Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Knowing who you're supposed to bee

When the craft generation of Bees was announced, I nearly died. There are no words for how badly I wanted to be Ms. Sewing. The icon is adorable, it's totally perfect for me, and at the time, I was 2 months away from being able to apply.  (I'm now 7 months out and could apply, and they announced the sea creatures recently.  But Miss Sewing got snapped up pretty quickly.)
I genuinely feel that I would fit in well on the 'bee (if I was accepted, as only 5% of applicants are), and I would love the opportunity to write for a wider audience and share some of what I've been writing about here, especially feminism and social consciousness in wedding planning, plus crafts and color inspiration and all that other fuzzy wedding stuff.

But then there's this, and this. And there's some other stuff too, like that we started this blog on the idea that both of us write for it, as partners and equals and teammates in this nonesense.  And Mark told me flat out that he wouldn't write for Weddingbee and he wouldn't let them pull any of his posts.  (Which includes, among other things, our DIY STD posts and some bigger DIY projects we have coming up.)  I respect his choice and it is his writing, therefore that is his choice to make. 
He also pointed out that I have to take the bar exam in June/July and I don't want to be worrying about posting then.  He knows it's on him to take over then, and he's ready for it, but that wouldn't be re-posted to the 'bee, so I would feel the need to write posts as well.

And I was torn and upset, and then I saw the post by Miss Gingham resigning because it was more of a time commitment than she had thought it would be.  I thought about rehashing our entire journey for the 'bee - our Save the Dates, our venue hunt, my waffling on the bouquet.  I haven't even had the energy to write about our catering search here, because it was so exhausting.  Yes, 8 months is where most of the planning/projects really starts, but there would have been a bit of going back.  I also hate the idea of pulling from our 400+ posts that we have here and deciding what was "worthy" of going up on the 'bee.

I also didn't want to risk not being the "owner" of my writing (there is nothing about ownership currently in the guidelines for applying); and another thing is that when Weddingbee was just a small business owned by Mrs. Bee, I was fine with the writers being volunteers.  But it bothers me that in the eHarmony sale, there is no compensation offered to the writers. Another reason is that frankly, I'm not thick skinned enough to handle negative comments.  I love our readers because they are always so positive (I mean, honestly, I think that most of you subscribed and then ignore my posts) and while writing to a broader audience would be great, I would feel the need to respond to comments and read all of the comments, and there would be more negative comments.  There would be comments telling me that my hair flower is tacky, that I should sell my dress and buy my dream dress that costs twice my rent; that we should serve meat at our wedding. These comments would either make me feel crappy or make me question everything we had decided already. There would be comments asking me to stop politicizing weddings by talking so much about gay marriage (the personal is political, people!)

Then the sea creatures came out.  But there is no Miss Clownfish, so I didn't cry, and at the moment I feel fairly firm in my decision to not apply. I may apply after the bar, because I'll have more time (especially because I'm currently unemployed), but for now, I'm staying put.  Instead of joining the 'bee, some of us are talking about creating our own little feminist blogging collective (more on that soon, and please comment if you would be interested in joining!) And that's something I'm really excited. about, and Mark is really supportive of.  So stay tuned on that.

I wanted to talk about this because I know that there are other people out there waffling with the same decision.  I also wanted to mention it because I know there are some people who have been wondering whether I would apply.  Have you had this same kind of conflict?  What did your partner think about your wanting to apply?

17 comments:

  1. I applied and got rejected twice, and I am really glad that I did. I never felt 100% OK about indirectly supporting EHarmony, but I wanted to be a Bee so badly that I ignored that feeling in the pit of my stomach. I agree, it isn't right that the Bees are unpaid. I thought a lot about why I wanted to be a Bee, and I think it's the sense of community you get from doing so. I would LOVE to be a part of the feminist blog collective deal, that sounds really exciting! Ryan was fine with me applying, but I don't he realized the scope of WB, and I think the huge readership would have led to some discussions about privacy. He's fine with what I share on my blog now (granted, I don't blog about fights we have unless it's very vaguely, and I don't put up the sweet things he says/does...those things are just between us), but I think he would change his mind when he saw how many people read the Bee.

    I love that your partner is blogging with you!

