I know I said that I had written all I was going to write about BlogHer. This is tangentially related, but it is really just a typical daily Suebobian rant that happens to mention BlogHer. See how tricky I am?
Sometimes I am amazed at the stupidity I will sit through. The Evil Empire (the world's largest maker of software) put on a short presentation on the second morning of BlogHer that went down like the Titanic, and just about as quickly.
I have read bits about it all over the internet - that it was the marketing loser move the year, pretty much. I agree.
Let me set the scene: about 400 bleary BlogHers tired from a night of non-stop partying filled a vast, shopworn hotel ballroom, slamming bagels and trying not to spill coffee on their laptops as they struggled with spotty internet connectivity.
Two young, seemingly identical women (model-thin, skin-tight jeans, high-heels, long dark hair) in "Be Jane" t-shirts took the stage and began chirping (they chirped! I swear! Chirping!) about home improvements and this thing...I guess a website, but I wasn't really listening because my tablemates were so funny...called Be Jane that was going to be for all us women who were too scared to go into Home Depot and ask the guy in the orange apron what size PVC pipe we needed. Because he wouldn't be nice to us if we went there because after all everyone knows women don't do home improvements because they are intimidated by home improvements and home improvements are hard and you might, like, break a nail. Or something like that.
This was all said faster and faster, with voices gaining pitch and speed until the two "Janes" sound like the movie effect of reel-to-reel tape fast-forwarding.
The room regarded them with first amusement, then disdain, then just ignored them to keep blogging and talking to the women around them, you know, the ones who actually have a brain in their head and make sense.
Let me take this giant turd-in-a-punchbowl apart for you because no one else has put on the mental latex gloves to want to go there.
First of all "Be Jane". Has no one at The Really Big Software Company ever read any feminist history? I mean, "Jane," come ON, people.
When I heard the name, I first thought that it was perfectly reasonable that underground abortion providers were coming back, given the political climate, but I couldn't figure why they were printing t-shirts, since secrecy had to be the essence of the whole thing.
Second, if you are going to come to where the smart women are, treat us like smart women. Ask us to work for you or comment on you or let us do some demos. Don't just slap your site up there as if we are going to fall down and say "At last! NOW I can do home improvement! And I had been waiting for permission!"
Because, third, it is 2-freaking-thousand-oh-six, people. Women do home improvements. Women go to Home Depot. Women can converse freely with the men making $8 an hour in the orange aprons just as easily as they do with the attorneys in their courtrooms, with the other crew in the cockpit and with the troops under their command. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Fourth, are home improvement projects that women do so significantly different than those that men do that women need a whole website set aside for them? Aren't there OTHER really fine home improvement sites that fill the same niche?
I mean, I argued vociferously (or at least wordiferously) for BlogHer to be all-women (and since I have been there, I have relented a bit), but I think a forum where you are hanging your whole soul out for everyone to see is a bit different than a forum where you are learning to hang wallpaper.
Fifth, when you visit the site (which I had the misfortune to do), you can "Meet the Janes."
Which wouldnt be a problem, except the Janes are dolled up in these cute little high-heeled work boots - see, they are rugged suede just like mens boots, but high-heeled, so the gals like them too! Way Cute!
No, Way Gag.
This is probably the thing that stuck in my craw most. High-heeled work boots. Total insult. What kind of idiots do they take us for? Were so stupid that we will climb up a ladder to rewire the attic wearing four-inch heels?
Even the most fashion-conscious among us might remember to slip on a nice pair of non-skid athletic shoes while working around the house, right? So as not to KILL oneself while installing crown molding. Grrrr.
I appreciate that The Really Big Software Company sponsored part of BlogHer. I would be interested to learn about opportunities to make money for them and off of them. I might even be interested in a home improvement website. But please, folks, before you come to meet us, do your homework. Don't make us hate you more than we already do because we have to use your other, barely functional products.
Ironic footnote: This was written in Word on a PC machine without punctuation, because I have to transfer it to a Mac later and don't want all my punctuation to turn into weird symbols. So I will add the punctuation after I put it on my Mac. Another convenient feature from the fine folks who brought us Be Jane.
BTW, Linkateria is back, now with some fine bloggers I have just discovered lately.
And if you haven't checked out the "Red Stapler Project" Photos of your favorite bloggers, here they are.