They Are the Borg

While I was cruising the NaBloPoMo randomizer looking for a great site to link to this morning, something struck me: many (not all) female bloggers seem to blog about either knitting, or children. Or wanting to have children. Or the process of adopting children. Or knitting baby clothes. Or their pregnancies. I literally went through about 30 mommy blogs right off the bat. It’s like the Borg, man, slowly taking over the minds and bodies of women bloggers to turn them into uniform baby making and knitting machines.

Now, some of those sites might actually be really good. Children are just not a topic that interests me, so I glide right by them. The knitting sites I’ll sometimes linger on because I like to see other people’s projects and then look at whatever lumpy, misshapen project I’m knitting at the moment and then sigh, deeply.

But I’m thinking more about the parenting sites today, because I find them faintly troubling.

I wonder how those kids will feel about it in 10 or 15 years. A lot of these people post really intimate details of the lives of their children, along with photographs. Personally, I would be really upset if my father had written about my entire childhood on the Internet for the world to see. The kids might think it’s fun now to ham for the camera, but later on they might really regret it.

When I write about people I know on this site, or post their photographs, I ask permission first. A couple of times, someone has said “no, I’d rather that you not post my picture, if that’s ok,” and I have said “of course, that’s why I asked.” I think that everyone has a right to personal boundaries and privacy, and although I don’t like children, I recognize that their personal boundaries are often overstepped. Kids don’t get a choice when it comes to being written about, and that makes me a bit anxious.

A friend of mine is very pregnant at the moment (she may have had her baby at this point, but I haven’t gotten an official report yet), and she’s been writing about the experience of the pregnancy, which is something that I think might be neat for her daughter to read someday. But once you cross the line into writing about the child itself, I think it’s a little bit invasive, and weird. When I stumble upon parenting sites, which are almost always written by women, I feel like a voyeur, as though I have opened a door I shouldn’t have.

Maybe this is because I’m disinterested in and uncomfortable with the subject matter. But I do think that my criticism is at least partially valid: would you be comfortable with the thought that every detail of your childhood was available for the general public to read? That a future employer could find a description of that weird rash you had when you were five? Or perhaps a potential love interest could look up dorky pictures of you in idiotic Halloween costumes?

Children aren’t dolls. They aren’t pets, either. They are living, breathing human beings with aspirations, desires, dreams, and minds of their own. I think that parents do them a disservice when they treat them as grist for the writing mill, personally. I know it seems funny to hear me, of all people, fighting for the rights of children, but I can advocate for something I dislike; I don’t like dogs, for example, but I don’t think it’s ok to abuse them. And sometimes I feel like parents really slack on the job when it comes to giving their children basic human rights.

The abundance of lady bloggers who write about children also troubles me because I want to know more about their lives. I was talking with my father about this the other day, how motherhood seems to take over people’s identities and their own hopes and dreams, and how disturbing I found this. I think that parenting is a good thing to do, and knitting is pretty sweet too, but there’s more to life. I just don’t want to hear about people’s children all the time; I want to hear about projects they’re working on, and their own lives, which are just as important and far more interesting for me.

This was one of my big complains about the ending of Deathly Hallows, that these strong female characters were just erased in favor of blank mommy figures. Some of these mommy bloggers are probably awesome, powerful women, and they might even be doing amazing things right now, but everything is about their children, instead. I want to hear about fighting your boss for maternity benefits and winning, or planting your spring garden, or going to work as a teacher, investment banker, artist, whatever.

It’s also possible that I just don’t get it because I don’t have/want children. As some of the child-encumbered are so fond of reminding me, I will never be a true woman. I just have no idea what it’s like. I’ll change my mind and be enlightened someday. I can’t reject my natural nurturing instinct forever.

Yes, indeed.

The childfree even get harassed when we’re fictional, as I noticed on Bones this week, when Angela mentioned that she didn’t want to have children and everyone jumped down her throat. I have to say that, overall, that show has been getting more and more judgmental this season, what with trashing people who like pony play and belittling the childfree. I suppose that’s what you get for watching forensics shows on Fox, eh?

Hey, you can accuse this site of a lot of things, but it ain’t a one trick pony. Much like a box of snakes, you never know what you’re going to get when you open the lid. And I think it would be really boring for y’all if I just wrote about gardening, or knitting, or my loathing of tourists all the time; so imagine how I feel when I stumble across 30 blogs about children. In a row.

