the ‘momosphere’ sees its denizens engage in a complex multimedia dance that steps into and out of community, asserting solidarity and individuality by turns. Blogrolls, ‘linky love,’ memes, sidebar buttons, and consistent and frequent commenting show affiliation and common-feeling among bloggers. Independence, by contrast, is often asserted in individual posts in which a blogger may express her anxiety about being subsumed into the larger group; such posts are usually sparked not in reaction to the immediate community of practice a blogger finds herself in, but rather in response to broad-brush characterizations of the ‘the contemporary parent,’ ‘SAHM’ (‘stay at home moms’), ‘working moms,’ or even the ‘momosphere’ itself in more traditional mass-media venues.

As Viviane Serfaty suggests in her analysis of blogging as an autobiographical practice, this genre is distinguished by practices that reflect this tension between self-assertion and community-belonging. Her notions of co-production, in which a text’s audience responds and thus collaborates in the diarist’s project of self-presentation or self-construction, and of blogging’s doubled self-reflexivity, by which a blogger investigates not only her own reasons for writing but also assesses the operations of the genre and the community it fosters, offer a rubric by which to understand this tension. Focusing on the momosphere’s response to its characterization as such in the mass media, this paper examines the strategies by which ‘mommy bloggers’ both act within this community, and assert their resistance to being entirely covered by this label.


Beck said...

Oh, my HEAD. Golly, you're clever.
And I want to be part of a monolithic community and throw rocks at people foolish enough to go by. That would be AWESOME.
(what is Maya's Mom?)

cinnamon gurl said...

I really hope you don't burn out. I know that feeling of being about to burn out... it's no fun at all.

And thank you for sharing your proposal. Do you need a companion/maid/whatever for the conference? I'd love to volunteer ;)

jen said...

this is fabulous. you go, sister.

bubandpie said...

If independence is asserted in reaction to media portrayals (rather than to the "immediate community of practice") does that not often make it a gesture of solidarity?

We are not "them." That's why we blog.

Christine said...

dude. you are super smart and thinky.

seriously--this is great.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I think B&P is right, that we are usually protesting against media portrayals, whether in newspapers/magazines or in too-popular books -- Beck was complaining about her head but did you read her slam? I loved it:

There's also a big-time-blogger/little-bitty-me differentiation.

Will you post the paper after you present it?

Jenifer said...

Yup you are a smart one. I am imagining Hawaii right now and since I have been three times (once as a child) I am sure no one feels sorry for me either. However, it is magical and lovely and I cannot wait to go back one day.

I think I agree with what B&P said, perhaps we blog in spite of the community sometimes.

slouching mom said...

That is terrific! But God, I hope you all start getting more sleep, and soon.

slouching mom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mad Hatter said...

Rest. Rest. Rest. As for the rest? I took off that thinking cap a while ago and it is very late in my time zone right now.

nomotherearth said...

Well, I don't have much to add other than the fact that I would be REALLY interested to read the whole paper..

Hope you get some sleep soon. No sleep is the worst enemy.

Kyla said...

Yes, I'd be interested in the paper as well! Sounds great, Mimi.

I hope the monster that is teething leaves you all very soon.

Lisa b said...

I did a course with a section on blogging in my MA.
I didn't really get the community thing until I found the Toronto Mommybloggers though.
Sounds like a great talk.

Jennifer Griffin-Wiesner said...

Oh my are soooo cool.

crazymumma said...

I love a chick with brains.

I really like the idea of the attraction/repulsion within the greater community. The attraction to be a part of a larger group yet individuate from said group by posting about ones anxiety about it.

Wholly femnale it seems to me. Shit. I'm gonna get in trouble for that. But it is just chickthink you know?