Monday, August 06, 2007

I'll Take a Potholder!

So, last month was the much-ballyhooed BLOGHER conference. For those of you who aren't familiar with BlogHer, it is a community for women who blog. The conference sounded like a lot of fun but the cost of the conference plus airfare plus hotel stay was out of my league. I thought I would enjoy reading about it on other blogs. Instead, I'm just mad.

Evidently, a great deal of swag was given away at the conference. I'm always up for a good freebie! But a lot of these women are complaining because they were given such free things as POTHOLDERS! (shocking) and APRONS! (how dare they!) The common consensus is that it is offensive to give things like that to technologically-minded women because it makes it seem as if they are encouraged to get back in the kitchen. I wonder if they would complain about free high-end cosmetics. Would that say something about the world's emphasis on appearance? What about free stuff for your baby (since many of these are mommy bloggers)? Does that say something negative about women being baby machines? I think these people are way too focused on stereotypes. Maybe the issue is less that the items say something offensive about women and more that the items weren't considered good swag. I have even heard that many conference attendees were throwing the potholders in the garbage! How wasteful! If I ever get a freebie I cannot use, I always give it away or donate it. And who honestly doesn't use a potholder? Do people take food out of the oven with their bare hands? It's all much ado about nothing if you ask me. And it makes me think that people were much more focused on getting free stuff than on anything there was to be learned at the conference.

There...that's my two cents. (actually, I probably gave a nickel's worth)


peppylady said...

I'm also posting about blogher from a make believe lack of better word.
I'm one who couldn't afford to go. But maybe someday.

ElisaC said...

Well, I don't think saying "many" had a problem with the potholders or aprons can be verified just yet. In a crowd of 800 women across the ideological spectrum it's kind of inevitable that there's something to both delight and annoy just about everyone.

And since we're all bloggers, we get to express that. I would have to reserve judgement on how widespread the potholder peeve was until after we run our attendee survey, though!

We do give advice to sponsors about certain flashpoints (actually last year the bib in the tote did anger some attendees) but some companies are going to be between a rock and a hard place, again, given the diversity of our crowd.

Thanks for writing about BlogHer. And peppylady, I loved your make-believe-BlogHer-schedule post :)

Malady said...

Hi Elisa. I guess I'm just feeling sympathetic towards the sponsors. All these women go expecting free stuff and then complain about what the sponsors offer. I think it's great the sponsors do so much! I agree that they are put between a rock and a hard place. I guess I feel that making such a big deal out of a free item and reading so much into it is kind of pointless.

I have fundraising experience and I have worked with donors and sponsors so I realize how difficult it all is.

ElisaC said...

Oh, I hear you Malady. I wrote a post last year that outlined exactly what the sponsorship dollars allow us to do: Food all day long, drink, alcohol, ubiquitous WIFI, lots of power strips, swag, subsidize a TON of attendees, keep the price of the conference at $99/day, subsidized childcare and so on and so on.

Not that it is charitable "largesse" or anything, though :) But it does help.