Musings from Home

Really?

Last week, a friend of mine wrote a blog post about an article in a paper in her area covering so-called “Mommy Bloggers”. She talked about a certain unnamed, but well-known blogger, who has received many nasty personal attacks because of what she shares on her blog. The point of my friend’s post was that she has never left a mean comment on a post (or a newspaper article, for that matter) and cannot see the point of doing so. I agreed wholeheartedly with her.

The next day,  I was perusing Facebook and noticed that someone had commented on the link to the aforementioned post on the blog’s Facebook page. I generally love reading other people’s comments on this friend’s posts, because they are generally positive and often bring up things that I hadn’t previously considered and that add to the discussion. This comment, however, I was sorry I read.

Although the commenter said that she has never written a mean comment, she went on to say that she is “discouraged by the multitude of moms bantering on about the banal accomplishments of their children online”. She made the point that many women (in the past and still to this day) have had to work hard to be taken seriously in the business world, in the community, and in the government. She said that, in her view, mommy blogs were “self-indulgent and frivolous, confirming the very stereotypes that need to be shattered for women to attain the status and opportunities they deserve.” She concluded that women who write these blogs are creating a condition in the work force in which women have to work harder to be taken seriously.

My first reaction was one of disbelief, followed quickly by, “That is so untrue!” Part of me thought I should let it lie, but I could not. Was she serious that mommy bloggers are hurting the chances of other women to succeed in their chosen careers? While I don’t think of myself as a mommy blogger (I blog about other things other than my children and I don’t go into the details of our daily lives the way many mommy bloggers appear to do), I do certainly write a lot here about my children. The writer of the comment suggested that mommy bloggers blog for their own entertainment and even to make money. While I’m sure this is true for some of them, there are other reasons to blog about your children. So I decided that someone had to reply and give the other side, other reasons for blogging and also to question the validity of the conclusion that mommy bloggers are hurting women who strive to be taken seriously outside of the home. I stated, I hope respectfully, that I blog about my kids for many reasons: We have family and friends who live far away and like to keep up with our activities through my blog. Since we moved last summer, I have had several friends urge me to blog more often because they miss knowing that we’re up to. I also blog about my kids to document their achievements (for them to look back on in the future). They also love it when I share their successes (particularly ones they’ve worked hard for) with our online friends. Unlike some of the bloggers mentioned in the original newspaper article, most of my readers are people we know personally.

After I posted the reply, I continued to think about the comment that got me going. And I got even more disturbed, because after my initial emotional reaction, the logical part of my brain pondered it, too. And I thought, what if it is true? What does that say about our society? Women who blog about their children and their families could actually make climbing the ladder to success much harder? And we allow this to happen? Shouldn’t we, as women, band together to fight this stereotype and generalization to all women, rather than blaming each other for the road being rockier? This to me seems akin to women whose husbands are having affairs blaming the “other women” rather than telling the cheating bum to “hit the road, Jack”.

And where does it stop? Why aren’t we extending this blame to craft bloggers or cooking bloggers, or laundry bloggers, as all of these activities are traditionally women’s roles, as well. While we’re at it, what does it say for women’s chances to succeed in a man’s world if a woman decides to become a nurse rather than a doctor, since “women are nurses, men are doctors” used to be the common attitude?

The bottom line is this: I still do not believe that anything I write here will hinder the future success of my fellow women, but if it really could, then the answer is to change the mindset of society, not to stop bloggers from using their personal piece of the internet in any way they choose. That’s my two cents. For what it’s worth.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please keep it constructive and kind, though, as my girls do read this blog.

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Comments on: "Really?" (3)

  1. You know how I feel about this already, but I’ll say it again. I think that there’s room in the blogosphere for all kinds of blogs and luckily, there are all kinds. The variety is rich and entertaining just among the female bloggers and just as much so among the female bloggers who are also mothers. I do not think that blogging about one’s children, home projects, baking adventures or any other domestic matters in any way negates women’s issues as a whole.

  2. WOW. It is a sad day when blogging / sharing / talking about your children, your life, your hobbies, your hopes and dreams, affects others negatively. And honestly, I do not believe that day is here. The beauty of blogging and cyberspace is that we can all find things we want to read and others we don’t. With a click of a button, the “don’ts” disappear. I am a successful woman (my perception) that does not feel a bit held back by women who have different focuses than mine. I would be curious to understand the situation this woman found herself in that made her feel this way. That was a sad day for her. Blog on ladies (and men)!

  3. Women have been bragging about their children as long as they have had children – blogging just happens to be the newest medium for that. I don’t see where blogging has such a negative effect on a centuries old struggle for women to be equals. Haven’t we always had to work harder to prove ourselves to certain members of the opposite sex?

    While some accomplishments, such as rolling over or discovering their hands are actually THEIR hands or being fully and completely potty trained might seem banal to anyone who has never had a child, anyone who is a parent understands how huge these milestones can be at the time. And for parents of developmentally disabled children, some of these accomplishments may actually be huge deals that take years to accomplish. What’s banal to one person is years of work for another. Something all of us could stand to keep in mind.

    As for the mommy blogs – while some of them are too precious and a little too perfect, sugar coating the experience – some of them speak to volumes of women who can identify with those who are strong enough to admit to things like postpartum depression, wondering if they will ever again get a full nights sleep and admitting you prefer when your kids have a playdate with the mom who always offers you a glass of wine at pick up. Like it or not, mommy blogs are here and they are not going anywhere. And you don’t have to read them if you don’t want to.

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