I was reading the article in the Independent about Cybermummy and it brought back to me how much I dislike the clumping together women bloggers who happen to have children in a “Mummy” package. I blogged about my dislike of the MummyTummy tag last year.
Now, I have nothing against those who organised and attended the Cybermummy conference, it sounds like it was great fun and very informative and there are a few of my online “friends” who attended. I do object to the “mummyfying” of women.
When did you ever hear of a man described as a DaddyBlogger or a Dadpreneur? Why is it just women who are defined by their status as a mother.
These women are successful business professionals, writers, artists. They may have children, but does that define them? The online business world is especially suitable for mothers as it solves the problem of juggling childcare and household tasks with the demands of a career. It would be equally suitable for men who were the main carers for the children, or for couples who share childcare and online business.
It got me thinking as well, about the comment about MummyBloggers taking over the internet from Mumsnet. I wasn’t aware that there was a competition going on, but perhaps that is just in the journalist’s imagination. Comparing blogging with Mumsnet is like comparing apples with pears. They are similarities, in that they are both online activities but that is where the comparison ends. I note that the journalist took the quote from the co-founder of Cybermummy and ran away with the comparison – reducing Mumsnet to a “virtual coffee morning which debates boring biscuits and hopeless husbands”.
Bloggers, whether mothers or not, are responsible for their own content, they can blather on about recipes and baking or campaign for a political cause, or even do both on their blogs. Yes, they can be influential but there are very few bloggers who are truly able to make such a big splash. We have to be honest about this, there are millions of blogs out there and many are read by a just a few hundred followers. Which is fine, not everyone aims to have thousands of followers (although most of us would love it).
Mumsnet is a community, it is an online village. There are the feminists, the dog lovers, the green lentil-weavery types, the home-schoolers, gardeners, the bakers, the geeks, the teachers and yes, even a few judgy or dare I say it, bitchy posters. Just like in real life.
I am both a blogger and a Mumsnetter and I cannot say that one is better than the other. A blog is unlikely to bring together so many different people from different walks of life – we tend to read and follow blogs that pretty much sum up our own opinion. Which sometimes gives bloggers a sense of being in the right, as their readers often agree with their posts. On Mumsnet you are more likely to hear a dissenting voice.
My blog is for me, it is something that I make, that I do. There is no one moderating my blog, no one telling me what I can or cannot say. Mumsnet is a place to share and support, a place where there is an actual conversation, not a monologue. Where there are differing opinions and the occasional bunfight. Both blogging and Mumsnet have been massively helpful to me since moving to Switzlerland, along with Twitter in the past year or so.
It would be good if bloggers and online parenting communities were not set up as adversaries by journalists looking for more hits on their articles.