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Do we need a kind of blogger apartheid?

3 Sep

A few weeks of, quite frankly, pretty uncomfortable infighting amongst the “mummy blogging” populus has made me contemplate just what exactly is driving this angst? First it was the long standing debate of commercialising personal blogs, then it was The MADS, and most recently the Blogladesh campaign that has seen some of the best mummy bloggers being sponsored to visit India and blog about it. Usually i quite like a bit of gossip and infighting (come on, we all do) but this has all just really turned me off.

Of course, some of you will just say – any community of strongly opinionated peoples (and as bloggers, a lot of us are likely to be that) will occasionally lead to a clash in opinion, and when these differences are aired from behind a computer screen, false confidence will push people to go that little bit further. But actually i think it’s a bit more than that.

Do the fundamental differences between those of us blogging for pleasure and those doing it as a business ultimately drive us apart? If you’re blogging just for creative pleasure there’s no real political motive, no need for success in itself (apart of course from inflating the old ego). However, if you’re reliant on your blog/website for earning money your professional reputation is paramount so you’re less likely to tolerate flippant comments, things that might cause damage. So you take it all a lot more seriously. And quite understandably.

But if the rest of us are just there for enjoyment, for a bit of banter, we might not want to take it all that seriously. The kind of comments you’re likely to see from us when things are getting a bit heated are flippant ones (no surprises there), acronyms like ROFL or FFS.

So there’s bound to be a clash isn’t there?

I know i was accused recently of not researching my post into depression. I came back at that criciticsm by saying i didn’t feel i needed to. After all, my blog, my opinion. It’s not as if i was researching for a medical journal. However, if my blog was my job, then of course i’d do a bit more checking before i published some of my comments. But it’s not. It’s my space, and as bloggers like to say, if you don’t like what i say you can move on.

I know i don’t want to be constrained by fear of not getting statistics quite right, or not having enough evidence to back up a point of view. But then again i can also completely sympathise with those whose business is totally dependant on reputation. Where one unfair comment can strike two blogger black eyes in an instant, and leave scars for a long time afterwards.

So where does this leave us? Are we going to have to look at some kind of enforced segratation? At keeping these two types of bloggers apart for fear of implosion?

Ok, so perhaps that’s a bit extreme. I’d just quite like everyone to be friends again.

It’s all down to biology

24 Aug

A woman should never be forced to carry a baby she doesn’t want. Nor should she ever be made to have an abortion she doesn’t consent to.

I agree.

However, I also have a real issue with de-prioritising the man in all of this. I’m really not okay with a woman having an abortion against the wishes of her husband/partner/acquaintance. Okay, so if the man wants nothing further to do with the woman or his creation, then decision must defect 100% to the woman. But if he does want a say?

It’s a bit like the very sad story of the lady who had saved embryos prior to treatment for cancer only to break up from her partner once the treatment had finished. She fought tooth and nail for those embryos but they were destroyed because her ex-partner did not agree to them being used. I felt heartbroken for her. But it was absolutely the right moral decision. He hadn’t consented just to be a sperm donor. He was interested in being a father. Well, interested right up until the point he didn’t want her for the mother.

“It takes two to make a baby.” We’re always shouting this from the rooftops when a man won’t take responsibility. So when there’s a difference of opinion, why do his wishes suddenly become at best second place, and at worst irrelevant?

It’s a really difficult one because there’s actually no solution. If there is a difference of opinion who gets the final word? It has to be the woman because it’s her body you would be invading.

It’s a no win situation that in the end just comes down to biology. For once, nature has put the woman in greater control, and actually, i’m not sure it’s fair.

Just don’t get me started on women who trick men into becoming fathers. Now that one really is unforgiveable.

Who needs fathers?

12 Aug

Maybe I’m unqualified to write this post seeing as, luckily, my family are still very much together. However, its something i feel really strongly about, and even more so since watching the fantastic BBC 2 series on fatherhood (Fatherhood Season).

It really pisses me off when some women bash on about fathers being unnecessary. That women can do it all on their own.

I’m not talking about situations where women find themselves on their own (or men) through death or abandonment. Of course both men and women can do brilliant jobs on their own if they have to (and thousands do a great job up and down the country – my mum was an ace single mum).

I’m not talking about same sex partnerships, where a child might have two mothers or two fathers. I’ve seen examples heaped on examples of truly fantastic parenting in “a-typical” family set-ups.

What i have a real issue with is women shutting out willing and able fathers because seemingly their hatred for their ex spouse is stronger than their desire to do the right thing for their children.

I’ve long had real sympathy for those cape crusaders standing about on public buildings. It’s true i don’t know all the backgrounds, and i’m sure there are cases where the woman is (or thinks she is) doing the right thing by her children by not letting them see their father. He is unreliable, lets them down too often. A bad influence. On drugs, or drink.

But where exactly does a flawed father become a better father by being absent? If a father is willing and able is it ever acceptable to shut them out?

Even if he pisses you off. Left you heartbroken for a woman half your age. Is it still not important to nurture your kid’s relationship with him?

In a society that screams for men to take responsibility. Embrace equal parenting. Why do we think it’s acceptable to see them as second class citizens once a relationship breaks down? Socially AND legally.

It just feels like a bit of a crap redundancy policy.

And good dads are really very special. Wait. Even moderately average dads are pretty damn important.

Smile please. No really, can you smile please.

5 Aug

In my early twenties when plastic surgery started to become more well known, i used to consider that i would probably never have it done, but it scared me that one day i would be the minority, and just how would i compete? Of course, i didn’t need it then. But now when there are certainly a few things i could improve, i still know that i would never do it.

