Ballad of a Blogger Finch (Female)

By: pbcmedia

Jul 30 2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: 1, blogging, Blogs, Culture, Frustration, Gender Inequalities


Focal Length:5.8mm
Shutter:1/0 sec
Camera:Canon PowerShot SD850 IS

The Ballad of the Female Blogger Finch:

Eat, Fly, Blog, Swear, Die

A cute little finch. A female finch according to my neighbor bird man.

This coincides with an article in last Sunday’s New York Times about the annual conference sponsored by BlogHer which began in 2005 to promote female bloggers. The article was titled, “Blogging’s Glass Ceiling”.

My darling cousin, Mary, a retail wizard in her own right in Palm Beach, sent me the article fedex with “PATRICIA” scawled above it and an arrow pointing to the article.

If you see me and I have a nice piece of jewelry on, Mary gave it to me. If you see me with my blue and white striped jammies on, which I wear winter and summer, Mary gave them to me. If you see me with a pale blue cashmere thingy wrapped around my neck in winter, yup, it’s Mary.

In other words, the girl tries to keep me on the right side of presentable. It’s been her role all our life. But, well, it’s a big job and about to get bigger.

Anyway, the article says that men and women are creating blogs in almost equal numbers but that women at the conference feel they are not taken as seriously by their male counterparts nor are they making as much money even though corporations are making money from them. That’s almost word for word from the article.

Okay. We can have our opinions about this. I’m sure we do. I have thoughts about doing more with this blog, I bet some of you do, too. And, I’d love to hear them.

But, this dead female finch AND this article from the New York Times also coincides with the return (I think) of a blog I had started to read before she signed off abruptly last month. The blog was called, “Okay, Fine, Dammit” written by a very talented woman who signed off saying that although she loved blogging, it was taking too much of the time she needed to devote to making money for her family.

She also suggested that the popularity of her blog (and indeed she had some very loyal followers) was not reflecting the real world opinion of her and suggested that some in her real domestic and professional writer’s world might be casting doubts on its value and merit, and add it all together–need for money, doubts surrounding her about how valuable it was in the first place–she was packing it in to write more for the print media, which she also despaired seemed to be dying it’s own kind of death.

Tysdaddy also read this blog and I’m hoping when he gets back from vacation if he reads this post, he can affirm my version of this or add to it.

Any whooo, here’s the real reason for this post.

Suddenly, she’s back saying one of her old blog entries was being featured in a new online magazine called BlogNosh and that she had agreed to open her old site up for a few days to entertain the notion of returning.

She was taking the steps to host her site independently. She was going to begin a revenue stream by accepting ads from “Blog Her” ( the sponsor of the conference in the NYTimes article) but she needed to change the name of her blog because they don’t put their advertising in blogs that have swears in them, but ok, she didn’t want to change it but she would cuz the real world you know.

Ah, this is where I stopped reading and did some serious chain swearing.

Let me summarize: the organization that supposedly is devoted to increasing exposure of women’s blogs decides this woman’s blog “inappropriate” for revenue because of the word, “Dammit”?

Yes, that is the situation.

And this talented woman has agreed to do it?

Apparently, yes. (I left her my lucy five cents but that won’t help pay her mortgage.)

The article in the NYTimes quoted Gina Garrubbo, the executive vice president of BlogHer, “Take the money. Build the business.”

Welcome to the real world calculations.

So, what if the name has dammit in it?

So what if it absolutely reflects the true edginess of her blog?

So what if the name suggests what she has long felt and found many readers of like mind.

“Okay, Fine, Dammit”…in other words, so what if the title of the blog suggests capitulating to others and not liking it one bit.

This is what happens in the real world, right?

“Okay, Fine, Dammit,” I can hear Maggie, dammit say. I’m gonna change my name cuz these fearless pioneers of women’s blogs don’t take swears.

Putting up and shutting up (female version) has a long tradition, people. Now, we’ve got the BlogHer version.

Are you fucking kidding me, BlogHer execs? Now, that’s a swear. (Sorry, Mary)

And, now you understand the real reason for this post.

Cue music for Ballad of a Blogger Finch (Female):

Eat, Fly, Blog, Swear, Die

I’ve made Ballad of the Bogging Finch (Female) greeting cards, mousepads, and shopping bags. Order them here first. They are going fast.

Pat Coakley 2008


32 comments on “Ballad of a Blogger Finch (Female)”

  1. I believe that Maggie has no intention of changing the name of her blog. At least that’s the impression that I get. She’s way too good for the BlogHer execs to push around. She’s also mentioned other advertising opportunities that seem to mesh with her desires a bit better.

