Archives For Click Bait

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It’s a simple formula. Write something offensive and inflammatory, sit back, and watch the flames blaze out of control.

Publishing intentionally sensationalist pieces designed to generate enraged clicks is going to garner more attention than meaningful writing. So when Josi Denise (link intentionally not provided) decided her Mommy Blogging days were over, she fantasized that she would take down all Mommy blogs with her as she stormed off the Internet.

To accomplish this, she launched a vitriolic attack on Mommy bloggers, and drew massive undeserved attention. She claimed that her blog is disingenuous, artificially cheery, and just “sucks.”  As part of a moral and creative epiphany, she wanted to write more substantial material. Frustrated with being taken advantage of by big brands and PR firms, she declared war against writing sponsored content.

Packaging your disgruntlement as a rancorous tirade towards everyone else, whose work and motivations you have no clue of, is more than just misdirected hatred. It’s socially and culturally irresponsible.

It’s women to women misogyny. And in the online world, where people act without consequence, it is especially brutal.

 

Some view “Mommy Blogger” as a pejorative term. Blogging in and of itself is a target in the professional writing world. Blogs are a self-regulated publishing platform, and as such, can be filled with questionable content and rife with cringe-inducing spelling and grammatical errors.

Mom-centric bloggers, who typically write about their homes and family, are often stereotyped as stay-at-home moms, with little or no writing skills, hoping to “make some extra money” blogging. This is a damaging cliché.

“Mommy Bloggers” write bestselling books. They have elite bylines, including The Washington Post and the New York Times. They publish gorgeously crafted essays designed to reach across the cyber channels to support other women in the often desperately lonely journey of raising a family.

Thankfully, the lines are being blurred here, in both directions. I may not write about diapers or breast-feeding, but my son is my highest priority. He is the subject of the majority of my blog posts, despite the reputation I have for salacious content.

Am I a Mommy Blogger?

And if I am, what of it?

Even if the stereotypical Mommy Blogger does exist, why do we need to judge her? How does telling all Mommy Bloggers that they “suck” help one woman on her journey to a different creative outlet? It doesn’t.

I have no experience in the world of writing sponsored content. Perhaps it is deplorable and inauthentic. Perhaps bloggers are being exploited by big brands and PR companies. It was especially important, then, that this blogger actually communicate her message, without alienating the very audience she was hoping to enlighten.

If there is a seamy underbelly to the Mommy Blogging world, Josi Denise could have called out the exploiters without being destructive and regressive in her writing. But she knew that it would drive anger-based traffic, and that was more important to her than contributing to the quality and diversity of women’s voices online.

She chose to feed the misogynist media climate and advance herself on the backs of women writers everywhere. 

The compulsion for women to tear one another down is deeply imbedded in the female consciousness. Intentionally and unintentionally, we collude with sexism – sometimes for personal gain, often, in response to feeling oppressed by a sexist society. However, the impulse to attack other women in response to feeling oppressed is a symptom of that same oppression.

We lash out at each other, instead of at the real issue.

Josi Denise is protected by her First Amendment rights. Like everyone else, she is allowed to publish what she pleases. That does not mean that these tirades are innocuous. We have a responsibility to acknowledge what hundreds of studies have shown – that media content directly impacts people; how they feel about themselves, and in turn, how they treat each other. Even if the writer does not have bad intentions, misogynist tropes in media are profoundly damaging to all women.

 

We are battling a world in which women are bombarded with false notions of physical perfection and hypersexuality. We are ravaged by sexual assault and domestic abuse. Even in 2016, women experience gender pay gap. Women writers are struggling to be heard in a male-dominated industry.

If we are going to move the needle on how we are treated, if we are going to create change of any kind, we have to join together. Can you imagine how much women could accomplish if weren’t preoccupied with publicly and privately maligning one another? If we stopped attempting to annihilate other women online, and in real life? If we focused our energies on building one another up and joining forces.?

Part of me is worried that by writing this, I am feeding the machine. I purposely refrained from saying disparaging things about this woman and her blog. That rhetoric would be dangerous and counterproductive. I would be contributing to the very agency I am battling. Because she, too, is a victim of our culture, which preaches and practices hatred against women.

She’s already received coverage on bigger sites. She finally got the widespread acclaim she sought, which eluded her in all her years of mommy blogging. But her big break came at a price – a price all women are paying.

 

Going forward, how can we –  men, women, writers or readers –  change this conversation from the inside without harming this, or future, generations of women?

Talk to me.
I’m really, REALLY, REALLY listening. 

 

Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter  so I can have friends without leaving the house.

 

Uber

 

My BFF Troublemaker and I spend way too much time talking about sex.

