Mumsnet blogfest 2013 why I walked out

Mumsnet blogfestSaturday was the Mumsnet blogfest. It was going so smoothly, there were fantastic speakers, great discussions, lots of through provoking content.  True to Mumsnet there had to be something to ruffle tempers.

Here’s the “winning” formula: Let’s take a  panel with very diverse views,  have a chair person who didn’t quite read her brief, and try to pitch two, non-exclusive, terms, namely mummy blogging and feminism, against each other.

Are the two really diametrically opposed?

Of course not!

Unless you allow both to have a very narrow-minded definition:

Mummy bloggers are all stay at home mums who make jam.

Feminists are all hairy-legged, bad hair do women always wearing flat shoes.

As soon as these definitions were, by default, accepted the debate became pointless.  The audience got more and more polarised. All decorum of the great day thus far was quickly evaporating.  We were treated to a demeaning debate about jam making, wearing high heels, commercialising our family lives.

I had had enough of the narrow-minded debate that ensued. I voted with my feet. I walked out. (I’m surprised more people didn’t vote with their feet.)

I am fed up with the term mummy blogger being used as a demunitive definition, to tarnish us all with that brush. We are as different as flowers in a wildflower meadow. Stop using the term mummy blogger to capture headlines and emotions!

This was such a fantastic opportunity missed! We had intelligent women from all walks of life in the audience and in the panel.

How I imagined the debate:

Mummy bloggers (i.e. mothers who blog, who have a voice and use it to share their views, their experience on a chosen platform) and Feminists, (women, and possibly men, who believe that, aside from the obvious anatomical differences, men and women are equal) debate about women’s rights, women’s standing in society.

I would loved to have had the debate unfold about how women, mothers, who blog, work in or outside the home can use their voice to promote a healthy feminist view, equality in the workplace and in the home.

Instead of pursuing the wider debate though, I’d like to ask, what the panel possibly really wanted to address:

Can a stay at home mum be a feminist?

 I reckon yes, with a caveat. I also asked Dadonthebrink, my eternal sounding board.  He said yes.

What do you think?

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  1. Becky says:

    Mummy blogger? Are dads called daddy bloggers? Or just bloggers?
    Becky recently posted…Why Peaches Geldof is my new hero!My Profile

    • Mumonthebrink says:

      Good point! I think, if they cover family topics they are daddy bloggers.

  2. YES! Of course. I can’t believe there would be a debate about that. A feminist is someone who believes in equality between genders. Being a mother and blogger is not mutually exclusive to being a feminist.
    I probably would have voted with my foot too.
    Elizabeth @ Rosalilium recently posted…Hometown (a day trip to London)My Profile

    • Mumonthebrink says:

      I think they got their wires crossed and really did want to debate SAHM vs feminist, but didn’t dare to put that on the agenda. ;-)

  3. Chelle says:

    I think the whole labelling that is stated before the word blogger should go. The sex of a person, having kids or not, a stay at home parent, or work out, make jam or wear high heels while breastfeeding etc etc should not matter! It only makes it easier to judge on someone. Like when I would write my view on a certain perenting thing that nakes sense there will be people who’ll judge my view and use ‘she is not a mum’ as the excuse to judge no matter how valid my point in the post is.
    What matters is the blog content not the blogger and his/her status in life.
    Chelle recently posted…Mexican Corn SoupMy Profile

  4. I’m a feminist. I’m also a stay-at-home-parent. Okay, yes, I have a bit of paid work but on the whole I do not get paid for work. Why one parent in a two-parent family becomes a stay-at-home parent is complex and personal. A fundamental belief in gender equality doesn’t disappear just because you no longer have a personal income.
    Anne-Marie recently posted…Eleven ElevenMy Profile

  5. I worked from home a lot – but not all – of the time while my three children (now 22, 20 and 18) were growing up; however, as I was working remotely in a professional management role for an online company for up to 40 hours a week from home, I was a essentially a hybrid – a “working SAHM”. So I agree with you completely that we don’t need to polarise and divide the roles and beliefs of women. Each of us may have different personal circumstances and different personal ideals, yet when it comes to blogging, we are all writers who are sharing our individual stories of being women in the 21st century. Surely that is all that matters?
    SquareSparrow recently posted…A chocolate tour of Edinburgh – the stuff of (sweet) dreams…My Profile

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