Do daddy bloggers need special treatment?

June 24, 2012

On Friday night I was at Brit Mums Live. During the day the conference had been taking place, with inspiring talks by incredible women. But in the evening, it was time to socialise at the party. There was Prosecco. There were semi-naked butlers. There was a lot of cackling.

And then it was on to the Brilliance in Blogging Awards, a celebration of some of the best blogging from the past year (sadly I didn’t win my category, but I was thrilled to have been a finalist).

The Outstanding Blogger of the Year was won by a daddy blogger. The daddy bloggers had their own category, too.

Now I should confess that with a couple of exceptions, most notably Single Parent Dad, I never read daddy blogs. I have enough trouble trying to read all the mummy blogs I like, but I’m not actually interested in daddy blogs. I feel the same way about them as I do about daddy columns in magazines and newspapers. Unless they’re really, truly witty (like Tim Dowling in Saturday’s Guardian, who made me HOWL), I’m just not interested.

Maybe it’s because I have more affinity with mummy blogs, because I can relate more to the female experience. I don’t know. Maybe I feel there are enough male writers in traditional media as it is.

But what I do know is that when I started blogging three years ago there were already several well-established daddy blogs around. Since then there has been a slow but steady increase – spurred on no doubt by the success of my lovely friend Nick’s blog My Daddy Cooks.

When I started out as a journalist in national newspapers I found myself in a heavily male-dominated industry, and there was no special preference. You got bylines and sent out on stories because of talent and ability, and you had to prove yourself.

So my point is this. If a daddy blogger can win in the Outstanding Category at the Brit Mums Brilliance in Blogging Awards, isn’t it time we stopped treating them as something different or exceptional? Let them stand up, be counted, and be judged on merit like the rest of us.



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  • Liz Jarvis June 27, 2012 at 8:04 pm

    Ben – I think you’ve misunderstood what I’m saying. I’m saying that you won the Outstanding category and you were judged against other (female) bloggers, and to me, that signals it’s time to stop having separate categories based on whether bloggers have penises or not!

    Hope that makes sense.

  • Ben Wakeling June 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    I won the Outstanding category and am slightly offended at your implication that I won it purely because I have a penis, and not on ‘merit’.

    I don’t mind ‘Dads’ categories in blogging awards because it gives dads a chance to be noticed. The parenting blogger community is saturated with mummy bloggers, hence the numerous conferences (and lack of dad mention in this year’s MADs finals). As a dad who blogs and is therefore in the minority, I’m happy that considerate conference organisers set aside an award through which we can be noticed. Let’s not turn this into some big deal.

    And no, Britmums shouldn’t change its name. Sometimes I shop at Mothercare. Does that mean they should call it Parentcare?

    • Mamacook June 28, 2012 at 11:16 pm

      Well done for winning btw! I’m jealous as hell! Wanted a little statue for my kitchen!

      I think the important thing from all this is that some fantastic and well deserved blogs won and (not to blow my own trumpet) some fantastic blogs also got to be finalists. That’s all good stuff.

      I don’t think because one blog won in another category it made everything equal! After all, no-one has mentioned how uncomfortable the Mummy bloggers may have felt to have had women dispensing Prosecco in their pants??? It wasn’t a male or a unisex atmosphere, it was a female atmosphere. I felt intimidated just as a lone female, I dread to think what the guys felt like!

      Ben, I’ve not read your blog yet but I’m going to take a look, it must be a bloody good read to have won!

  • Him Up North June 25, 2012 at 11:00 pm

    This commenting system really resents you editing, doesn’t it…?

    In the blogosphere anyone who cares about good writing doesn’t care if it’s writ by a man or a woman. I know I don’t. It’s only a problem when someone comes along and tries to crystallise something which is, by its nature, nebulous. Then we get into areas of representation and inclusivity.

    The problem with these blogging awards is they have become inextricably linked to BritMumsLive. I would like to think BiB celebrates just the writing, but now it has been tagged onto a mummy-centric brand-a-thon it suffers the same accusations of gender bias.

    I think if BiB and Britmums want to continue their association a dedicated dad category wouldn’t be the end of the world. It would raise the profile of male parent bloggers and possibly swell the ranks of Britmums with dads. You never know, they may even consider changing their name to an inclusive one. Stranger things have happened.

    Otherwise, hive off BiB from the estrogen-fest that is Britmums Live and, using that as a statement of intent, allow the awards to concentrate on the wordsmithery.

