A Dad’s Perspective on BritMums Live

Last weekend saw me attend my first ever blogging conference, BritMums Live. This was a two day event which brought together, bloggers, experts and brands to share knowledge about anything ranging from social media and promoting your writing through to learning about Carol Smillie’s new pants.

I didn’t really know what to expect or what I wanted to get from the event – I just went in with an open-mind and took things as they came. Looking back, it was a good experience and pretty awesome to hang out with and meet people I’ve spoken to for the past year, but I personally failed to get much from the event which I can put into practice from a blogging perspective – well apart from my business cards sent to me by  Instantprint!

Whether it be the sessions I attended or the place I am on my blogging journey, I’m not really sure. I was open to learning but didn’t come away particularly inspired or with a 12-step action plan to put into place to make me the best dad blogger in the world. But, that’s not to say that I regret going – far from it in fact. I came away with a very positive experience of the event – largely down to the people I met – and would have no qualms in going again next year.

BUT…

There has been one nagging thing that has been in my mind. Before I say what it is, this is NOT a sob story, poor me or play the smallest violin in the world type scenario. It really isn’t, so please don’t view it in that way. Instead, this is about me sharing my own perceptions, experiences and learnings from being one of the few dad bloggers at the event and the only one asked to speak in a vagina-laden room.

What I want to touch upon surrounds the lack of blokes at the event. I think I know the reasons, or can make a pretty good guess as to what some of these are – this includes:

  • Being a man in a parent blogging community heavily made up of women
  • Attending an event as a dad with the word “mum” in the title
  • Being intimidated / scared about stepping away from behind the laptop
  • Feeling that you are not a big enough blogger to attend
  • The perception that your opinion doesn’t matter as you are just a dad
  • Knowing that you will automatically stand out and be judged differently as a bloke at an event mainly attended by women
  • etc

The list goes on. This isn’t self pitying, these are the real thoughts of dad bloggers and dare I say stopped a proportion of them even attending. Just to put things into context, did any of you mums get questioned by security when you walked into The Brewery? No? Well, we did because we looked out of place walking into the venue!

Of an event attended by around 750 bloggers, a handful were blokes. I don’t know exact numbers, but the going number is that 11 dad bloggers joined in the fun. That means 1.5% of people at the event had a penis, which is way down on the 8% of parent bloggers being dads which is quoted by Tots100. If things were representative, 60 dad bloggers should have been at the event rather than the 11 who actually were. So there is obviously something not quite right here.

Britmums Live dad bloggers

A few dad bloggers enjoying a late night Pizza Express (left to right, me, Tim [Slouching Towards Thatcham], John [Dad Blog UK], Tony [Papa Tont], Darren [One Dad Three Girls]. Missing as behind the camera, Ryan [Dad Creek Without A Paddle].

(Photo kindly stolen from Dad Creek Without A Paddle)

I can only speculate as to the answer, but what I do know is…

The issue isn’t mum bloggers. It’s not a fight to the death between mummies and daddies. Far from it. Since I started blogging just less than a year ago, I’ve been welcomed with open arms by the parent blogging community and no mum blogger has ever said anything to suggest that I shouldn’t be sharing my thoughts or experiences on raising a kid. In fact, it has been the total opposite, with many a mum blogger saying that it is fantastic to hear a dad’s perspective and there should be more of us. I can’t agree more.

I also know that the issue isn’t higher up the pecking order. A few of us dads spoke to BritMums founders Susanna Scott and Jennifer Howze and they were hugely supportive of dads, even saying we were “the rockstars of the parent blogger community” – that’s an image I was more than happy to live up to as I threw the TV out of the hotel after a coke and prostitute filled late night party. In addition, just this week, I have been Blog of the Day on Netmums and been the first ever Dad Blogger of the Week at Mummy Pages, so I’m finding no obvious issues surrounding these parenting networks not wanting to hear or promote the dad blogger message. In fact, this seems to be quite the opposite.

