The equal­ity In­sta-sham

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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

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