October 7, 2008

Blog World Expo: Why I Won't Be Going Back to Vegas EVER

So I took myself to Blog World Expo a couple of weeks ago. Even though I got a free pass to the event (thanks Steph and Rick) it still ended up costing me about $800 which to me is a lot of money (cause I don't have a ton of it.) I thought it would be great investment and would take my skills to the next level, but I honestly can say it didn't.

So here are some thoughts that have been weighing on my mind since my return:

LAS VEGAS SUCKS FOR WOMEN: I will never ever, ever go to Las Vegas again for anything in the world! That place is a sexist cesspool where people check their filters when they get off the plane. It's not that anyone was overtly sexist or I got groped, but the whole town thrives on sexism and exploitation of women. You can't deny it. It's just gross. I could never feel comfortable in the city because all my nerve endings were just firing constantly and my anxiety level was at an all time high.

There were also a lot more men that women in attendance and I noticed some of the women acting like total fucking idiots around the guys wearing provocative outfits and flirting non-stop. Blog World Expo was not big enough to warrant needing to be in Vegas, and a half an hour into being in the city, I wanted to go home.

NO FEMALE KEYNOTERS: What is this 1972? Others have written about this but I think that it is worth about a thousand more mentions cause it's just not ok to convene a conference for bloggers (and let's remember that women are half the bloggers in the world) and not include a female keynoter. Having women and people of color makes the conversation richer and more complete. We don't live in a white male universe anymore, and it is the job of any conference planner to have a conference reflects the world. You need to think more outside the box and maybe the women aren't the "stars" but that language is so male-centric and full of crap. This industry is just beginning and I was very sad to see many if not all the typical male bullshit that we see in most established industries.

I don't want to see that it was all bad. Some of the sessions I went to were quite good and interesting. Others were not and unfortunately, most of the ones on the entertainment track were not very well attended. There was one panel that focused on how celebrities have used the blogs to fight back, and after two minutes of hearing the story of Jennifer Love Hewitt's fight for her size two figure I just had to leave.

I met some awesome women and got to know some better than before and for that I am excited. I think there will be some long term friendships and working relationships that come out of Blog World Expo. For me and my work, writing about women's issues, I need a community like Blogher -- I'm never going to be reviewing products or writing celebrity gossip. I'm trying to use the blog to raise awareness about how Hollywood thinks about women and to advocate for change.