So, the issue doesn’t seem to be at the top or even at the bottom, but perhaps somewhere in the grey area involving people who are not necessarily in the parent blogger bubble. It seems to be those people who have a slight glimpse of what the community is and instantly make assumptions – dare I say fuelled by the mainstream media who often portray dads as incompetent when it comes to kids, or companies who focus on mums rather than both sets of parents. Still, it is important to say that this perception seems to be changing, however it is a slow fight to gain some kind of equality.

Britmums

In one of the sessions taking selfies with Tony [Papa Tont], me and Emma [Me, The Man, And The Baby] because that’s what bloggers do.

[Photo kindly stolen from Papa Tont]

I was not the only person to roll my eyes and let out another sigh when a speaker would come to the stage at BritMums Live and immediately alienate all of the dads in the room. Saying things like “you fabulous women in the audience” or laughing off the fact that there is a few men listening to a talk about period pants, only compounds the feeling of not belonging. It surely doesn’t take much to be careful with your wording, consider your audience and not play up to a stereotype. Caprice should probably take note of this having insulted dads on numerous occasions in her very random keynote speech.

I’m pretty sure that there is no malice intended though. It’s just a few people who haven’t thought things through fully and are pandering to a long running joke about dads and men in general. This is a stereotype that is harmful and needs to be eliminated where possible. I’m not putting any blame at any door though. This is merely asking questions and trying to share my honest, and probably blunt, thoughts.

I know for a fact that us dads probably didn’t help ourselves at BritMums Live. A lot of the time, we found safety in numbers – much like in the playground, I hung around the other dads so that I was not separated and isolated. Yes, we could be blamed for sometimes keeping ourselves to ourselves, but don’t the likes of zebras stick together so they are not picked off by the lions? I jest, but there is an ounce of truth in that. Stick with what you know etc.

The last thing I want is positive discrimination or quotas in place though as that would set things back. Ensuring that x number of dad bloggers were shortlisted and then won awards at the BIBs because they have a penis would do no-one any favours. Similarly with speakers – there’s no point asking a dad blogger to run a particular session at BritMums Live if a more experienced, qualified and knowledgeable mum can talk about the subject infinitely better.

As the only bloke to stand-up at the end of the event and read a blog post in the Bloggers’ Keynote, I’ll admit that I wondered why I’d been asked. Rather than big myself up and congratulate myself on being chosen for this awesome honour, my mind straight away went to thinking that I’d been asked to even up the numbers – it would hardly be representative to have 13 women speak and no men after all, wouldn’t it?

The DADventurer Bloggers Keynote BritMums 1

My big moment – ending the event by reading my blog post in the Bloggers’ Keynote.

(Photo kindly stolen from Mental Parents)

I hope that this is me just being self-deprecating though. From the nice comments I’ve had since my keynote, it appears that I was chosen because of my post rather than what is in my pants (FYI, check out the post I read, “An Open Apology To My 8-Month Old Daughter”). That is refreshing to know and fills me with confidence – truth be told, I’m still on a high nearly two days later.

It also has given me a sense of purpose – without sounding like a cock, it makes me feel like I actually have a duty to stand up and be counted. Just like the other 10 dad bloggers at the event, we could have easily not attended because it was easier and less scary. But we did attend. We maybe didn’t stand up and roar “I am a dad blogger” in scenes mimicking that of 300 or Gladiator, but I’d like to think that our presence alone at least made a slight ripple in the mum blogger ocean. From a personal perspective, I can only hope that my reading in the Bloggers’ Keynote gave a good representation of some of the immense talent we have in our XY chromosomes and went some way to showing why our under represented group were there.

So where does that leave my thoughts? To be honest, I’m not quite sure. I don’t have any answers, only questions. As I said at the start, the point of this post isn’t to say “oh, us dad bloggers have it so bad”, because we don’t. It’s purely to say that I was there, that I enjoyed it and that I appreciate the work done by the likes of BritMums to include and promote dads. But it is also to say that more needs to be done to include dads and dad bloggers.

