Sunday 10 November 2013

My Beta Blogfest 2013 and Why I am Not a Feminist


Blogfest 2013 was awesome.  I think I could have left after the first session (the new Wild West - what kind of internet do we want?) and felt as if I got value for money.  It was better than any BBC Question Time show I have ever seen.  The only thing that seemed to divide the audience was whether they fancied Richard Bacon or had a girlie crush on Stella Creasy - lots of live tweets on screen were stating "Stella for PM".  Then add on some more sessions, a delicious lunch, some Mark Warner cocktails - the drinking of which commenced before lunch - and this is a happy girl.  Like minded peers in the venue too; bonus!  A venue that was spectacular #result!

It wasn't all skipping through the roses though.  There was THAT session.  The one where you felt like you were a 2nd class citizen if you were a "Mummy" - the nonsense being proposed, that being a "Mother" is stronger.  You've really lost the plot if you also make jam, wear heels and *gasp* dare to call yourself a "Mummy Blogger!"  You know what, being comfortable in your own skin is powerful; being told what that skin should or shouldn't look like is not!

There's not a single one of us, that got to this planet without it being via a Mummy.  We're God's vessels in creating another human.  I don't feel the need to apologise for that.  I have had my days in the boardroom and trust me, being in the park is a lot more fun AND may just may be good for my child.

Oh and why at no point in this whole affair has nobody used the phrase:
The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world

Maybe we are too big headed as women to admit that a man may have said something sensible?
"The Hand That Rocks The Cradle Is The Hand That Rules The World" is a poem by William Ross Wallace that praises motherhood as the preeminent force for change in the world. The poem was first published in 1865 under the title "What Rules The World".[1] The refrain of the poem is a commonly quoted phrase.[2] SOURCE: Wikipedia!

One of the panel, said "Why "mummy"?" (as in Mummy Blogger) "that is what a CHILD would call you!" the inference being humpf why would your title be designed by a little person! God forbid!  Yeah, he regularly does, and he is the person who most looks up to me, is currently my reason for living.  I have no issue with that.  I don't know her name (but you'll see and hear her in my video below) but she then gave the analogy of her being referred to as a "girlie Journalist" like it would be ridiculous.   I am sure there are probably some girlie Journalists out there, but I doubt if they have created another human in circa 9 months! Unless of course they are also a Mummy, a title I will NOT shy away from.  I have been a Working Mum, a SAHM and a WAHM.... all of them encompassed being a Mummy.  Empowering my boy to be a man who will not require feminism to be needed in the first place - that's where true power resides!

Oh and another old phrase springs to mild:
It takes a village to raise a child
 Us Mummy Bloggers ARE an online village to each other!!!


Getting my footage of the Feminist session uploaded has been plagued with problems.  First I did not have sufficient GB on the MacBook to upload it at all, from the camera.  THEN when I did, it needed to stabilize for hours (probably because I was uploading 68 videos).  THEN when I tried to export the video to share it, I had run out of hard drive GB once again.  Oh and finally when I was in a position to upload it, it was nearly 30 minutes and You Tube caps me at 15 minutes.... so this will be one of those tacky part one and part two jobs:


