Friday, May 11, 2012

Fury over School-Gate Fashion Icons

Today I was going to write a heart-warming post about motherhood. But then I read (on CookiesnCandies blog) about the fury generated by a Daily Mail article featuring British Mummy fashion bloggers. The article highlights stay-at-home Mums who take pride in what they wear despite a change in lifestyle and a tight budget. But what was really surprising was the angry comments on the article. Why would this subject elicit such an emotional, visceral response in readers?


Three of the Mummy fashion bloggers featured:
Avril of SchoolGateStyle Source: Daily Mail
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Lucy of The SuburbanStyle Source: Daily Mail
Beth of StyleGuile. Source: Daily Mail

Very fun and friendly and a good read. As I say, what was mystifying was the comments left by readers below the article. Why would a subject so uncontroversial attract so much anger? Here are just a few of the comments:

*Um, really? Don't they have anything better to do than take photo's of themselves, upload them and blog? Who's paying the bills? Doing the housework? Do they have cleaner's and send out the ironing? And all those moemn reading their blogs? What are they doing? All that free time to indulge in something like that especially when you've a home and children to look after.How lovely to be able to shop for new clothes so you have so much choice, drop the kids off and then come home, put your feet up and get on the internet to blog about what you wore.... No wonder housewives are being given a bad name and receiving bad publicity for being self indulgent coffee morning gossipers who live off their husbands, and in these "tough" times too. Clearly not everyone is having a recession eh? Interesting. - Munchkin, London, 08/5/2012 13:09 --- clearly you have some issues, as stated in the article at least one of them does it whilst her toddler is napping, it takes half hour at most to blog.

*Who cares? I mean really and actually cares? You are dropping off your children to school, no one cares what they look like.

*I just love reading the (Daily Mail, Femail) columns -- they give me such a good laugh. . I am constantly amazed at how empty-headed and shallow some women can be. . I mean, thinking it is SOOOO vitally important what to be seen in at the school gates....... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..

*Just who do these women think they are? We had Samantha Brick the other day & now we have these school mums who 'blog' about what they wear to school. I am ashamed to be female. It's all, me,me & more me. I checked out their websites just to check that this was not a joke - oh dear! I wonder what the mums at their schools truly think of them. They are not alone though,we too have a deluded mum who blogs and tweets (not nice stuff) about school & mums, & guess what - she has thousands of followers, but included in those followers are a lot of mums who don't like her, yet she is so deluded she thinks she is one of the most popular mums - I guess thats the problem with social media.School gates should be a safe place for parents to drop off their kids, not a place for competition, one man upship or judging others. My advice to all those mums out there is be nice, & stop trying to make out you are better than everyone else - you will gain a lot more respect & REAL friends.

End of comments



Jody here again - I'm astounded - what drives the anger behind these comments? I asked some of my American friends and here are their answers.

Sue, 45:  Is it that the commenters think these Mommy bloggers are showing off, that they are trying to be stars, that they think have great taste. That they are trying to tell everybody else what to wear? Nothing could be further from the truth - they are not presenting themselves as models or style icons or big spenders, they are just Moms like the rest of us presenting a fun outlet.

Rachel, 40: People just don't realise how much work and commitment it takes to blog every day. They don't give it any credit.

Sam, 70: They are angry at stay-at-homes mothers, that somehow they should "know their place." Or be invisible. Being a stay-at-home Mom in my day earned you a solid place in society and respect. Now it seems no woman earns respect whether she stays at home or goes to work. 

Kas, 35: I agree; it's about putting stay-at-home Moms in their place. None of my Mom friends ever call themselves a stay-at-home Mom even if they are. They will teach Pilates, do ceramics or work in a store for a couple of hours just so they have something else to call themselves at a dinner party. Also women who work think stay-at-home mothers are "getting away" with something - and vice versa - so there is that tension too. The reality is: we're all just trying to do the best we can.

Caron, 50: Women seem so unhappy these days - so much is expected of them - and the anger from these comments taps into that somehow. One friend spends $500 a week on clothes and make-up to somehow stem that deep-seated unhappiness (and she can't afford it) Other people are really hurting financially and they don't feel their voice is heard. There was an NPR thing on this the other day - being a mother - and giving up work - is the first step to poverty.

Sean, 43: Brits, like Kiwis, have that "tall poppies" syndrome. If anyone is perceived as too big or too successful or too showy their stems have to be chopped off. You don't find that in the US.

The final word goes me, Jody, 50. The first pictured Mummy blogger, Avril of SchoolGateStyle only started blogging in January this year and she's already had 50,000 hits - more than 500 every day by lunchtime! She is doing something so very, very right. Good on you all.


