BlogHer '06 Session Discussion: MommyBlogging is a Radical Act! on Day Two

BlogHer Original Post

4th in our series introducing you to each of our BlogHer Conference '06 sessions and their speakers, and finding out what you would like to get from each session. Today, I bring you:

Day Two: MommyBlogging is a Radical Act

Last year Alice Bradley brought the house down declaring MommyBlogging a "radical act." Now, she returns in a discussion with Tracey from Sweetney and Mir from Woulda Coulda Shoulda on what that means. Far from receding, this issue continues to resonate on- and off-line. Can you say "MommyWars"? Well, plenty of moms wish you wouldn't!

So, what's the back story here? I'm sure Alice and Tracey and Mir will pipe in with their own perspective, so I will only tell you mine. During last year's closing session of BlogHer an attendee told her fellow attendees that if they "stopped blogging about themselves they could change the world." When I heard that I interpreted it to be directed at all of us who blog about our lives and the events therein big and small, but some (maybe most) of the MommyBloggers in the room felt the remark was directed at them. Seems that more than a few MommyBloggers felt there was a distinction being drawn by some other bloggers between people blogging about "important" stuff, and people "just" blogging about their feelings, their families and the joys and struggles of parenting.

And they didn't like it at all.

[img_assist|fid=365|thumb=1|alt=Alice Bradley]
So Alice Bradley (aka finslippy) held up her hand, waited patiently until we got a microphone to her, stood up and said loud and clear: "MommyBlogging is a radical act!" adding something to the effect of "As marginalized as women bloggers are or feel they are, MommyBloggers are perhaps even more marginalized." With the benefit of time and space Alice adds this thought:

We readers and authors of parenting blogs are looking for a representation of authentic experience that we're not getting elsewhere. We sure as hell aren't getting it from the parenting magazines. If you want to find out how to make nutritious muffins that look like kitty cats, you can read those. But a parenting magazine will never help you feel less alone, less stupid, less ridiculous. This is the service I think parenting blogs provide-we share our lopsided, slightly hysterical, often exaggerated but more or less authentic experiences. If one blogger writes about, say, her bad behavior at the doctor's office, then maybe at some point, some freaked-out new mother is going to read that and feel a little better-less stupid, less ridiculous-about her own breakdown at the pediatrician's.

Tracey from Sweetney was one of many moms to carry on the conversation at her blog. About MommyBlogging. About the word "MommyBlogging". About identity and the power of words and the community of parenting bloggers. Check out the the thoughtful comments she got to the above post in reply to these questions:

* in your view, what's a mommy blogger? (hey blogher folks! remember this?!)
* is it a genre with very specific characteristics? or simply a term meaning "someone who has spat forth humanity that has a blog"?
* who would you place in this category, as an example?
* and finally: am i a mommyblogger?

Mir from Woulda Coulda Shoulda comes from a slightly different perspective. She's a single mom who's a lot more private about the public (and radical) act of MommyBlogging. No pictures of her or the kids, no full real names. But she's been at this for exactly two years...longer than most...and those two years have seen her through a lot of radical changes. Through it all she has blogged it.

We non-mommies might see the MommyBloggers as being full of power these days. Everywhere we go we trip over articles about them and businesses devoted to them and opportunities for them.

And then a book like The Mommy Wars or Caitlin Flanagan's latest re-ignites the discussion and makes it clear: it's not that simple, and it's not that easy to put us all in a neat little box.

So, we see a lot to talk about in this session. But what do you think? What do you want to learn? What do you want to hear? What do you never want to hear again? What would make you attend this session?

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