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  2. I was going to apply after maintaining my personal blog for a while, but I decided against it for many of the reasons Miss Gingham listed. I simply don't have enough time to worry about my blog and blogging for WeddingBee. I have school and when I need to take a break from the wedding blog world to focus on exams, I know I can do it without fear of retaliation on my own blog because the readers are understanding and well, it's MY blog. And I just wasn't so sure I would get the same courtesy from WB because they have a required post number.

    I think it's great that you decided to stay put. I know for me, if I stretch myself too thin with too many projects, sometimes the quality starts to diminish. And I would hate for that to happen to your blog 'cause I like it so much.

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  3. I'm piping up to say that I subscribed, don't comment often, but always read!

    I followed you here from the bee.. and also considered applying.. but haven't. I am planning a Hindu wedding, which I think the bee needs more of (diversity in general), but at the same time, I don't feel comfortable putting it all out there. I'm also not doing much DIY stuff, so my posts would be more a la Mrs. Cheese... relationship type stuff (what it's LIKE marring into a different culture, expectations etc), which I don't know how interesting it is to others.

    Count me in as interested in this feminist blogging collective :)

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  4. I definitely thought about applying for the 'Bee, back in the day. It was more of an idle thought than a real ambition, though -- my discomfort with posting photos of myself was pretty obviously incompatible with being on Weddingbee! And then the eHarmony sale happened, and like you, I got very uncomfortable with the idea that the Bees aren't paid when this big internet behemoth is making money off their writing.

    Whatever you decide post-bar, I'll follow you and Mark wherever you write! And I'm excited to hear more about this feminist blogging group!

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  5. I'm another typically non-commenting subscriber, but I love your posts!

    And feminist blogging collective? YES! I've gotten such great insight from the reclaiming wife conversations going on around the web recently, and I'd love to see that continue... especially as I'm on my way to becoming a clergy wife (Episcopalian, so a lot more liberal than some other denominations, but there are definitely still roles and expectations out there). Keep us updated!

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  7. Sigh. I started my blog for WeddingBee. And then, two weeks later, I realized I didn't want to have to put my pictures on the web. A few weeks after that, I learned about the eharmony connection and knew I could never blog for them. Later, I got annoyed by how formulaic the writing is. I am so glad they rejected some of my favorite writers (bowie bride) because I feel like her writing would have gotten watered down there. There are maybe three Weddingbee bloggers I follow (ms. spaniel, the girl marrying a small Asian man in Hawaii) but everyone else annoys the shit out of me. That wasn't true before they began writing for WeddingBee. I liked their blogs then. But after it seemed like they lost their individual voices. All the posts read the same: introduction, engagement story, dress shopping, invitations, DIY projects, shower, wedding recaps, etc. There is very little of the heart and truth I find in the blogs I like (yours, LA Love's, Accordions and Lace.)

    Also, you are right that there are so many negative people on WB. Okay, so I am a huge bitch and that probably sounds weird coming from me. But I hate all the posts on WB from girls ripping apart their seemingly innocent relatives and bridesmaids and everyone else cheering them on. No, it is not okay for you to fire your MOH for being pregnant or dumping her fiance two months before your wedding. I don't want to be a part of a community that encourages that behavior.

    I am sorry for being so negative. But this is how I feel. I appreciate WeddingBee for introducing me to wedding blogging and for all the inspiration it offered me in the beginning of my journey. But then I found better inspiration and I am happier now.


    And I would totally be down for feminist network blogging. So long as I didn't have to post pictures of myself ;)

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  8. I just applied (and was subsequently rejected) by the 'Bee. Call me naive, but I never knew that the 'Bee was supported by/owned by eHarmony. Honestly, I love to write, and I was looking for more avenues to write, but now that I've read this post, I'm glad I wasn't accepted into the 'Bee.

    Wedding planning has pinned me in a battle between my love for tradition and my feminist tendencies. I feel like I'm fighting to be either completely traditional (and therefore lose my belief in equality) or completely feminist (and therefore lose my belif in the beauty of history and tradition). I would absolutely benefit from a feminist blogging group, mostly so I can try to figure out once and for all how to coexist between these two opposing views.

