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An Open Letter to Reese Witherspoon From a Little Old Mommy Blogger

Photograph by Steven Ferdman/REX/Shutterstock

Reese,

Sorry, girl, but I’ve got a serious bone to pick with you.

I’ve always been a fan of your work as an actress and have had immense regard for you as a producer. You have spoken up as a champion of women, as mothers and in the workplace. Your recent comments regarding Harvey Weinstein and your admission of your own dealings with sexual harassment took courage and undoubtedly helped countless other actresses who had similar experiences to speak up. But then you insulted mothers who make their living as bloggers and I was left wondering why.

See, Reese, at this week’s WSJ Magazine's 2017 Innovator Awards in New York City, you spoke so eloquently about the need for more films and content for women, created by women. You discussed the need for more opportunities for women in the entertainment business. You discussed the value of having diversity, both in casting and in content. But, when referencing the need for more diverse content for women you said, “And I’m not talking about mommy blogs and 14 ways to cook a turkey.” I’m sure that got you a lovely little chuckle, but your words made me rethink you as a champion of working women.

I am a proud member of the community of thousands of women—many of whom are mothers—who make their living as bloggers. Like many bloggers, I cringe at the term “mommy blogger,” as it’s always used pejoratively—a professional pat on the head meant to marginalize someone’s professional pursuits. In your attempt to champion diversity, you neglected the fact that women who have children are a lot of things, including mothers, but we are not defined by motherhood alone. Just as you are a mother and an actress, you probably wouldn’t appreciate being called a "mommy actress." So, no, I don’t appreciate being categorized by motherhood, especially by a fellow woman and mom.

Semantics aside, I was curious why someone in your position would marginalize a group of women who are doing exactly what you claim to want to do. Bloggers are using their own platforms, which they have painstakingly built on their own, to provide a myriad of content to an audience hungry for authentic entertainment, as well as information. Bloggers are their own bosses, own their own content, and are in full control of their schedule and workplace. The online community is one of the few branches of the entertainment and media business that is dominated, if not run by, women. But yet you equate what we are doing to something as trite as “14 ways to cook a turkey.”

I cringe at the term 'mommy blogger.' Just as you are a mother and an actress, you probably wouldn't appreciate being called a 'mommy actress.'

I take umbrage at your words not only because I make my living as a blogger, but also because your comment shows a tremendous lack of respect for a group of women who have found a way to be both mothers and writers—and sometimes even support you and your work in the process. You minimize the diversity of content one can find online and ignore the fact that many mothers would have no other opportunity to earn money were it not for their blogs. You downplay the power of bloggers to inform, enlighten and entertain.

By assuming all the work of mommy bloggers is not a good representation of women, you also minimize the depth and quality of content available online. No, not every blog post is a gem. You can relate, I’m sure. You did star in "Hot Pursuit," after all. But there are fabulous writers making their living by writing online. Go read a few posts by Jenny Lawson, if you need proof—or any of the talented bloggers here at Mom.me.

There are mothers providing inspiration and much-needed information on their blogs. If you haven't already, check out Ilana Wiles, a social media force to be reckoned with. And then there are moms like Baby Rabies’ Jill Krause, who—on her award-winning blog—has openly and graciously documented her battle with postpartum depression, and the highs and deep lows of raising children. Like most of the writers I know who make their living online, these ladies are confident, competent bosses who are not only making a living while their children are asleep or in school but also inspire others to do the same. I’m sure you can relate.

I guess the bigger issue is this: Why take a group of women down in an effort to promote another? I’ve seen more terrible movies than I’ve read terrible blog posts. Why pick on a group of people whose goals are to be good mothers and good writers? There's really nothing to pick on about that.

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