The rest is silence

“Privacy” and “posting”–the words seem antithetical! Thinking about the ethics governing privacy rights forces us to raise the question: Can we blog about being moms about our families without telling family secrets? Isn’t it possible we say things now that might offend beloved family members later?

“Mom, I never told you you could tell anyone about helping me get that morning after pill!” “Mom, my trouble with those girls was my story, not yours to share. If you refer to “Lisa,” everyone who finds this blog will know I got a mean note and that I couldn’t handle being bullied.” “Mom how dare you say we had to buy extra large underwear?”

There are so many bans against telling.

On the other hand, are we to be silent–back to the old days of being seen and not heard? G. One can argue that this is different, since we are deciding what to say and withhold. But being ethical seems to require a sort of self-censorship. What if the upshot/outcome is a return to gaping silences. . .?

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As  a first-timer to MIRCI conference (Pantages Hotel, Toronto, June 2013), I was unsure what to expect. Turns out that was a good attitude, since the conference was richly varied, with voices from many sectors, representing ages, sexualities and even values. Great thinking experience. The sort of prepatory work that would go into building this coalition of voices is amazing. Thanks to Andrea O’Reilly and the group of women who support the work of MIRCI and Demeter. http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/

I am suprised to find the piece that I’m still mulling over had to do with media depictions of mothers and fathers–particularly how the cup runneth over with dumb, undisciplined dads. Anyone say Homer or Peter Griffin??

Oh: also completely grateful to the woman who spoke as gay mother, commenting on sure way to put out flames of mommy wars–her point being that as a gay person, feeling guilty is an imposition that is culturally based and naturalized, and that part of the daily work of identity building is to learn to give up feeling that one’s choices aren’t good. Well

. . .yes–we all need to be reminded  to push back against imposed standards that serve the interests of some smug constituency. She offered us all a bridge, built from the persecution of one particular group but transformed into one that offers help and support to a broader community: just “no” to being told there’s one good way to live. This was a gift!

Our own session on blogging options and issues was really interesting and varied.

More later, but thanks to all the voices that made the conference work.

Feminist bloggers begin to talk about ethics at MIRCI conference

Last week we were at the MIRCI Mega Motherhood conference in Toronto  (http://www.motherhoodinitiative.org/MegaBookletFinalJune14.pdf) where we made a brief presentation about this blog to about 30 feminists who’re interested in some of the concerns we have about parents blogging about the lives of their children and their families.

The issues we raised at the conference are the same ones we’ve raised here on our blog, including the tension between how to honour the authenticity of women’s/mother’s/parents’ voices and experiences, while also honouring the privacy and lives of children and other family members. And like us, participants expressed the need for further discussion around these primary questions and how to engage bloggers to ask these questions of themselves and others prior to pressing the publish button.

We extended our open invitation to those at the conference, just as we have to you meeting us here, to join this online discussion and engage in a dialogic approach that’s fundamental to debating and developing a guide for or code of conduct in the blogosphere. We hope to hear from well known bloggers such as Annie Urban, author of PhDinParenting.com blog (http://www.phdinparenting.com/about), as well as others who may or may not have their own blogs but who’ve already given thought to or are now thinking about the ethical considerations of blogging.

We look forward to carrying on the conversation here with those who wish to join us.