I’m not ashamed of this. I’m a mom who writes for a parenting website and hence I’m a mommy blogger. But lately it seems that more and more the term “mommy blogger” is used as an insult, as a way to discredit the opinions and points of view of female writers who also happen to have children. If you’re a writer on a website that doesn’t have a print edition you are technically a blogger. If you write mainly about parenting you’re a “mommy blogger.” So why has this become a derogatory term?
I’ve been quoted extensively on websites recently because I’m not too happy about a child’s toy being used in an adult, sexualized magazine. When referencing me, I’m referred to as “Mommy Blogger” Eve Vawter or “Mommyish blogger” Eve Vawter – during a radio interview yesterday I had to inform the hosts that I’m the editor of a website, because they wanted to introduce me as a “Mommy blogger.” I don’t have an issue with being known as a mommy blogger, because that is what I am. But I’m also an editor, and I have earned this title and I’m pretty proud of the job I do. I’m also a mom, I love being a mom, I love writing about parenting, and this is the field that interests me. I have other interests as well, but as present I chose to write about parenting. But I can’t help but feel as a mom and as an Internet writer these two things coupled together are being used as a way to discredit my opinions, to make them seem less valid, or less than worthy of conversation.
Yesterday CNN did a small video segment about the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Barbie cover and the host of the segment, Erin Burnett, loudly says “BLOGGER!” as a way to get her point across. When writing about my opinion of Barbie on the magazine cover, the verbs used to describe my opinions are “seethed,” “snarked” and “complained.” I’m not sure a childfree man writing about the same topic would get the same treatment. I’m also not sure a childfree man would receive the type of comments I have in regard to the issue:
And this is because I simply stated I didn’t think a child’s toy that my own young daughter is very fond of belongs in a magazine featuring sexualized images of women.
I can’t help but feel if a man were making the same point he might be taken more seriously. And because of the whole Barbie firestorm, the way in which women writers who have children are preceived has illustrated to me how the phrase “mommy blogger” is used as an insult. I’m a mommy blogger, but I’m also a college-educated middle aged woman who has written extensively about all sorts of serious topics, including rape, violence against women and children, politics and current affairs. I may not work for a website with a major print edition, but that doesn’t mean my opinions are any less valid.
There is also a disturbing ageist aspect to all of this, because many women with children who write on the Internet skew to a demographic over age 30. When reading comments (and yes, I know, never read the comments) the replies to my original thought are met with comments like “Fat, old, middle-aged housewife, ” which again, negates my opinions simply because I’m a fat, old, middle-aged housewife. I don’t think men writers who are also dads get their opinions disregarded because they are also fat, old and middle-aged.
I’m not the only mommy blogger who has faced criticisms like this. But it does feel that in the realm of the Internet women writers with children are made less than simply because they are women writers with children. The tropes of the mommy blogger include vapid harpies who spend hours on Pinterest, neglecting their children so they can Instagram photos of the evening meal to fat, ugly, nagging housewives who have strong opinions about feminism because they are “jealous” of women who are younger and more attractive than they are. Or in my case, a plastic doll.