Look how far we’ve comeBy Cate Bolt | Jun 01, 12 08:15 AM
Does the term ‘Mummy Blogger’ make anyone else want to vomit?
If you’re a woman and you’ve ever started a business you’ve probably heard the words “how’s your little business going?” from a friend or family member. I’m going to put it out there that those are not words that would normally be said to a man. No matter how “little” his “business” is.
Around 13 years ago I started a “little business” from home. It was an accident. Not at all well planned at the time but when I sold it a few years ago it was the largest retailer of wedding goods in the country. I remember being hell bent on opening a bricks and mortar outlet specifically so I could finally be taken seriously. Didn’t matter how much money I was making or how many staff I employed, when I attended a trade fair and said “home based business” and was a woman, people shuffled the rate cards and handed me the ones for “cottage industry”.
Fortunately the way home based businesses are perceived has shifted slightly in the last decade. But I don’t think the way women (particularly, mothers) are perceived has changed much at all.
This week another article was published on the “Rise of the Mummy Bloggers” it featured my good friend Eden Riley and the hilariously funny (and incredibly astute) Mrs Woog. The gist of the story is that some women, who happen to have children, have been paid to write some things! Hold the f**king press!! Women? Mothers? Write stuff for money? Do they have typewriters in their kitchens?
I’m not going to go into a rant about how stupid and degrading I find the term “Mummy Blogger” (it’s stupid and degrading) but I am gobsmacked at the concept of women who happen to be mothers, earning some income, doing something they enjoy being newsworthy.
I’m also not going to go on about blog monetisation being the downfall of the “new media” – seriously, if you want to monetise your blog – go the hell for it, man. I probably won’t read your sponsored posts because I don’t care about what you’re flogging, I actually care about YOU.
What irks me is that the article doesn’t mention anything about social good.
“Oh Cate, you know no one gives a shit about that hippie-tree-hugging-shit you’re always on about” I hear you shout. “That’s not what sells newspapers, Cate”. And believe me, I know! I used to be a magazine editor, remember? I used to write the bits that were only there to fill the space between the ads. But when I posted an interview I did with the band Korn 15 YEARS AGO on Facebook a while ago, at least three people (who I didn’t know 15 years ago) said they remembered it.
“It was stuff like this that made my life in Bundaberg bearable!” said one.
And *that’s* what I’m talking about. No one remembers the ads. But people remember what it took to get them through.
This newspaper article chose to mention that Eden was a recovering alcoholic, BUT it didn’t choose to mention that she travelled to Niger, Africa to cover the impending famine for World Vision. It didn’t mention that because of her blogging dozens of children were sponsored through World Vision. It doesn’t mention that she now shares her marital bed with the ghosts of starving children that she doesn’t ever get to forget. It doesn’t mention her frustration of not being able to fix the problem, or to even see firsthand the impact her blogging journey had on Africa. It doesn’t mention that every time Eden Riley mentions my Foundation 18 donations instantly appear and children’s lives are saved.
The story is not the ads. It’s not the money. The story is the lifesaving impact that blogging has on the entire world. The willingness of women (particularly, but not exclusively) to bare their souls for the benefit of others. If women making money is newsworthy then seriously, look how far we’ve come.
Every day someone, somewhere, is being touched by the words of a stranger. My good friend Amanda Cox has touched women suffering from post natal depression. I’ve no doubt that she’s saved lives. Mrs Woog shares her stories about her Princess Boy who wears pink and does ballet. Mothers cry with relief that someone else out there “gets it”. Eden herself got to where she is by sharing her battles with fertility, addiction and her husband’s cancer. Lori Dwyer’s brutally honest accounts of her husband’s suicide left people raw with emotion – but I know people thought twice about taking their own lives after reading them.
I don’t know what it takes to shift the focus. Maybe we need to put a dollar figure on the lives saved or what it would cost the public purse to pay for the effects of drug and alcohol addiction or – ultimately – suicide of people who feel they have nowhere else to turn. Maybe, I don’t know. Maybe it can’t be done.
What I do know is – it’s not about the money. These women with their blogs… their “little businesses” are in the business of saving lives – and that’s worth writing about.
Cate Bolt is a mother of 9, writer, humanitarian & social activist. She is dedicated to improving the lives of others through compassion, fundraising, awareness and by motivating others to take action.
She is the President & Founder of Project 18 which exists to raise funds for humanitarian and conservation projects, the first of which was an orphanage in Bali, which is now operational.
This post was originally posted on Cate's blog An Ordinary Life.