Maybe I’m taking my over-egoed, keynote-speaking, penis-owning self too far by saying this, but as one of the few dad bloggers at the event, my new found responsibility and duty tells me that I need to stand up and be counted. After all, “I am a dad blogger”.

Were you a dad that attended BritMums Live – what was your perception of dads at the event? Were you a dad blogger that didn’t attend – if so, why not? As a mum blogger, what is your view of dad bloggers in general and attending events such as this?

Also check out Tim at Sloutching Towards Thacham’s post on Should BritMums Live Be Doing More For Dads? A much more eloquent and thought provoking post than this ramble!

(Featured image kindly stolen from Tim at Slouching Towards Thatcham)

 

  • I have to say I feel a bit confused by the posts I am reading from “dad bloggers” today. Maybe it’s because I don’t particularly like the “mum blogger/dad blogger” label and instead see us simply as “bloggers”.
    With regards to keynotes, people nominate bloggers for that. With a small number there is going to be a majority of mums against dads and I could confidently say that you were chosen for your POST, not because you are a man.
    The name of the event, I can see why that would put men off. However, it is clearly to connect it to the Britmums brand. And they are very open about the fact that dads can attend as can people without children.
    I can see why as a minority at an event like this the dads would have felt like they stood out and we judged….however again I don’t think this was really the case. I recently went to the Isle of Man TT and being a woman was in a minority, and I felt like I stood out and like I was judged and then quickly reminded myself that actually, it wasn’t a bad thing and didn’t really matter. Any comments I got I just went along with and made a joke of, or pushed under the rug.

    I think the best way for dads to feel like they “belong” and are welcome at these kinds of events is simply to just attend. That’s the only way numbers will go up surely? And that any negative or doubting attitudes will change?

    • Hi Lauren, thanks for the comment and agree with everything you say. Yeh, I feel similar, to me we are all parent bloggers with different experiences – BUT, there is still a huge mum v dad divide when it comes to brands etc, which creates this feeling that we are second best – it is unfortunate and shouldn’t be there, but it is.
      Thanks for the comments on the keynote – I realise that now but that didn’t stop me thinking it was a token gesture to start with. I should have just embraced my awesomeness!
      Agreed, there are many more women and mums, so they will obviously feature more significantly in everything (keynotes, bibs etc), but 11 dad bloggers is disproportionate to what it should be.
      Yep, fully agree again and your preaching to the choir in a way haha – I attended to bring up the dad numbers, which hopefully gives confidence to others in the future. It’d be awesome to see more dads attend events like this – I guess my point is that a few little things quickly add up to create a a perception or atmosphere that may not necessarily be true. The likes of Britmums are doing great things for dad bloggers as I mentioned.
      All I’m trying to do is bring a few points to the surface so that they can be understood and hopefully rectified 🙂

      • I think there was a general feeling of confusion with some of the brands this year from all areas. I didn’t see that because I’ve never really approached brands and didn’t get the chance to this year anyway but from what I’ve seen this year a few weren’t as welcoming as some had been in previous years.
        One thing I loved was being in room 4, I had 4 male speakers. (wait, not HAD them…you know what I mean) and I loved that. I loved that it wasn’t just female speakers and as someone who isn’t a feminist in the slightest I was delighted that they were there.

    • Tim

      I know what you mean – I prefer to think of us all as just ‘bloggers’ too, but the labels do have a descriptive meaning if nothing else.

      As we’ve discussed elsewhere, I’m supportive of retaining the BritMums brand – I think it is a barrier, but I also believe the downsides of rebranding massively outweigh the benefits of becoming ‘BritParents’ or similar. I can only speak for myself, but the thing that nearly prevented me from coming was not the name – it was the knowledge of how few males would be there. I know that sounds silly, but equally I have seen strong, confident women I work with made to feel decidedly inferior when attending events dominated by older men held together by the ‘old school tie’. I was at one such event recently, and as the only non-white attendee in a room of 26 I cannot begin to say how uncomfortable I felt.

      The way forward is to find ways to get more dads to attend. If 11 this year became 25-30 next year, that would make such a big difference. As an event, I don’t think BritMums Live needs to change significantly at all – it’s just a case of breaking down barriers.

