Don’t call anyone a Mummy Blogger, ok?
Sorry, but I am Team Constance Hall on this one. Hi there dear readers. There’s currently a bit of a blogs-that-are-written-by-people-who-also-happen-to-be-mothers war going on. Actually, I think the one thing all the players have in common is that they all hate the terms mummy blogger and mumpreneur. And rightly so, because: naff as fuck.
The Notorious MUM vs Constance Hall.
Apparently The Notorious MUM wrote a blog post about Constance Hall. Some of Hall’s followers screen-shotted the post and sent it to her and she had a panic attack over it and named The Notorious Mum in her comments section and because Hall has about a million followers there ensued the worst kind of viral pile on on the NM’s page (since deleted). Now first and foremost, that is not okay!! Viral pile-ons and personal insults and demeaning and degrading someone for having an opinion – that shit is BULLSHIT. It’s ugly, it’s awful, I genuinely feel sorry for the NM that she had to endure that.
Mamamia.com.au has written about it, Em Rusciano has waded in (brave), however your dear Boss Fox is but a minnow in this ocean of famous blogs and bloggers. These are big names, in Perth, in Australia and in Hall’s case, in the world. At first I thought, nahhh, stay out of this- like who am I anyway? There are too many Real Housewives episodes to catch up on to get bothered about this and anyway I’m busy having anxiety about the fact someone thought I looked fat enough to be pregnant.
My two cents.
BUT. After having read the Notorious MUM’s post, thoughts about it kept circulating in my head. And so out they must come, and after all, who the fuck am I anyway? No newspaper will be adding in my 2 cents. But for what it’s worth here is my take, which will be strictly restricted to a measured critique of the blog post in question. Just as the Notorious MUM claimed that right for herself re: Hall, I in turn claim that right for myself re: the Notorious MUM.
So. Her words are bolded, mine are not.
And we begin the post in question.
Now look: I love a good bandwagon as much as the next person. Probably MORE than the next person. I’ve always thought that I’d be the likeliest candidate to join a cult, such is my need to jump on said bandwagon. And I’ve come close, a few times; I was a mod and a Buddhist and a Brosette and even – for a few ill-fated years – a vegetarian. If Charles Manson had driven past one day – when I was young and impressionable and lacking in quality companionship – and said, “Hey little lady, sharpen your knives and jump on board,” I’d have offered to fucking drive.
Pete Evans and his mad, staring eyes? I’d have fallen at his withered, paleolithic feet, if he’d offered me some kale and camaraderie. And, if Constance Hall had been around a decade ago, when I moved back to Perth from London with my three-month-old son and soul-gnawing loneliness, I’d have woven my floral crown and had “like a queen” tattooed across my fucking forehead before I’d even got the kid vaccinated.
So far, so measured, and positive, and empathetic.
Because I get it. I get what it is to want to belong.
I understand the human need to find your gang, your tribe, your people, your place.
I know how fucking lonely motherhood can be, and how finding just one likeminded soul can give you a reason to get up in the morning. To find a whole gang of likeminded mothers, all struggling to make sense of this new, unscripted role, and to know that they’re there to lift you up and say KEEP GOING, YOU’RE DOING GOOD, is not to be underestimated. Constance Hall and her many queens offer a fucking lifeline. They are a good thing. They are an important thing.
But they are not my thing.
No problem with this. This truly is 100% ok.
Because I am not a queen.
Yep, actually, me neither.
And I have reservations about the whole queen thing, truth be told. Maybe it’s because I’m older/wiser/look ridiculous in a flower tiara.
Maybe it’s because I’ve already found my tribe – a gang of women, some of whom I’ve never actually met in person, and know only by Facebook profile pictures and sassy online comments. These chicks are smart. They are wise. They are fucking funny. We talk about Netflix and Botox and wine and Top Gun and life-sized stuffed rabbits and wine and teenagers with iPhones and toddlers with swearing tendencies and job aspirations and cleaning products and wine.
I love this. This is what I aspire to, it’s brilliant.
Call us prudish, but we emphatically don’t share the intimate details or our relationships, nor nude selfies. I love these chicks, but I don’t want to see their wobbly bits.