Part ONE:
and Part TWO:
WHY hasn't this tweet had more retweets?!?!?!?
You know, the session made me feel smaller than any man ever has.  I now know I am:
  1. Just a Mummy - God forbid!
  2. That I get involved in far too much domesticity!
  3. The fact that I can get from nappy to nappy without feeling the need to run away to an office or educational establishment means I must be complicit with the patriarchy!
  4. That I am chattel
  5. That I am a self-abnegating mother - the article I found this phrase in, penned by one of the panel, offends me even more than what I heard in the session - yes I did not know that was possible either! 
  6. That in clawing back some of the male dominated advertising industry's budgets, so that we can have complimentary toys, days out or sponsored posts, to better the lives of our families is commodifying our families - gracefully Charlotte Raven conceded on this point, later in the conversation and I have since read that Glosswatch thinks it is a good thing that we have reclaimed unpaid domesticity and made it a place where the woman can EARN! She eloquently makes this point in her Twit Longer where she says: "I wanted (although I never got the chance) to ask how on earth it could be wrong for women to make unpaid labour pay? Sod "commercialising" childhood. I never got the chance to say all this because people were too busy tearing strips off Sarah Ditum".
  7. Oh and that I must not dare to speak up unless (1) I have a microphone (2) I remember that not everyone uses or has boobs (or breastfeeds when it SO wasn't about that!), oh and unless I use words like "complicit" "domesticity" and "chattel".  You can only take part in debate if you have your thesaurus with you!
This article: in the NewStatesman was penned by one of the panel: Sarah Ditum.  I got tears in my eyes before I even read it, due to the caption on the first photo: "The cult of self-abnegating motherhood is ultimately one that gives more prestige to the mother than benefit to the child".  Sorry, but even Liz Jones would be proud of that cutting diatribe.  It is firstly not true and secondly scientifically easily disproved! But then we know she thinks little of us because she also says: "particularly if the blog is a commercial concern, because anyone who works on the internet can tell you that you spend much more time worrying about stats and chasing PRs than you do exchanging tender moments with your subject matter".  See Liz Jones WAS at Blogfest this year, she just had a different name and a different face.  Good on Mumsnet Blogfest though for finding something to top last year!
In my successful career prior to redundancy I always found it was the clever people who did not need to over-jargon their conversation!  They were the ones who engaged you which resulted in you seeing where they were coming from.  Respect is a two-way street! One of my favourite posts after the weekend is this one, which like me, in the title includes the words "Why I am not a feminist" - she explains it so much better than me. What DO we look like eh, and the video she includes is certainly worth a watch! And if that has got you in video watching mode, Mumsnet has already uploaded the Jo Brand session; the session that was like sheer therapy after what had preceded it.  A session that quite frankly redeemed feminism, although I still would not call myself one.

The reason I call this blog post "my beta blogfest" is because this post is going to take me about 3-4 days to write, but it will not be part 1, 2, 3 etc.... it'll all be on here.  So each time I update it, with videos or photos, in its beta state, you will see it.  Simply means you keep coming back for more.  My reason for this is I was DESPERATE to write a post last night but one I was too tired and two, the dust had not settled on my thoughts.  Then I came up against the technical problem of there not being enough GB on my computer to upload the videos.  As I deal with all of this, this post will gradually come together and I have footage of THAT session. 

Mumsnet Blogfest 2013 sponsor

I was able to afford to go to Mumsnet Blogfest thanks to my sponsor: The English Mattress Company - check them out they make luxury bespoke mattresses for adults AND children! 

Richard Bacon and Stella Creasy

The day began with the above session:
The New Wild West - What Kind of Internet Do We Want?
It set the bar incredibly high.  The live tweets were NOT distracting because the panel were SO engaging.  As I said above many tweets said "Stella for PM" and there was a big girl crush going on.  The embodiment of feminine power was on stage and the Feminist struggle did not need to be mentioned or touched upon at all.  Stella and Caroline Criado-Perez get on with fighting for women, without feeling the need to be academic about it.  They rock!
Lovely that some of us agree on how the session came across, and great to get a tweet from Katy Hill who was a delegate at the event:

So as not to completely clutter this blog post with photos I have made them into a slideshow.  Watching it makes me wish I had taken more, but I spent all of my battery and space (on both cameras) on videos, most of which I am yet to upload, as I am having a GB space issue on my laptop.  Anyhow here are all of the photos I took on the day:

Thanks @Nickie for sharing THIS (below) I really needed to watch something empowering that was the antithesis to what took place over the weekend!
 I hope you have gathered by now, THAT is the type of parenting I am into!
For me, the panel did not come across as empowered, or grounded or centred.  Whether they said it or not, what was communicated to me (perhaps through vibes, energy or shere osmosis) was that us, as women, are meant to be bigger and better than our mere "Mummy" title.  I now feel like a Lioness who wants to ROAR - SHOW ME THE MUMMY! So tis a good thing as now I am reading empowering things like  this:  about feminist mothers and this:  all such good works to walk in: motherhood and female achievement and so I will continue! Bye for now, Liska @NewMumOnline Oh and that was ME who hollered from the balcony about the fact that we are the sex with boobs - yes the shame of it! Edit from me now on 14/11/2013:
Just to add, this is a VERY interesting read: Feminist Times: These Women are Not Me What makes me sad, is if Twitter is anything to go by, you have to be *Maternal* Feminist to write powerful things like that.... how many different classes of women are there exactly?
Also, we were led to believe that we misunderstood Sarah at #blogfest but look at her reaction to that article.  She calls being a mother "caring".  Sorry but that confirms what I thought on Saturday :-(
But you know what, everything is gonna be alright!
Woman, little sister, don't shed no tears! 