8 Replies to “They Are the Borg”

  1. What can I say… I agree with you to the point of making me very uncomfortable.

    But to be honest, I have to say that I think some people are more than happy to have their identities washed away by parenthood– it’s very easy to do, once you even lose your own name and become “Little Guy’s Mom.”

  2. Okay… you are a woman because you are a woman. Producing babies doesn’t make you so. You have an extremely warm and caring “maternal” side with your cats. Your cats may be getting more “mothering” and care than many children do. I am a mom and I hate knitting. I like to look at some of the unique, fun things people make and I like a good pair of socks and mittens. But my eyes would roll into the back of my head and I’d collapse backward outa my chair if I were to try to read a blog on knitting. Does that make me less f a woman?

    About moms total focus on their children… I have found that, at least with a very young child, that all my needs are secondary. Even going pee. If baby is being nursed to sleep and I gotta go well… it just has to wait. Babies and toddlers need constant supervision. It is hard, taxing, tiring, frustrating, and sometimes selfless. But it is a responsibility that I chose. Not all parents see it that way. They put the baby in the room and leave it to cry, or toss them outside to cry and annoy neighbors so the parent can ~fill in blank~ and I think that is wrong and creates a poorer society. Once my child is older I should be able to pick up more of my old self and start projects unrelated to baby. Some moms never progress from all attentive mom to self again. Unhealthy. This is where society starts staring down its nose at woman who are moms. That should change. But it probably won’t.

  3. No baby or knitting blog here!

    Must admit the same thought has crossed my mind as I read other’s blogs 🙂 It’s usually not so bad, but sometimes it’s a bit too much…

  4. I’m not a mommy blogger, nor am I a knitter. There are a lot of mommy blogs out there (one of my best friends is a WICKED mommy blogger). I do have to wonder, as you do, what their kids will think. My youngest brother is still disgusted with my mom for having a photo of him, naked, in the sink, on the fireplace mantle during christmas.

  5. I’m not currently blogging about kids, and they were never a big part of my blog. Actually, I made some conscious change when my daughter told me that she felt odd having her name online at all. (Also, when I was in my early 20’s my mother once told me that moms shouldn’t write at all – nope, I wasn’t even thinking of motherhood, she was explaining why SHE never wrote anything, at least not anything for publication…)

    Obviously, my kids are older. Pregnancy, childbirth, babies – these really *do* demand much of your attention and take over your brain. If you’ve chosen to be childfree because you don’t choose to live that way then you, in part, accept that reality. Embarrassing baby stories are a part of life. I rarely read baby-blogs (and wasn’t involved in blogging when i had babies), but I understand what’s going on with them.

    Knitting, to me, is just the opposite. It really is interesting to those of us who do it, but it’s NOT a deeply personal, all encompassing thing. It’s a way to share something deeply creative without sharing anything personal at all. I really enjoy knit blogs because they’re full of things I can do, or let me realize what I’d NOT want to do.

    Then again, the blog I do write is ‘not for everyone’ either.

  6. Er, I guess I should make this clear since I didn’t say it clearly enough in the post: I like knitting. I knit things. I read knitting blogs. I have no problems with blogs dedicated specifically to knitting. In fact, I rather enjoy them. I also have no problem with blogs dedicated to children, I just don’t want to read them.

    And, no, embarrassing baby stories are not a part of life, they’re a part of someone else’s life. People with children seem to have a hard time understanding that; I certainly don’t have a problem figuring out that not everyone wants to hear about my cats, because not everyone’s a cat person. Not everyone’s a child person, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  7. I’m trying not to be a mommyblogger, but sometimes what my kids do is blogworthy. But I will never use their name or post a picture of them in my blog. My blog is actually more about me trying to move beyond the kids and into the next step. Maybe the anti-mommyblog? We’ll see. But I agree with you about all the pictures. Creepy. Hello? Can we say stalker?

  8. Ah, a similar mind. I’ve been spinning through the randomizer as well and I try to give everybody a chance but if the first thing I see is a big giant picture of a baby … I’m ready to move on quick. There are a lot of women who do great writing about their lives with their families but the babycentric stuff makes my eyes roll back in my head after awhile.

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