      • I completely agree re breaking down the barriers. And in that case I expect to see you *all* there again next year 😉

  • Mothering Frights

    Hey DADventurer. Interesting to read your thoughts on Britmums, not dissimilar to Tim’s. For what it’s worth, I think the more dads the better at these types of events. I may be a woman, but I have no desire to hang out with only other women. I think some of what you felt about attending – such as you were too ‘small’ a blogger to attend, that it was scary to step away from the laptop, that your opinion mattered – were sentiments felt by a large proportion of the bloggers, penis or no penis.

    I did notice that all you zebras were hanging out together, as a collective shield against all those predatory, terrifying lions. I remember thinking at the time that I would have liked to have come and said hi, as I had conversed with some of you on Twitter, but it was a tad intimidating to do so. Perhaps we are all both zebras and lions… it’s all about perception. And incidentally, I did get stopped by security. Maybe I just look like a scummy robber. Or a man.

    Dads who blog are no different to mums that blog. We are all just passing comment on the bewildering, amazing, terrifying experience that is parenting. I would like to see more dads at events like these, because their voices should be heard too. Whether they will, I’m not sure. Yes, a room full of women can be intimidating. But not just for men.

    But at the end of the day – metaphorically and literally, I listened to your keynote and loved it. Not because you had a penis. Not because you were a bloke. Or a dad. But because it was well written and funny.And I hope that’s what really counts.

    • Howdy – Yep, I read Tim’s this morning and considered whether to write this due to similar thoughts – I promise it’s not a conspiracy 🙂
      Brilliant comment and very well put – I totally agree with everything you said and it’s eye opening to hear that women can feel like this too. I guess as the minority, it’s easy to alienate yourself and instil the zebra mentality and forget about the experiences of others. Perhaps there is something about taking things to heart when it is just a random occurrence, such as what you say with security – I thought it was because I was a man, maybe they were just doing random stops.
      Thanks for the kind words about the keynote. Loved yours too – I’ve even stopped doing the helicopter at tea time now just in case of hot beans 🙂

  • Tim

    Well said, and thanks for the name-check. Now, about this party that apparently happened that I wasn’t invited to … I was tucked up in my room with my laptop and a mug of Horlicks – I’m not sure whether it would be more embarrassing to say I was blogging (true) or watching porn (not!), but hey.

    I’ve been in contact with Susanna today and, no surprise, she is as receptive to our input as we would expect after meeting her and Jennifer. Like you, I do feel a responsibility to help break down some of the barriers that stop men attending – I think we know what they are, as you have listed, but the solutions aren’t necessarily so easy. The only metric that matters is the number of dads attending – I would much rather have 50 dads there and we won no awards between us than have 15 there and us winning three awards. If more men get involved, other stuff will follow.

    It was great to meet up with you and the other guys at long last, and with so many of the mums who greeted us with hugs and supportive comments.

    • Haha – can’t you blog whilst watching porn? That’s what I do. I find the rhythmic pounding helps with my thought process. Great, pleased she is receptive, although I never doubted that at all. Agreed, for me too it’s about getting more dads to attend so things are a bit more reflective – as we both said, 11 isn’t proportional.
      And you too – nice to hang out with you and great to meet so many other great bloggers.

  • I think this is a great post. I didn’t go to the event although it looked a great one this year. One reason I don’t visit these events is because I find lots of people quite scary and it’s actually groups of fellow women that terrify me the most! I can say though that a group of men hanging together wouldn’t make me want to at hello either much any group I’m just trying to say I can see where you’re coming from and its def on both sides. Men are great to be around imo and should absolutely be more a part of these events I wish I could get my husband blogging then I’d have someone to keep me safe ha ha! I found you via some Instagram photos and read your key note speech on your blog hilarious by the way! Hope you attend more events and can encourage fellow dad bloggers to do that same!

