After I gave birth to my son in April, I decided to leave the murky swamp of Mumsnet to frolic in the warm, welcoming pool of Insta Mum sisterhood I’d heard so much about. But as I waded in to the world of #letkidsbekids and #motherhoodunplugged, I was genuinely surprised by the narrow view of motherhood that was being represented.
There weren’t even any skint, plus-size mums like me, let alone BAME mums, LGBT mums or disabled mums. For me, one of the greatest things about the internet is that there are no gatekeepers, anyone can get a blog or a YouTube channel and tell their story. But, of course, once there is money being made, there are gatekeepers, and just as the most successful YouTubers are cute, thin, white teenagers, it’s fair to say that the most successful Insta mums are cute, thin, white women. Because that’s who the brands want to sell (and buy) their products.
Well fuck the brands. The Insta Mum sisterhood is self-made (just like the individuals who are killing it daily with their blogs, babies and brands) and now it’s essential we make it a sisterhood for everyone.
In the same way that to declare yourself a feminist is now no big deal, we have got to become more confident about declaring ourselves supporters of affirmative/positive action (or positive discrimination as the haters refer to it). It’s really nothing to be afraid of, let me break it down. The vast, vast majority of the positions of power are held by white men. So either you believe that white men are inherently more talented and deserving of these positions than the rest of the population, or you believe there are other factors are at play. That’s it; there’s no third option. Being a white man is already an unfair advantage in life, positive action simply levels the playing field.
And it applies to all situations where there are calls for diversity. If you don’t take the opportunity to use your platform to amplify the voices of marginalised women, to stand up when you can see not all voices are at the table, frankly you’re part of the problem.
So here some simple ways you can very easily do your bit to help #MakeMotherhoodDiverse:
- If you are an event organiser, make sure all voices are represented in your panel/guestlist. Aim for least 50% BAME women, LGBT women, disabled women, women from working class backgrounds, fat women, etc. All of these women will have very different experiences of your topic and it’s important they’re all heard!
- If you are a brand, make sure your brand reps are diverse. Even the babies!
- If you are asked to participate in an event or campaign, ask who else is involved. If you’re unhappy with the diversity of voices, tell the organiser. If they don’t do anything about it, drop out. Or mention it publicly at the event.
- If you have the swiping link function, use it to highlight the blogposts, videos and products of women from marginalised groups.
- If you participate in #FollowFriday, use it to grow the platforms of women from marginalised groups instead of only recommending women who already have a significant platform.
- If you enjoy content from mums from marginalised groups, engage with it (like, share and comment) to make sure social media algorithms put it in front of as many people as possible.
Small actions can make a big difference, so let’s get on this. I’d also just take the opportunity to give enormous kudos to @candicebrathwaite and a whole gang of other amazing women who are making this campaign happen and championing some much needed change.