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Sweetener, condoms and bibs, oh my. August 7, 2006

Posted by table4five in BlogHer.

I must be extremely easy to please, because I only have one small complaint about the sponsors’ products given to me free at BlogHer ’06. I didn’t like the free bottled water. That’s it. Other than that, I was grateful for the things I could use, and not at all bothered by the things I couldn’t use.

Unfortunately, not everyone is as easy as me (heh). Every post I read criticizing the organizers of BlogHer for not including every possible demographic in their sponsorships, every post I read complaining about that damn condom, that damn bib, do they think all I care about is reproduction?, it makes me sick to my stomach.

Maybe other people are used to going to conferences at fancier hotels, where there either are no sponsors or the sponsors’ gifts are much more expensive, I don’t know. It’s ludicrous to suggest that putting a baby bib and a condom in the swag bag implies that the focus of the conference is on “white, married, heterosexual women” (sourduck.blogspot.com).

I saw lots of different people at BlogHer; male, female, black, white, asian, as well as some that I suspect are fairly well-off, and some like me that were there because someone else paid for their registration (and plane tickets, and room). I met married couples, single women, single men, and a lesbian with whom I shared a heartfelt and much appreciated conversation about how both of our sons have the same learning disability.

Truthfully, what I appreciated most about BlogHer ’06 was the time to myself. Well, not myself exactly, since the only time I wasn’t surrounded by people was when I was in my room. But I didn’t have to parent anyone, or be a spouse to anyone, I could just be me. I appreciated walking into lobby of the Ballroom and having there be hot coffee waiting, and fresh pastries just for me. I appreciated being able to eat lunch without having to feed anyone else first. I appreciated thick frosted brownies on the snack table after lunch, which were delicious and again, not made by me.

And yes, while I had no use for the condom (I’m fixed), didn’t like the taste of the bottled water and thought the sweetener tasted like unflavored pixie sticks, I appreciate each and every one of the sponsors. Because of them, everyone who attended paid a much lower registration fee than what it actually cost. According to Elisa Camahort, registration might have covered the food bill. Please take a minute and click on that link and read the whole post. It explains exactly why there were sponsors for BlogHer.

When I walk into registration on the first day of BlogHer ’07, I won’t be surprised by the sight of sponsors’ tables. I’ll happily take a tote bag or whatever it is if anything, and I’ll use what I can and either throw away or donate whatever I can’t. I only have one request-PLEASE find a different water sponsor. One whose water, you know, TASTES GOOD.

edited to add: I got an email from Susie Bright after leaving her a comment on a post, and she asked me to pass along this article that mentions her breastfeeding during an interview.
The link is at

  • SusieBright.blogs.com
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    1. Amy - August 7, 2006

    What a great and true post, Elizabeth.

    2. mothergoosemouse - August 7, 2006

    Hear HEAR.

    3. Mom101 - August 8, 2006


    Meanwhile, who knew that only heterosexual women could have babies! I’m shocked that after all these years I had it wrong. Wait til I tell my lesbian mommy friends.

    4. Fraulein N - August 8, 2006

    Oh, jeez. Let me get this straight. Someone gives you free stuff. FREE stuff. You’re not paying for it. You’re not being FORCED to use it. It’s helping to defray costs. It’s not promoting something illegal or (and I understand this is a subjective criterion here) immoral.

    So you … COMPLAIN? Because the freebies weren’t tailor-made, just for you? Because maybe you have no use for some of the free items?
    There’s just no pleasing some people.

    Thanks for sharing this, though. I don’t understand these people who seem to think the whole world should revolve around them: their needs, their interests, their opinions. I learned that it wasn’t All About Me at a very young age; why hasn’t everyone figured that out yet?

    5. table4five - August 8, 2006

    Excellent comment, Fraulein! A lot of it really did have to do with the whole Mommyblogger vs. everyone else vibe at the conference. Being a Mommyblogger, it’s easy for me to protest that we weren’t the focus, but it probably looks different from the other side. People who aren’t parents saw the bib in the tote bag and that was apparently too much for them.

    I’ve been trying to look at it from the other point of view, trying to imagine what it would have felt like if I were not a parent, and I walked into BlogHer and was handed a totebag containing a PBS Kids wipe-off calendar and a bib. In that situation, I think I would have turned to someone at my table and said “excuse me, I don’t need this bib, would you like to have it?”

    I’ve also been trying to think of anything that could have been in the tote bag that would have been truly unuseful to me. The only thing I can think of is if the bag had been stuffed with free memberships to singles dating services.

    6. Java Junkie - August 8, 2006

    And that’s where ebay comes in Sis πŸ˜‰

    7. Busy Mom - August 8, 2006

    Very well said.

    8. wordgirl - August 8, 2006

    Wouldn’t it be fun to be a swag bag consultant? I’d love to go looking for just the right stuff. Wouldn’t you?

    9. Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah - August 8, 2006

    Ick. The Ass Water.

    You know, I don’t sweetener, but I wasn’t upset about it. It was FREE.

    10. Jim Turner - August 8, 2006

    *writing down* No Ass Water….check.

    11. roo - August 8, 2006


    12. Mocha - August 8, 2006

    Ass water notwithstanding, I find it best not to bitch about free stuff. That’s just rude.

    I can’t get that link to Susie’s blog. Can you try again or mail it to me?

    13. jennster - August 9, 2006

    man i posted about this today too!!!!! SMOOCH!

    14. Jenny - August 9, 2006


    But I don’t understand what condoms have to do with reproduction…aren’t they all about not having kids? (Or diseases?)

    Condoms are for everyone, people! they’re like chocolate. πŸ™‚

    Ooh…I’m putting that on a t-shirt.

    15. joy - August 9, 2006

    you got an email from Susie Bright?? WOW! Rock on, sister…
    (am just *now* about to post on our date, i’ll send you think linky when it’s done, ok?–you got the pic? do I look sweaty? I felt a little sweaty. why didn’t we get one of the two of us?!! next time).

    16. Chantal - August 9, 2006

    Since BlogHer is in Chicago next year, I might actually be in the vicinity to go. If anything, for the free shit. I love free stuff and I’ll use it ALL. ALL I say. I don’t care what it is. Give me ‘roid cream and I’ll find a way to get ’em just so I can use it.

    The ass water though … Um, I stick to tap. I have to draw the line somewhere.

    17. table4five - August 9, 2006

    I would just like to add that “Jim Turner” who commented above is also the Daddy blogger known as Genuine. You might have met him at BlogHer. He’s my first comment ever from a Daddy blogger! Woo hoo!

    Oh, and Chantal? You’d better get your awesome self to BlogHer next year πŸ™‚

    18. Her Bad Mother - August 9, 2006

    Hear, hear, lady. Well said!

    (But aren’t you missing the ass water? Just a little?)

    19. Fraulein N - August 10, 2006

    Is it wrong that I want to try the ass water? Just to see if it’s as bad as everyone says?

    20. Mrs. Chicky - August 11, 2006

    Great post, Elizabeth. I don’t understand the brou ha ha over a bib and a condom. Next year I will happily accept any free stuff they throw at me.

    21. Izzy - August 11, 2006

    As already noted by the previous commenters…hear, hear, word, and amen!

    I think Jory, Lisa and Elisa did a damn fine job and if it will shut the fricken whiners up next year, they can gear all the shwag to THEM…whoever they are and whatever demographic they are. I can assure you I won’t be wasting any bandwidth to complain about it.

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