I would like to be a #MarkWarnerMum so I am entering the Mark Warner competition to win a holiday.  As the image below indicates my top travel tip which would be to pack a portable DVD player along with their favourite DVDs.  Ours comes with a charger that means it can be used portably once charged AND we bought a lead that's a car charger too, for when the charge from the socket has run out.  It's now "saved us" on many a journey :-)

For more tips on how to entertain the kids on your travels, the kit you absolutely shouldn’t leave home without and more visit the Mark Warner Blog.

Disclosure: this post is a competition entry for the #blogfest #MarkWarnerMum competition


  1. Hello there. Balcony boob lady! I hate to tell you this but shouting about your breasts from the balcony kind of makes you a teeny bit feminist in my eyes. xx

    1. That's a good thing as long as I am a new stylie one, and not one who talks about domesticity and chattels xxx

  2. "The embodiment of feminine power was on stage and the Feminist struggle did not need to be mentioned or touched upon at all." <--THIS. While any open debate about feminism ought to be encouraged, I felt that this session, the key questions posed and resultant debate was irrelevant and agenda-driven. Although I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the subsequent school-assembly-turned-feral atmosphere which ensued!

    1. Thanks for a fab comment. By the way your blog is nothing short of STUNNING! (No wonder MumsnetBloggers tweeted you to ask you to join their network) xx

  3. I admit I came to see a certain part of that discussion and it seems to be missing from the video - which is a shame, Lovely slideshow - apart from pictures of me lol. Was lovely to see you.

    1. I haven't at all edited the video, so I can only think (1) it was at the beginning where I was sooooo not "in" the session I was taking photos (as proved by my slideshow ones) and tweeting (as per my timeline). OR (2) it was in the bit where I spoke, so had to down camera, and having been rather emotional, maybe I took too long to press record once again. Truth is, my videos have an expiry date, as I know #blogfest themselves recorded it too, so all will become clear when they publish the full thing. MAYBE theirs will include ME ha ha - the very booby lady and hopefully it will include Alice, Mammasaurus and Mummy Barrow as I have done xxx

  4. You're always so thorough with your posts of these things - well said and good for you on your shout out about your / our boobies from the balcony!

    1. Thanks honey. Haven't come close to finishing this yet. Lots of videos to upload if only I had the GB space on my computer - it has taken the wrong moment not to play ball! Also need to do my traditional thing of "typing up my notes" which I am well known for after conferences.

      Very sad that Glosswatch in her blog post completely misunderstood my "booby lady" comments. Even conversing on Twitter made her none the wiser, resulted in her blocking me, despite me being very civil. Because she needed to do some work. Can Feminists not have manners for God sake. If she said, please stop tweeting I am busy I would have said "okay". My tweets were not shouty so I would have liked to have thought that would have been clear. It's like with these gals they have a "my way or the highway attitude". I'll take the highway I have heard it's quite fast ;-) Or if I break into song "I'll take the high road and ye take the low road and I'll be in Scotland afore ye!"

  5. Personally I find it so depressing to hear anyone saying that they are not a feminist. Do you think that women should have equal treatment to men? Do you think their work in or out of the home deserves to be recognised equally to the work of men? Do you think your son should treat woman he meets with the same respect he would treat a man? Do you think women are capable of the same level of intelligence and integrity as men? Should women be able to have rewarding and varied lives? Travel on their own? Drive a car? Wear clothes that they chose? Don't mistake not liking this particular group of women for not agreeing with feminism itself.

    1. You make a really good point especially in your closing sentence. x

  6. Yes, like Pinkoddy I was hoping to rewatch the point where Sarah said what she said, to see if it really was as bad as it felt at the time. Rewatching this, I'm actually much calmer than I felt in the session, so there's something to be said for a bit of distance and hindsight. As I keep saying, to me the problem wasn't Sarah wanting to finish her degree (and I do agree that her words were misheard/misconstrued) but when she said that men have had it f**king easy. That was factually incorrect, rude, and inflammatory, and I think that's where she lost respect for her previously intellingent arguments.

