Be careful what you wish for.

Until a few moments ago, I couldn’t think of anything much that I wanted to blog about.  And now, here I am, all fired up by some comments (of the looking down your nose type) about mothers. 

My first instinct is to reply with lots of foul language and a smack upside the head, but as is always the case, that is never helpful.

This all began at BlogHer 05 with the "just a mommyblogger" attitude that some women had.  They believed that women who write about raising their children are writing fluff and aren’t really bloggers.  I remember hearing someone say that blogs are powerful tools and that if you were going to use that tool it should be to write about real things that matter, like current events, politics, war, famine and (insert your important cause here).  I didn’t have a problem with that until I realized that she was saying that writing about your life wasn’t important enough to make the list.  That, specifically, writing about raising children wasn’t important enough.  About then, Alice stood up and set everyone straight and became the undisputed Mama Blogger Heroine when she said what so many of us were thinking, that blogging honestly about being a mother is a radical act.   

It is radical to say that being a mother can have incredibly dark moments.  That it can bring you to a place where you are contemplating suicide or fantasizing about just walking away and disappearing.  That sometimes your children make you so angry you want to kick them.  Mothers are supposed to be 100% love and light and good.  Which, I think, is what society expects only because they know that it isn’t true, but they want it to be anyway, so maybe expecting that from mothers will magically make it so.  If that makes sense. 

What really got me going this morning was when I read a comment on the BlogHer site from a woman who said she didn’t attend the conference because it was OBVIOUSLY going to be all about the mommybloggers and, you know, SINCE SHE’S A GOOD FEMINIST AND ALL (I’m going to address that in just a second) she just couldn’t participate. 

Now, here’s where I’d REALLY like to cuss her out.  But, it isn’t productive.  What I will say is that no matter what she did or didn’t read in the media, the schedule for BlogHer was posted on the site.  If she had taken the time to actually look at it she would have seen that ONE panel was about mommyblogging.  ONE.  Out of nearly thirty.  I think that leaves us in the minority.  She also said, well, here is a direct copy and pasted quote:

Yeah, well, I didn’t go this year because the conference was pitched
as being for "mommy bloggers", and I didn’t want to be party to
conflating feminism with obligatory parenting.

If anything, I was really offended – it seemed like a bunch of
mommies were cheapening my and other women’s efforts as serious
bloggers by reducing blogging by women to the mommy track, with a side
of fashion and diet.

Cheapening her efforts?  No.  As a mother, AND A FEMINIST, I completely support every woman’s effort in any endeavor (you know what I mean; I support women who use their inherent superpowers for good, not evil).  I have no gripe with women who are childless by choice.  I admire them and I wish that more women would feel able to make that choice rather than having children because they think they "ought" to.  That rarely turns out good for anyone involved.   

Lots of female bloggers write about fashion and diet exclusively.   It isn’t my thing, so much (well, maybe the fashion. . . ), but whether they are moms or not, I don’t have a problem with that.  Feminists can also like fashion.  It’s totally okay!  Or motor-cross racing or needlepoint or whatever.  But, they cannot slam other women for choosing to have children.  And, remember, those women are raising future feminists.  She should be thanking us. 

I do find it interesting that just the mommybloggers have been singled out as being fluff writers.  I have not seen women who write about entertainment or gardening being picked on.  I don’t want to see that, but my point is that while society expects certain things from mothers, society also loves to treat us like dirt.  Any feminist worth her salt wouldn’t fall into that silly trap.


9 thoughts on “Be careful what you wish for.

  1. capello

    You know, I don’t like being called a mommy blogger for the shear reason that it is not the end-all and be-all of my existance and my blogging.

    I’m also a crafting-blogger, gardening-blogger and ubber-nerd blogger. And let us not forget the most important one of all — dirty-potty-mouthed-blogger.

    I think that those who take upon themselves to constantly critize others need to have a hobby.

    Or have kids, so they REALLY have something to bitch about.

  2. squid

    Today must be unofficial Outing Ignorance day, if the rest of the blogosphere is any indication. Thanks for participating, Jen!

    It is okay to question whether or not attending BlogHer is personally worthwhile. It is not okay to take down other people to justify the subsequent decision.

    As you wrote, Feminists do parent. And they sometimes do like fashion. Some of them are even comfortable enough in their own skins enough to discuss body image and dieting, or the struggles they have with those subjects.

    If most attendees identified themselves solely as Mommybloggers, and they took over BlogHer, then how is it that I saw so many of them in non-Mommyblogging panels? How is it that other panels were so full?

    What I saw at BlogHer was a bunch of crazy-smart women with many facets and identities. Some of them primarily blogged about parenting. Some of them blogged about topics that were distasteful to me, such as how to latch onto rich men at resorts so they will underwrite your luxury vacation. But I never questioned the right of such women to be at BlogHer.

    Blogher was a celebration of blogging women, whatever their passions. I respected that, and admire it more in hindsight than my social ineptitude would allow me to in real time.

    Enough blathering. See you next week!

  3. Dixie

    I guess this woman would have real problems with me blogging because I don’t have kids OR a career. She’d really think I have nothing to blog about.

    Piss on her. Why can’t women who love to brag about what grand feminists they are understand that supporting women to choose whatever path in life they want to pursue is what is going to help and nurture women best and that writing about our lives is worthwhile?

  4. menoblog

    As we say in our house, I think the only exercise that woman gets is jumping to conclusions.

    Nicely put, although swearing and name-calling would not be out of line.

  5. Donna

    Very well stated, Jen. It’s funny how some women seem to enjoy pitting themselves against one another instead of enjoying the strength that comes from embracing our differences (kind of like the Democratic party).

  6. Mom and Much More

    It’s a shame for somebody considering herself a feminist to say such things. Motherhood especially needs feminism because confined to their homes, mothers were denied the opportunity to speak up and change the existing attitudes towards motherhood. For quite a while it were feminist scholars who spoke for mothers.
    Nowadays we should celebrate blogging in general and mommy-blogging in particular for it allows mothers to tell their stories in their own words. Isn’t it one of the goals of feminism to get women to be heard and valued for what they do?

  7. Marsha

    I loved your post.

    The radical feminists are a surly bunch. But, they want very many of the same things I want in this world. Women who are competing with men on a day to day basis get a bit of a chip on their shoulders about all the women who are not standing in solidarity by their side. If all women voted, worked, spoke out in a single solitary voice we could effect change. But, we don’t we are divided and change is slow. Even the changes we all agree upon don’t happen because we resent each other so much.

    Many of my childless friends have told me how much they hate to be around a group of mommies. Mommies sometimes exclude or make women who do not have children feel inferior. And then there are also women who very adamantly feel that a woman’s place is in the home, that society is better off if women exist solely in the traditional roles.

    Perhaps the trivialization of mommies comes from a place of frustration? I believe we could accomplish more in the world if we find a way to hear what other women are saying, even when they attack our values. I am so offended by this attack on everything I have accomplished and work for in this world. However, want to find a way to get past this anger, to find a way to work together with these bitches, for the common good.

  8. dorothy

    Funny, I wrote about being a woman this week, too. It’s been on my mind since blogger. Didn’t see the comment, though I doubt you want to link to it. I’ll have to go look.


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