The word ‘blog’ is small and ugly. A bit silly, even. It sounds like something that might come out of your nose. Or excrement.
Heather Armstrong, who began her Dooce blog in 2001 and who died this week at just 47 would have been the first person to agree. Because Heather was never precious about what she did. That was her great gift to us. She taught a generation of women like me that if you were honest and vulnerable about your life, you could make other women feel normal. Not just normal but good about the fact that raising children and being a wife and woman in the world is bloody hard and often funny and always exhausting and sometimes incredible.
Through her blog, Heather taught me the value of sharing incredibly personal, complicated things and that out there someone has a wound in the shape of your words. She taught me that the sanitised way the world packages up what it looks like to be a mother is bullshit and a trap.
She taught me that even at the bleakest times – and especially then – there can be laughter.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. You may not have heard of Heather or Dooce and you may not understand why her death feels like such a gut-punch to the millions of women whose lives Heather impacted without her ever knowing us.
So it feels important to explain why she mattered so much, despite the tragedy of her life ending far too early at just 47.
Blog may be an objectively ridiculous word but it changed my life and it’s responsible not just for Mamamia, the media company that began as a blog in 2008, but for an entire wave of feminism.