Strangely enough, I’ve never written a “white privileged, middle-aged man” column which are all the rage. So here goes.
It’s soooooooo exhausting being a bloke. But it’s almost worth it, for the high wages, access to more chances to have a public voice in mainstream media and the higher number of toilets to choose from at outdoor events. I am but a “regular guy” who speaks for the masses, but I live in a nice house in Adelaide’s leafy eastern suburbs and complain a lot about things that make my solitary life a little tricky at times. Although I am a benevolent person and truly feel like I use my platform for helping those less fortunate than mine, I do often forget that simply having a dick, newspaper column and a microphone gives me a position of privilege not afforded many individuals in houses spread across this nation.
It seems that “mummy blogs” are really popular so in order to “cash in” I might write a condecsending, ignorant piece having a go at them without doing any research, nor really thinking about what role they play in our society. I’ll just talk to a few of my arty mates about their prejudices towards women with children and make some grand sweeping assumptions about a sector which plays a vital role in connecting women together. I mean it’s just a light-hearted piece, no harm taken, right?
It seems these mouthy women are trying to talk too much about their ho-hum lives. I looked at a couple of images of women sharing outfit and food shots and decided that was all they talked about. Let’s face it, women are a little vacuous and when the blood comes out of their vagina they really do go on about it. And because they have access to computers and some can afford to stay at home, apparently they are all working in Pru and Trude’s shop in an episode of Kath and Kim.
I’ll just ignore the reality that many of these “mummy blogs” are written by women who work full time, live in regional areas, perhaps raise children alone, suffer from mental illness or live in low socio economic ares. I’ll also ignore the fact that social media is the modern way for women to connect with each other, like the olden days when they would chat across their neighbour’s fence. The phenonomen which is “mummy blogging” means that women from all backgrounds can write, read and converse on a whole range of issues which deeply affect them, without having to worry about the stigma of their local community. It frees women up to share things that in the past they’ve silently endured. The power of voices joining together in solidarity. But I’ll ignore all of that and just focus on the blogs which talk about my most hated segment of the community – the wealthy, because wealthy people do not have problems, do they? Wealthy mothers just breeze through post-natal depression and illness. Except I won’t recognise that women are complex. I wouldn’t really know about any of that because I choose to generalise about an entire sector without doing my homework. I’ll just lump them into the one basket – the “mummy blog” basket. It’s simpler that way, just like mums, simple. Oh and that’s right, I am a man and I will never know the complexities of being a woman in this society, nor will I ever be a mother.
Luckily, I have my platform to sprout my middle-aged, middle class, white male ideas, like so many of my contemporaries. Just open the national broadsheet newspaper and listen to talkback radio and you can learn from the many men like me talking with authority on subjects we know nothing about. I suppose it does get hard to find much more to discuss when you’ve already talked about the hassles of eating at restaurants when kids annoy you or the vulgarities of women breastfeeding while walking through airports or the hardship that comes with having to get up in the morning by yourself and find a decent cup of coffee in this cruel world.
I’d hate to actually spend some time reading some of these offensive vacuous “mummy blogs”. Like this blog post from Edenland talking about the pain of losing someone you love from suicide. She has saved people’s lives. She is also a “mummy blogger”. Then there’s this one about living with anxiety and depression from the sublime wordsmith Anna Spargo-Ryan (she also has kids and is a “mummy blogger”). I’ve even written one which I still get people reaching out to me today about. Women from all over the world connecting with each other, using the channels they have available. Women, some of whom happen to have children and are thus corralled into a little pigeonhole of “mummy blogger” and then systemically torn down by privileged white men on a regular basis for daring to speak up. Just ask Mark Latham.
Gosh, I’m doing a bit of shit job writing this column as a “white, middle class, middle aged, man of privilege”. I imagine it’s because I am a “mummy blogger” (fuck I hate that term). I’m a woman, who has kids. Yes, I am middle class and live in a nice neighbourhood I even had my kids at Burnside Hospital. I was raised by a single mother in a housing trust house and was the first woman in my family to get a university degree and have fought for everything I’ve achieved. I am also pretty aware that if I were to write a column from the perspective of an Indigenous woman or a disabled person or an immigrant that that would not only be highly offensive, but also full of sweeping generalisations, as when men use their position of influence to take a shot at women who blog. And that is what “mummy bloggers” are – we are women who blog.
We are women who are using our voices to be heard. We are women who are writing about issues that you would never understand. We are reaching out to each other at times of vulnerability, times of fear and times of uncertainty and helping each other get through some of our darkest moments. We make our voices heard when we protest against the treatment of asylum seekers or the lack of representation of women in our political system. We also share our love of linen and cake. And for many women they have forged entirely new careers for themselves from blogging, when having children poses huge boundaries to re-entering the workforce. Although, I do not like to attach my parental status to my pursuits, in this case I will proudly stand up and say mummy bloggers play a vital role in this country, and globally, connecting the voices of the marginalised. Helping to put the issues of women back into the public agenda.
We have had enough of being pilloried, particularly by people who have no idea what the fuck they are talking about.
Goodnight Mr Moon wherever you are.
* This column was written in response to a piece of bile written by Adelaide columnist Peter Goers. You can read it here, but I warn you it will make you grumpy.