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  9. A feminist blog collective - what a great idea! A normally non-commenting reader/subscriber here. Many of the reasons you've listed are reasons I've considered and discarded the idea of applying to be a bee. I work ten hours a day, sleep eight, and can barely fit in regular posting to my own blog, much less something requiring so much work on a site so widely read as WB. The idea of supporting eHarmony isn't great, in my mind, and I do feel the writing at the bee has gotten more watered down and formulaic. I still have a few favorites to follow, but I'm moving away from the bee and more towards all of these greats sites discussing interesting topics like reclaiming 'wife', etc. I'd be interested to follow this feminist blog collective!

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  10. @cupcake wedding -- I was so happy to read what you just wrote that I almost cried. I used to read the 'Bee religiously back when I first got engaged, but I've come to like Weddingbee less and less. I started to feel that the writing was repetitive and formulaic, and the bloggers lacked the strong individual voices of the Bees I first read (my favorites included Hummingbird, Hot Cocoa, Sweet Tea, and Powder Puff). But I mostly assumed that the problem was me, that after I was finished planning our wedding, it was natural for my interest in weddings to wane, and that I was being too harsh on the current generation of bloggers. I'm glad to hear someone still planning her wedding shares those feelings -- it's not just me!

    I think Weddingbee kind of lost me when one of the bloggers posted that she and her fiance fired a groomsman after learning that his fiance was pregnant and due around the same time as their wedding, and they didn't want the pregnant fiance distracting his attention from their wedding or -- horrors! -- risk having uneven sides if the groomsman couldn't attend because his fiance was in labor. And everyone praised her for making such a tough choice. Like you said, I didn't want to be part of a community that encouraged that kind of behavior. Agreeing to let the groomsman step down if he asked? Absolutely. Sitting the groomsman down and telling him he has to drop out because his pregnant fiance might be a distraction? Ick.

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  11. I agree with what everyone wrote above - I visit your blog for the honesty and the writing, and so much of that doesn't seem to get valued on the Bee. And I promised myself I'd never apply based on the eharmony connection when I first heard about it. I like you here. I like following your process - good and bad - from your own personal, safe-place voice.

    And you already know how I feel about the feminist blogging collective.

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  12. i feel you. on so many levels i feel you. i got rejected. then did a weddingbee parody by blogging under my alter ego Miss Crack Pipe. then got blocked on twitter by Weddingbee. 'cause they couldn't take a joke, or something. I will never know for sure. but whatevs. i love all the 'bees, just not the BS that comes along with having to write for free for a website owned by eharmony, a powerhouse money-machine. And on top of that have my content edited and not owned by me in the end. So, meh. No thanks. Not for me. And I'm way cool with that.

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  13. I didn't even know about wedding bees until I was about a week out from our wedding. Screw it. We still love your blog.

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  14. I actually don't know anything about Weddingbee. I got introduced to wedding blogging through Meg's A Practical Wedding and starting reading the blogs she linked to and her commenters. But after reading Bowie Bride's posts about it and now yours, it sounds like it's not the kind of place I would want to be a part of either.

    I actually discovered your blog very recently and I love it and the issues you address. And I am very, very interested in this idea of a feminist blogging collective!

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  15. my thoughts about WB:
    - eharmony = no
    - i considered applying for about a day and then actually read about all their requirements and said eff it.
    - i joined their boards this week and have seen some UGLY behavior. holy crap... people insinuating that if your wedding budget is small then it's because you're lazy and poor, insane overuse of the words "tacky" and "cheap", etc. i don't think i'll be posting much.
    - for the most part it's sooooo WIC-y, but under the guise of being hella DIY
    - weddingbee has eaten one of my favorite bloggers, so that makes me sad.

    so i'm glad you're not applying. i love your blog and that you both write in it! i would be interested in your feminist blogging collective, if it comes to fruition!

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  16. I briefly thought about applying but frankly, the cutest names made me want to throw up. I really like the idea of ownership of my own blog. Word on everyone about the EHarmony connection. I cannot condone some Bees behavior. Or even the women on the boards. Sometime I thought I was the crazy one and everyone else was sane.

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  17. ahhh I applied months ago and JUST GOT ACCEPTED. Eek! Do you have gchat or something? I need to talk to a sane person who knows what weddingbee is (ie not Turtle). my email is miranda dot LHC at gmail.

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