More than just Mommy Bloggers

Posted: July 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

“The Radical Act of ‘mommy blogging’: redefining motherhood through the blogosphere” is an article written by Lori Kido Lopez who examines the position of a ‘mommy blogger.’ Within her article, Lopez discusses the ways in which women are patronized and criticized for blogging about their everyday lives and experiences. In particular, Lopez focuses on a debate that occurred during the 2005 BlogHer Conference in San Jose, California. During this conference statements were made that inferred that ‘mommy bloggers’ – or women who blog about their children, husbands, and life as a mom, were being criticized and condescended for their work. As a result, blogger Alice Bradley reacted by stating that mommy blogging is in fact radical which spurred a lot of controversy for the next conference in 2006.

Throughout her article, Lopez expands on this idea of mommy bloggers as women who are capable of creating radical changes. She does so by discussing the impact mommy bloggers have on the blogosphere, as they make up for 36% of women and 16% of men who focus on family type experiences out of 133 million existing blogs. Lopez also discusses the ways mommy bloggers are portrayed as powerful consumers within society that advertisers seek in order to advertise their products. These women are acknowledged as being so influential by advertisers, that they are able to make livings off of their blogs just by advertising certain products mothers may find helpful. Lopez also distinguishes how mommy bloggers create change as they produce powerful communities which enable women to reach out and support one another through relatable experiences.

Overall, I believe Lopez’s work challenges the social discourse within our society today in two ways. To begin, dominant discourse insinuates that the cyber world is male dominated in terms of who uses it and who produces it. However, Lopez indicates that male and female bloggers are essentially equally present within online blogging. In particular, Lopez challenges the “public/private dichotomy” in which motherhood is seen as part of the private/domestic sphere, while the public sphere is male inhabited, consists of the working world, politics, economics, law and women desire to be a part of this sphere. However, women including mommy bloggers challenge this public/private dichotomy as they make their personal matters into political ones by blogging online for the world to read and relate to, essentially contributing to the public sphere. These women are challenging social discourse that suggests that women are not a part of the internet and often seen as invisible.

Another way in which mommy bloggers challenge social discourse is through the material they blog about. Lopez states that mommy bloggers “challenge and reinterpret representations of motherhood.” Ultimately, these women challenge the everyday social discourse that mothers have to fit an ideal role – Lopez uses authors Douglas and Michaels (2004) term of “new momism.” This is the concept that women remain the best primary caretaker and must devote their entire physical, emotional and intellectual being, 24/7 to their children. Mommy bloggers bring out the realities of being a mother, “creating a different picture of motherhood to what we see in mainstream media,” thus challenging the dominant discourse within society.

Personally, I love and encourage the ways these women challenge the representations of motherhood. While writing this analysis I visited some mommy blogs and was intrigued by what I saw. These blogs contain stories of everyday, real mothers who endure the stress, difficulties and happiness that is experienced by most mothers. They break down the false fairy tale image that is supposed to be motherhood, and replace it with real struggles that other mothers would relate to, and probably won’t feel as bad about after knowing they’re not the only ones who feel this way. In particular, I visited Motherhood, WTF? whose personal message outwardly states “I’ve learned that motherhood is a series of shocks and disappointments, disgusting things under my fingernails, horrifying smells and constant irritation. I’m the mom who will make you feel better about your parenting.” I found this mother’s blog extremely interesting and continued reading through various posts.

Ultimately, after reading this post, I ask readers: do you think mommy bloggers are radical activists and are capable of radical change? Would you take pride in being called a ‘mommy blogger,’ or do you find it condescending?
In answering that question I found a blog that helped me, take a look:

http://www.baby-mac.com/2012/04/radical-act.html

– Amber Kandola

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