Ummm…okayyyyy, I’m starting to feel uneasy…but, okayyyyy…
I consulted my gang before I wrote this post – asked them what they thought being a queen entailed. Some of them consider themselves to be queens, and that’s cool, we can work with that. Some of them are jaded with the queen thing. Most of them love the premise of being a queen – SUPPORT EACH OTHER – but are wary about the cult-like, hero-worship aspect of queendom. One thought we were talking about Queen Elizabeth II, and got pretty fucking confused. Another lives in America, and spent her day – our night – sending messages entitled WHO THE FUCK IS CONSTANCE HALL, until she thought it was a tremendous in-joke at her expense, and told us all to go fuck ourselves.
I can appreciate the call to populace as rhetoric (I polled people and we agreed on something therefore that something is true)…but it’s a logical fallacy. Like, I appreciate that your sample of like-minded individuals worry about hero-worship when it comes to the queening movement, but that doesn’t mean it’s a fact that a million different women are blindly following someone in a cult-like fashion. Again, ok though- just your opinion. I am not being snarky, that is all good. But you have capitalised “who the fuck is Constance Hall” which looks to me as if you are projecting a little? And it’s all starting to sound a bit aggressive, and remember – you are claiming a measured critique.
But! Here’s the gist of what we came up with: hero worshipping makes us nervous. Yeah, support each other. Be there for each other. Love each other, stand up for each and fight for each other – but don’t elevate one queen to a higher status than the others.
Are they doing that? Show me examples; link to something. Seriously.
That shit makes us nervous, ‘cos humans are, y’know, human, with flaws and foibles and ill-founded theories based on nothing but speculation and guesswork and Facebook likes. None of us really know what we’re doing, except maybe Maggie Dent, and I’m even wary of her since she told me that Ben might benefit from kinesiology. We’re all making it up as we go along, and I think that’s probably the best way to do it. Dance to the beat of your own drum, not someone else’s.
Love this. So true. But I’m here to say I think Hall propagates this message too?
Then there’s idea of motherhood as a form of oppression. Um, guys? It’s not. It’s one of the toughest gigs in the whole world, but it’s not a patch on being shackled to a radiator in a basement and being made to breed on demand. THAT’s oppression. Most of us willingly chose this gig. We chose our roles, and we chose our life partners. And while I KNOW I complain and bitch and moan and whinge, I’m forever fucking grateful for what I’ve got. Yes, my husband has an Ebay addiction and leaves the murky water in the sink after he’s washed the dishes, but I still really fucking like him.
Sorry, but the premise here is super faulty. You have characterised Hall’s portrayal of motherhood as being that of a form of oppression. I just would not come to the same conclusion. And again, if you’re gonna assert that, show me examples; link to something she’s written that proves your point. If you take exception to her writing about what she feels is an honest accounting of the trials and tribulations of motherhood, there’s no need to over-egg the omelette with words like oppression. I feel like in actuality, you and Hall are very much on the same page when it comes to actual oppression and liking your husbands.
And listen, I know it’s quite fashionable at the moment to be all, like, LOOK AT MY BELLY ROLLS, but I’m not down with that.
WOAHHHHHH. Woah. Why did this measured critique all of a sudden just swerve here? When women like Hall (and Mia Freedman) show their belly rolls, they are trying to strike a blow for the representation of all body types. These bodies aren’t fat or unhealthy. They are bodies that have had babies, we all know what happens to our tummies. And actually fat doesn’t always equal unhealthy anyway.
Be proud of your baby-breeding body – OF COURSE – but don’t be ashamed to aspire to being fit and healthy.
You just said you’re not down with belly rolls, so are you sure you mean fit and healthy and not thin?
This is a decidedly uncool thing to say, but here goes: I EXERCISE EVERY FUCKING DAY. I DO THE 5:2 FASTING DIET.
You do mean thin then?
Not very fucking queen-like now, am I? Sorry not sorry; I want to be the best I can be, physically and mentally. I’m getting old, yeah, but I want my kids to look at me as a role model and an inspiration. I want them to be proud of me.