95 comments:

  1. Hi, Lucy from Suburban Style here,

    Thanks for writing this so interesting to get an international point of view. FWIW the Daily Mail is famous for the vitriol its readers spout so we knew what we were letting ourselves in for, but lordy the vitriol!

    I have only been blogging since February it's a great hobby and I am really enjoying it as an outlet away from being a stay at home mum which I also love.

    Thanks for the support!

    Lucy
    www.thesuburbanstyle.com

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    1. Hi Lucy, welcome to the blog! Yes I was shocked by the vitriol too - don't take any notice!

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  2. Hi Jody! I actually follow all three of the above blogs and I was astounded by the hatred shown in the comments! I would never have thought it possible that people could be so vile and nasty. Hopefully they are a minority, although as one of your friends mentioned there are always people ready to knock you down when success comes calling ! Hope you have a lovely weekend:)
    ~Anne

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  3. Hi Jody! (and at Anne & Lucy - small world this blogging malarky!)
    Thanks for highlighting and sharing more amazing positive comments from a wide range of women. I'm sure that I've now read about 3 times the number of positive comments than the nasty Daily Mail ones....so they are well outnumbered. The best thing about this week has been meeting a truly global community of bloggers and blog-followers. Loving your blog and so pleased to have made another friend x Oh, and I'm up to almost 90,000 hits now - incredible stuff! x

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    1. Thanks for stopping by - you are awesome and btw, I need to get some tips from you. You are the traffic Queen!

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    2. school gate fashion? I had that wrapped years ago ....

      http://kelloggsville.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/school-gate-fashion-police.html

      ...ain't no flies on me!!!!

      blogging time? yup got a cleaner in! anyone got a problem with that?!!! lol

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    3. posted that in the wrong box didn't I?!! damn novices LOL

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    4. Kellogs - I have a cleaner three times a week. There. I've said it.

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  4. There's this weird set of women (and men) that think if you're not putting yourself at the very bottom of the list there is something very wrong with you as a woman. Look at me, I wear sweatpants EVERY DAY because I am SO BUSY being the BEST MOTHER EVER I don't even have any time to put on real clothes. YOU must be a TERRIBLE failure as a woman, wife, and mother because you're admitting that you need some kind of outlet. HOW DARE YOU.

    It's so strange. But I get it, too. Being a stay-at-home is pretty thankless, and I guess they only way they've found to validate their existence is to judge others. Good luck with that.

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    1. Jen - great point!!!!This was something else my friends brought up - that somehow we are supposed to be dowdy guilt-ridden creatures!

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  5. Thank you for the shout out. I'm so pleased that despite the negativity from a selected primate species, there is an overwhelming support for us mom bloggers. Good on you all (Jody, Avril, Lucy & Beth) for highlighting this issue.

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    1. Oh so nice to hear another Kiwi's "good on you" They say "good for you" here in the US...

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    2. You should've heard when I told my English friends about buying a bag of lollies. They were mystified. Lollies are actually popsicles.

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  6. How bloody awful - I had no idea. I saw somewhere on the BritMums newsletter that this article had been published, but I try to stay away from reading The Daily Mail, because I think it's really bad for your karma. Call me crazy...
    Anyway, my post had been sparked by some snide comments someone had made a while ago, and I have been mulling over the Yummy Mummy topic for a while now. Very adequate timing, as I now found out.

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    1. Wow, snide comments to you? Unbelievable...

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  7. Oh, don't even get me started...
    I think us women (it's really never men) just love to bitch about other women. I think that's at the root of the whole Mommy Wars and the attachment parenting debate happening right now and all other topics about women and mothers.
    We have a lot to say on the subject!
    And something about the Comments section that unleashes all unedited opinions. Much like message boards do. So you get surprisingly angry comments. (I will get mine, one day, I'm sure!)

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    1. The attachment parenting (and the current cover of Time ) seems another minefield

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  8. Fascinating! It's so horrible how women like to cut other women down. I say good for them! Keep at it ladies!

    Have a great weekend and Mother's Day! xoxo

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    1. Off to the beach this weekend? - so envious!

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  9. New follower DaniBP here, thanks for the lovely comment on my blog today. This was the first post of yours I have read and so interesting, so much anger. Hmmmph, I must say it is hard to get any respect as a woman these days, and it seems it is the women who are so hard on each other. It's sad!
    Au contraire to the hatefuls I have found the blog world so supportive, friendly, respectful, clearly your blog is another example of that so off I go to read your older posts!

