In case you’re unfamiliar with the trend known as “mommy blogging”, it’s, well, mothers blogging about being mothers and whatever else in their lives (or interests) they care to talk about. These blogs vary quite a lot, and I want to be clear on that. Some of the “moms” are slick corporate-backed celebrities being written by committee. Some are just ordinary people who started an engaging blog and found an audience. It seems to me the vast majority are upper-middle-class and white.
Many people find mommy blogging a rather vapid and self-obsessed trend – but that’s the usual reaction whenever women do something for themselves that men haven’t sanctioned. Mommy blogging may also be the first time in history that any type of mother has exposed her life and thoughts through her own publicity for her own purposes. And finally, marketers are realizing that moms have money. That they spend. On stuff they decided to purchase. Like, ohmygod, not all purchases are made by 18-25 year old males! So there’s definitely something egalitarian and potentially women-advancing going on within this trend.
That said, CNN wonders if there is one thing in particular very wrong with it. They talk about a very well-known mommy blogger, Heather Armstrong, who’s been blogging about post-partum depression and her experiences raising her children in intimate detail. That’s an example of what can be awesome in these blogs: how many women suffering post-partum depression and/or wondering if any other mothers have these embarrassing or very private problems they’re experiencing with raising their kids can benefit from reading about similar stuff at a stranger’s blog? The problem is: it seems Armstrong’s older daughter, Leta, no longer wants to be photographed or written about in her mom’s blog. You see, her real name and photographs have been used from the beginning on Armstrong’s blog.
Which begs the question: if she was too young to consent to being part of the blog when her mom first started writing about her, was writing about her in the first place wrong? Maybe. But it’s really interesting to see hand-wringing about this while we’re still waiting to hear whether Larry Rivers’ daughters will get possession of the naked videos he verbally bullied them into making while they were too young to consent. Man videotapes naked daughters while emotionally abusing them: he’s a tad confused. Woman writes about daughter under real name with dressed photos: bitch!
And, surely, Leta is not alone. A whole mini-generation of kids provided fodder for their parents’ parenting blogs, and, in the case of the Armstrongs, those intimate confessions enabled their parents to have a very generous income. Recently, the family moved into a big new home. Their office remodel will be sponsored by Verizon.
What do you think? I think in hindsight Armstrong definitely should have made her kids somehow anonymous, but male politicians have been putting their kids in commercials for years, and CNN didn’t get upset about that. It bothers me. I’d like to see the end of parents using their kids for publicity, but it feels like CNN might only be concerned when mothers do it.