The equality Insta-sham
As one of Instagram’s biggest mum bloggers is bullied off the platform, Robyn Wilder (above) asks why dads aren’t held to the same standard…
It’s a weird time to be a mum and on Instagram. On one hand, it’s useful for making friends, sharing experiences, and looking at pretty things. Conversely, the more of your life you share, the more scrutiny you can expect. Clemmie Hooper – midwife, author and Instagram’s Mother of Daughters – recently quit the platform (and her 500,000 followers) after a barrage of negative feedback. What began as a sensible Mumsnet discussion about the transparency of sponsored Instagram posts devolved into a rampant free-for-all. As the comments became less constructive and more personal, Clemmie deleted her profile.
I mean, if you squint hard enough, you can just about make out the germ of the point some Mumsnet critics were trying to make. To suddenly find out that the person you’d been relating to on a personal level had been trying to hawk you utility vehicles or whatever must have felt like a betrayal. But to then use this as a chance to lay into her hair, clothes, and whether she’s ‘abusing’ her kids by including them in images isn’t on.
What’s interesting about this is, while Clemmie is gone, her husband Simon – also known to his 850,000 followers as Father of Daughters – is still merrily posting photos of himself, his wife, his new book, and of course, the kids, on Instagram. Which means one of two things: he has much thicker skin than his wife or he’s being treated differently.
My husband and I are both journalists. We both write about our kids, and we even have a podcast about parenting, which isn’t as insufferable as it sounds. Whenever my husband writes about parenting, he’s always asked, ‘ Where’s the mum in all this?’ The assumption being that I’m the one who actually does any of the parenting. However, when I write about it, comments often take on a nastier edge, suggesting that I’m a bad parent and my kids will turn out badly. We co-parent, and each of us pulls our weight, but we’re nevertheless treated differently.
Even when we go out, separately, in the real world with our children, my husband is greeted with smiles when he’s got our toddler on his shoulders, due to the sheer novelty of seeing a dad out with his kids. I’m not greeted this way, because I am a mum and being out with kids is what mums do.
The other thing that mums do – and dads – is provide for their kids. Instagram is a new way of doing this, and influencers learn the rules as they go, largely by listening to their followers. Like many big social names, long before Clemmie Hooper was an influencer, she empowered people with her messages – in her case, as a midwife, mother, and grafter. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her making a living from her success. I hope she comes back soon.
Below left: Robyn and her family
From top: Clemmie, Simon and their children