Friday, July 03, 2009

Women's confessional journalism is a problem for motherhood writers

Broadsheet on asks the question today whether "female confessional journalism" harms women. I feel that it is harmful at worst, extremely limiting at best, especially when it comes to motherhood. Unless you want to write about being a "Bad Mommy," your husband's affair, or peeing in a diaper, women's confessional journalism is a problem for motherhood writers! Read my letter for more of my perspective.

Watch today's rerun of The Secret Lives of Moms on Oprah to see an example of why this oversharing-yet-not-very-thoughtful trend drives me nuts. [I blogged about that episode when it first aired in April.] It's a fine line, because I believe in honesty about motherhood, yet if you are going to share intimate details of your family life you'd better earn it by creating a true insight. I thought the Oprah episodes back in 2002 with Naomi Wolf really did earn it ("What Your Mother Never Told You About Motherhood and "What Mothers Honestly Think About Motherhood"). In fact, those episodes helped inspire me to write Mojo Mom, and at the time they created controversy about telling hard truths about motherhood. Now we spew all sorts of personal details yet it feels like blowing off steam with gallows humor that keeps us on a juvenile level and prevents us from looking deeply at what motherhood means to our lives.

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Anonymous lewis said...

hi, i thought you might be interested in a dialogue we recently produced and published between Naomi Wolf and Daniel Goleman about woman's leadership. It's part of the Wired to Connect series and there are samples on the website at

thanks, lewis

1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a 30 year old Not-Yet-Mom (we're TTC), I have to admit that I found the Oprah episode extremely repelling and disturbing. I excitedly TIVO'd it when I first heard about the episode because I'm constantly trying to gather data in hopes of curtaling my anxiety and ambivalence about motherhood. The show only made me more anxious and worried. Every time I'm presented with this type of media (and, frankly, it happens all the time) I have to ask If mothering children is so terrible then why should we even bother doing it? I'm tired of the scare tactics and foreboding warnings. Surely motherhood can't be as awful as they say it is. -Suzie

3:42 PM  

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