(photo by Anna Gordon - my day started with breaking my phone so I'm very grateful for this picture!)
I had a fantastic day at Blogfest 2013 on Saturday. I really enjoyed listening to Stella Creasy talk in the opening talk (as did a large number of the audience if you go by the 'Stella for MP tweets going on'. I thought the 'Think Tank' talk with Dr Sue Black, Prof Tanya Byron and Jon Ronson' was fantastic and could have definitely listened to Lionel Shriver for a lot longer.
The Social Media session with Paul Armstrong was amazing as always ( I saw him earlier in the year, his sessions are fantastic). It was so lovely to meet some blogging friends in real life at last such as Rachel (who has great style and posh lip balm) and to catch up with familiar faces. The cabbage for lunch was slightly confusing but the gin cocktails and cake made up for that...
I realised quite quickly that apart from the social media session I would get much for out of hearing the speakers than the classes and am so glad I made that decision. I was left feeling very inspired by the speakers (Tanya Byron in particular).
The day was ended with keynote panel topic '“Can you be a mummy blogger and still be a feminist?” which was a topic I'm sure chosen to be controversial. Discussing the title with most people before hand had largely been met with 'is that even a question'??. As I understand it most of the panel were not and were not used to the genre of 'mummy blogging' and I think maybe had made the assumption that 'mummy blogging' was done primarily by SAHM's.
I guess then the question may have been interpreted by some as 'can you be a stay at home and still a feminist?'. I have to confess before becoming a mum I did wonder how my desire to leave my job, be a stay at home mum who baked cakes and pin-worthy crafts fitted with feminism. To me being a feminist means believing women should have the rights to choose and have the same choices as men. Staying at home with children makes you no less a feminist than someone who has chosen to go back to work at whatever point. I think it was a shame that people in panel and audience were made to feel hurt about their personal choices, I felt maybe this could have been discussed a little better.
For me the idea that the role 'carer' is not as an important a role as career path is what we need to change. A lady from the audience tried to make the point that 'we're the ones with the boobs' which was met with a general murmurs of the breast vs bottle argument. I think what she actually trying to say was that we are biologically designed to carry and sustain children, regardless or how we feed them or when we return to work. Is makes sense that we would blog about pregnancy, birth and family life and it seems odd to consider that by doing so you are somehow not acting like a feminist.
The term 'mummy' and 'mummy blogger' is being used in a condescending way and only goes to perpetuate the idea that being a 'mummy' is somehow not a worthwhile role. Wilf calls me 'mummy' and like Alison rightly said becoming a 'mummy' is the biggest achievement in her life. The word in it's many varieties should be celebrated and respected in my opinion.
My friend Adele puts it much better than me when she states 'I am a feminist because I believe in change and will use all my womanly arts to listen, speak and act to create a world in which my children can grow up safe, confident and strong – regardless of their gender or sexuality'.
p.s my mummy wrote a chapter called 'Feminism, Postmodernism and Difference' in the book 'knowing the difference'
I really enjoyed Blogfest and will certainly be back next year!
Thanks so Medela breastpumps for sponsoring me to attend.