    1. That's why it was so great you got a man to write your post and I copied your idea, after speaking to Love Christmas Ltd yesterday and have done a later post (which you've read) called what Santa thought about Blogfest ;-)

  7. I feel like that session was poorly planned and executed. It had the potential to be a really interesting debate but from the start it was ill-fated. I love that you shouted from the balcony. I'd have loved to have contributed something. I'm more of a stew-for-a-couple-of-days-then-write-down-my-thoughts-kind-of-woman. I think it's a real shame that that's turned you off feminism, though, especially when you are so clearly a feminist. And that was a huge part of the problem for me in that session. Neither "feminism" nor "mummy blogger" were defined so how could we have any sensible debate about them?

    1. The thing is some feminists (finally I am learning to say some!) don't even realise that they are performing a role in the very patriarchy that they claim to be overthrowing. It is like they don't know the ancient stuff like that 13 was perpetuated to be unlucky because it is a Goddess number. It is no coincidence that our moon cycles are in 28 day cycles which would mean that there'd be 13 months in the year. Also Magdalene would be the 13th apostle etc etc etc. So men have kept us under the thumb for over 2,000 years by using lots and lots of tricks including making Priests male only where once there were many priestesses like in Atlantis, and like making us THINK 13 is unlucky when it is NOT.

      Do you really think men would have let us all go out to work if it did not suit them? Of course not. Us being able to go out and tap on the glass ceiling was something men probably engineered or at least accepted. They have an agenda. Let's make property prices SOAR, so that both halves of the couple will both have to work, regardless of whether the fact that some Mums would LIKE to stay at home. Let's make mothering so isolated and demeaning that when Mums do it, they feel so alone that they run back to work, even if ALL of their salary will go on travel, childcare and lunch money. Let's proffer the only solution to PND be meds so that they don't get in touch with their inner power, or sort the actual chemical imbalance that birth can cause!

      When women reclaim their divine feminine and do what suits them, in their heart, not in their text books (about chattel etc)..., that is when Feminism will get interesting, oh but then it will no longer be required - maybe that was the panel's problem they don't want to be made redundant - ha well I know a VERY good HR Manager who could help them with that.

      When Aaron was BORN every time he wanted breastmilk he said "maaaaaa" "mmmmaaaaa". In yoga we had a meditation where we chanted Ma. Those girls can say that me shouting about boobs excludes all the parents that don't have them, but the need to mother and be mothered is ancient and goes across all continents, all centuries and all races/genders.

      Feminine Divine energy is ever present. When women get masculine to compete in a man's world, they miss the point. Being a Goddess in your own skin, radiating femininity that evokes the women that have tread this earth before us, that is powerful.

      When you are empowered, and thoughtful and respectful, you don't get people heckling you from balconies.

      Liska xx


  8. Hi Liska.

    I wrote a post on my blog, partly in response to what you said. I understand why people got upset, from what I saw at the blog fest, and I clicked on your blog from the link on SGM's blog. I hope you won't be offended. But I think maybe this will be useful?

    1. For anyone seeing this comment, all of my answers to L Allen are on the post, she links to above. We had a very long "comment" chat on there late last night. It was BEAUTIFUL that she remained civil throughout. Whilst we exchanged all of those comments I smiled throughout, like we were having a chat over coffee, despite us having such VERY different opinions. She you can agree to disagree without throwing any rolling pins :-)
      Liska x

  9. Hi Liska,

    Could you clear up exactly what the point was that you were trying to make from the balcony? I was in the audience and it seemed like there were a lot of misunderstandings and people not really getting to put their point across. Unfortunately as soon as the word Boobs was out I couldn't really hear what you were saying for all the other shouting and this post hasn't entirely cleared that up for me.

    Did you mean that as mothers are the ones with the boobs we should all stay at home and look after the kids? +/- breastfeeding

    That men and women are physically different and therefore it's to be expected that more women will want to stay at home than to work?

    or That because we are different we should stay at home and those who say they want to work have actually been tricked into thinking it's their choice by a patriarchal society?