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    1. Hi Dani BP, thanks for stopping by. I totally agree, I've found blogging really supportive and wonderful too.

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  10. first, thank you for dropping by via ajc and leaving a sweet comment.

    recently i have been plagued by a nasty commenter that is a critic about everything i do. from my garden to the way i hold my handbag. i don't get it really. why bother reading if you don't like something? move on and let it go.

    anna wintour says it best. something along the lines of people who don't "get" fashion are always scared of it. i think that is the case with the mommy bloggers.

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    1. Thanks for popping by Gardener. Reader critical of "The way you hold your handbag?" wow, sad. (And now I'm going off-stage to see how I hold my handbag...)

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  11. Hi! I'm so happy to have found your lovely blog!

    I read the Daily Mail piece and agree the blogs are lovely - the haters who post comments there are unbelievable. Like Metropolitan Mum above I try to stay away from the site - reading it makes me feel bad! Its good to know that the blogger ladies haven't let this nastiness get to them - I hope they all carry on the good work!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by Mrs Exeter - what time is it there 'cross the pond? You must be a night owl like me...

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. I posted a comment but decided to hide it in amongst the others for effect - alternatively I'm just rubbish at this commenting lark lol

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    1. I just read your school gate style post. Very cute! I really want to be standing next to that bloke with the bum cheeks hanging out...

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  14. Sad to see others attacking people who are just putting something lovely out there to share. There is definitely a dark side to blogging... but, "Haters Gonna Hate."

    That being said, women can be so hard on each other. I was shocked recently by a brew ha ha that bubbled up surrounding a gorgeous nursery featured on a blog. People were down right mean for no reason. I was shocked, but moms seemed to be the ones who were most critical.

    I loved reading all of the blogs you highlighted, Jody. I hope these fabulous women just remember that people throw stones at shiny objects.

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  15. "Throw stones at shiny object" - lovely lyrical way of putting it...

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  16. Wow! I just had a look at the best rated comments. Sad people that say that horrible stuff. I think most of them don't understand that although the mummy bloggers take pride in their appearance, they don't spend all morning getting dressed and not getting the kids ready.
    This comment 'Oh god l detest snobby school gate mums!! What does it matter at all what you wear to drop off your children?? I hate the mums who sit in their little groups making everyone else feel worthless. Snobby and horrible people and what's the betting their children grow up with a horrible attitude towards others' made me laugh. I think it's the commenter with the horrible attitude! x

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    1. Yes, agreed Michelle, how can you judge people from distance like that?

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  17. Every time I read the DM website my blood boils - the comments section is just so full of trolls. It's certainly not unique to this article. It does make you wonder about the general mentality of people on the internet - or maybe it's just DM readers. I don't think there's anything wrong with these blogs (even though dressing up for the school run could not be further from my mind). Well done to these women for being entrepreneurial.

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    1. Yes my Ugg boots feature a little too often on the school run, whatever the weather...

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  18. Our culture should be for "sympathies and admiration."

    The mother and her children seem happy and their clothes are color coordinated.

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  19. I agree with Kas's comment. There is this unnecessary jealousy out there that shouldn't be. When people write negative comments like those ladies did, it just shows their own insecurities. I have always thought that if people have that much time being so negative with other people's successes, they are lacking some kind of happiness in their own lives. I'm sure these stylish bloggers are just expressing themselves and talking about what they are passionate about. What's wrong with that? And happy mother's day weekend to you, Jody!! :)

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  20. Wow. People have such misplaced anger/jealousy/competitiveness.

    Why do we as people spend so much time allowing ourselves to be offended by the lives of others?

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    1. Good way of putting it, Alexis: "allowing ourselves to be offended by the lives of others."

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  21. I'm not trying to be too cynical here, but to most blokes fashion comes after almost everything. And I mean everything. I think I'd be more interested in whch oil they use for the school gate hinges than which make/colour/fit of jeans they wear.

    Is it warm?
    Is it comfortable?

    Yes, blogging requires some effort and commitment, but it's not reslly important. It is a bit self-centered and a shade narcisstic, but WTF, if you don't want to read it, don't logon.

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    1. TSB, what oil do you think they use?

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    2. Probably a graphite grease, but if the gate was in NZ, then whichever oil the caretaker found first in his shed.

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  22. Crikey Jody! although I haven't read the blogs you mention I am sad that so many ladies are getting their knickers in a twist in such a jealous and judgemental way...increase the peace girls!

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    1. Good turn of phrase...Will be using "increase the peace" for my kids too!

