Having seen the mummy-blogging universe up close, I can’t say I was hugely surprised when I read that mumfluencer, Mother of Daughters, aka Clemmie Hooper, had set up a fake Instagram account on Tattle Life to troll her trolls (and her husband.)
In case you missed it: Hooper, a midwife from Kent who has over 672k followers, has admitted that she set up the anonymous account, AliceInWanderLust, to defend herself against her critics. She then began criticising her fellow influencers and friends, reportedly making reprehensible racist remarks (including claiming fellow blogger Candice Braithwaite used her ‘race as a weapon’).
‘I got lost in this online world and the more I became engrossed in the negative commentary, the more the situation escalated,’ she said on Instagram. Her husband, Simon Hooper, aka Father of Daughters, has said he had no idea Clemmie had set up the account.
I had a brief foray into the world of mummy bloggers after writing a post when I was on maternity leave about the bittersweet pain of being a mum without a mum – which went viral. I went on to write lots more blogs and met a number of influencers during that time; many of whom were lovely but some, less so.
I soon began being invited to various parties and events. At first, I was flattered to be asked but I noticed quite quickly that while some of the mummy bloggers posted about the sisterhood and appeared to support each other online, it could be a different story IRL. Behind the glamorous, carefully curated posts and the seemingly candid confessions, I found the world of mumfluencers to be a little cold and calculating at times.
At one party, at a bar in Soho, we were given different wrist bands according to the number of followers we had.
I often saw, for example, people chatting for two minutes before taking a series of pictures with each other, then picking up their goodie bags and leaving, presumably for another event.
At one party, at a bar in Soho, we were given different wrist bands according to the number of followers we had. As a journalist, I was given a black one, which entitled me to free drinks all night. This was, according to one blogger I met, the equivalent of having millions of followers (which I certainly don’t have). I noticed people’s eyes skimming over my wrist before coming to talk with me.
All though many of these bloggers appeared to be outgoing and inclusive on Instagram (#yougothis and #womensupportingwomen being favourite hastags), I didn’t find this to be the case in person. One in particular, an influencer with a podcast and over 110k followers, was monosyllabic and distracted, constantly scanning the room to see if there was anyone more important she should be talking to. Another sent me a DM to ask if I’d like to write a profile on her and her new business but when I politely explained I don’t tend to write about products, she unfollowed me.
I saw another two, who run courses on empowering women, at a private member’s club and went over to say hello. One looked me up and down before going back to her laptop and ignoring me while the other was polite but dismissive. It took me back to the time I went to a party held by one of the girls in the year above me at my all-girls’ school where one girl said I shouldn’t be there because I was ‘only in Upper Fourth’.
Having said that, there were some aspects of being a mummy blogger I loved. I found writing that first post, on being a motherless mum, quite cathartic and I became connected with lots of other women in a similar situation through writing it.
I’ve also met lots of genuine people who use their platform to champion worthy causes, such as mental health, flexible working, women’s rights and support for parents who have a child with special needs.
It is all too easy to get swept up in the parallel world of Instagram, though. I started blogging in 2014, before they made it a requirement to state whether something was an advert on Instagram so I enjoyed lots of lovely freebies (cashmere baby blankets, sequinned cardigans for my daughter, even sex toys) but I still decided it wasn't really a community I wanted to be in. I soon found myself feeling left out when I saw people I’d been at event with the week before tagging each other at a party I hadn’t been invited to.
Hooper’s actions, however, paint a much more worrying picture of life behind the Instagram lens than the one I glimpsed. Now, the community is in turmoil, reeling from the fact that such a well-known influencer, who works as a midwife and hosts a popular podcast, was able to use an anonymous account to perpetuate racist views and target her so-called friends.
[Clemmie Hooper – And How Instagram Became A Tool Of Modern Motherhood](http://Clemmie Hooper – And How Instagram Became A Tool Of Modern Motherhood)