    1. Firstly, thank you for such a polite comment. I am glad all of the ranting on both sides seems to have ceased #phew

      It is a very difficult one to answer as I am not a person of absolutes:

      I believe in baby wearing but often used a buggy (but did baby wear for 1.5 years)
      I believe in breastfeeding but combination fed due to low milk supply (and thanks to domperidone BF for 13 months)
      I believe in water births and booked one but had a required (non emergency, non elective) C-section
      I believe in the power and benefits of a SAHM (including the scientific PROOF behind it) but did work for 3 days a week after maternity leave until I was made redundant July of 2012)
      I taught yoga for 6 years but haven't done any since 2010!
      I wanted a girl and had a boy etc etc etc!

      BUT what I do know, was in that session, I felt as if I needed to apologise for being a Mummy, and that my very womanhood was at stake, unless I was LOTS of other things as well. Something in the energy and the very essence of what was being said made me feel the need to defend myself as a Mother, who yes, is built differently to a man. Use them or not, God gave us boobs for a reason. Above I gave a link to an article where there are feminists who DO get that.

      My point about men allowing us to go out to work, is that, for my Mum's generation there were A LOT of SAHMs. My Mum CHOSE to work, as a result of CHOOSING to kick my Dad out because he was unfaithful. She was powerful in her decisions. NOW I see women working because in the space of ONE generation it now takes TWO to make a mortgage and make a baby! Women are working who do not want to. Also, because the role of a Mother is NOT empowered enough, or aided enough (it takes a village to raise a child and us Mummy Bloggers have an online one thank you very much) women choose to go back to work, despite it ONLY covering the COSTS of doing so, so that they can get away from the kids. Many women freely admit this, and as we all know, the way to solve ANY problem of ANY nature is to face it head on, not to run away from it.

      I would like to see empowered births, empowered mothers, and empowered women, not ones that are reading up on all the ways they may be subjugated even if it is not personally present in their lives.

      We have a duty to make the public consciousness elevated and raise the vibration for all. Constantly focusing on where we are undermined as a sex does not do that for me.

      SO I guess my point was that I do not feel the need to apologise for nor defend my sex. Our boobs rock! They wiggle a bit too.

      Liska x

    2. I wasn't at Blogfest but did find the post really interesting. I have about 10 posts started on this issue of feminism, but have never been able to finish it.

      My personal feeling is that while we have much to thank feminism for - the right to vote, the almost-equality we have etc etc - everything we've gained has been at great cost to motherhood. It's like there are three camps now - men, women and mothers. It's "embarrassing" to be "only" a mother. It's "shameful" to want to stay home with your children. It's "ambitionless" to not want a career. And it's not men holding the SAHM down anymore - it's other women. Men are okay, for the most part, with a woman who wants to make a home and raise her children. It's other women who belittle that calling, and that is incredibly sad.

      Slightly unrelated and on the point of the self-abnegating mother, why is it so bad to be the all for our babies? why is it so bad to want them to need us? Why do people who have a problem with that always assume we mean the rest of our lives? While my baby is a baby and unable to make her own way in the big wild world, I'm perfectly happy to make her my life, for now, and give her room to grow when the time is right, and like you, I will not apologise for that! (Which is oddly the thing people normally don't understand about AP. It's about BABIES. What's so bad about being the person your baby needs!?)

    3. Luschka you were one of the VERY first Mummy Blogs that I read. You helped me SO much, so to see you add yourself to the debate has really warmed my heart. Your words are powerful, and for me, true! You have in the last few hours (here and on Twitter) helped me reclaim my power as a Mother - I am now playing a mantra CD about motherhood at top volume and feel strong.
      Liska xx (p.s. you should be on stage next year)

  10. Hiya Liska. Sorry didn't reply before.your comments make sense to me yes. I love being A MUMMY & A BLOGGER. So I call myself a mummy blogger and wish people would stop saying I cant say this. My boys are my everything, the reason I live. So if someone said sum yourself up in a few words one of those would be mum. ;)
    I believe we are different to men, but I refuse to be inferior. Neither do I consider myself better. I see most people as equal, regardless of gender... With nasty/violent types being lower and folk like the suffrigettes or martin Luther king being better than the average.

    1. Thanks for such a considered reply Julie Roo (who will forever more be JR). Only saw this comment just now, and I agree.
      Liska x


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