    • Thanks for the comment and stopping by Hannah. Yeah, I totally get that – the more that this has played out during the day on Twitter, the more I realise that some of the reasons for people (men and women) not going are actually the same, e.g. big groups, feeling intimidated etc. Exactly, as I say, being in a group of a few blokes would have also been scary for people to approach, although this obviously wasn’t all of the time and I personally had some great conversations with plenty of women who were there. Thanks for the kind words about the blog and I’ll do what I can to encourage, although it seems that I’ve scared some of by writing this…hmmm…

  • Nigel Higgins

    Hi Dave,
    First of all I would like to say an excellent post with very good observations of BritMums.
    I certainly don’t feel qualified to answer the many questions you have asked as I have only been blogging about 9 months.
    I don’t actually think we will break down any barriers as the event is called BritMums and that’s not changing any time soon because that’s the brand and it would be commercial suicide to change that.
    As for myself I would love to have attendedl, but my wife blogs as Twinmumanddad and we have 3 year old twins and basically no childcare so I drawed the short straw and got to stay at home, but saying that reading your post about being a man at BritMums seemed to be very scary.
    Actually my wife has said for me to go next year and she will stay home, but your post kinda puts me off.
    Collectively if we want daddy bloggers to become a force to be reckoned with then we need to support each other on all the relevant social media platforms and help eachother out because I believe that’s what mummy bloggers do.
    I throughly enjoyed your post giving a perspective from a dad blogger as I have only heard it from a mummy blogger before (my wife).
    Nige – diydaddy

    • Hi Nige – thanks for stopping by and commenting. Let me start by saying it was never my intention to scare blokes off by writing this, quite the opposite! I had a really good time there and met plenty of great people (men and women). If you get the chance to attend, I’d massively encourage you and any other person (dad, mum, alien etc) to buy a ticket and go. It really wasn’t scary and no-one at any point made me feel intimidated etc – it was a few little things which compounded to make me write this post – I guess what I’m trying to do is identify the barriers that are perhaps stopping dads from attending, then I can hopefully do something to encourage more to attend! Hope that makes sense! 🙂

  • Claire Jones-Hughes

    Well said. I think we would all like to see more dads at BML. It’s so important to have a wide range of perspectives. The room is full of people from many walks of life and situations but without a proportional number of dads, there is something lacking. I do enjoy hearing from mums on issues that potentially impact women more than men, potentially. But. When I look at most of the BML2015 agenda, I don’t believe it’s particularly gender or role specific. Well done for beating the drum for the dad bloggers!

    • Hi Claire, cheers for the comment. Totally agree – the agenda is not gender specific in the slightest which I was very surprised about. It is just for bloggers who blog. The only female slant was the keynotes (Caprice, Carol Smillie), but that does make sense considering the vast amount of women. However, maybe someone who is inspiring but not because they are a man or women is the key. I’m not sure. I think it is fundamentally about letting other dad bloggers know that the perceived gender divide at events such as this actually doesn’t exist (well, maybe 1%)

      • Claire Jones-Hughes

        I just remembered a key note speaker, head of Facebook, was there one year. May have been Cybermummy. I would be happier to see more tech speakers as well as inspiration. Caprice was surprisingly great, but not my cup of tea in general.

  • I’ve really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on this (as well as Tim’s) because it has crossed my mind to wonder how you all felt being such a small minority at the conference.

    I think we (as women) should understand what that feels like and want to lift you up and champion your taking a stand to be counted as equals, after all that is what has created change for us in male-dominated arenas. True equality is a long way off in many, many walks of life, but just as we celebrate things like “women in business” we should also (in my opnion, at least) celebrate “dads as bloggers”. As such, I’m all for something like a “best dad blog award” because it is still a very niche theme, which I feel needs to be encouraged further so that it become less niche and more mainstream (if that makes sense?) Not so much a token gesture, but simply recognising that, as yet, mum and dad bloggers aren’t always seen as equals.

