Mummy bloggers – more bullied than the rest of us? – Anna Spargo-Ryan

Mummy bloggers – more bullied than the rest of us?

Mummy bloggers – more bullied than the rest of us?

Firstly, GOOD ON YOU women speaking out against this kind of bullying. I think that rocks, because it’s not okay to bully anyone for anything. But, yet again, the media has sensationalised something in this space, like the “mummy wars“, that serves only to perpetuate the notion of bitchy, panicky, insecure women being unkind to each other.

There is a lot of chatter at the moment about the perceived abuse of mummy bloggers. It seems geared slightly toward those who make money from the gig, but there is mucho complaino* about it everywhere.

I have a couple of thoughts that may just come out as further mummy blogger bullying, but I’m going to give it a bash anyway. Obviously I am not speaking about anyone specifically, but the notion as a whole.

Let me start by qualifying myself as a kind of mummy blogger. The mean, angry, weird kind, maybe, but a mummy blogger nevertheless, because I blog about my kids, sometimes in ways that are not flattering to any of us. People have said things to me that have got under my skin or made me have a small teary or given me reason to consider flouncing away from the internet FOREVER. So I’m not just kicking mummy bloggers with hurt feelings in the shins and telling them they are a bunch of dicks.

That being said, the very nature of blogging is to put yourself out there. It’s a kind of celebrity, in the same way that being a politician or an author or a sporting team mascot is a kind of celebrity. As soon as you give your work to the public, they are within rights to scrutinise it. If you don’t want to be scrutinised – which means taking the good with the bad – then you should keep your writing private.

If you’re thin-skinned about it, you are perpetuating the perception that mummies are pretend people. You know, when you go to the office and people ask what you did on the weekend and you say “WE WENT TO EIGHT BIRTHDAY PARTIES AT AMF BOWLING” and they laugh at you because you’re not a person, you’re just someone’s mother. That’s the kind of person we’re trying not to be on the internet, isn’t it? If we get all “AND ALSO FOUR PEOPLE SAID I AM A BAD PARENT ON THE INTERNET”, we’re even further away from our goal of legitimising ourselves as writers and as people.

But most importantly, this type of bullying behaviour isn’t even close to being exclusive to mummy bloggers, and the fact that they/we are so up in arms about it speaks quite loudly about the egotism at play here (please put down your molotov cocktail). Let’s maintain some perspective. In some industries, women are physically violated. In others, they are ignored or vilified just because of their gender. I know women who have been told to “tell a man to put forward the same idea”, because then it will be a valid one. Women (and men) across all industries are bullied because of their background, their appearance, their intelligence, their race, their religion, their age and on and on it goes. If you go into a traditional workplace, like an office block, and say “Hey you guys my kid totally SHIT ON ANOTHER KID!” they will “bully” you. They will say “your kid is a wanker!” and they will say it to your face. The internet is not designed to protect you any more than it is okay for these “bullies” to hide behind their anonymity. The fact that people – the public – have a direct line to you via social media or comments on your blog or your email address does not mean you are more bullied than anyone else in any other field. It doesn’t mean you are being targeted because of what you do to make a crust. It means that you are a person with an idea who is dealing with other people with other ideas, just as you would be if you were working in a school or an office or a construction site.

I have my knickers in a twist because actually we are very lucky to be able to do what we love and sometimes make money out of it. Bullying anywhere is horrible, but the public doesn’t owe mummy bloggers less bullying just because they are saying things on the internet, does it?

* racism

12 Comments
  • Jade Craven

    June 3, 2012 at 8:48 pm Reply

    This is pretty much my own thoughts about the issue. I know some of the vitriolic things that have been said are hurtful and at times, moronic. But seriously – being bullied for being a mummy blogger is one of the smaller things to be bullied about. It´s wrong and yeah, people shouldn´t be so judgemental.

    But it´s not isolated to a segment of a very large industry. Heaps of people are subject to ridicule – both online, and offline. I know I have, just because I worked for a guy that did some dodgy things.

