A mommy blogger is facing criticism after refusing to stop writing about her daughter’s life despite the young girl’s protests.
Following an essay written for The Washington Post last Thursday, Christie Tate faced backlash online for treating her daughter, as one Twitter user wrote, like “her personal content mill.” The Chicago mom has blogged about topics from marriage to motherhood for more than a decade, but as her daughter grew older, the day came that she confronted Tate about her personal photos and stories being published online.
As a Christmas present, Tate said she and her husband gifted their daughter with a new laptop. It took less than an hour for a girl to approach her mother, asking, “Why are all these pictures of me on the Internet?”
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“Could I take the essays and pictures off the Internet, she wanted to know,” Tate wrote. “I told her that was not possible.”
This didn’t go over well with Tate’s fourth-grade daughter — nor with many readers online who found the author’s decision despicable. Tate’s blog posts spanned the entirety of her children’s life, including embarrassing experiences with potty training, temper tantrums, experiences with “mean girls” and more.
Tate, a mother of two, defended her decision by arguing that writing about parenting is an integral part of who she is.
“Promising not to write about her anymore would mean shutting down a vital part of myself, which isn’t necessarily good for me or her,” she wrote.
Ultimately, Tate decided that her daughter was old enough to have some say in the amount of her life that was being shared on the Internet, so she promised to give her a “veto right” on pictures and particular details in articles.
Tate also promised to stop using her daughter’s real name in articles, and to discuss at length the details of her posts before publishing them with her daughter’s permission.
Despite the compromise, many readers online said if the roles were reversed, no parent would appreciate his or her private life being plastered all over the Internet without permission.
“Suppose your husband was a writer, and he wrote about his relationship with you and justified it in the same terms that you are using to write about your daughter. Maybe posted pictures as well. How would that feel?” one Twitter user wrote, as Buzzfeed News reported, adding that she did not immediately respond to the backlash.
Tate, however, claimed it would be too creatively restricting to give up penning about parenthood entirely. She said she hoped this compromise would suffice for her daughter. Additionally, she wrote that she wanted to fight the assumption that mothers should sacrifice their entire lives for their children.
“Writer Christine Organ has described how ‘we seem to be creating this unrealistic image of the mother as all-giving, all-knowing, selfless, superhuman who will gladly give up the last piece of apple pie to please her lip-smacking, big-eyed child.’” Tate wrote. “Surely, there’s a way to cut the pie so that I can write about motherhood in a way that takes into account my daughter’s feelings and respects her boundaries.”