    Interestingly, though, my husband disagrees with me (and so do a lot of others it seems), so who knows what the answer is. I do find it odd (telling, maybe?) that my husband thinks that “men have enough in other places, so why should they intrude here” because maybe that is the reason there are so few dad bloggers attending conferences such as these. Perhaps the “BritMums” brand is not so much a barrier caused by the name itself, but by men feeling like that cannot “intrude” into something that they are actually very welcome to join?

    It’s definitely left me with a lot to think about and I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on this. I think it’s great we’re having these kinds of conversations…

    • Hi Amanda – thanks for your thoughts! A difficult one isn’t it. I think all of your points are valid, but as you touch upon, it’s an area that has so many contrasting opinions. Bringing in a ‘dad award’ might help get more dad bloggers recognised, but does that then mean there needs to be other minority categories represented such as LGBT? Where do you start and stop? I personally don’t think a dad blog award would help because this may be seen as positive discrimination which probably wouldn’t have any positive impact in the long run.
      I think there is definitely something around the branding of BritMums, but I very much doubt it would be changed, or is even sensible to do so, as after all, it is still a site probably used by 95% of mums. Agree, the fact that these conversations is happening is great and can only help.

  • mummyofboygirltwins

    You did an amazing job reading our your fabulous post! It really made me chuckle! So true. More men should blog – and be at these events, and I guess as more men get into parenting blogging over the next few years then they will? It was my first BritMums Live and yes it was very female biased I must say. I say to BritMums that they should encourage more male speakers, leading sessions and an attempt to include everyone. Well said xx

    • Hi Jess – thanks, pleased that the reading went down well 🙂 Cool, great to hear your thoughts and openness to more dad bloggers and speakers etc. The more I think about this, the more I think it is down to individual dad bloggers choosing not to attend for whatever reason, rather than it being anything unwelcoming. We just need to break down the barriers stopping dad bloggers attending so hopefully more turn up next year!

  • john adams

    Firstly Dave, well done on doing a keynote. As it happens my first ever BritMums expereince was to attend three years ago and talk at a session called Success from the Frontline. It was terrifying, I’d been blogging for seven months and knew full well I was talking to a group of bloggers considerably more experienced than I was!

    I think we need to be realistic and accept the mum blogging community is bigger than the dad blogging community. The number of mums in attendance will always be bigger than dads. But….this year you were the only dad blogger to speak at the event from what I can see from the agenda. Later year there were several. An increased number of dad blogger speakers wouldn’t go amiss.

    I personally had a first rate reception from the mums. I really felt like it was a whole new chapter. I;ve always felt welcomed at BritMums but this year it was more like “yeah, you guys are part of the team.” Sadly, the dads only turn up in small numbers. I wish they were more representative.

    • Hi John, thanks for your thoughts as a dad blogger veteran at these times of things! Totally agree – the parent blogging community is always going to be dominated by mums which is totally fine. I guess the point is about making things representative – 60 dad bloggers and 700 mum bloggers is more representative of the blogging community than 11 dad bloggers and 750 mum bloggers for instance. All that means is we need to find a way of getting more dad bloggers to attend. More free Pizza Express meals perhaps?
      Agree, I felt really welcome and had a great time. As mentioned, it wasn’t mum bloggers at all who created any sense of not belonging – probably more the fact that the brands were very mum focussed and the celebrity keynotes were about empowering women.

  • Dad Creek

    I personally felt a little patronised at times but only when speakers were addressing the masses. I agree with you that it’s certainly not an issue with Mummy bloggers, because I felt welcome at all times. I don’t know how we could get more Dad bloggers to attend either. It’s not like they don’t exist, because they do and are growing in numbers all the time. Perhaps it’s in the name? Brit MUMS. Compare that to say the MADS? I don’t know, Im just thinking aloud.

    You could also argue, did we do enough ourselves? I enjoyed being in the company of others Dads (I have zero Dad friends in real life and am the only one in my circle to be a parent) but we were guilty of staying safe in our little group from time to time.

