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.