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How I Got Kicked Off My Local Yahoo! Parents' List

By Amy Keyishian |

onion ring of exclusion

even my onion ring excludes me

One of the essential arrows in every new mom’s quiver is her local mom group. The internet is a marvel, and one of the best things about it is that we can put our heads together without leaving our homes. A moment of panicked worry can be cleared up in no time – and we can feel much less isolated.

Of course, with more socialization comes more chances for social missteps. And the two-dimensional nature of online interaction can lead to a heightened sense of paranoia – even in the presence of a ;) or a =P, you can find yourself wondering what that person really means by that. And since we often read email in the wee small hours, or in the middle of a hormone storm, or in the furious silent half-time of an evening-long argument, things can get blurted out that would be better left un-blurted. And while the sound of your words on the playground dissipate like toddler farts, once you commit something to email – well, Yahoo! archives are forever.

Which brings me to the story of how I got kicked off my neighborhood’s Yahoo! list.

So there’s this woman named N who’s sort of notorious on the our list. She’s super-earnest and uber-crunchy and tends to start little flamewars when she says things like “how do I talk to my friend in the Midwest about how great unmedicated birth is?” or “I know you were just asking about buying a Bumbo seat, but FYI my baby’s chiropractor says they are bad for alignment.” There are people who are greatly annoyed by her, but I like her because she’s self-aware in her crunchy extremism.

Anyway very soon after l’affaire Bumbo, she posted asking to borrow any sparkly and fun maternity-wear to wear to an Adam Lambert concert. I posted back that I had just the thing, but “you should be very careful, because some experts say wearing sequins during pregnancy can lead to gay babies ;) .” Complete with emoticon.

OH WOW YEAH so — WOW. Before I even got the next digest, my sister texted me and said “DON’T read. Do Not Read. They are all idiots and you will get upset.” So I deleted the next couple digests after seeing that people had gone OFF on my “hate speech” and this one guy had written a long, searching, super-earnest email about how I could only say things like that if I were gay.

To which I wanted to respond: “Exactly how much vag would I have had to eat to qualify? Is there a statute of limitations on that, or is it just I currently actually have to have my face in a woman’s crotch to be able to make that joke?” But I would be totally lying about ever having been lesbonian, so I didn’t. But wouldn’t that just shut them up?

Anyway, I never even got the opportunity, because one of the moderators, whom I also know from the local Jewish-community list, sent me a stern email saying that all five moderators were offended by my joke and it was in poor taste and this was my 2nd warning (the first was during the aforementioned affaire bumbo, when I defended N by saying we had a “low lunatic quotient” on the list and everyone got upset that I called them lunatics), and that I’d be removed from the list if I had another “outburst.”

This is when I could have stopped the whole thing in its tracks. But I was feeling third-trimestery, and I also have problems letting things slide. So, in true Amy K fashion, I asked, “Really? You, personally, were offended? All five of you were actually, personally offended when I joked that sequins can make pregnant women have gay babies? I mean, I’m just confirming that I understand the situation.”

I hit “send” and waited. Tapping my foot. In short order, I heard my email program chime. “I have enjoyed our off-line interactions, but you were very insensitive. You can have one more chance.”

I countered with an only SLIGHTLY hysterical rant about she didn’t have to bother, I’d stop using the list immediately, and that you don’t build community by sitting back and allowing someone to be pilloried, and I wasn’t going to join their little reindeer games (yes, I really said that), and that I’d prefer that she stay far, far away from me and my [queer person in my immediate family] if she saw me on Cortland Street.

I think that was the most upsetting bit to me — that I have this very sensitive issue in my own home and deal with it with humor, but there was no way I was going to “out” my family member in an effort to defend myself against people who have no right to judge me regardless of my home life.

Meanwhile, a lesbian pal o’ mine responded to the list saying something like “hey, you know, Amy’s totally doing her part for the gay community by wearing maternity overalls to turn her baby into a dyke,” and nobody said boo to her.

Anyway, you can guess what happened next. I set the Yahoo list to “web-only” so I’d have a cooling-off period, and then went to check a recent message online only to find myself unceremoniously removed and banned.

Meanwhile, my sister forwarded me the next flame-war, over the “stripper-mobiles” that drive around San Francisco with topless hootchie-mommas and a pole on a flatbed truck; a mom was like “um, is there a way that we can request not have this?” and a bunch of people were like “You should be PROUD your daughters live somewhere so OPEN and this is a FEMINIST act  and those strippers OWN Their club” yadda yadda barf spew hork dry-heave nap.

