Going on a Gender Bender

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’?




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I am a Muma to 2 little girls, aged 5 & 2. We are seaside dwellers, and I 'only work inside the house' according to my eldest. I love to share the funny side of parenting as well as boldly going where no right minded parents of toddlers would go: to restaurants. Seeking out the most child friendly joints and passing on my findings to all of you to enjoy! I'm basically blogging my way back to sanity!

14 thoughts on “Going on a Gender Bender

    1. Oh yes it’s a must do! Let me know if you go or BML – that’s a really good one too, but much better if you know at least one other! I did it knowing literally not a soul, I have a thick skin so didn’t mind no one really speaking to me all day- for real, that happened!! much better now I have some bloggy friends! Xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe a gender neutral organisation could organise it and attract loads of boys and loads of girls and we can all have a jolly good time!! X


  1. Ahhh a refreshing point of view on this recent totes awkward subject! I was so surprised to hear about ‘man bashing’ but as I wasn’t there (sob!) I can’t form an opinion. I do know that I LOVE the sound of a day full of inspiring women!!! Fingers crossed for next year xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I love that you’ve embraced the event for the positive and uplifting experience for women that it absolutely was. I left there feeling like I could take on the world. Personally I did cringe a bit at some of the comments, but maybe I’m just a bit sensitive? I totally agree with what you’re saying and other comments that I’ve read, in that it maybe needs a bit of a shift in focus next year – either to be “For Mums” or “For Parents” with the very strongly “Women focused” sessions being a breakout choice rather than the obligatory opening session for all. I love the way that you’ve written and tackled this. It was a brilliant day! (Still gutted I didn’t get to meet you though!) xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you have hit the nail on the head- break out optional feminist sessions would be a better idea, along with having strong gentlemen there to inspire. Al and the Dad network should 100% feature next year. Love love them! Xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Totally agree lovely! That would be brilliant! With an appearance by James at “A Life Just Ordinary” too! In fact I think he was the first person that I read that suggested the optional feminist sessions bit. Made perfect sense to me! Just popping back via #coolmumclub xx

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well written post lovely! It’s such a shame that people felt like that – I’ve read it a few times – I wasn’t there but it’s sad if people did feel it happened. I, like you, would probably have been oblivious! Wish I’d managed to get there. I think the hard thing is that both big blogging bodies have ‘mum’ in their name. Us women can get carried a way with the whole girl power thing – I can imagine how men may feel!! Love the idea of Dadstock mentioned in these comments – if that ever became a thing – there’s no way they could keep us mums away though – that chance to get out the house and have a bloody good natter! #CoolMumClub

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey gorge! I clearly had all the chill pills because as much as I’m probably a feminist, I kind of was surprised how big an issue it seems to be in other peoples lives. And, I did mention to a few that it must have been a bit yawnfest16 for the male attendees, I was pretty surprised at the SM backlash. I just had a jolly nice time meeting up with a load of lovely bloggers, and actually came away feeling uplifted and inspired. And a bit hungover too 😉
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub!


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