1. a female dog.
2. a. a malicious, unpleasant, selfish person, especially a woman.
3. a lewd woman.
4. disparaging and offensive – any woman.
5. a person who performs demeaning tasks for another; a servant.
On Saturday my site stats skyrocketed – from out of nowhere, a stampede of angry moms was reading and commenting on a post I’d written a year ago, Tweens Should Come With Warning Labels. Within the first 45 minutes, 1500 people read it, and that number kept climbing. I was baffled because it was an innocuous post about how my tween had suddenly become aware of my fashion choices, or lack thereof (I’m not a terribly fashion-conscious person, so my self-confidence in this department is tenuous at best). The post was about how my tween was starting to notice my questionable fashion choices, and point them out to me.
In the post I quoted a blog, The Bitches in the Burbs. They had written a post about frumpy moms that made me understand why they call themselves bitches. You can read for yourself their text that I quoted in my post but the gist of it was this: a mom to whom physical appearance is a priority writes that when she sees a frumpy mom at the supermarket in her sad ponytail and rumpled mom-jeans, she gets angry. She wants to throw that mom’s clothes in a fire and burn them.
She is outraged because she thinks frumpy mom is letting herself down with her frumpiness. She wants frumpy mom to take her mojo back.
Fair enough. I’ve watched What Not To Wear. I’m all for moms getting their mojo back. I’ve tried to get mine back on numerous occasions. But when I’m at the supermarket I don’t have the bandwidth to check out what another mom is wearing, because I’m keeping an eye on my children and trying to remember to get milk and toilet paper. If I were to notice a frumpy, rumpled mom with her kids, you know what my first thought would be?
I might try to give her kind smile, or say something nice about her kids.
I wouldn’t feel anger toward her because she’s not putting an effort into her appearance. Just – wow.
Motherhood is a hard slog and – at least for me – the transition from unencumbered, self-absorbed career girl to full-time stay-at-home mom was hard-going. Since that enormous transition, I’ve gone through some major frumpy phases – especially after the birth of my second baby. We’d moved from California to the East Coast where I knew no one, it was winter, and I was probably depressed for the first three months of her life. The last fucking thing on my mommy-brain was fashion. I wore granny panties. I had a terrible time letting go of the maternity pants, and after I finally did let go of them – for months I wore a uniform of yoga pants, sweat suits, and a pony tail – to the La Leche League meetings and the supermarket, which were my main outings. All of my energy – all of it – was going into figuring out this mothering thing, dealing with sleep deprivation, and nursing an infant while juggling an older sibling, and devoting my energy to finding my way as a new mom of two. If I could find the time to take a shower, I felt on top of things.
Motherhood overwhelmed me.
I didn’t have time to think of how my ass looked, or to peruse the latest Victoria’s Secret bras at the mall.
As for the blow-dried, fashionable, hot-looking mamas I’d see? I didn’t judge them – I marveled at them. How did they find the time to get their nails done, and blow-dry their hair every day, and put together chic outfits? Did they know something I didn’t? I marveled at and applauded them. But I didn’t judge them.
I don’t feel outrage when I see a frumpy mom in need. I feel outrage when I see moms behaving like high school mean girls.
I did get my mojo back, eventually, although like most moms I go back and forth with finding it and losing it again. Here’s a photo of me three months after giving birth when I had finally gotten around to getting my mojo back, at least for one night.
And here’s a photo of me sans mojo – how I looked most of the time (jeans, dark t-shirt, Ugg boots, wearing one or all of my children. I think I look pretty good in this photo because I’d blow-dried my hair and put on some makeup – a rare thing for me back then – but I was depressed. This was as good as it got. Truth be told, I have no photos of me in true frump-mode, because I didn’t want anyone to take my photo):
The problem I have with the BIBS post is that it’s nasty – not only to frumpy moms but to all moms, everywhere. It doesn’t matter how you look as a mom – what matters is how you parent. You might do fine in high heels and Gucci, or grungy jeans and Birkenstocks. What matter is how you parent.
The BIBs post was just another flavor of bloggers fanning the mommy wars to get more readers – working moms vs. stay-at-home moms, young moms vs. older ones, crunchy vs. mainstream, attachment moms vs. moms with nannies, and now – hot moms vs. frumps. The list of our differences could go on ad infinitum. The BIBS post didn’t help to empower a frumpy, possibly depressed PPD mom trolling the Net to feel better about herself, or more hopeful. It made her feel judged, wary of other moms, and uncomfortable wearing khakis in the produce aisle.
Although I don’t agree with how BIBS comes across – as bitchy, mean girls – I felt cyberbullied that they wrote Yep, I’m a Bitch and sent their followers to diss me with their negative comments. It was kind of a mob mentality up there on Saturday, one that I would not be proud of. Maybe they were stung that I mentioned their nickname for their own daughters – “BITS,” or “Bitches in Training” and how reprehensible I think that is?
