I wrote a couple of days ago about the reaction I’d witnessed in the dad blogging community after Babble (owner of MomCrunch!) released its Top 50 Dad Bloggers List. What I’d seen surprised me, particularly the #OccupyBabble hashtag on Twitter and some folks upset about who was on the list and who wasn’t.
But in reading the comments on the post I decided the only fair thing to do was talk the the dad bloggers directly, so I reached out to Jason Avant of Dadcentric and asked for his thoughts and challenged him to change my mind. And he did.
(For the record, I have NEVER made any claims about being unbiased. MomCrunch is primarily an editorial information space, after all.)
First, I asked about #OccupyBabble. Jason stressed very strongly that #OccupyBabble started as a joke, primarily, as a way to highlight something dad bloggers take very seriously: the near-complete lack of representation in both the mainstream parenting media and the online parenting space.
It’s not just Babble, but Parents, Parenting, is all very heavily mom-skewed. It’s not a Babble thing, it’s across the parenting media industry… One of the reasons I started dad blogging is because there was a vacuum of dad writing anywhere, so I started writing and then we launched a group site. Media has always equated parenting to motherhood.
He followed this up by talking more about the general sense of humor the dad bloggers have about themselves.
We tend to take a lot of this stuff in a very tongue in cheek manner; a lot of people get upset if they aren’t included, but for even successful dad bloggers it’s still a hobby. We don’t have a Dooce, so we don’t have that same level of clout. When people talk about the economics of blogging, dads aren’t at the level of mom bloggers.
…So the competitive aspect of it was overblown; we don’t take this stuff seriously.
He means, of course, that the competitive aspect was overblown by me. Gulp.
Next, I confessed to Jason that I suffer from my own struggle with the rise of dad blogging, how I have often felt that the mom blogging space is precious, a rare spot where women rule and are highly valued. I admitted that a part of me thinks the men are still mostly in charge of the rest of the world, so why can’t we as mom bloggers have this without the dads trying to barge in and claim some space too?
Jason was very kind to me in response, concealing his (likely) exasperation brilliantly.
So much of what we see as men and dads is contradictory. Mothers want to be recognized that mothering is very challenging in this time in history, and so do dads. So when this very committed sector of men wants to be recognized – the face of fatherhood today – we’re writing about it and sharing about it, and we are trying to address some of the biggest complaints about men and fatherhood generally.
It’s counterproductive for moms to feel like we’re muscling into their turf. It’s a part of dad bashing, and circling the wagons as mom bloggers is a bad idea.
Ouch. That one hit the mark. My apologies, dads, for bashing.
The rest of the conversation was fun, and Jason said something else I think is worth mentioning. He talked about how the dad blogs often feature mom bloggers, and how they deeply they want to be part of the parenting blogosphere.
I am trying to make this a business, but I’m realistic. The number of people reading dad blogs is a fraction of what the moms get.
We aren’t circling our own wagons, and while we’re writing for dads we are read by women. We try to write from our perspective, but also from the perspective of all parents that have dealt with the weirdness, heartbreak and fun of raising kids.
So, there you have it. I was rather unfair to the dad bloggers in my last post, and I’m happy to have had my mind changed. Thank so much, Jason, for playing along.