The term "mummyblogger" originated online in America, after a huge influx of parenting bloggers hit the web. In the 2005 NY Times article "Mommy and Me" it was said "the baby blog, in many cases ... is an online shrine to parental self-absorption."
I've been blogging since April 2007, and have watched the explosion of mommyblogging in the US and UK .. and the controversy and fallout that came with it.
"Mommy Bloggers are a force to be reckoned with. With the tip tap of their fingers on the keyboard, they can bring awareness to a variety of issues, throw down on a brand or just simple share a story that will touch the lives of many." - The Continuing Reign of Mommybloggers, Technorati.
Most women bloggers who happen to have children bristle at being called a mummyblogger. I don't mind it, except when it's used in a tone that drips with derision and disdain. Underestimate "mummybloggers" at your peril, for the collective online power they can wield is immense, and only just being recognised in Australia.
Canadian blogger Catherine Connors from Her Bad Mother wrote:
"Bloggers, of the quote/unquote mommy variety or otherwise, are a new species in the wild of public discourse, but the history of women, and especially mothers, being discouraged from speaking out and telling their own stories is a long one. Feminine virtue in ancient Rome – pudicitia – was actually defined, in part, by the quality of being able to keep one’s mouth shut and remain passively and modestly behind the veil of the private sphere (as opposed to male virtue, of course – the word virtue is even derived from the Latin word for male, or vir – which was defined by its public character.)"
As a direct result of her blog, Catherine now works as Editor-In-Chief at one of the biggest parenting websites in the world, Babble.com. Mommyblogging is routinely dissected and discussed in America, and is now very-much accepted as a legitimate and accessible way for women to communicate and form communities. Even make some money, as savvy marketers and advertisers in the digital space have found out.
Million Dollar Mommy Blogging - Reinforcing the Feminine Mystique? - Huffington Post
Queen of the Mommy Bloggers - NY Times
In her blog post "Mommy Blogs Are Women Blogs" Liz Gumbinner from Mom 101 talks about how some of the blogs she loves are even written by women who aren't mothers - a view I whole-heartedly agree with.
"I always wonder if I would have read mom blogs, had I discovered them before I actually spawned. Whether I would find kindred spirits in the community of women writers, writing about womanly things and shared experiences."
The debate about mummyblogs has been quietly going on down here in Australia for a while, mostly on the blogs themselves. A lot has been written about "mummyblogs" in the press, especially since the morning tea at Kirribilli House.
Back in August, I watched President Obama address all of the attendees at BlogHer New York via live video-link, like it was the most normal thing in the world to do. (Probably because it was.)
Today I had a lengthy chat to John McTernan, Director of Communications for Prime Minister Julia Gillard. I had a few questions for him, asked him if Julia Gillard thought I was a soft vote.
"Eden, do you think you're a soft vote?"
I laughed, told him I know I'm not, I'm just getting a little peeved at the consistent use of the term"mummyblogger" being meant in a derogatory way. John told me that the PM will be holding another get-together for people in the online space, possibly before the year is out. He sees the landscape has changed, that there are now new channels and new mediums to interact and communicate with people. A lot of the public digital discourse occurring online today is by women.
Some journalists are dubious of that.
When John told me that the Prime Minister and her office places value on intelligent, opinionated people who have their own views, are authentic .. that she actually really is interested in a rich and varied public discussion .... I believed him.
When we hung up I went straight into a video conference call with my fellow World Vision Ambassadors about our trip to India. We talked about slums and poverty, child labour and the logistics. We leave in seventeen days. I shouldn't be going, for so many reasons.
Then I had approvals for two sponsored posts I've written, which will be up on my blog soon. I feel good about them.
Then I had a look around the internets and came across Freerange Shae's post she wrote today about her body. She joined up in an I Heart My Body campaign that over a hundred women have so far linked up to. I adore Shae .. one of the funniest, most real women I have met online. She home-schools three young girls, is passionate about wholesome food, feminism .. things that MEAN things. The good stuff.
I decided to join in too. When Dave got home I asked him to write "mummy" on one cheek and "blogger" on the other. He didn't bat an eyelid, used a permanent marker. I love that man. I could not be married to any other.
Sure, I'll be your mummyblogger.
Now I'm gonna moonwalk outta here.