28 October, 2011
|Retrieved from personal archives|
Every possible personal oddity imaginable is confessed over these thousands of blogs. Their readers reply by sympathizing, agreeing, respectfully disagreeing, or reciprocating the confession by relating their own moment of weakness or sin... the use of confession rhetorically...enables the speaker to contribute to and become part of the community of bloggers...by subverting the power structure...—confession does not result in discipline, judgment, or punishment—it engages the reader through further confession, agreement, dissent, or even non sequitur discourse. In short, the confessions result in fostering community through interaction, no matter what the tenor of that interaction might be, because the confession appeals to the reader in a way that persuades the reader to respond. (19)
How then, can mothers impact others by blogging? Lee-Ann Khoh says, "The blog has enabled more and more ordinary citizens to become "manipulators" of information and the media. Bloggers have the freedom to express themselves however they like, whenever they like." While some mothers use blogs as a way to share happy details, or the exciting events that happen, some use blogs as a mode of venting their struggles, worries, and mishaps from the view of a parent. Both types of blogging styles may manipulate, or influence, readers' opinions about motherhood, depending on how it is represented in blog posts.
|Retrieved from personal image archives.|
How often do you see pictures like that on the left where a child is clearly not enjoying life, as opposed to pictures similar to the one on the right, where a child is in all-innocence, completely happy? Some mother bloggers may wish to keep circumstances that are not all 'fine and dandy' to themselves; others don't mind sharing--negative experiences can help mothers reading the blog to learn from them. One mother blogger, Allison, describes her situation without camouflaging any unpleasant aspects of her life:
As she states her role so openly, Allison shares with her audience not the wonderful world of motherhood that others should aspire to, but her reality, which includes many unfavorable jobs. Because Allison discusses many hardships she faces, her readers will not be influenced into feeling dismal about their own abilities as mothers; but rather, they can take comfort that things do not always happen as planned. I do not find her blog negative; it relates blurbs from her everyday life that characterize her family's personality, struggles, and triumphs in a way that does not idolize her role as a mother, neither does it condemn motherhood, despite ever-present trials. An example of a trying time for a mother is shown in the video below. A mom blogger Katie, put together an entertaining video for her blog, showcasing her son and his unwillingness to eat solids, which frustrated Katie. She shows her readers that life is not all-fun-all-the-time, but that raising a child is hard work. However, she does so by connecting to her readers using a comical approach. Perhaps the technique of humor is a way to take her exasperating experience, such as baby Kai's refusal to eat solid foods, and try to make it into a better situation.
Motherhood is a multifaceted job – much like a gemstone that you hold in your hand turning in the light watching the angles and corners and surfaces glimmer and shine different, unexpected ways, only with more poop. As a mom I’m both hero and villain. I’m playmate and disciplinarian, teacher and student, and a bunch of other less glamorous things like...insomniac, bathroom coach...I have more roles than I can list because new ones arise every day. Am I an expert nail cutter, splinter-getter-outer? I am now. And, as a feather in my lovely mom-cap, as one last sexy thing I do, I plunge toilets. Often.
Despite what I had learned about blogs and their influence, I was still unsure if 'mommy blogs' truly affect younger mothers. But then I came across the blog of a Media Arts student that reviewed and analyzed a presentation by C. Jane Kendrick. The author of the blog, David, says, "Mommy blogs that are not an accurate representation of motherhood (either in a utopian or dystopian way) are not empowering." What he is saying is that blogs representing only the good or the bad, fail to influence with the same power because they are ineffectual in illustrating the complete picture of motherhood. This was a new idea to me, that, perhaps, 'mommy blogs' need to have the whole story to be influential.