    If she decided to stick around, it will definitely be on her own terms. OFD is established, gets a zillion hits a day, and the writing is as remarkable as the author. If BlogHer doesn’t want her, I imagine she’s more than cool with that . . .

    And it looks as though we are going to end up having a “staycation.” That’s the new buzz for folks who are choosing to stay at home instead of travel for vacation. In our case, it’s not so much about the money. Or maybe it is . . . the alternator went out on the family carriage last night. That’s over $300 bucks I’ll never see again.


  2. Hope you are right, Tysdaddy! She did say she was open to changing it in the initial post, so maybe she rethought it? I totally agree with you that she’ll find other advertising opportunities. But, she didn’t sound totally cool with saying no to them at least initially.

    Her subsequent post seems to indicate that she is of conflicted mind as well about being exposed to all the craziness, i.e. negativity that wider readership can bring or simply the vituperative nature of some of it. She sounded like she feels she’d be emotionally unnerved by exposure to that. It is a consideration. A serious one. I’ll lend her my criticism hearing aide, eh??! Unless they make sense, I put it on “off”.

    Whatever, I wish her well as she is a talented woman.

    Am so sorry about your alternator! These are the sorts of surprises that can blow a budget very easily. What about the horse drawn glass carriage and the Clydesdale team awaiting next to the castle?

  3. To each his own… Being a woman does not necessarily translate in liberal views, common sense and open minds. The chicks at BlogHer could be a bunch of Republican Christian fundamentalists for all I know.

    Perhaps, just perhaps, some men’s blogs are more successful in terms of advertising because those guys care more about the money side than the content. They may be better versed in business practices. They may not spend two months agonizing over changing a title or wondering about public perception.

    If the blogger you mentioned hesitates about selling out to corporate interests, why is BlogHer the bad guy? Er, the bad woman? BlogHer is dedicated to promote women, just not cussing ones. Their right. Probably not an organization I’d like to belong to but still, they are entitled to have their own sets of principles. They are women too after all.

    Seems to me like this conference was full of whiny mommy bloggers who “felt” they were less successful than their male counterparts – daddy bloggers?

    I guess I absolutely suck at being a feminist. I don’t like whiners. I like strong women. I never heard glass shattering from the sound of complaining. Just get off your ass, and go squeeze some balls. So much more effective!

  4. I’m on the road. I’m at dairy
    Queen. But after my blizzard, I’m going squeezin’.

  5. Eat a butterfinger blizzard for me. Or my personal favorite, oh shit I forgot the name . . . the one with the ice cream and the fudge sauce and the peanuts, all layered up nicely.

    Enjoy . . .

  6. Hiya, Pat. :)

    Interesting conversation. Your second comment hits it on the head, I am starting to feel unnerved about the exposure… including this post and thread. Even though it’s positive and benign, it’s still a strange feeling to have your actions and motivations hashed out by other people. Blogging is so very, very very…. public.

    For the record, I’m not changing my name.

    I’ve been following the NYT piece fallout with interest, too. Fascinating implications for feminism itself, not just gender differences in blogging.

    Anyway, carry on. Just wanted to let you know I’m not changing for any ad execs, and the rest? Well, I guess I’m still feeling it all out. Time will tell.

  7. How come you are finding dead things? I’ve read everything including the comments, miracle but I am stuck with the image and what it symbolizes. Death of freedom, perhaps I love its poetic injustice because I relate to that bird in more ways than can be said.
    We all do what we have to do, ultimately the determining factor is whether you do what ever you do with heart and soul not ego, that is the true freedom.
    I can’t shake that bird or rather it has shaken me badly

  8. Hey, Maggie, am so glad to hear your decision about the ad execs! Perhaps this whole situation is a novel rather than a blog? Perhaps that would allow you to write for a larger audience, without feeling like the soup de jour? Or should I say, “finch de jour”?

    You’d still be opening up a vein, of course–your writing whether fiction or non fiction would always do that, but maybe you’d be able to manage the bleeding more comfortably in private?

    Just thinking out loud. Will watch with interest and respect what you decide to do in the future.

    Tysdaddy, oreo blizzard for this girl!

    Natcrack, you make a valid point that BlogHer can run their organization they way they want to. Yes, they can.