Am I dissing them now? Am I getting judgmental? Getting cozy with my inner bitch?
You bet I am.
Bitch is obviously a derogatory term historically and currently used to put women down. It is not, as some of the BIBS followers who dropped by to leave comments on my blog – a word “we are taking back.” It is derogatory. If the BIBS are trying to pass themselves off as feminists who are taking back the B-word by judging other moms – well, read Reclaiming the Word “Bitch” Reinforces Sexism, or read how Oprah banned the use of the word “bitch” by her OWN network. Feminism is about supporting women. It’s not about making them feel insecure about what they wear.
When the provocative comments started up on my blog I felt slimed for the first time in the two years that I’ve been a mommy blogger. I have never experienced anything like it. It was like The Jerry Springer Show up there, and it felt like I was being cyber-bullied by an angry teen who wanted to meet me after school and punch my lights out. My readers are thoughtful, cerebral moms and dads who are interested in raising happy children, in discussing real, imperfect, parenting, and in stopping whatever legacy of dysfunction may be present in their own families. Some of them are fashionable, some aren’t, who cares? None of them has ever left the kind of provocative, nasty comments that were left by the BIBS mob. Many of them expressed shock at the negative comments.
One BIBs follower – Elaine – even tried to pass herself off as a “longtime Momalog reader” who was so put off by my post that she was never going to read my blog again, and was going to go out of her way to let all of her friends know how terrible I am. I had not seen Elaine’s IP address on my blog, nor had she ever commented before – and from her tone it was clear to me this was her first (and last) visit to my blog.
From Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.Com: “Negative comments are a funny thing. I’ve noticed that typically the rude comments come from someone who’s never commented before. This tells you something about them — namely, that they never contribute anything positive & are really only interested in pointing out a flaw or perceived problem.”
I dropped by BIBS Facebook page once – quickly – to see where all of them were coming from. I saw that BIBS had posted an “I’ve been dissed by The Momalog” message on their Facebook page, too, which sent even more of them over in droves. I was surprised to learn that that they have over 17,000 followers on their page. That’s quite an accomplishment. I have something like 500. I am in the Facebook minority, then – and thank goodness for that because if the BIBS mob-mentality is the Facebook majority, thanks but I don’t want any part of it.
Out of curiousity I ran an Alexa ranking of the BIBS vs. The Momalog and got an interesting result. I’m not in the minority when it comes to our blog stats:
Who Are Momalog Readers?
Statistics Summary: Themomalog.com is ranked #854,546 in the world according to the three-month Alexa traffic rankings. The time spent in a typical visit to it is roughly three minutes, with two minutes spent on each pageview. Total website visits per day: 1,271. While we estimate that 41% of this site’s visitors are in the US, where it is ranked #390,487, it is also popular in the UK, where it is ranked #118,837, and in Malaysia, where it is ranked #11,853. It is most popular in Kuala Lumpur, and Houston. Compared with internet averages, Themomalog.com appeals more to women; its visitors also tend to consist of college graduates with advanced degrees between the ages of 35 and 45 who have more children, who view it from home, and have incomes between $60,000 and $100,000.
I tried to pull up a demographic profile of BIBs readers on Alexa, but nothing came up.
One of my readers commented that it was a “win” because my site stats had gone up. I’ve heard that some of the big-name bloggers see their readership skyrocket in direct correlation to the controversies they stir up. Maybe BIBS was looking to stir up some controversy so they could attract more readers – like the rubberneckers who tune into watch The Jerry Springer show? The truth is, though, that if this sort of tiff is what it takes to increase readership – thanks, but no thanks. I don’t want ‘em.
I’m proud of my reader profile – regular readers of The Momalog are thoughtful, cerebral parents who would never call their daughters, or anyone else’s, “bitches.”
I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished here on my blog. I’m also happy with my current Alexa ranking. I don’t write to attract the hoards. I write for me. My tag line is good enough parenting, and this includes frumpy, unfashionable moms who don’t give a flip about fashion.
Am I judgmental? You bet. Did that BIBs attack piss me off? Yes, it did. That’s why I’m writing this. I think the BIBs are the mean girls from high school – the ones I wanted nothing to do with then, and want nothing to do with now.
- Read the blog post the Bitches in the Burbs wrote about me here.
- Watch the video: Oprah Bans the “B” Word.
- Feminists Laud Oprah Winfrey for Banning the Word “Bitch” from the OWN Network
- Reclaiming the Word “Bitch” Reinforces Sexism
- Don’t Feed the Trolls! How To Deal With Negative Comments On Your Blog
- The History of Moms in Yoga Pants, by XLMIC
- Are You Judging Me? A post written in response to this post by Alison of Writing, Wishing
You might also like...
I Feel Like A Number
Excuse Me I Beg Your Pardon But I’ve Had Ample-Sufficiency
Tweens Should Come With Warning Labels
Pig Danglers Are Not Allowed to Comment
OMG, I Have A 500th Facebook Fan!