Last week I attended a six-year-old's birthday party. After pizza and ice cream and cake, the kids were working off their sugar highs by running and wrestling and generally acting like maniacs. The parents were huddled around the booze.
One of the dads in attendance, a straight male Internet entrepreneur, was extolling the latest marketing trend: apparently, companies are giving loads of free stuff to so-called "mommy bloggers" and "daddy bloggers." This guy has gotten everything from an iPod to a Diaper Genie, just for a mention on his parenting site.
"Paige is a mommy blogger," said an incredibly-supportive-straight-mom-who-reads-my-blog.
Suddenly, everyone at the table turned to look at me.
I know, right? Where's my free stuff?
Thus far, the only swag I've gotten for being a mommy blogger is the pink soap that Bil and Jerame gave me at Christmas. (For the record, it was excellent. I used it to bathe my son and it did not dry out his skin or give him a rash.)
I decided to do a little research of my own, and I came across DigitalMom, a report published by social networking site CafeMom and the marketing firm Razorfish. There I learned that "today's mom" is "way beyond programming the VCR, checking answering machine messages, and emailing."
Wow. You know what? We can also detect condescension.
Although DigitalMom's market research found that the "socially networked mom" is increasingly likely to base purchasing decisions on word of mouth from "people like me" (quotation marks in the original), I personally don't click on those Facebook ads that tout "one mom's" triumph over belly fat. I just feel annoyed.
Still, my dip into market research did confirm that Mommy blog marketing is a real and thriving phenomenon. But it didn't totally explain why I am missing out on the mommy swag.
Is it because I've been known to rail against the commodification of queer culture? Hey, I'm not above endorsing a product I really like--check out this recent post about How Motherhood Earned Me a Free Sex Toy.
Or am I missing out because it's still taboo to talk about childhood and homosexuality or gender variation in the same breath?
Perhaps the marketing experts who tout gay people as trendsetters just aren't talking to the marketing experts who promote "Word of Mom?" By my reckoning, queer parents should be the ultimate trendsetters: chic yet down-to-earth, exotic with a populist twist.
In case any forward-thinking marketing professionals would like to tap into this goldmine, here's a partial list of free stuff I would be happy to receive:
- A mini-DV camera, preferably Sony or Canon. (When I'm not documenting rallies and marches and queer performance happenings, I promise to upload beaucoup cute clips of my gayby saying the darndest things.)
- Pride t-shirts in a child's size 6.
- Books and movies about parenting to review.
- Books and movies not about parenting to review.
- A stylish fanny-pack (for hands-free parenting at the aforementioned marches, rallies, and queer performance happenings).
- Wigs. I really love wigs.
- A Coleman camping stove. Every lesbian family needs one.
- Boxes of home-delivered organic veggies. I will be happy to exploit-the-stereotypes-of-my-people-as-granola-eaters as long as you send me some fresh berries.
Don't you want me to be your poster mom?