    I grew up an Irish girl in Boston where the expression was if you were poor Irish, you were a democrat but as soon as you were rich Irish, you were a republican. I have noticed over the years that women can sometimes occlude other women with similar mind boggling shifts. “Fuck” as a swearing gal? Okay. “Dammit”? Nah.

    And, I although I am strong, I’m in need of some squeezin’ lessons because on the way home from Dairy Queen, I had an encounter with an auto mechanic and let’s just say: Mechanic 1; Wikkp, 0.

  9. Pat- I spent the day cleaning and perseverating on your latest blog. Not the content – all very interesting and I am sure an important investigation into world of blogging. My larger concern is that you have posted two dead animals in 4 days. How many dead animals do you have in your digital repertoire or are they all just finding your doorstep to breathe their last breath? I was happy to see that sanityfound was rattled by the same image. Go look for a few rainbows gf.

  10. Sanity, I can’t believe it myself. I walk every day winter and summer and have never found anything dead until this week: mouse over the weekend and now, finch. I knew you’d comment on it, too. Your imagination has more freedom than this little bird every had.

    But, I’m guessing you won’t be wanting the Blogger Finch T-shirt or mousepad…Oh, sorry, not mousepad, um..blogging finch coasters?

  11. HJ, same goes for you I guess? No blogging finch greeting cards or coasters? Hell, if there’s a rainbow I’ll photograph it, too. Along with spuds, dahlias, giraffes, zebras…most of my subjects are living, you’ll have to agree!

  12. Poor little dead birdie, he looks so…..
    So dead….

  13. Oh boy no mousepads *sniff* crumbs what day did he pass on again? Odd all in one week, it always happens in threes … does an ant die of natural causes?
    Imagination is all we have, perhaps all I have – tonight the monster in the plate almost got me, Shepherds pie with green sheep and brown wolves strangely with yellow daisies in their hair *shrug* How bout the t-shirt with the subtitle of FO&D?

  14. Ah, Tony. If I hadn’t just gone to your site and seen the dead pig sliced up in pieces with sunglasses on, I’d be thinking you and sanity should know one another. Sanity, do not go to visit Tony. Or, at least, don’t scroll down to post with “Butcher” in title. Trust me on this one. Welcome, Tony. I think.

  15. Pat, I’d like to volunteer a photo of a very small dead baby opossum. I wonder what you would write about…

    I am sorry that this post and thread are unnerving Maggie, Dammit. I think Maggie, Dammit, ought to not blog. Why put yourself at the center of your own post if you do not want things to get personal? Aren’t there ways to convey the same thought provoking ideas to your readers without making it entirely about yourself?
    You blog. You get feedback. She got more than 40 adoring and adulating comments. What more does she want? Absolution?

    Sorry. I’m unnerved. Maggie, Dammit, it’s really nothing personal, and I say this with the best of intentions, but if you do not want people to talk about you, don’t put yourself out there. It really seems pretty logical.

  16. Oh Pat, I forgot to mention, when it comes to car repairs, you do not squeeze, you rub gently.

  17. We might not have realized the power of the blogs when we began them. A diary, not kept in a drawer, or in a box under the bed with a cheesy lock on it- this diary goes out with the same propulsion as the ” launch missile ” button.

    The longer the tentacles, the likelier it is that more readers will fall out, sign on, or ask you to rescind your principles to conform to their formula.
    It’s a tough decision, if you’re looking to write for a living. Or create any art for a living.

    Maggie has a tremendous following ( rightfully so ) and whatever her decision, writing is what she does.
    Those long tentacles will find her. And appreciate her and what she does.
    They may belong to another octopus.
    It’s a very big ocean out there.

    Very compelling post, Pat, and only you would have found the connection between a dead finch and the contradictory forum that all media is.

  18. “women at the conference feel they are not taken as seriously by their male counterparts”

    Where do they get that from? I’ve never seen such disrespect on the blogs I visit. I read quite a few blogs by women and I just don’t get where this sense of victimhood comes from. Maybe it’s all other crap men dish out in their lives that’s affecting the way how they think men feel towards them in the blogsphere.

    As for the BlogHer people. I don’t find it very surprising that women are sometimes their own wost oppressors.

    I came across some very interesting research once about female circumcision. Apparently a survey (survey size of 800) conducted by a Nigerian female Muslim doctor found that 80% of female Muslims surveyed were pro the mutilation and 80% of the men surveyed were against it.

    In the book Annan there is a very interesting description of how female interaction in Somalia promotes the practice.

  19. I’m just about to go out for a walk but I’m a little nervous I might spy what sanity suggested the third “dead” thing to round out the walk of the dead this week.