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  23. Thanks for stopping by and so glad somebody felt the need to write about the awful comments. Like you, I don't think the ladies were saying any of the stuff the readers seem to think, it was more, I may buy my clothes in Primark but I care about how I look and there is nothing wrong with that!

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  24. I'll be honest...sometimes the comments found below an article are even more fabulous than the article itself. They always seem to go so off-topic and make a big deal over nothing - I find it quite amusing. :P

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  25. Great comments here! It's unfortunate that many women feel the need to say mean spirited things to other women PERIOD whether it's regarding what they wear, if they breast feed, getting a tattoo, or choosing to have cosmetic surgery. Often these comments stem from jealousy or insecurity. If someone chooses to do something you wouldn't/can't do .. so be it. I wouldn't have a tattoo put on my back, but if my girlfriend wants one ~ go right ahead. Why would it matter to me? I just don't get it.

    Good one Jody!

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    1. We live in the East Bay - the bumper sticker capital of the world, everyone here has an opinion on everything.

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  26. the comments of your friends are SO very true, that they make me angry... not your friends- just the "state of affairs" among women- especially working woman towards stay at home moms. even my own mother would never admit it, but has made several comments to the effect of "poor ryan... so much pressure on him to be the sole financial contributor". when i'm dressed up (i use that word very casually, certain "non-dressed-up" moms give me the evil eye... the up/down look- not of admiration, but of judgment... as if i should be in ratty sweats (which, believe me- i am most days as of late :)).

    the comment about "getting away with something?" soooooooo true!!!

    and the one about blogging (people not getting/valuing it) also true!!!!!

    {{{sigh}}}

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    1. I think one of my friends put it so well: "we're all just trying to do the best we can..."

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  27. The trouble with the British is that they (we) hate a show off. it is deemed deeply un-British too blow your own trumpet in this way and I think this basic charactr trait plus a healthy dose of plain good ol` envy could explain some of this vitriol....

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  28. Same with the Kiwis, so I got a double dose of "never be a skite" (show off)

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  29. There is a nasty undercurrent in all strands of British life at present, I can only hope it is of a temporary nature...why as you say be so bothered bysomething of so little real importance.

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    1. Thud, I hope so too. Maybe everyone should have a nice glass of wine (bought from your establishment of course) and calm down...

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  30. Those comments to the article made me laugh at first but then I realized some of them were really hateful. I actually feel like deciding to stay at home with my children was a personal sacrifice. What I mean by that is that I didn't stay home because my family did not need all that money I could have made in these 8 years. In my case (and I'm sure in many other cases) it was a huge step back for me professionally. I immigrated to the U.S. in 1994 (at 22) and by my mid-thirties was making an average salary as an accountant. I was very proud of that. Now I feel like people who know me don't remember all my pre-stay at home accomplishments. Plus, I don't care if working moms think we are lazy... that's their judgement. Stay-at-home mom who blogs (and God forbid she blogs about style!!!) is perceived as brainless. Wow, we can really get spiteful, can't we?

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    1. Wow, that's an impressive transition at age 22.

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  31. And I thought mommy wars was a myth. I have a feeling this is just a tip of an iceberg. So much hate and intolerance out there.
    xx
    maya

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  32. The sad part of the angry reactions is that it is not surprising. As a new mother, thrown into a club that I never asked to join, I've been stunned at the intense judgement pitted against other mothers - here and apparently across the pond. If dressing up at the school gates makes these ladies feel good about themselves amidst the drudgery of housework and glories of mommyhood then rock on ladies. The site hits obviously indicate that other moms are interested.

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    1. I found the undermining comments the worst when the kids were small "Oh your poor kids they must been freezing in those shorts..." and so on endlessly...

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  33. Having just spent two weeks in England, and having the privilege of dropping my (almost) 5 yr old niece off at school everyday, I can say that the throng of mothers at the school gates all looked great...at least I think they did - under their raincoats, macks, wellies, galoshes, brollies etc. If the sun eventually ever does come out I expect they'll make an effort to put on their spring/summer best...and why not? All too often nowadays you see people in the stores in their pajamas and slippers - do they have no shame? There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to put your best foot forward, it's what keeps the majority of us civilised...even at the school gates.

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    1. I always love looking at someone's outfit when they've made an effort

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  34. Maybe the trigger word was "Mommy". If these bloggers' day jobs were defined as "career women" or even "blogger" the comments would be redundant, non?

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    1. Great point! Think you have it in one, Macy.

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  35. Thanks for your comments over at mine, cheered me right up!

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  36. Truly, moms will argue about absolutely anything. I just don't understand why everyone is so concerned what anyone else does with her time or money. Be nice moms.

