We lost another ‘Mummy Blogger‘ this week.
The Notorious MUM, a mother from Perth with around 12,000 Facebook followers announced that she was going to stop writing, because she couldn’t stand the hate. The judgement. The abuse.
What kind of controversial things did The Notorious MUM write about? Things like her son having a tanty at a party. Things like grumpy older people hissing at ‘noisy’ children in cafes. Things like how to make friends when you’re an isolated new mum.
Yes, as you can see, deeply provocative, intense topics.
If you have heard of The Notorious MUM, it will probably be from a time last year when she wrote a post that was critical of Australia’s most famous ‘Mummy Blogger’, Constance Hall. She wrote about how she wasn’t a ‘Queen’ and it blew up into what we like to call a media storm. Constance’s followers ‘attacked’. It made the front page of news.com and The Daily Mail and became part of the inspiration for my novel, The Mummy Bloggers (which is, it must be emphasised, a novel, and in no way based on either of these writers).
Listen: Holly Wainwright discusses how The Mummy Bloggers was created with Mia Freedman on this week’s No Filter. (Post continues…)
But generally, The Notorious MUM was anything but, writing benignly about the realities of life with small children. Until now.
Women online are under fire. This is nothing new. Female writers have always taken the lions’ share of the foul abuse that pours from the fingers of the inappropriately-named ‘trolls’. Abuse that only serves one purpose – to try to get them to sit down and shut up.
For more about the hate mothers face online, click here.
To see Constance Hall’s pitch-perfect parody of Beyonce’s twins picture, click here.
And although the abuse that comes at the ‘mummy bloggers’ is from a different source (overwhelmingly, other women), it serves exactly the same purpose – to shut them down, to shut them up, to stop women from sharing.
Why? Why have we given women writers this patronising, infantilising tag (there should really only be a few people on the planet who get to call you ‘mummy’, and ideally, you’ve given birth to them) if they’re really so dangerous that they need to be silenced?
They mustn’t. The first story that I ever wrote online that got any level of feedback was one about the silence surrounding miscarriage. This is not uncommon. Whenever you speak the unspoken about women’s lives, they will connect with you. And it has made them powerful.
Constance Hall has a best-selling book, a sell-out line of merchandise that includes ‘Mum tum’ skirts and pants and has just been on a speaking tour of the UK and Ireland where women lined up to get ‘crown’ tattoos in the lobby.
Sophie Cachia, who has shrugged off the ‘mummy blogger’ label to become a bona-fide media personality, has her own clothing line, is on the cover of magazines, and is a headline speaker at events like Nine To Thrive, encouraging women in business.
And behind those marquee bloggers, there's a long line of women whose names you don't know. Women who are writing about the small truths of their lives. Truths that connect with yours. Tiny moments in busy lives that make us all feel less alone.
It might make you feel better to "shout" down someone after your crappy day, but consider this - when we've silenced every woman with something to say, what will fill the silence?
Do you follow 'Mummy Bloggers' online? Who are your favourites?