    I’d like to see Dads get a little more of a platform though at future events. I think if people see that Dads are actively encouraged to not only attend, but take part then it may in turn encourage more Dads to come along. Dave, you spoke brilliantly and read a terrific post that was very well received. But you were the only Dad given an opportunity to be involved this year. No Dads spoke at sessions, workshops etc. I’m not saying there should be a Dad Blog award or anything like that (I’d be against that) but perhaps something a little less girl power that made us feel involved wouldn’t go amiss.

    I definitely enjoyed the weekend though and will certainly be returning.

    • I just wanted to jump in on your comment – as, being one of those with a vagina, I can’t say there weren’t times I didn’t feel a little patronised myself. “Us women” type talks really don’t’ do it for me – especially when delivered by Caprice who most certainly wasn’t “one of us” lol. So I can only imagine how uncomfortable it would have been for you guys and I was certainly aware of you as I was listening to this sort of stuff.
      I can totally see why you would stay safe in your group – aside from the obvious thing in common, you are all mates aren’t you – so why wouldn’t you spend the weekend with your mates? I was lucky that I was able to dip in and out of lots of groups of people but still had my secure little group of NW Bloggers to go back to when it came to be time to sit en masse.
      x x

      • Cheers Colette, jump away 🙂 Haha, but Caprice struggles with a 2 income family, she’s JUST like us…
        Yeah, I totally see your point – for me, I wanted to hang with the people I normally speak to online rather than meet loads of new people. But I guess there is a truth in that we maybe alienated ourselves further. Having said that though, it’s not like we had a no-girls policy. I felt like I spend the majority of the weekend with Emma from Me, Myself and the Kids.

    • Cheers for your thoughts mate. I know what you mean about the name – quite a few other people have said similar. And yep, on reflection, I do wonder that about hanging in a small group of blokes – I do personally feel like I met 90% of the bloggers I wanted to though and I was never going to go there and become a network hoar, although it probably did put some people off coming to talk to us. I’m not personally sure where the line is when it comes to giving more dads the opportunity to talk – on one hand it’d be great to increase their profile and show what we can do, but doing it as a token gesture just to tick the non-discrimination box seems slightly backwards. As I say in the post, if the best person to speak is a woman, then I wouldn’t want a bloke speaking just because he’s a bloke. I dunno, it’s a difficult one, but all good food for thought!

  • Kate Holmes

    A very thought-provoking post. In fact so thought-provoking that I want time to reflect before giving a quick response.

  • Interestingly Dave I was also irritated by the sweeping generalisations of “us Mums” and the token stereotypical comments aimed at “the men in the room” – It’s discriminatory and women would certainly complain if things were the other way round.
    I loved meeting you this weekend – and was relieved that you were as sound in real life as you were online (don’t be getting a big head now . . . ) x x x

    • Thanks Colette – I did wonder that myself actually – there were a lot of generalisations about mums and women, which if that is done about men (drinking, footy, DIY etc) then I know that annoys me. In a weird way, it’s good to know that it wasn’t just me being precious and it did alienate some women too.
      Aww, bless ya, thanks. Totally agree, was great to hang out with you and pick up our online relationship in real life (in a non Tinder sounding way).

  • What, what, where’s our pic dude? GUTTED! It was brilliant hanging out with you and the ‘boys’ and I can imagine it got frustrating although perhaps some of the speakers hadn’t realised fathers were attending, there have been so few in the past. We needed and craved your testosterone (eek) and this was the best year yet with the most welcoming, chilled atmosphere and you guys were a big part of that 🙂

    • Haha – I keep that pic in a special place…
      Cheers – I have nothing to compare it to, but yeah the atmosphere was welcoming and chilled – no complaints from my end that I wasn’t accepted. Yeah good point about the speakers, they certainly did cater just for the females in the audience (however saying that, I did enjoy the Carol Smillie talk and it is useful for both men and women with daughters). Great to meet you and hang out with you, albeit too briefly 🙂

  • Man vs Pink

    Being an at-home dad, I’m used to being the only guy in a room full of women, which I have no problem with that. But if a group is called a mothers group, I feel as if I am trespassing on a female only parenting space and tend to look elsewhere. That’s similar to how I feel about ‘BritMums Live’. Based solely on the name, it’s presenting itself as a conference for mum bloggers – and while mum & dad bloggers have a lot more in common than not, there is a difference, eg. I have no interest in women’s fashion or make-up tutorials, the prevalence of which often stop me from following otherwise interesting bloggers. I feel if they want more dad bloggers in attendance, they need a strategy to get around the name. Greater outreach perhaps? For example, Mumsnet have approached me for things a few times now, as well as choosing a few my posts as blog of the day, and it makes me feel welcome in their space.

