The subject and taboos of identifying as a “mommy blogger” were visited when Gawker posted a piece railing against the likes of mommy blogging — the horrid profession in which women dare to write about their experiences as parents. While I think at the root of this disgust is the sexist notion that women with children should just stop talking, a peek into the minds of Mommyish readers reveals something else. It seems that even among women who are self-identified mommy bloggers, actively read mommy blogs, and even frequent this mommy blog, the stereotype of an unqualified, self-obsessed woman with no interests other than her own mommy universe pervade.
Yet, if you want to be technical, the interwebs practically swell with sloppy narcissistic writers in every field, from style to politics to literary critics and yet nobody I know seems to grimace at the term “fashion journalist” — at least, not with the same disdain. So what is it about this particular term “mommy blogger” that incites gagging for everyone within a ten mile radius of an internet connection?
A lot of the cultural antagonism comes from the success of mommy blogs — or rather the women who sustain them. Our modern times would have you believe that just because you get to wear pants outside and vote that the battle of sexes was squared away a long time ago. But for those of you who work outside the home and handle the majority, if not all, of the childrearing responsiblities, you know that that’s not true. Gender expectations persist in even liberal-identified homes, and women who manage to “have it all” in the convention of marriage, kids, and the pursuit of a job outside the home that they truly love rub those expectations all the wrong way. Primarily because they are able to prioritize both a fulfilling job and their babies — a big no-no considering that women are only supposed to be workaholic childless, barren crones or eternally loving mothers who make all their own baby food.
“Mommy blogging” allows women who would otherwise be completely confined to the home a chance to speak, debate, share ideas, and voice their opinions without ever having to leave the metaphoric changing table. You can debate the quality of their writing or their snide tones, but again, men and women who possess a perceived lack of professionalism in other arenas don’t face nearly the same scrutiny — if anything, it becomes part of their “brand” or cool factor.
But give a woman who just had a baby a blog and a couple of hours to recount her experiences as a new parent and all of a sudden, she is one of those blasted “mommy bloggers.”
We blindly live in a culture that hates women. Truly. If you’re a three-dimensional female with a penchant for anything more than retaining your youth, your beauty, and your waistline, you are usually treated as anomaly by the media that unfortunately sustains our culture. And as a mother, if you have any other interests than your kids, your kids, and your kids, you might as well be just as big a freak. Unless you’re sneaking out the house to go straighten your hair for your hubby, mommy points will be deducted for that alone time.
And while I wouldn’t uphold mommy blogging as the holy grail of modern parenting, the niche does provide a lot of dedicated mothers the avenue to get paid– and to get paid in a setting and with material that is conducive to their role as parents. And that’s just despicable. Despicable to a media-saturated society that can’t stand the idea of a woman with kids working on anything other than solving her kid’s diaper rash.
We may be in the post-2000s, but the resentment for women who achieve traditional gender expectations while also finding professions that not only make them happy, but are also flexible enough for family living, continue to persist. And the contempt for mommy bloggers who have the nerve to develop a career out of parenting are just one example of a much larger distaste for successful women.