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.
I feel good right now, so I’m not going to read the article, but every time I traditional journos screaming about bloggers (mummy or not) it just reeks of “Oh shit my job is nearly obsolete but I don’t want to upskill and work in the way the world is going!”
Oh no! Another privileged white man has told me I’m irrelevant because I have children.
That’s just as helpful as telling him he’s irrelevant because he has a dick.
Of course, instead of doing some cursory and lazy “research”, and lamenting about “mummy bloggers” ruining the world for talking about cake and kids and periods and you know, life and news and all those other irrelevancies, he could get with the program, realise what decade we are in, and embrace the new media.
But it is easier to use his platform to denigrate and uplift. Why should he get with the program? He’s already the winner.
What an arsehat.
PS – I love you Bianca.
As soon as I saw the title of this piece I knew who you were referring to Bianca! I read his piece this morning (which I normally don’t because I can’t stand his column) and I was equally outraged. What an absolute wanker who has no idea about what he is writing. The mummy bloggers that he was referring to are very rare and are certainly the ones which I don’t follow. There are so many brilliant writers who have built fabulous communities and who offer so much more than he could even comprehend.
Thank you for writing so eloquently what I wanted to write myself xx
Crushing hard on this piece! I actually thought it must have been in reference to Mark Latham saying something dim again, so I’m looking forward to reading the piece you’ve linked. In the same way that I look forward to root canal. #mummybloggers4eva
DA FUQ DID I JUST READ?
I’m disappointed there was not one single mention of cricket. Well done besides. 😉
I’m kinda glad I can’t access the link being overseas and not a premium subscriber, I take that as a favour the universe is paying me.
I never really understood how irrelevant society holds the role woman play as mothers, until I became one. Couple that with the layers of guilt that come from not doing it ‘right’, not enjoying it like you assume you are meant to, not being able to sustain the zen parenting state you always envisaged you would just naturally slip into – there is just a shit load of weight that comes with that thoroughly unhealthy combination.
So THANK GOD for the women who strip back the bullshit and offer words of wisdom and support and guiding light to make the rest of us know that we’re not walking a lonely path, we’re not complete failures at this task that we once thought would come innately, and we’re not defined solely by this role we’re undertaken.
I don’t care who rubbishes the service all you wonderful women provide in sharing these words – may they never stop because they have saved me many many times from walking into the sea and not turning around! (Not literally…. okay maybe nearly literally)
Not sure what was worse his appalling writing or stunning ignorance.
I had to stop reading when I got to his snipe about adhd, it made me want to drive to Adelaide and kick him.
Brilliant words, love the words grand assumptions as that is what my husband does all the time. It’s ingrained in his genes x
Thanks for the incisive parody
And thank you for reading and your feedback.
This is gold! How could you possibly stop writing a blog, with writing like this?