We have pretty much the same issues regarding the procurement of it. We’re both single moms, who do NOT want to be in any kind of committed relationship.

Which is not to say that we want cheap meaningless sex with randos, although that is surprisingly difficult to find in the suburbs.

We’re also not into online hookups, since neither of us wants to end up with a serial killer who has oral sex with our severed heads.

But we know lots of single chicks who have all the zany exploits we used to once have.

When she told me the story of her girlfriend who gave the Uber driver a handjob, I laughed like a hyena. I thought it made a great title for a story, even though it wasn’t mine. As a matter of fact, this was supposed to be published HOURS ago, but every time I try to proofread it, I look at the post image and start laughing till I cry.

It’s click-baity. I’m well aware of that.

 

A recent story went viral, a story whose title implied that a woman divorced her husband because he left dishes in the sink. Because I’ve read this blog before, there was nothing very interesting about it. It’s pretty much the same story this blogger has been writing for years.

It’s all about how men are the real reason marriages fail; stupid, stupid men who just don’t understand that women want, no NEED, you to put your dirty clothes in the hamper in order to keep our marriages alive.

The title was total click bait. He admits that isn’t why his wife left him.

Kind of like me titling this story “I Gave My Uber Driver a Hand Job” when that never happened.

 

The blogger purports himself to be some kind of self appointed expert on how to help people not get divorced.

Yes, I know he is preaching from his exalted place of “now enlightened” male. What’s REALLY interesting about this story, is the way he behaves in his comment section. EVERY differing opinion sends him in a tail spin of page long responses defending his position, insisting that he is RIGHT. That leads me to speculate about the person he is in a relationship.

And then, in a ploy to come off self-aware and oh-so-endearing, he even admits to being incredibly self defensive. It’s the relationship version of an Escher painting. You go round and round until you finally just hang a tire around your neck, fill it with gasoline, and light yourself on fire.

Men. WE DON’T CARE HOW AWARE YOU ARE OF ALL THE STUPID SHIT YOU DO.

WE NEED YOU TO STOP DOING IT.

You know. BE THE CHANGE.

Otherwise, you’re just going to spend the next decade driving some poor women insane, by acting like an asshole and THEN owning up to it.

 

I also completely disagree with the premise of the article. I’m not going to comment on his blog because I don’t want THE WRATH OF BLOG unleashed at me. If I want to engage in pointless debates, I’ll call my Ex husband.

I personally am guilty of doing things that drove my Ex nuts; would, in fact, drive many partners nuts. For example, I often forgot to check in with him if I wasn’t coming home after work.

It drove him crazy. It often worried him. And I TRIED to remember to text him and let him know. The fact that it was super important to him should have motivated me to remember.

But I live in my head. I get so absent-minded, that try as I might, I STILL sometimes forgot. It was NOT a symptom of my lack of devotion to the marriage. It was more about the fact that I’m a space cadet, combined with how independent I was used to being, prior to the marriage.

Life is much too precious and complicated for people to view dishes as a symptom of deeper issues. The sink’s dishes are the sink’s problem.

WE INTERRUPT THIS STORY FOR A MOMENT OF FULL DISCLOSURE

I’m the first one to admit, always have, that who I am in my blog is not 100% who I am in real life.

Let me state for the record: The Samara on this blog is a version of me. It’s not fully who I am. I have met many, many online people in real life, who can attest to the fact that I am only part bad ass. In fact, I intend to write a story soon that reveals some of my worst flaws.

HOWEVER. I do not devote my blog to “How to Dress like a Grown Up.”  “How To Raise Your Tween Without Calling Him a Douchebag.”

I know not of these things.

 

The most interesting thing about his article was a comment someone left. She wrote that not only was it a click-baity title but also, the author knows his audience and it was an article designed to make women swoon.

YES SO MUCH THIS. The blogging world is filled with the walking wounded, most of them women. And when you finally find a man who writes all about how stupid men are, how culpable they are in divorce, it’s swoon-worthy material.

Girls – read the comment section! That’s who you’re going to be fighting with at Olive Garden.

 

 

I love click-baity titles. I try to use titles that will draw people in.  No, I DID not give an Uber driver a hand job. The only time I ever used Uber, I was in Portland with my 12-year-old. That would have been fucking awkward, as well as scarring him for life.

 

 

However, Troublemaker’s friend DID give HER Uber driver a handjob. It was quite the story.

Sorry, pervs. It’s not that kind of blog.

What do you think of click bait titles?

Is leaving dishes in the sink sometimes just LEAVING DISHES IN THE SINK?

Did you ever give an Uber driver a hand job?
Talk to me, I’m listening.
Join me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter so I can have friends without leaving the house.