Have you heard the term "mummy bloggers"? It's a phrase used to describe the clever gang of women who have a little spot on the internet where they write beautifully about the world they live in. Kind of like Virginia Woolf's "room of one's own", but it's a "domain of one's own". In their lovely, intimate space, they create a magnificently rich place where truths are told and lives are exposed in the rawest, most personal ways.
The term "mummy blogger" annoys me. Why? Well ... firstly, why do we have to specify that they're mothers? And secondly, why do we have to do so with the twee word "mummy"? I read many of these blogs – every week, when I get the chance. And these intelligent and creative women write mesmerisingly well about everything from losing partners to suicide and terminal illness to dealing with disability and injustice. Yet the condescending title of "mummy blogger" conversely gives the impression that these online articles deal exclusively with nappies and seven secret ways with bicarb soda.
The internet has opened up a portal for women who would otherwise not have an outlet to express themselves. Before the advent of the internet, how many women had rich stories to tell – and the ability to tell them with beauty and clarity - but never had the chance? Why do we have to dismiss this important group of writers as "mummy bloggers"? Surely if you write, and people want to read what you write, and seek you out specifically and voluntarily to read what you've written, then you are purely and simply a writer?
Tacking a "mummy" on the front of the term "blogger" somehow diminishes the relevance of those written pieces. Same goes for the excruciating term "mumpreneur". Excuse me – now we have to make up a new, cheesy term for women who have a great idea and make it happen? It's like a little pat on the head, and I want to smack the hand away.
Think of the funky Boost Juice store staffed by gorgeous kids in your local shopping centre. The Boost Juice chain has been a massive success for its founder, Janine Allis. A great idea, brilliantly executed. You've also probably seen a Grill'd outlet as well. Delicious burgers and heavenly fries ... and another example of a wonderful Australian success story for its founder Simon Crowe.
Both of these smarty-pants saw a gap in the market: Allis wanted a good juice so she built a company, and Crowe wanted a good burger so he built a company. Both had to navigate the tricky worlds of finance, marketing, regulations, tax and advertising, among no doubt thousands of others of factors, to steer their companies to ultimate and enviable success. So why is Allis a "mumpreneur" and Crowe a straight-up "entrepreneur"?
If we're to be fair, shouldn't we have "dadpreneurs", too? When was the last time you read about a "dadpreneur"? Or a "manpreneur"? You didn't, because as a society we don't feel the need to categorise the achievements or interests of men in the same way we do for women. By using terms like "mumpreneur'" and "mummy blogger", we downplay the relevance of anything a woman chooses to turn her hand to with any level of success. It has to stop.
And don't get me started on "mummy porn". What on earth is that anyway? From what I can gather – and I'm not a huge consumer of it – "mummy porn" looks a whole lot like the straight-up normal stuff that's been around forever. But when the raunchy book 50 Shades Of Grey became a runaway success, it was immediately labelled "mummy porn" simply because the vast majority of people buying it had a set of boozies.
Women love these books. We're mad for them. It made people nervous. It was like someone in a corner office somewhere saw the book's popularity with women and said, "I know! It's written by a woman and mainly women are buying it, so let's whack a 'mummy' on the front of it and make a whole new condescending genre of literature!"
Last year, I was thrilled to be invited to Kirribilli House to hang out with other women for afternoon tea. Prime Minister Julia Gillard was going to be there too and my dad said, "This is a big deal. You're going." So off I went. Afterwards, it was reported in the media as a meeting between "mummy bloggers" and the PM. Funny thing was, sure, I have children, but I'm not a blogger. At least two other women there had blogs, but didn't have kids. Sure, there were several there who did have blogs and kids, but what difference does that make? It seems now that if you're a woman with a media presence, you're a "mummy blogger"... such is our desperation to label and categorise.
In protest, I'm going to add the following terms to my everyday lexicon. Dadoctor: a man who has children and a medical practice. Hequine vet: a horse specialist who happens to be male. Manimal handler: an animal handler who is also a man.
Feel free to add your own. And let's see how quickly it catches on.
Chrissie Swan is host of Can of Worms and co-host of Mix 101.1's breakfast show in Melbourne and 3pm Pick-Up nationally. Twitter: @chrissieswan.