    • Michelloui | The American Resident June 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      Im not sure I understand the comment that the BiBs have been tagged onto a mummy-centric brand-a-thon and if that’s true how that has any influence on what the awards celebrates? As far as I know and as far as I can see looking at the finalists lists, the awards (finalists chosen by readers and fellow bloggers) do celebrate creativity (not always writing), design and engagement. The BiBs ceremony occurs during the cnference so more people can attend (not everyone can make more than one trip to London in a given time period). I genuinely am interested in your comment because I wouldlike to work on ways to improve the awards to ensure that they do always accurately reflect the current blogging and also always celebrate these characteristics that make up excellent blogs.

      And yes, re editing comments on this site! 😉

  • PetitMom June 25, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    They shouldn’t need special treatment, same goes with mummy bloggers. The thing I am bit uneasy with is the word Mums used when really it shouldn’t isolate dads in any shape or form. I’m aware that men were at the Brit Mums Live event and good on them for going but I just feel the name kinda makes it feel more female cast rather than all parents no matter what gender. I’m sure they don’t want that to be the case (otehrwise they’d not have had an award just for the daddy bloggers) but it can give off that pheromone.

  • @SAHDandproud June 25, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    This is still an interesting debate, and some of the comments are extremely enlightening.
    Britmums shouldn’t change its name. It’s not about just mums and we all know that right? As someone who was there I felt included and welcomed and met some great people. Key word being people because despite blogging about parenting stuff we are all people.
    The division, if there is a perceived division, doesn’t really exist as there isn’t a similar event which is purely Dad Bloggers Get Together And Do Their Thing dotcom. And, my point is always this. We’re parents, we blog. End of. That’s why I enjoyed it all so much. Because there was no special treatment. Okay, so there was a category for Dad Bloggers in the awards shizzle but really, is it to be taken that seriously? Obviously a pat on the back for those who won but it’s a fun thing, and to bring a gender debate into something which is supposed to be fun kinda ruins the fun.
    All in all, at the end of the day, we blog because we can and want to because we all have stories to tell and experiences to share. There are more dads at home looking after their children now, for whatever reason, and some who do that on a part-time basis. They have stories, experiences and to take a moment to document this in a blog, to take pride in these moments, to show the world you’re scared about it all, to show your fears and honesty should be encouraged. I think. I’m told often enough on my blog that it’s great to hear a male perspective on issues that some men do not like to talk about, or simply can’t talk about. If a dad sits down and writes his thoughts and posts them he’s a friend of mine. And, from mums who do the same thing I learn so much, thing I’d never thought about. And this helps me to become a better dad.

  • Michelloui | The American Resident June 25, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    As the person who has been working on the Brilliance in Blogging Awards I guess I should say something in this interesting debate! Although it wasn’t my decision to choose which categories made up the BiBs this year, I know this list is dynamic, changing to reflect the times each year, and this time the thought was that a separate Dads category would be a great way to highlight the growing number of Dad bloggers, sort of a PR thing.

    Because awards–whether the BiBs, the MADS or the Cosmo/Next awards, are a great way to highlight what is happening NOW in blogging, providing lists of peer and/or judge reviewed blogs for new bloggers to find inspiration, current bloggers to see what’s doing well and traditional media to see great examples of blogs, I think it was great to have a Dad’s category at this year’s BiBs. the strategy worked, after all–look at all these people talking about it, raising the Dad blogger profile!

  • Mamacook June 25, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    I’m just worried about the fact Reluctant House Dad promised the Full Monty! I was very disappointed it didn’t happen!

  • Kip Hakes June 25, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I do agree so some extent with the blog post – as a man I do feel the events and conferences are too female orientated. The opening of the blog points out the BritMums party had half naked male waiters! The internet is saturated with ‘Mums wot blog’, and us Dads aren’t ‘seen’ as much.

    I’m flabbergasted by Simone’s comments about ‘not fulling understanding what it means to give birth’?! What does that have to do with being a parent blogger?

    I don’t think we want special treatment or segregation, but perhaps more neutrality? Best Female Blogger, Best Male Blogger – It works for the Oscars, Golden Globes, why not blog awards?

    Can we have semi naked female waitresses for next year when I come to BritMums, you know, to be neutral..


    • simone June 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Some dad bloggers publish some inappropriate stuff re breastfeeding or gross comments about how women behave after the birth – not knowing or perhaps forgetting that it’s hormones causing all the emotional upheaval, on top of sleep deprivation, fear and worry.

      • Kip Hakes June 25, 2012 at 3:36 pm

        Yes, SOME, not all.