    When you put stuff out there, people have the right to criticize it. Be it hatred, ignorance or whatever. You are a public figure. It happens. It will continue to happen. Media will sensationalize whatever they can.

    Some stuff that has happened in the mommy blogger community is appalling and I think the people speaking up against it are awesome. But seriously, people cop crap in any industry. Only they don´t have the power to call others out on it.

  • edenland

    June 3, 2012 at 10:47 pm Reply

    LOVE. No molotov cocktails from me. (Although that would be fun … burning shit down.)

    I don’t know what I am. Hate being labelled. I’m a person like all the other people. Some people are arses and some are beautiful.

    The end. xx

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 4, 2012 at 10:05 am Reply

      AMEN.

      I’m always up for burning shit down anyway. You know where I am.

    • Bernadette Jiwa

      June 4, 2012 at 12:19 pm Reply

      Agree with you Eden.
      Why do you have to have a label? Labels don’t describe what you do or why, they simply enable the world to put you in a box.
      There is no box big enough to hold either you or Anna.

  • Kelly Exeter

    June 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm Reply

    Oooh I am a duck’s nut (<< obscure sidebar reference). That pleases me no end.

    As for the above. It is sad but true. Although I don't necessarily read that the mummy bloggers are feeling specially bullied right now … it is more that as their profile increases they are suddenly being exposed to the level of online bullying that used to be reserved for Joe Hildebrand.

    In all, I hate unkindness of any description and it seems to be infiltrating my online world more and more at the moment. I am writing a post about it right at this moment actually.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 4, 2012 at 10:00 am Reply

      Of course you are, you excellent woman!

      I loathe unkindness. I’m not sure if that’s come across in this post or whether I just went ranting, but my point is really that this kind of behaviour is everywhere, and a) that’s totally not on, and b) something something pay it forward.

  • The Lazy Girl Blog

    June 4, 2012 at 12:01 am Reply

    Agreed. In the UK, there is stigma attached to being called a “Mummy blogger” -many who will say they aren’t one, they just happen to be a Mum who blogs in their spare time. There are those who get really angry and give out death stares to anyone daring to mark them down with that name. Me? Couldn’t give a fig either way! I started off before I was a Mum and it evolved over the next 6 years into a blog about being a Mum with opinions on everything, either humorous or sometimes really hard stuff too.
    We have this scope to prove we are people with personalities, not just that catch all “mum” name, like you say about being classed as a non-person, just someone’s Mum. There is bullying, like there will be whatever situation you find yourself in, but we don’t have to listen to it. I think you have to join up together and say “who cares” rather than like in the UK where a lot of in fighting and bitching goes on within the circles of bloggers. That just undermines everyone and everything and proves the assumption that we are just bitchy mums with too much time on our hands. There is a lot to learn from that situation.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 4, 2012 at 10:04 am Reply

      I agree. I think as “mummy bloggers” (whether we love or loathe the term) we need to be particularly conscious of the stigma attached to the term and – fair or not – consider how this kind of call to arms perpetuates some of these things.

      I’m not saying it’s RIGHT, but it definitely doesn’t help the cause.

  • Deb @ Bright and Precious

    June 4, 2012 at 12:01 am Reply

    I must have been living in a parrallel universe (quite like actually) as I have not been privvy to this bullying caper going on. Gosh of course we’re lucky. Welcome to the real world, people. Love your world, Anna x

  • Carli

    June 4, 2012 at 9:05 pm Reply

    I don’t know what I am either, other than an owner of lady bits. Mummy blogger doesn’t appeal to me but if it makes people feel better to use it so be it. It gives me fun material to lampoon it with and really I’m just grateful to be able to express an opinion.

    • Anna Spargo-Ryan

      June 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm Reply

      Me too Carli! My children are delicious fodder at times, but “mummy blogger” has different connotations as far as I’m concerned.

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