    But, before I go Nat..oh, that rubbing thing? Yeah, laws against it here in New England. Go in peace. Sign of the Cross. That’s an absolution, right?

    BonnieL, “the diary goes out with the same propulsion as the “launch missle” botton.” Are you sure you are not a writer first and painter second. Although come to think of it, I love to read what painters have to say about their work. It’s like listening to architects talk about a building. So much more than brick or mortar. I like the longer the tentacles the more possibility of being asked to rescind principles, too. So, so true.

    Razz, yes, this is how I sometimes feel..when you say that women can sometimes be their own worst oppressors. I have only blogged since April and have not encountered any difficulties but then again I am not a mommy blogger nor have I tried to interest anyone other than those who come to this blog on their own. Maybe, if I was trying to do it as a business, I would encounter other issues? Don’t know. But, you are right also, when you suggest that sometimes both men and women project onto others the wrongs that have been done to them by others. That’s a human trait, I think. Is that book “Annan” about the former head of UN?

  20. I got the book title wrong (rushing to get ready in the morning to walk my wife to the train station for work).

    The book is called
    Aman: The Story of a Somali Girl by Virginia Lee Barnes and Janice Boddy.

  21. Aw…that’s sweet. Walking your wife to the train. I’m going to walk to the living room to watch Project Runway! Natwithanh will understand! No high brow anything tonight.

  22. Nat (I am waving my index finger in air in tick tock fashion), “Oh, yes, she did! Wobbed, I tell you. Wobbed.”

    And, um…has Sarah Bernhardt had plastic surgery? And, did something die on her head? Sanity told me I might see dead things in threes, I think her hair do might count as number 3 this week. Sorry, people, dissing is the fun of Project Runway!,

  23. [you scare me how did you know that the hair monkey went ape and gave me a super electrifying perm???]

  24. Pat!!!! Sarah Bernhardt? Raised from the dead AND plastic surgery? It was Sandra Bernhard, you dodo! Plump Fiction remake…

  25. Oh, I am laughing so hard I’m crying. Seriously, this is an ongoing problem. If someone was introduced to my mother as “Bernie”, she’d call him “Barney” for the rest of his natural life. I have a bit of the same problem! Oh, this is so hilarious. Raised for the dead AND plastic surgery? I guess she looks pretty good given all that! Dodo. Oh, that name directed at me just sends me into further gales.

  26. That’s okay Pat. You’re the one who will have to deal with Ms. Bernhardt up there… or down there. Scandalous AND divine – No way to tell for sure where she ended up.

    At least, you did not, like Jim Cramer this morning on “Morning Joe”, give Jimmy Carter an early demise. He said something like: “Jimmy Carter, may he rest in peace, blahblahblah…” Funny! If you are not Jimmy Carter, of course.

    For the record, I watch Republican MSNBC in the morning and Democrat MSNBC in the afternoon. It seems that Republicans get up way earlier than democrat slackers. That’s the only explanation I could find for the MSNBC scheduling policy.

  27. Well Pat, you outdid yourself here. When I saw the dead bird, it reminded me of a dead bird I saw recently. There can be such serenity in death, can’t there?
    Then I got stuck into the main body of this post. Wow. I’ll be reading it and re-reading it on the tube after work. There are a lot of points to think about.
    The one that really sticks in my head is that (as Razz says) women can be their/our own worst enemies. Forget friendships for a minute. They’re different. In the workplace the most confidence shattering experiences I’ve had have been at the hands of women. It is too rare to find one that wants to help you, mentor you, even THANK you when you do something right. This is just my experience, and I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but when it comes to work (which I only do these days to pay the bills), I prefer to work for a man. They tell it how they see it. None of this pretending to be supportive whilst sticking knives between each of your vertebrae then smiling at your face crapola.
    As for DAMMIT, since when is that a swear word? I thought its offensive impact died out eons ago…

  28. Epicurienne, Psst! Don’t tell Sanity, but I, too, was struck by the serenity of this little bird. But, we’re in the minority, sister. Ditto about the knives thing. Duck! Here comes one now!

  29. … hmm… you think that bird is pretending so that a near by cat doesn’t go Tom & Jerry on his ass?
    I like this serenity thoughts, poetic

  30. Oh, I thought we’d snuck those serenity thoughts by you. You like them? Ok, then. I was going to call the post, “Wheels Up” but thought better of it. Maybe a little too insensitive? Yeah, Ok.

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