        I understand a man can never fully comprehend the experience of giving birth, or the hormonal upheaval before and after. The thing is though, most men are there (hopefully!) before, during and after to help with the fallout. Does it mean their opinions or thoughts don’t count? No, of course not, we all have different viewpoints of the same situation.

        • Kip Hakes June 25, 2012 at 3:37 pm

          Not forgetting of course Men can suffer from Post Natal depression too..

  • Liz Jarvis June 25, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Just to say – one of the criticisms being levelled at me for writing this post is the fact I’ve said I don’t really read daddy blogs.

    This bemuses me, mostly because the point about blogs, surely, is that you read what you want and if you don’t want to read, you move on.

    But perhaps I should have made it clearer that I don’t read all mummy blogs either. Really, it comes down to personal preference. I’m sure there are a lot of daddy bloggers (and mummy bloggers) who don’t read my blog. Horses for courses 🙂

    • Rachel June 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

      I agree with you Liz. There are a lot of blogs I don’t read myself, mummy, daddy or otherwise. I’ll read the odd post, but not often do I actually subscribe to a blog. Same as I don’t expect people to read or subscribe to my blog. Any page views or comments are a bonus for me.

  • Amanda June 25, 2012 at 10:04 am

    What an interesting debate. I have enjoyed reading all the comments as much as the actual blog post!!

    I think it’s nice to have a distinction *sometimes*. By that I mean I think it was good to have the “daddy bloggers” session at BritMums because mums and dads do occasionally see things differently – but isn’t that the beauty of it, rather than something that should separate us? Celebrate our differences when they are there, but only in a way that celebrates every single person’s individuality rather than by putting us into set categories.

    I actually wish I’d taken up the offer of the daddy blogger who suggested we join them for that session rather than heading out to the social media one and finding it so full I ended up in a session that almost had me asleep. (in fact if I hadn’t already disrupted the session I did go to by getting there late I think I would have snuck out again to join the dads!!)

    I actually quite like reading blogs by dads, not because they are different but because they are good blogs.

  • Metropolitan Mum June 25, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Interesting point. Haven’t really thought about that. I guess you are right that maybe it’s time to drop the extra category. They are just parents who blog, just as the rest of us. I don’t have a preference when reading blogs, I just tend to choose the ones I really like. And as there are more women than men out there in the bloggersphere (and also, I share your point of view when it comes to relating), those blogs are mostly blogs written by people.
    Apart from that, I am really really gutted that I missed you at Britmums. Had no idea you were there. Boohoo!!

  • Mummy Whisperer June 25, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I think that whilst there are fewer Dads who blog, that its a good plan to have a specific category at an awards like the BiBs, otherwise they can be easily overlooked like at the MADs this year.

    If there were as many Dads blogging, then it would be an even playing ground, but it’s not yet, and this way it gets their existence ‘out there’ into the world and encouraging more Dads that it’s not just a ‘mum’ thing.

    I’m glad that a Dad won another award too – it all evens out in the end, after all they won’t be getting the Cosmo award or a MADs this year, so ‘alls fair in love and war’ and all that!

    However, any sign that they are getting more popular than us Mum bloggers and I’ll be voting to kick their hairy butts out of there of course ;o)

    • Rachel June 25, 2012 at 10:41 am

      I think it’s the fact that they were allowed to be nominated in all categories AS WELL AS having their own category??

  • Crystal Jigsaw June 25, 2012 at 8:56 am

    This is one of the reasons why I don’t like the terms mummy blogger and daddy blogger. I don’t agree that Bloggers should be categorised and therefore put into little groups. If you blog, you’re a blogger. I think what should be taken in account with the recent conference is it was arranged as part of a forum known as BritMums, but there are male bloggers on the site as well, therefore they should be entitled to attend these conferences and be nominated for awards. Perhaps next year it should be considered to create another award focused only on female bloggers if they are having one just for male bloggers. Do female bloggers feel threatened by male bloggers that they don’t appreciate an award category just for the boys? If they do, then they need to think about where their blog is going and why they blog. There’s enough competition in the blogging world without us starting to create a them and us category, ie daddy and mummy. Which blogs we read is our own business and a choice we are entitled to make.

    CJ x

  • Tom, Diary of the Dad June 25, 2012 at 8:04 am

    I’m of the opinion that we don’t need our own category; we want to be part of the bigger community and not marginalised. That said, it would be nice to see more dads at conferences like BritMums Live, so a change of name may make everyone feel welcome.

