female. girl. woman. lady. chick. muma. daughter. wife. auntie.
I would like to indulge you in a little Gender Bender, right now.
I switched postcodes for the night on Friday so that I could show my face at #BlogFest16 which is a conference hosted by Mumsnet for bloggers. I hadn’t been to this particular blogger-jolly before so I wasn’t sure what to expect…
Being a blogger can be quite a lonely existence, there is pretty shocking office banter coming from my 2 year old on the daily. So this is like a great big hurrah for (mostly) Muma bloggers and a chance to actually speak to other humans who operate in the same crazy domain of internet bonkerness as I do.
So while my husband was lapping up ump-tine likes and comment-praise for making a casserole, I was in the midst of a a ‘company away day’ which turned out to be a full on Gender Bender, and I loved every thought provoking minute of it.
I don’t want to go over #blogfest16 on a moment by moment basis, who wants to read that?!
So I shall say just this: Davina McCall is a total arse-kicker of life. She shared some heart wrenching moments with us as she recalled learning to be grateful for the small things in life whilst recovering from her drug addiction. The memory of her last moments with her sister before she passed away were so emotional that I though I might run up and hug her there and then.
This was an event hosted mostly, by women, for women. It gave over to some incredibly strong personalities, let’s face it – total feminists. From MP Jess Phillips, who by the way, could have her own comedy show, she’s a Genius. Through to Shazia Mirza, a total blinder of girl.
It was empowering as a female to be surrounded by headstrong women who all had a voice and weren’t afraid to use it. I’m not just talking about those Incredibles who were donning the various stages. This event brought together a group of women who inspire others everyday, who share their stories of utter heartache, who campaign endlessly to bring change for the better, who give us a window into their lives, sharing the highs and poopey lows of parenting. And a handful of men. Maybe 7 of them out of a few hundred. I love Dad bloggers, they give me another dimension on parenting and help me see things from my husbands point of view. So actually, he’d like to thank you. They absolutely are valid in the world of parent bloggers, but are a minority. That’s not anyone’s fault, and certainly not Mumsnet’s. It’s just how parent blogs have evolved, Mumas seem to blog on the subject far more.
But here lies the prob of the day:
This event was badly received by some – (men AND women I shall add) who felt it was more man-bashing than cheerleading for the female of the species. I have to say I didn’t witness any of this so-called ‘man-bashing’. What I was privvy to was nitty gritty talks given by head strong females. So what if the females on stage didn’t acknowledge that there might be men in the audience? There were so few, you would be hard pushed to pick them out as faces in the dark, crowded auditorium. You cannot blame the various speakers for failing to acknowledge men were present when they quite legitimately may not have seen them. I understand that no one likes to feel invisible, but catering an event to the vast majority doesn’t seem like the craziest strategy. I’m not saying that its right.
My feeling is this was a hot topic posted on social media to generate this entire gender bender. Sadly, everyone loves a boy v’s girl row… If you go to an event hosted by a company called MUMSNET, are you really expecting a totally inclusive line up?
Either Mumsnet need to clearly state – or warn, that this event is a high five to Mumas with a punchy girl power vibe at it’s heart. OR Blogfest17 needs to U-turn and try to attract more men and shift the entire vibe of the event. Possibly some serious marketing alongside some heavy hitting male speakers would draw more Dad bloggers along.
I however, would like it to stay as deliciously female-centric as it was this year. I may not be very popular for saying so, but it was actually quite refreshing to have a whole day just hanging out with other like minded Mumas.
I have to ask the question, are we all just taking ourselves way too seriously?
Do we all need to indulge in a chill pill? Men and women are different – obviously. We are bound to take the piss out of each other at times, and if you attend a female dominated event you are going to be sure to come across a few man-jokes here and there (not that I was privy to any). I don’t think that is showing a lack of respect to our male counterparts at all. It’s all too easy to take to social media and slam an event that has been in the planning for months, with huge amounts of work going into it behind the scenes. It only took one tweet for the whole focus of the event to turn towards a sort of gender battle.
I think it’s a shame. I loved Blogfest, I feel so inspired to knuckle down and reach for my goals once again. For that, I am very thankful to the organisers. I made some lovely new friends as well as catching up with some very special chicks* too. I shall be buying my ticket for next year, and the same goes for #BML17 .
*Am I going to be called sexist for using the word ‘chicks’?