Yesterday I went to Blogfest, a conference organised by the
crazy people from Mumsnet. It was a sleek operation with very interesting speakers. The crowd who attended was a real mix of women, from the entrepreneur blogger to the mummy blogger, more on that in a minute.
I thoroughly enjoyed Paul Armstrong’s Advanced Social Media talk and I shall be using some of the tools he recommended, Sprout and Canva being the ones I can’t wait to get my fingers on. Here is a link to his presentation, if you are interested and, as Paul would say, take pen and paper and draw out your or your brand social media manifesto. Decide what is important and what is time wasting or the alternative is being caught in a loop of social media decisions and interactions, some of which are of no real benefit whatsoever.
Meeting Gemma Regalado-Hawkey and listening to her session was also incredibly interesting. Gemma is a web developer who, unlike many of her peers, is able to talk about code and web layouts without making it sound boring nor complicated. Maybe one day people will finally stop using Comic Sans, who knows. Have a look at this and your eyes will be opened.
Finally, onto the last session of the day, the one that created controversy, women leaving the room in disdain and plenty of social media buzz
for the utter joy of the Mumsnet organisers. The title of the session was ‘Can you be a mummy blogger and still be a feminist?‘ and I’m disappointed to report that the debate led to no answer whatsoever, but a lot of women on women attacks which, all would argue, was a big feminism fail. *sigh*
Charlotte Raven opened the debate by saying that you can’t be a feminist and wear high heels nor make jam. This had half of the audience fired up at the start. Things got worst when the debate moved to the word mummy. Alison Perry made the valid point that this is the actual name that her 3 years old daughter calls her hence a name that she is proud to own and use for her blog and most of the audience seemed to agree with her, but then she was met with a bit of ridicule from the panel. I’m afraid to report that it all quickly degenerated from there.
When Sarah Ditum talked about her life and revealed that she got pregnant at 19 and knew that finishing University was the best way for her to be a good mother as opposed to drop out of education, that was the end of the debate. The audience decided that this was enough.
People took the microphone pre-empting their contributions with sentences such as “Sorry, but I’m fuming at what I heard and…” or “I’m seething at what you just said and I feel like shouting…” or “I have boobs and they were designed to feed babies…” or “I don’t understand anything about feminism, but I am a stay at home mum and a feminist’
Oh no, it was bad. It was really bad. It became a cliche story of women attacking other women’s choices without listening to the other person first. Sarah Ditum was branded as the one who stated that educated women are better mums – she never did say that – and Stay At Home Mums who make some money from reviews on their blogs felt as if they were under attack. Thank God the ‘boobs / breastfeeding comment’ was not explored because I am sure that the women who could not breastfeed or chose not to were ready to open that can of worms too, had they had the chance.
What a disaster! It was a highly charged affair. Feminism lost and women reverted to what men describe us as, that is to say emotional, irrational, excitable, impulsive and all the other adjectives that often mean that a man is chosen for the job instead (and gets paid more)! *sigh*
Thank God for Jo Brand who took to the stage, defused the atmosphere and cracked this brilliant joke at the start of her contribution: “I believe that humour is the best way to deal with bad health issues, unless the problem is impotency”. She went on making us laugh and encouraging women to work together and make themselves heard.
If only we could just listen to each other…