Honey, you’re fat shaming here. STOP IT. You are equating being
fit and healthy thin with being the best you can be. And you are betraying your anxieties about your thin privilege, and no, that’s not f ucking queen- like supportive of other women.
There’s one more thing, and this might be an unpopular train of thought, but here goes: children don’t raise themselves.
Did anyone say they did? Examples please.
As a parent, you do need to make a modicum of effort to ensure your children grow into something other than psychopaths and serial killers and car salesmen.
Hang on. You are writing this blog about Hall and her queen movement and how you’re not down with it. Which is fine! But here you seem to be saying she doesn’t make an effort or promotes not making an effort when it comes to raising kids. Rhetorically you are actually suggesting that her kids are going to grow into serial killers and psychopaths. Even if you didn’t mean to, you did that. And you are betraying your class anxieties with the car salesman joke.
Like, I’m all for cutting corners, but I don’t think it’s enough to simply pop a sprog out and then fuck off to the pub wearing a t-shirt that says “Mamma Bear”. You need to make a bit of a fucking effort. Anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong.
This is nasty. This is a nasty, deliberate mischaracterisation of what Hall does write about. Nowhere have I ever seen her advocate for this or anything like this. If you’re going for a rhetorical flourish, to go there about “popping out sprogs” and “fucking off to the pub” is a cruel mis-characterisation. It suggests she’s a bad or neglectful mother. And again, a viral pile-on is horrendous and I’m sorry for you but maybe people were upset about this nastiness? Doesn’t justify harassing and insulting you, I will say that. But I am critiquing your work, writer to writer and what you wrote here was condescending and nasty.
Like all good cults – sorry, movements – queendom started with the best of intentions.
Again, a million different women, obviously from many different backgrounds, who will have many different professions and aptitudes and attitudes- how can that be a cult? They’re her fans. Some will be avid fans, some will have but a passing interest. But ultimately, they relate to her and she is massively successful because she is a damn fine, talented writer.
It continues with the best of intentions. It raises ALL THE MONEY for good causes. I am RIGHT behind that. It makes lost, lonely mothers feel like they’re part of a gang. That is the good shit.
Totally agree with you here.
But I’m putting my hand up here and saying: I’m not a queen. A queen mother, maybe, but not a queen.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Some of the reasons why, reasons you’ve spelt out in your post, are extremely dubious, but yep, don’t get on board with being a “queen” – no problem.
I’ll leave you with one final thought: CORRECT GRAMMAR IS NOT A CRIME. Let me explain what I mean by that, ‘cos that makes me sound like an uptight, pedantic bitch. I’m a writer (and also an uptight, pedantic bitch).
I studied English and Journalism at uni and I’ve spent the last two decades working with words for a living. This is my job, my profession. When people come along, call themselves writers, and say, “Grammar is for wankers,” it stings, because it belittles my profession.
Come on now. If you are clever enough to have gone to University then you should be clever enough to realise that nobody amasses a million followers because they can’t write. In effect you are saying that Hall “came along, called herself a writer and said grammar is for wankers.” She is super talented. The proof is in the pudding, and you sound jealous. I like good grammar as much as the next person but whether Hall is dyslexic or in a hurry to post, the quality of the grammar and spelling has no bearing on the quality of the writing.
It’s kinda like telling a plumber that any fucker can fix a toilet. And, if a person with a million followers, hanging on their every mis-spelled word, sends the message that “grammar is for wankers”, then where does that leave us?
And here you are calling yourself the real writer and Hall “any fucker”. Also, I happen to believe that grammar and spelling have no bearing on intellect. Language is a constantly evolving, movable feast. Our grammar and spellings would look ludicrous to a Don of Oxford from the Elizabethan era.
Where does hero worship leave any of us?
That hero-worship can be dangerous is valid point. However, nowhere have you made a cogent, well sourced, measured argument for that premise. It feels like you’ve had a go at someone you find distasteful, someone you think is a bad parent, someone you consider an arriviste, someone you clearly think isn’t half the writer you are. If I am wrong about that I am happy to be wrong. It just seems to me that you feel that way from your post. However I welcome critique and discussion and I love to hear everyone’s opinions. Because I actually truly believe there’s room for us all!!