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  37. The whole bit about the comments strikes me as "much ado about nothing." There are thousands of ideas that people (including bloggers) are putting "out there."

    I'm retired. Is that supposed to mean I should become invisible, or something? I'm taking a little time out of retirement to go back to work — basically helping out some friends. And when the work is done, I'll probably move on to something else. Should I be castigated for not being invisible as an "old person"? Good grief, already!

    Let the British Mommy fashion bloggers do their writing. Not my cuppa, exactly, but I shan't be throwing any stone.

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    1. As usual - love your take on everything Rob-Bear.

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  38. What's weirder? Passionate Moms taking time out of their day to share/commiserate with other Moms, or people taking time of their day to bash others. I think the answer is fairly obvious. :) Thanks for posting this, ABL! xo style, she wrote

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    1. It's cool to find people who are passionate about something

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  39. i agree with style, she wrote! it's sad how other women said those things about other moms. personally, i look up to mothers who also take the time to take care of themselves along with their children. it's admirable how fabulous they look! :)

    <3, Mimi
    http://whatmimiwrites.blogspot.com/

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  40. Moms should definitely stick together - there is no one right way to be a Mom...wow, lots of anger in these comments. Thrilled to find and follow your blog!

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  41. One thing that I've noticed is that the etiquette in the blogger world does not pertain to the rest of the world. I was shocked in a similar way when one of my friend's showed me an article in the NYT written about his boss--just a nice piece on how the guys is really into biking--and he showed a room full of beautiful bikes that he possessed. The crowd went psycho online and wrote so many nasty comments, it was unbelievable. I hope these ladies don't take it personally!

    xo Mary Jo

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    1. Yes i've just read a book about successful bloggers and they all say people will write things that would never say to your face...

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  42. You has a great blog. I'm very interesting to stopping here and leaves you a comment. Good work.

    Lets keep writing and share your information to us.

    Nb: Dont forget to leave your comment back for us.

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  43. Wow I often wonder what makes some people think the way they do and say the things they say. I agree I hope that these women won't take it personally.

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  44. Wow, who are these people posting nasty comments AND why??

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  45. I just got your message - you're sweet to check in with me! I'm doing fine - just super busy. It got to the point where I had to take a break from blogging because I was getting too stressed out :( Hope all is well though - I love your new blog makeover by the way!!

    xo
    Jess

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    1. I thought you were probably just busy, take care!

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  46. That is ridiculous! What about looking nice to make you feel better? Or to look nice for your mate? Let em blog away.

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  47. I simply do not understand people who write horrible comments if I do ont like something on the TV I switch it off. I only look at blogs I like. Why waste your energy on being negative. Well done to these ladies for taking pride in how they look I bet they are happier than the negative bloggers.

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  48. Good point. I don't watch telly willy nilly, we always just tape the things we like.

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  49. I find this annoying really. I blog and have two children. One is at school and the other just a baby. I blog and get all my other work done and still have time with my children. I get slack from people wondering what I do all day despite my house being clean, clothes done and food prepared (and I mean fresh, not bought food in a box, all from scratch) and for some people that still doesn't seem enough. They wonder why I don't work and what gives me the right to blog and what not if my husband is out working an actual job that pays money. I guess if blogging was paying me money, then it would be ok. I don't really get why people (and even other woman) are so hard on women these days. Like being at home is not enough and being in a job is not enough. We're expected to do so much more than we already have for so many centuries. Maybe men have gotten lazy, they used to be expected to go out and hunt and get the food and would get angry if a woman tried to do it. She was to prepare it, not hunt for it, that would be showing the man up. I know things have gotten more expensive than back then, but I think it still applies. People are living outside their means and want want want. Woman do just as much as men and if a mother wants to blog and show she is more than just a mom and has a brain to use, than she should be free to do so, if her children are well taken care of, who cares what others say!?! People stick their nose in where it doesn't belong too much these days, but no one sticks it in when someone really needs a helping hand. We rather bring someone down than build them up and that is the sad state the world is in. Am babbling on, this really annoys me. I think it's great these ladies are taking pride in themselves and showing that their mothers, but also women who love themselves and their families and their children will grow to believe the same things :)))

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    1. I think it's great they are out there doing something they love too! (And you make all your meals from scratch? Good on you. I always mean to, but I mostly lapse. I need to get some pointers from you!)

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  50. Wow, I had not heard about this. Sounds like a lot of unhappiness and jealousy on the part of those commenters.

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    1. Thanks for stooping by - love your pictures today of Bulgaria!

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