It’s true i’ve always gone for a more natural look. I’ve never worn much make up. Never shown much cleavage. Or leg. A bit of midrift i think in my pre-child days when crop tops and baggy bottoms were all the rage. (oh yes, they were, once). I’ve never had my nails done, never used fake tan, and never dyed my hair.  So i’m probably not the most likely candidate for plastic surgery to be fair.

It’s not that i don’t like glamour. I’ve just always been a bit shy of glamming it up. To be honest, now i’m in my 30s, I think i probably should have played around a little bit more, had a bit more fun.  In fact i am having a kind of rebirth, and have found myself buying dresses, good god.

But i still stand by the fact that natural (with a bit of help) is best.

And i have never seen a single person who didn’t look anything but bloody ridiculous with botox. I just don’t get it. Surely it is character that elevates someone above pretty to attractive? Charisma that creates sex appeal? Yes you can look stunning but if you have no personality, what is the point? I spent much of the other night sitting with my jaw on the floor watching The Rachel Zoe project with morbid fascination.  Why hasn’t anyone told her she looks ridiculous? Oh yes,  because she employs them.

Why would anyone want to wipe all evidence of character from their faces? Blank canvas taken too literally. A steely gaze.

I don’t have much more time for other forms of plastic surgery either. Except where it’s done to correct a deformity, or make a difference to someone that is severely hampered by low self-confidence. I’m talking someone who’s been born with an unfortunately large nose, or a lady who has failed to develop at all in the chest region.  Or poor women with huge breasts whose backs are crumbling. I can even see the benefit in uplifting breasts that have fallen to belly button height from breastfeeding. And gastric bands. To me, these are worthy cases.

But messing about with a perfectly acceptable face because it isn’t quite perfect. Or 15 yr old jessica who only has a b-cup and “needs” to look like Jordan.

As i write this post Gordon Ramsay is all over the news with his new stick on dentures and airbrushed face. All set for the American market.

“But if it makes you feel better, who are you hurting?” I hear you cry. Well i’ll tell you who. The next generation of girls who need to know that confidence, strength, knowledge and passion are what will get them through this life, not fillers and veneers. At some point, we need to start setting the right example.

And today it is being reported that the government has refused to enforce the labelling of airbrushed pictures. The genuis being interviewed all over the news tonight is Marie O’Riordan, editor of Marie Claire.

And she says, to quote “Magazines present a view of perfectionism for people who want to be exported from their everyday lives”. No, love, your magazine isn’t celestial art, it doesn’t open a window to heaven  like Blake’s poetry or Michelangelo’s art. It’s a fashion magazine whose sole purpose is to present fashion and beauty for people to lust after, and it seems nowadays, false, unrealistic images for readers to compare themselves against in a fit of self-loathing.

I wrote a comment on another blog the other day describing my disbelief that health and beauty companies were allowed to advertise their products using false representations of their effects. Hair extensions to portray glossy hair after shampoo use, digitally enhanced eyelashes to represent the effects of the latest mascara. If the financial services market is so tightly regulated to ensure we are not enticed to invest money without proper information, surely it should not be open season to entice consumers through misleading them about a product’s effects?

Looking back to the fears i had in my 20s about plastic surgery taking over the world. Well, it certainly hasn’t yet. There does seem to be a little of a “them” and “us” thing going on.  A team of ladies who will never be swayed. Thank God. But it is becoming a lot more prevalent. And the perfection it strives for has certainly taken over the media world.

I just thank my lucky stars i no longer need to compete.

“Unmotherly” mothers

11 Jul

Well it’s not difficult to see where Raoul Moat’s problems began.

“He would be better off dead.” (www.telegraph.co.uk, 7th July)

And who had this to say about the unfolding trajedy? His M-O-T-H-E-R.

I was utterly shocked when i read this. How could any mother, regardless of their child’s actions, be prepared to say something like this, and to the media? Even if you felt it, wouldn’t you be compelled to keep that bit of information quiet?

I couldn’t stop a tiny bit of sympathy creeping in, couldn’t help picturing him as a little, lost, lonely boy desparate for affection. I know i’m jumping to conclusions, fabricting a past for Moat that somehow might help to account for his monstrous actions. But just what would it take for a mother to wish her own son dead?

These are some of the thoughts i had during this unfolding tragedy.

And only after this did my thoughts turn to his father. Where was he in all of this? Tragically, as i write this it is being reported that some of Moat’s last words were “But i haven’t got a Dad”. Utterly heart-breaking stuff.

And this got me to thinking about a subject that has always ired me. Why are we always eager to question the parental instincts of a mother over a father in cases of neglect? To reel in horror at how aberrant, deviant, unnatural she is. And in the case of Mr Moat, of course, with good reason. However, why is it always the mother who is demonised first?

I remember when the faked yacht death story was reaching its resolution. The headlines rang out accusing the mother of being “unmotherly”, “unnatural”. No *real* mother could ever deceive her children in such a way. And they were right, of course. But even though the husband had quite clearly taken the lead in plotting the scam, the betrayal of his family was rarely commented upon. His “fatherliness” never directly called into question.

It’s something i see quite a lot in the media, and i don’t think it’s right.

We live in a modern society, striving to allow equal rights and opportunities for mothers and fathers (whether we achieve this of course is another post) so shouldn’t we set the same expectations of behaviour and attitude to both? If a mother and father behave abhorrently, isn’t the behaviour of one as *unnatural* as the other?