  • Tasha Goddard June 24, 2012 at 11:18 pm

    I think there’s a benefit in that it showcases some great bloggers who might otherwise be ignored within this genre (is it a genre?). There are even comments here from women saying they don’t read daddy bloggers because they have no interest in them. Why not? As with ‘mummy bloggers’, they write a wide range of material and subjects that just happen to fall within the parent blogger area.

    I think it’s all too mumcentric, actually, and an important step towards equality is for dads to be treated as people who are just as important as mums in the whole parenting equation. I know dads who feel excluded in the home and outside it by our closing down ranks. And, incidentally, one way to make dads feel welcome would be to perhaps not have some incredibly sexist and demeaning semi-naked men serving drinks.

    Once we can get rid of the ‘mummy blogger’ label and reclaim (or lay claim to?) the ‘parent blogger’ label (or do we even want that one?), then there will be no need for a Dad Blogger award.

  • Mamacook June 24, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I think, also having been there myself that the number of Daddy bloggers there vs. Mummy bloggers was tiny. It must have been pretty intimidating!

    Just because when I was growing up Maggie Thatcher was PM didn’t mean there was no sexism anymore!

    I also think you identified that Daddy bloggers who blog about being a Dad have a different voice so why not celebrate that as a category?

    Didn’t bother me tbh.

    I didn’t win either. I was gutted!

  • simone June 24, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    For two years I was in the committee of women in publishing and we had women-only events. Needless to say some men were offended, so at some point the committee relented and admitted them at the Xmas party. As the organisation was founded to help women get jobs in a male-dominated environment, I felt it was a bit rich that men should come when they was an alternative for them in the Society of Publishers.

    And in this case I should have never admitted men in an organisation called BritMums. If you want not to be gender specific, then call it BritParent and admit all. I am not a feminist but as somebody who has witnessed as hard it is for women to be heard, I feel it should be women only or the organisation should change.

    And by the way, research shows that social media is dominated by women, maybe because we have more time on our hands or perhaps because we are more social than men are. Don’t get me wrong, I like men, I’m fine at men-only gatherings (which is quite usual in a techie environment like Cambridge where engineers and IT people rule) but I think you have to be consistent in what you do…

    And I do feel that even the most sensitive and caring male cannot truly understand what it means to give birth, breastfeed and have hormones ruling your life they are not genetically programmed to do so – they have a supporting role, unless they are left holding the baby.

  • The Fool June 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I’m actually the person who won the dad blogger award at the BIB’s. Although it’s great to get this recognition I’m of the same view as the other dads that have commented here.
    We want to be part of the parent blogging community and judged against the best writers in that community. Often it feels like there is this need to have a token dad recognised or quoted just because we are a minority. This then means that more often than not people don’t consider us for the other awards etc.
    Regarding a couple of the other comments Britmums Live has a stupid name but is a parent blogging conference, gender is irrelevant. But yes they really should change the name.

  • Lisa watts June 24, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Hmmm, very interesting debate. I am new to blogging and have to admit I found it strange that men were attending ‘BritMums’ I guess the clue is in the word ‘Mum’ and the fact it isn’t called ‘BritParents’. I guess in some respects, it does seem unfair to have special awards for daddy bloggers especially at a ‘mums’ event it does make them look a bit like a token blogger.

    What would it be like if the boot was on the other foot and we females entered an award at a dad event, would we want our own category. The feminist in me says no and we would probably be deeply offended that we weren’t being judged as our male peers.

    Surely the awards should be judged on quality not gender, but in the case of ‘Britmums’ an event mainly aimed at women, I do think it should be awards for mums.

  • slightlysuburbandad June 24, 2012 at 6:42 pm

    I’m with @sahdandproud

    I’m a Dad who blogs and either you like my stuff or you don’t. I’m going to keep on writing and separate categories or not in the BiBs won’t honestly make any difference.

    I am resolved to go to Brit Mums Live next year. From my twitter timeline it looked like a whole heap of fun.

  • random pearls of wisdom June 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    I’m not quite whether to take this seriously or not. Seems silly to ignitie some gender war in a worm that turned style, keep men out, revenge for society’s past ills to women. However, I can understand your irk at any special treatment if indeed that is the case. I enjoy a variety of writing styles and blogs, written by both men and women. I don’t think of myself in a specific category either and just hope people can relate to my observations. If you disregard “dad blogs” per se, you may be missing out on some great writing and certainly alternative perspectives.

  • @SAHDandproud June 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    Daddy bloggers, mummy bloggers, whatever. I am a man and I blog about being a parent and about being me. Does this make me a daddy blogger? Not really in my view. I’m a dad that happens to blog.
    In this case, at this conference I was honoured to be invited to speak on a panel about this subject. I didn’t meet people who I thought of as ‘mummy bloggers’ just people, regardless of their gender.

