Part III: Meta-mommyblogging
The folks at Blogher lately asked about the term "Mommyblogging"—what it means, who does it, whether the term is pejorative, etc. Other bloggers have jumped into the breach, and even though I haven't given this issue half the thought others have, I thought I'd weigh in.
Sweetney asks these questions:
• In your view, what's a mommy blogger?
• Is it a genre with very specific characteristics? or simply a term meaning “someone who has spat forth humanity that has a blog”?
I'm not even going to try to define "mommyblogging." Mamaloo does so here, and I'm happy to run with that definition. I particularly like these musings of hers:
Like the punks in the early 70's who used the tools of mainstream music to create a new sound that better reflected their reality and gave voice to the otherwise powerless, so mothers who blog use the tools created by the technological elite to give a voice to themselves, otherwise confined behind the doors of their homes.
Of course, as a mother who blogs, I appreciate the thought that I'm cutting-edge—nay, a revolutionary—rather than someone who has become so single-minded that she writes as if she and her child are the center of the universe.
For me, the importance of mommyblogging is twofold:
First, it makes women's work visible. Through mommyblogs, we learn about the sheer amount of physical and emotional labor it takes to raise a child.
Second, it enables solidarity among potentially isolated mothers. Simple interfaces such as Blogger make it possible for just about anyone with a computer and Internet access to publish his or her thoughts, and mothers are taking advantage of this development to form networks with like-minded mothers. These networks are frequently manifested in each mommyblogger's blogroll. Thus we have communities of mothers of children with Down syndrome or who face or have faced other special challenges in raising their children. There are Christian moms who place mothering at the center of their lives and feminist moms who blog about a number of interests, including motherhood, and who would probably resent being called "mommybloggers"—so I won't label them as such. There are moms who have struggled with infertility and women who desperately want to be mothers who write about their dilemmas with an acute blend of wit, strength, and sadness. Single moms, widowed moms, academic moms—some are all three—write poignantly about their experiences. (Explore my blogroll if you're looking for some great blogs by professor and grad student moms.)
Most of these mothers' experiences (thankfully, in some cases) are not kin to my own. However, through their blogs, I do feel connected to them, even to moms whose philosophies are almost diametrically opposed to my own. I'm grateful for their posts, as they help me to refine my own thinking as a new mom.
None of this addresses directly the issue raised on BlogHer: should we embrace or repudiate the term "mommyblogger"? I don't know, but I'm tempted to embrace it in much the same fashion that the gay community embraced "queer." Just as "queer" encompasses diverse perspectives (albeit most with a leftist political leaning), "mommyblogging" allows for the identification of a community of people whose voice may be ascendant.
Am I a mommyblogger? I suppose so. But I'm also a dozen other kinds of bloggers, just as a queer woman is not only queer.