Hyde Park throws down the gauntlet to women bloggers everywhere

June 30, 2006 at 1:39 am (Uncategorized)

Apparently somebody’s out to get me and every other respectable blogging woman! Joel R. Postman, Director of Executive Communications for Hyde Park Associates, published a post three days ago on his company’s blog about women in the PR blogosphere. Of course, first and foremost he mentioned our dear friend “Man”dy Chapel over at Strumpette. If you participated in the Strumpette debate when it was actually going on nearly three months ago, skim if you must, but there’s nothing new there.

Then he criticized one of Strumpette’s detractors, Kirsten Osolind, CEO of re:Invention Marketing, by poking fun at her “Photoshopped glam shot” and featured “shoe of the week” that appear on her blog.

And then, of course, there’s little ol’ me. I’ll let his words do the talking:

Less sleazy in name but employing a similar tack is Flackette, who instead of using photos of models on ‘her’ site, uses a Vargas-like illustration to represent ‘herself,’ and makes liberal use of pink in the blog’s color scheme. This is apparently to let us know that a PR professional can be female, attractive and competent. (Note that I make liberal use of quotation marks around the words ’she,’ ‘her,’ etc. in this post. Call me cynical.)

Flackette has also taken on Strumpette.

Notes also this comment on Flackette’s blog:

At 12:59 PM, Michael Morton said: “Nice play on the PRostitute! Great insight Flackette. It’s good to have you back blogging. By-the-way, when will you reveal yourself?”

It’s great to see men being so supportive of this noble crusade for women’s rights, especially when they tack on the equivalent of “hey, what are you wearing?” to the message of solidarity.

I’d like to respond with the following retorts (which I hope that Joel chooses to read for himself).

– As to my identity: I guess my written description of myself, where I gave my name, the university I graduated from, and where I work was not transparent enough for Joel. Or maybe he just didn’t read past the pink. I can heartily assure all of you that I am a living, breathing, 22-year-old flack working her tail off in the SF Bay Area. Would you like me to send you a picture, diploma, birth certificate, etc., or does that do it for you?

– Michael Morton is a blogging friend who has always been supportive and above reproach in all of our conversations. Joel’s insinuation that his comment is somehow similar to those that the dirty old men leave on Strumpette’s page is grossly unfair and misguided.

– If Joel had actually read my blog he would have quickly realized that I am on his side. I am a beginner in this field and I am trying to learn, grow, and meet others in PR through this blog. I want to further the PR industry, not ridicule or mock it as Strumpette does. My intentions are sincere.

I hope that not everyone finds my blog to be a mere “silly trend” or “gimmick,” as Joel seems to think. Judging by the number of reputable women PR bloggers he referenced in his post (that would be a big fat zero), he doesn’t seem to think that women in PR can be competent at blogging anyhow.

Maybe he’s just too busy looking at our pretty pictures, colorful templates and designer shoes to actually get to the content.

Advertisements

8 Comments

  1. re:invention marketing said,

    Well said! and I agree. Smart and sassy review of Joel’s somewhat unfounded post.

    Blogging offers women a voice and provides us with a storytelling channel in a world where men constitute the majority of news subjects and men dominate as media spokespersons and experts. 86% of all people featured in new stories as spokespeople are men. (Source: Global Media Monitoring Project). Women bloggers need to band together.

    Have a wonderful 4th!

    P.S. You look fabulous, credible lady! Revel in it.

    P.P.S. When it comes to blog conversation, there are two relevant rules of
    thumb: (1) Go to the mattresses, but don’t go alone (2) Don’t engage dinks. So you won’t see me engage Joel, Hyde Park’s lead blogger, directly.

    kindly,
    kirsten

  2. Michael Morton said,

    It’s a shame that people fail to do any research before they make a post on their blog, which is exactly what Joel did – failed to research.

    If he had, he would know that I am far from the pervert he insinuates me to be.

    Thank you for the kind words Flackette! They are much appreciated!

    Unlike Kristen, I will engage Joel. In fact, I have already left a post on his blog about his mistake. My modus operandi is to state my case and then leave not caring what anyone else has to say on the subject.

    There are bigger and better things in life than Joel. Personally, I’m looking forward to this weekend and a long overdue rock climbing trip.

    Happy Fourth!

  3. Flackette said,

    Thanks for the kudos Kirsten! Apparently Joel hasn’t had the inclination to read my post, as I noticed he posted an apology to you a few days ago with no mention of my blog. I’ll be taking your advice and choosing not to engage. He’ll come around eventually, and if not…his loss, right?

    I do agree that women bloggers need to band together. I am actually currently looking into joining Blogher, an organization that Yvonne DiVita of the Lip-sticking blog recommended me to.

    Michael, you’re welcome. You have been a good blogging friend since I’ve joined the fray and I could not stand by and see you slandered. Now it’s time to move on to infinitely more important things.

  4. Paull Young said,

    Marie,

    Don’t worry! There’s many of us who not only think you are credible, but also really enjoy your stuff.

    Keep it up.

  5. Flackette said,

    Thanks, Paull! You’re encouragement means a great deal.

  6. joel said,

    I apologize for making it appear that I was considering you or your blog in the same category as Strumpette. I was wrong to suggest any such thing, and I regret having done so. I’m not throwing down any kind of gauntlet or out to get anyone. I was merely expressing a concern about what I think is a trend that might reflect negatively on women in the field of PR.

    Clearly the Strumpette discussion is several months old, but I was addressing the larger trend of blogs authored by women in public relations that, IN MY OPINION, to some degree exploit, take advantage of or highlight femininity and attractiveness.