  • Kat June 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm

    There are some exceptional Dad blogs out there and I have yet to see a parent blogging conference in the UK that is geared towards both male and female bloggers. There was the now defunct Cybermummy conference, BritMums and CybHer (which wasn’t exactly a parent blogging conference, but geared towards female bloggers); all of these conferences were geared towards women. So maybe the answer isn’t getting our hackles raised about a blog award as it is about making parent blog conferences more inclusive. Do we really need to put a “girlz only” sign on our clubhouse?

    • Rachel June 24, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      Perhaps they need to re-think some of the names for these conferences??

  • Rachel June 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Personally, I think it’s quite laughable that they have their own category as well as being able to be nominated in other categories. What makes them more superior that they should have their own category? I appreciate that there probably aren’t that many men in the blogging world, but don’t they take over enough in other areas? I don’t particularly read Dad Blogs because I’m not interested in them. Also think its quite ironic that men can attend an event called Brit MUMS!!!

    • Kip Hakes June 25, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      BritMums is a site for ‘Parent Bloggers’, I’m confused myself with the title concentrating on one sex when both are welcome, but never mind!

      I think personally their should be ‘Best Female..’ and ‘Best Male..’ categories to mirror what you’d find in normal award ceremonies.

      ‘don’t they take over enough in other areas?’ – that’s a bit of a sweeping generalisation there. The fact of the matter is there are probably 20 Mummy Blogs to every Daddy Blog. Equality is paramount no matter who is in the minority.

      • HerMelness Speaks June 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

        I’m with Kip on this one. I don’t take pause with Best Male…and Best Female categories as practised in, say, the Oscars.

        Where that is not possible or desirable, I am in favour of all parents being mixed in together and rated on merit rather than positive discrimination.

        It follows, then, if there were no Dad bloggers in an awards final, say, (or only Dads making it in an awards final) that should also be okay.

        They shouldn’t be singled out or singled in by virtue of having a penis!

        Added to which all good bloggers need balls!

        • Kip Hakes June 25, 2012 at 4:32 pm

          I nodded all the way through your reply.. that’s exactly what I meant but in a slightly more eloquent way. 🙂

  • Kate June 24, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    I would prefer to see them as part of other catergories along with the rest of us rather than having a special category of their own.

  • Laura @ Chez Mummy June 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    It’s an interesting debate, especially when you consider that men can be – and were – nominated in the other Brilliance in Blogging award categories. I do think though that with so many women blogging, it is nice to be able to highlight some of the good ‘dad blogs’ out there, although the ideal would be to have all blogs judged alongside each other without the need for a special category

  • Glosswitch June 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    This reminds me a little of the debate surrounding the Orange Prize and whether we still need awards for fiction written only by women, I’ve always been in two minds about this: I think women’s writing is grossly undervalued and trivialised, but I want things to change so that women are being rated as highly as the Martin Amises(sp?) of this world (or, in some cases, higher, imho). Does a special prize for women promote or undermine this progress? Perhaps it’s the latter, but in the short term, it can raise the profile of brilliant women writers.
    With daddy blogs and mummy blogs, I also wonder a bit about what the USP is. Where does the special voice come from, when we are so diverse and discuss so many diverse things? Not everyone discusses parenting all the time. Are we hiving ourselves off from being rated independently as bloggers? (I don’t know; I’m just posturing with pointless questions!).
    One thing I’d also worry about: if men competed on “equal terms” in awards etc., we might end up with a situation in which they dominated in traditional “male” areas (with Britmums, I’m thinking particularly of the “Laugh” category. There are all sorts of prejudices regarding whether or not women are funny, and it’s quite nice, at the moment, to have an award which fully accepts that they are and even compares them as such. I’d be terrified of it ending up like Mock the Week with the token funny woman, due to people just assuming that men are “better”).
    Well, as ever, I’ve tried to write a short comment but written an essay with no conclusion (is that a typical mummy trait? Discuss).

  • simone June 24, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Whether bloggers or volunteers, I think dads get unfair advantage as there are less of them and women fuss over them. I see it all the time volunteering for charities, there are these hardworking women doing all the donkey’s work, then a dad shows up and all these women fawn over him in the hope he will come back to help. Pathetic since some of these women are quite strong physically and capable to lift a truck. I’m small and not very strong but I don’t lower myself to these desperate tactics, I’d rather bust my back to shift that table than do a little girl face and say, “help me, strong man”. Unless it’s my partner, of course!