    • Cheers for the comment Simon. Yep, I totally get that, it’s only a small thing, but the name of something can be off putting. Without a total rebrand to BritParents, I’m not quite sure what the answer is? Like I alluded to in the post, and as you’ve backed up, more and more mum centric and mum blogger centric websites likes Mumsnet, NetMums and BritMums are taking on dad content which is great. Perhaps all that is needed is a bit more time…? In terms of the content of the event, the funny thing is that 95% of it was for bloggers – not mum bloggers only, but bloggers as an entity. So things like SEO, social media, marketing yourself, photography etc, would have suited men or women, which I’ll admit was surprising. The keynotes (Caprice, Carol Smillie etc) were all about empowering women though, so maybe that’s where there is a gap which could be looked at?

  • Lucy @ bottlefor2

    I was stopped at the brewery before each time I entered and asked for my badge. It’s not just you xx

  • I hear you and I really feel the guys that were there made the experience richer but yes there should be more of you and the title of the network and the event are not positive for encouraging that unfortunately. As for why you were there at the end, you were there reading as your posts was awesome. Mich x

  • Hear hear! Like you I can’t really put my finger on why there were relatively so few dad bloggers at Britmums, but I can imagine that if I was going to a conference that had men in the name (let’s say SkiMen to take another hobby of mine as an example), I would feel a bit peeved off and might say, to hell with it, they can ski in their man groups all they want.

    And there were a few cringe worthy jokes, considering there were actual men and fathers (presumably with feelings and thoughts of their own too) in the room…

    Lest assured though, I am sure you weren’t a token man for the key notes – I thought your post was brilliant and deserved to be up there!

  • I didn’t attend Brit Mums live, initially I was put off by the name (I wasn’t signed up to britmums or mumsnet) they seemed like a place not for dads, place where mums can go to vent about dads as much as anything, and I respected this (I’m part of a couple of dad groups that are just for dads as they are a safe place to rant about issues that do not related to mums), I always felt mother and baby/toddler groups were the same, un-inclusive and as a man entering them I always felt like a pariah.

    However my opinion was changed the longer into my dad blogging journey I travelled, I realised that the names of these places were not really important (although the reality is they do still put men off), I ended up not attending for other reasons, when the tickets were available (at a cost I could afford) I didn’t feel ready or really part of the “scene”, as I became part of it I couldn’t justify the extra cost (after all there are two of us who blog at when the dust settles, myself and Zoe my partner, so the cost would be twice as high).

    Next year I WILL attend and add my considerable weight (physical not influential) to the testosterone, and I’m ready to stand up and tell the world “I’m Spartacus” along with the rest of you, or should we stand as any dad gets recognition with a cry of Captain my Captain.

    Oh and the mention of Carol Smilies pants sold me as well!

    Sorry for the essay.

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  • Donna Wishart

    I love this post – I always appreciate how honest you are and it’s great to read a dad perspective on Britmums. Now for an honest comment…. Yours is the only dad blog I read and because of this I wasn’t going anywhere near a group of dads at Britmums Live – approaching a group of mum bloggers is intimidating enough, approach a bunch of dad bloggers?! Forget it! But I can understand why you all congregated together a lot of the time.
    Even as a woman I found Carol Smillie and Caprice – mainly Caprice – really sexist and not at all aiming for a male audience. I think Britmums could do with renaming Britmums Live as I think anyone asked to speak at the conference will expect a room of women. I hope next year more Dads come – they definitely have a voice and write about a gap in the parent blogging world.

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