I apologize in advance for this small rant of mine. It is a little thing. An issue that is just nagging at the back of my brain like a itch begging for a scratch and so I clearly have to scratch it today, right now. This itch is a bit about me, but more so about business and professionalism and the spaces in which we use words to define us and label us. See right now, this itchy thing is threatening to become a full blown rash and I swear I know full well that is TMI and way more than you needed to know dear reader, but I can’t. I cannot. I really can’t ignore a moment longer. The itch started when I saw the word Mommy Bloggers this week written on a brand campaign many have seen by now and it’s distracting me from my job today.
What’s in a phrase? Or a word? Or a term? Well, a lot actually. Words can build us up or tear us down. There are many words I cringe at and will not use. There are some I reframe and use as little springboards to launch into a learning moment. The R word contains some history and cruelty and I reject it. It demeans people with disabilities and differences. I wish that word had never existed. My kids know my feelings on the R word and they have a unique insight into why I don’t use that word here. In this safe space, everyone has abilities and differences and nobody should be put down or made to feel less than someone else. Together, when we hear someone use the R word as slang and we are out in public, we sometimes rephrase – “do you mean to say X?” Or we remind each other afterwards why we don’t use that word. It is mean and hurtful. There are other racially charged words we each know never to use in this house.
What does any of that have to do with Mommy Bloggers as a term? Well, I think we can all agree words have meaning. They are our basic units of communication. They are also how I build stories and make a living. Words are how we tell someone No or Stop. Words can be weapons. They can be powerful or weak, meaningful, or insignificant, small bridges between other words. They are hopeful balloons in our chest radiating feelings. Alternatively sometimes words are our anchors. They are beautiful and sad, heavy and light. They are flowery sometimes when we are painting a romance and tender, we hope, when we recognize love. They are abusive too often, misused at times and even clumsy. Words are hopeful, helpful, wise and unwise. They convey accents, sometimes ancestry and sometimes social status and education.
I am not judging anyone who doesn’t care about labels or words. I do. I care a lot about words. I have deep respect for bloggers. I am a blogger. But when I hear the term Mommy Blogger lately I get irritated and itchy. I tried it on a few times today and wondered why it bothers me so suddenly. I never used to really pay attention to it or care. And yet today I find myself holding the term up and turning it over in my hand like a book. If you as a blogger identify yourself as that and own the label as something you are comfortable with that is your business. But this is my take: To me, the term Mommy Bloggers is patronizing. It is used by a public relations professional or a marketing person or business person to keep women bloggers in a tidy little box. It is cutesy, a bit overly familiar and unprofessional in tone. Mommy is what I am to my kids and I fought hard to become that and they can call me Mom, Mommy, Mama, or Momma. It is their word and in their context I become that word. Mommy belongs to them. But in the context of what is a professional relationship as a writer, a marketing consultant, an editor, photographer, reviewer, influencer, chef, stylist, publisher and business person, I am not a Mommy anything. And in fact today this is my litmus test of whether this is an okay term: when was the last time you heard someone refer to Daddy bloggers? It’s Dad bloggers, or bloggers when men are concerned.
I bring to writing and all things job related my experience as a Mom, but I am a writer, a marketer, a consultant, editor. You can call me Paula, you can call me journalist, writer, blogger, business person or perhaps even friend. You may address me by name. YOU may not call me mommy blogger.
What are your thoughts? Is this just semantics or does the phrase mommy bloggers matter?