Now, when my friends want to make fun of someone overly sensitive and earnest, they say “That sounds like a (my neighborhood) list kind of person.” Which is a shame, because this neighborhood is mostly very cool. But the organizers of the lists are … well, they’re like those girls who organized everything in high school. They want the glitter put on the school-dance signs their way, they rearrange the tables in the cafeteria when they want to make sure they have the prime spots, and if you’re not quiet enough during pep rally, they wail “but we’re doing this for YOU!” into the A-V club microphone.

Oh man. My poor kids! Ah well, maybe they can avoid being a chip off the old shoulder.

Have you had a run-in with the local list?

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About Amy Keyishian

madfoot

Amy Keyishian

Amy L Keyishian is a writer who has been on staff at Cosmopolitan, Brooklyn Bridge, Tower Air, and has freelanced for Glamour, Self, Redbook, Maxim, Men's Health, and many others. She was a blogger for Babble, along with The Stir at Cafe Mom, and Kveller. More of her work is featured on her blog, MadFoot. Read bio and latest posts → Read Amy's latest posts →

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11 thoughts on “How I Got Kicked Off My Local Yahoo! Parents' List

  1. Jennifer H. says:

    This, this is why I avoid Mommy groups. My level of snark would get me banned in seconds. Plus, low tolerance for ZOMG DRAMAZ around here… oh yea, I’d not last a week.

    FWIW, I thought your joke was pretty funny, as would my gay friends… hell, they would’ve made the joke, cause they have a sense of HUMOR. Oy.

  2. LooLoo'sMommy says:

    I have already been banned and shunned from my local moms group for my sense of humor and avoidance of drama.

  3. Crystal B says:

    I laughed outloud when I read this. My gay friends would appreciate this joke for sure. Your story is the EXACT reason why I avoid local mom groups.

  4. Julie says:

    *facepalm* Seriously? Speaking as a bisexual, this is not in any way offensive, and I don’t know anyone who would think it was. I laughed when I read what you said. It’s freaking HUMOR, and I’m sorry you have to deal with idiots who don’t get that.

  5. Leigh says:

    (“oooh ooooh oooh Mr. Kotter” – best Horseshack imitation) I know the answer to this question. Start your OWN group for snarky mommies with a sense of HUMOR and BE THE OWNER and/or MODERATOR. That, my friend, is what I did (on 2 dog training LinkedIn groups). Well, I didn’t start the groups but I volunteered to moderate, and now I’m just considered the picture of moderation and tolerance (sorta)). HA HA HA HA. I am literally laughing out loud right now. But anyway fuck them. Can I *say* fuck them on your post? If not, then F them with a chainsaw. :) love u tons, amy K
    xoxo from NYC – LEIGH
    ps – it was also VERY funny what you and your vagitarian friend said about the glitter and the overalls.

  6. Danielle says:

    That’s the problem with trying to communicate via e-mail, the nonverbal nuances of communication don’t come through and there can be significant misunderstandings about the tone and spirit of the e-mail. I have to say, I somewhat agree with the need to “police” an organized listserve for the greater good. I’m sorry that your humor did not come across the way it was intended, but the moderators were probably duty driven to confront you about anything “irreverent” that gets posted on a public listserve. Sorry to be a killjoy.

  7. Naomi says:

    FTR, I think what you said was hilarious and it’s too bad for those idiots to lose their comic relief member. Although doesn’t sound like they have much of a sense of humor whatsoever. Geez, people.
    They sound a lot like my yahoo group, though. Lately the posts have been about recommending a good placental encapsulator…

  8. jamiebeths says:

    wowzer. amazing, great post. and naomi, i think i’m on that list and i KNOW a good placental encapsulator!!!! does that make me a wierdo?

  9. Babette says:

    Just to let you know, it’s a story over at AfterEllen (see http://www.afterellen.com/column/morning-brew/2010-10-28 )
    Only positive feedback there as well. :)

  10. Jillian says:

    I resigned in a huff from my Yahoo adoptive parents listserv. It was over virtually nothing, just the last straw of hypersensitive drama. The bigger a group gets the harder it is to break through the noise and just talk.

  11. Devora says:

    I was laughing so hard, my cube mate came over to see what I was cracking up over. Don’t let people like that get you with their holier then thou attitude. La Leche League has a hit out on me for my breast feeding views. Maybe I could help get you into SAHP program that I am currently running. emotiocons are also accepted.

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