As A Mummy Blogger Is Attacked For Her Secret Double Life, We're Missing The Real Problem
If you've never heard of Clemmie Hooper, the queen of all Instagram mums, you likely scrolled passed a negative headline about her this week.
The attention came after the hugely popular midwife and influencer behind the Mother of Daughters Instagram account admitted to leading a secret online life where she would attack her social media rivals, including her own husband who she called a “class-A-t**t”.
She also criticised other bloggers on the UK gossip forum Tattle.life under the alias ‘Alicewanderlust’, calling 'one desperate for fame' and another 'aggressive'.
Hooper has since apologised, stating she started the account and made the remarks after seeing thousands of negative comments about herself and her family on Tattle.life.
“Reading them made me feel extremely paranoid and affected me much more than I knew at the time,” she said.
I decided without telling anyone else that I would make an anonymous account so that this group of people would believe I was one of them, or that I could maybe change their opinions from the inside to defend my family and I.
The situation then escalated with her making comments about other bloggers, including her own husband, in an attempt to cover her tracks when those in the world of mummy influencers began to connect the dots.
The actions of Hooper are no doubt wrong but there is a point we are all missing and it is the one probably most important within this whole situation.
Putting yourself out there into the public realm, sharing your life or voice, your views or ideas can be terrifying and it often has a dark side that can be soul destroying, this is a prime example.
As a fellow writer and mother, I empathise with Hooper because (although on a much smaller scale) I also put myself out there to voice opinions through my writing and it can be scary.
It can backfire and it can (and often does) open up a can of hate worms that wriggle into the comments of any available avenue by the ever present keyboard warriors and find their way infiltrating your own mind and thoughts.
Even in my experience as a writer, on a much smaller public scale than Hooper’s 600,000 plus followers, I have experienced negative comments on social media where my pieces have been published. I have also had them directly sent to my personal social media accounts and through to my email.
At times they have been nasty and hurtful comments that were unfair, intentionally hurtful and completely unnecessary. Comments just like Hooper received.
Here is a small sample:
“What a white, privileged middle class woman view." I actually grew up in a housing commission area, with a single mum who worked full time. But, yes I am white and a woman.
“Your kids are spoiled.” Yes, with love.
“You’re a hypocrite.” Why thank you for letting me know.
“No wonder he didn’t want you in his life.” Thank you for your empathy with regards to my father.
“I’m glad my child didn’t have you as a teacher.” I was actually pretty good but thank you for your feedback.
“What you’ve written is a load of crap. Do you even know how to write?” Well, yes, I taught English but from time to time, I also make mistakes. Thanks for pointing that out publicly like you never make any yourself.
“Control and power are clearly important concerns of Shona's.” Good to know. I shall note that down.
“Hun, this has clearly hit a sore point for you.” Mate, please don’t condescend me.
There have been times when reading these comments I have cried. Where I have felt so devastated and upset that I have questioned whether I wanted to keep writing. There have been times where I had regretted ever doing it at all.
While I am no Andrew Bolt or Derryn Hinch and my articles are rarely about hard hitting issues or major news events, I am still at the receiving end of many trolls who believe it is their fundamental right to attack me personally because they disagree with my viewpoint.
While having an opinion different to someone is more than OK, using personal comments, assumptions and assessments of the author, facts you really have no idea about, are not.
Something important for these commentators to note is that behind every article or Instagram post, there is usually more than what the viewer will see. It is only a part of a person’s opinion or view or experience, not all of it.
Behind this there is a writer or a blogger and they are a person with feelings. Just because their work is in the public sphere, it doesn’t make us fair game for abuse. No one is fair game for this.
While Hooper’s actions and her trolling of other bloggers in no way excusable, I can see how being the victim of this bullying, abuse and horrible untruths, over and over again could potentially impact someone so much that they made decisions that weren’t based on rationality and logic.
Her husband said on his Instagram account himself: “I’ve seen first-hand what three years of being attacked online can do to a person and the dark places it can drive you to.”
And this is the point. I am a person, Clemmie is a person too. We have feelings and they get hurt like anyone’s when people say horrible, untrue things about us and our family.
We all make mistakes. Maybe it is time to look a bit deeper at the real source of this issue because because Clemmie probably isn't the first person with a pubic profile to hide behind the mask of a troll. And she likely won't be the last.
Featured image: Instagram