Does Blogging Every day keep that nasty Feminine Mystique away?
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of reading through the Master’s thesis of one of the bloggernacle’s own. Michelle Glauser has had a steady presence in our community for a couple of years and she is currently living in Germany and finishing up her Master’s degree in American Studies. Michelle was kind enough to allow me to link to her thesis.
The topic Michelle chose to write about is one that is dear to all of us…blogging. Her basic hypothesis is an audacious one:
The problem with no name which Betty Friedan wrote so famously about in The Feminine Mystique, has been all but cured for educated, middle-class housewives because of the advent of blogging and the community of moms that have developed around it.
One of the solutions that Betty Friedan gave for the problem was to encourage women to find some way out into the community and have their voices heard. Stay-at-home moms have answered this call by blogging about their adventures in motherhood and homemaking. Blogging is a hobby that can be done in the home, can be utilized by anybody who can write and has a computer and it has the potential for reaching vast audiences.
Mommy blogging also provides women with validation and support for their life choices. This gives women a community in which to share the stories that are relevant to their lives. Social scientists have argued that this virtual community is no substitute for the kind of support a real community can give, but recent occurrences like the interest and support for Stephanie Nielson prove otherwise.
But is mommy blogging, or blogging in general enough to circumvent the sense of dissatisfaction that often accompanies housewifery?
I’m not sure about this. Personally speaking, my mommy blog doesn’t bring me a great deal of satisfaction; usually I just feel like I’m white-washing reality with cute pictures and warm fuzzies. I do feel like I have found a network of like-minded people and friends through The Exponent and my personal feminist blog, First Fig. But those people aren’t around in real life to help me vacuum my floor or take care of one of my screaming toddlers.
And let’s not forget, finding community wasn’t Betty Friedan’s only prescription. She also encouraged women to “unequivocally say ‘no’ to the housewife image” and not see marriage and motherhood as “the fulfillment of their lives.” This would seem to fly in the face of what many mommy bloggers so often write about on their blogs and personally advocate for.
So who is right? Are Betty Friedan and the 2nd Wave feminist bible irrelevant for women in the 21st century who have access to social networking technology? Can you really ward off the feminine mystique and its accompanying problems with tales of toddlers, tantrums and tablescapes?