Primarily I identify as a feminist blogger but I am more than happy to wear the ‘mummy blogger’ label, too, if people choose to call me that (especially if there is a prize in it). This is significant only because ‘mummy blogger’, like so many other exclusively female terms is also used as an insult.
There is some shit going down on the Internet (where else?) about ‘mummy bloggers’ at the moment. You can get a good idea of the whole story over at Catherine’s Her Bad Mother, where if you scroll through the comments you will also get to see the next instalment of the story, as it unfolds. Poor Catherine.
In the meantime, here is a quick synopsis. Feminist pop culture site, Jezebel wrote a somewhat offhand piece about an episode of sexual harassment that happened to some ‘big name’ mummy bloggers by a ‘big name’ daddy blogger. Mostly readers stayed on topic in the thread which followed and conducted what was an interesting discussion about blogging ethics and the degree to which there exists a responsibility for victims to speak out . But this being Jezebel – the site regularly pisses off black feminists, feminists with disabilities, feminist mothers, and a whole host of other feminists for its, at times, insensitive and ignorant writing and comment moderation – some of the comments in the thread were squarely aimed at ridiculing mummy bloggers instead. Catherine of Her Bad Mother called those comments out for what they were and has consequently copped a little hate over at her own blog.
For what it is worth, Catherine doesn’t particularly like the ‘mummy blogger’ term but will accept the label for her own writing rather than participate in the misogyny that has turned the term into an insult. I have some thoughts of my own about the identity of ‘mummy blogger’. A while ago I was interviewed about the ‘mummy blogosphere’ and some stuff about the term came up in that interview (hopefully they won’t mind me sharing some of that transcript here):
-In what ways do mommy blogs create community and in what ways are they interactive? Has this community changed the way you parent?
Writing about the experience of motherhood is terribly cathartic, but being able to see others reading it and reacting to it is also very special. Readers of mummy blogs, with the exclusion of trolls, are very supportive people. Finding support on issues you feel isolated about in your off-line life is an important element of the blogging experience. Also, other mothers generally appreciate the significance of your mothering experiences, so they celebrate little achievements with you and empathise with your agonies as you blog about them.
The community has altered the way I parent: purchased book recommendations; enhanced my strategies for negotiating sexism/racism/homophobia with my children; given me ideas for birthday parties and presents.
-Do you feel like the form and community for mommy bloggers is liberating?
I think it has been very liberating for mothers. Blogs are often quite confessional in nature and as such motherhood sins are laid bare for the audience, this kind of frankness is very refreshing for mothers. Also, motherhood is very consuming but also very faceless in our world – to be able to talk about the experience and have others pay attention to what you have to say about your day-to-day life is quite empowering for mothers.
However the mummy blogging community is also rife with judgementalism on all the usual debates in motherhood. So reader beware, I guess.
-How do you feel about the term “mommy blogging” and the media latching onto the mommy blogosphere?
I think the term itself is ok, and the fact that it exists as a term is testament to the prevalence and power of mummy bloggers. I don’t shy away from the term myself, although I might not be who people have in mind when they think about mummy bloggers, but I don’t think writing about motherhood is mindless or embarrassing. I am happy to be associated with motherhood as a topic. For me becoming a mother has been a very cerebral experience and I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t want to write about such a profound life-changing process. All women’s writing is denigrated so it is hardly surprising that mummy blogging has been ridiculed to such a degree in the media. But I think there is something particularly spiteful about the way the media talks about mummy bloggers and I think that comes down to the fact that mothers are not taken seriously, but also more disturbingly, there is a lot of child-hatred bigotry intertwined with misogyny out there that leaks its way into the media commentary.
(Thanks to Tara for the tip-off).