I was supposed to attend Mumsnet Blogfest 2012, but due to unforeseen travel issues I was unable to make it. I was disappointed. The tweets being sent out really made it seem as if the lucky attendees were having a fantastic time.
Over the ensuing days I noticed that tweets were frequently mentioning outrage at one of the speakers, Liz Jones. I did not follow up on what the issue was until a friend of mine, Sara Willcocks, who supports my writing, sent me the link to it. She noted that she would be responding as it had enraged her so much, rightly so. I will not do Ms Jones or The Mail the satisfaction of posting a link to their article.
It is one of many replies to the original piece and, I think,a very good one. All in favour of Mothers everywhere say 'Aye!
Please put a sock in it Ms Jones - A reply by Sara Willcocks
I normally give Liz Jones’s column a very wide berth. But her ‘blogging mums’ headline caught my eye. Never one to disappoint, it was as judgemental as I have long come to expect. She might well complain bitterly about being driven from her not so cosy country retreat, but the reason is clearly a bit too close for Liz’s comfort. Indeed, if she takes a long hard look in the mirror it might all become crystal clear. After all, there is only so much unpleasantness one can take, and the good people of Somerset must surely have had their fill.
It’s not just her bluntness in proffering her opinion without thought or feeling for others. Or even the self-indulgent complaining that got my goat. It is more her need to put down others while she’s doing it. Her lack of respect for those women, ‘the mums’, who paid good money to hear her prattle on about her own lucrative writing career, is nothing short of embarrassing. Lucky Liz has the good fortune of a column in a phenomenally successful national paper. Good on her. It’s great that she’s got such a high platform to gloat from. Others are not so fortunate, but that does not mean to say that their own writing, via a blog or otherwise, should be denigrated
One of my closest friends is a mummy blogger. She writes about her life bringing up a severely disabled son. I know for a fact that her writing has had a massively positive impact on other women. Her blog has given them hope. It has reinforced what they already knew, but couldn’t quite see through the tears: that being different doesn’t make a child any less perfect. She is a shoulder to cry on, an ear to lend and a voice to be heard. How dare Liz Jones, or any other person, trivialise what she, and the many women like her, are doing. Her less than insightful judgement of women who choose to become mothers, and her reference to the burka and female freedom, was shameful. Freedom comes in many guises. When a woman chooses motherhood it opens up a whole new world. These ‘duped’ women, who have chosen to skip past the glass ceiling, are no less free than any working woman in the western world. Arguably, they have more freedom than most. Having the benefit of choice is one of the greatest freedoms of all.
Status Update : Sara is still awaiting any form of response from the Editor of Femail or otherwise - it seems they like to give it but not take it...