    My post has obviously been misinterpreted, and I’ll accept some responsibility for that. I made a serious error in the structure of my post, beginning with the question of identity and gender, which clearly applies to Strumpette. I went on to discuss the use of gender/femininity in promoting the professional practice of PR, and did not mean to imply that you or anyone mentioned in my post, other than Strumpette, was misrepresenting his/her identity.

    Let me address some of the points you made:

    I have (and had) no doubt as to your identity as a PR professional with a credible and intelligent point of view. As I said before, I should not have implied anything to the contrary. It was mean-spirited and ill-informed on my part to create such an impression.

    Michael Morton: I know Michael can’t see that I posted a comment apologizing for my insinuation (an apology I also made to Michael separately by e-mail), since he has solemnly sworn not to read my blog again. (That’s OK, Michael, I have at least three other regular readers, if you count my mom.) As to Michael’s claim that I did not do enough research, balderdash. I did not make claims regarding the legitimacy of any individual or that individual’s professional abilities or competence. I only made observations regarding appearance and presentation. These can all be documented.

    A careful read of my post as regards Kirsten Osolind and her blog reveals that a scant 60 words, other than Osolind’s quote itself, were devoted to Osolind. My sole point was that I personally found some aspects of Osolind’s blog, her photo and the “shoe of the week” feature, to be inconsistent with what I thought was a feminist point of view.

    You are free to disagree with me on that, but I do not think it is an outrageous observation. And while I consider myself a feminist, I will admit to failing to understand the legitimate viewpoint that it’s OK for professional women to compete in a man’s world and still retain there identity as women, to not be ashamed of that identity or feel the need to downplay it.

    I did not make any judgment on the content of your blog. I made observations about the naming, presentation and graphical elements of several blogs, and these observations were all true. I think these things (pictures, color schemes, etc.) can be gimmicks, and that women in PR run the risk of presenting themselves in a way that trivializes their expertise and viewpoints. I have not budged in that opinion and I defy anyone, male or female, to tell me that there are no limits to what a woman (or man) should do to attract readership to a blog.

    I do not consider the content of your blog representative of a “silly trend,” and only remarked on its appearance and presentation. You might say that my blog is old-fashioned and stodgy. That would be fair. Or that I used a picture of a homely old man on my blog header because I’m a homely old man. Hey, wait a minute, that’s not fair!

    You may consider me misguided, but I stand as evidence that an intelligent person, (I won’t offer to send my diplomas, transcripts, MMPI, etc.), with extensive professional experience in PR, marketing and communications, could draw misleading conclusions on the basis of the trends I have identified.

    We are communications and marketing professionals. The content quality of my post not withstanding, we are trained experts in the art of crafting a deliberate message. A blog by its very nature reflects the personality, the point of view, and the professionalism of the blogger.

    We make decisions every day about how to draw more readers to our blogs, how to keep them on the blog once they’ve arrived, how to get them to stay for longer periods of time and how to get them to return. Whatever those choices, we are responsible for the impression they create when someone looks at our blog for the first time.

    All I was asking with my post was, where do we draw the line? What is appropriate and inappropriate? Honestly, I have learned from this discussion, and however poorly I began the discussion, I think it’s a legitimate issue worthy of consideration.

  7. Flackette said,

    Joel,

    Thank you so much for your apology. I appreciate that you are trying to make things right, and I also hope that I was not too harsh in my post. I am glad that you explained yourself more in-depth in your comment, as I now understand the point you are trying to make. It is true that our blogs are reflections of ourselves, and it is also true that my hot pink blog is not necessarily the best representation of my professionalism or intelligence. You seriously have me thinking about changing my template to reflect a more professional tone.

    As to where we should draw the line, I see the line as heavily blurred because of the wide range of personalities in communications fields. From what I know of you from your blog, Joel, you work in a corporate environment that requires a greater degree of discretion in your representation of yourself.

    Kirsten, however, works with and for a female audience, which is why her attractive photo and designer shoe feature are highly appropriate to her readers. I know that when I first visited her blog I felt immediately bonded to a woman that was obviously smart, successful, beautiful and fashion conscious, a feeling I’m sure was shared by her other visitors. The blog is called “a toolbox for & about enterprising women,” so it makes sense.

    In any case, I now appreciate the fact that your post was more of a concern for mine and Kirsten’s reputations as professional females than a personal attack. I thank you for looking out for our well being and hope that from now on we can consider ourselves friends in this crazy blogging world.

  8. joel said,

    Hi Marie,

    Thanks for the constructive conversation. Your post was great. I absolutely did not mean to attack anyone personally, and as I said, I made some errors in judgment and regret those.

    Regarding color schemes and how we brand ourselves in our blogs, I think you’re right on. I do tend to take a very conservative view on this, and I forget that this might not suit others. And don’t listen to me when it comes to your blog! I’m a dink! You should know though that I have contacted the Dink Anti-Defamation League (DADL), and they are very interested in taking my case … but I digress. You have to decide whether the theme and graphics of your blog convey the appropriate message about you, and that they accurately reflect the nature and intent of your blog. And if they’re right, stick to ‘em!

    You’re also quite right that Kirsten’s blog is designed to appeal to a specific audience, and that audience is clearly not me.

    And, finally, I absolutely consider us friends, and I am honored that you would extend such an offer. At one time or another I’ve worked with most of the firms that have a presence in the valley, including Fleishman, Burson, H&K, Edelman and Citigate Cunningham, so you probably know someone who knows me and vice versa (is that redundant?). I have no doubt that we will run into each other sometime. I’m looking forward to it.

    Joel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: