The kids were watching telly, she was warming pizza, he was cleaning his gun. These things happen, apparently, in Idaho.
The internet needed to know more about this story because the woman with the bleeding leg was “Mummy Blogger” Emily Meyers, also known as The Freckled Fox. She is 26, deeply photogenic, and has five small children to her first husband, Martin Meyers.
Martin died of melanoma last year, but not before Emily had spent months being abused online by people who believed that she and Martin had invented his cancer diagnosis for clicks. They hadn’t.
Emily usually blogs about her kids, food, fitness and hair. But she documented Martin’s illness, his death and his funeral with astonishingly confronting, professional photography on her blog. And then, 12 weeks later, she announced she had got married again, to an old flame, Richard, a nurse with guns.
He was also injured in the kitchen shooting, but everyone is just fine now. You can follow their progress on Instagram along with 250,000 others.
Women like Meyers are living their ordinary, sometimes extraordinary lives online. They are ‘mummy bloggers’ and in our content-hungry media landscape, they are the new celebrities.
One of the original big names of mummy blogging — Glennon Doyle Melton — became famous for writing with brutal honesty about her suburban reality and her past struggles with addiction and disordered eating. She wrote two best-selling books, the second, Love Warrior, was an account of how her marriage survived her husband’s infidelity.
On the eve of the book’s promotional tour, Melton announced that she and her husband were actually divorcing, and now she too has remarried, to a female soccer star, Abby Wambach.
Their wedding made news on every media site in the USA, and plenty more around the world. Melton has established a charitable foundation as well as her online community Momastry, and she’s now worth around SA5.07 million.
If you thought that the patronising tag of ‘mummy blogger’ represented a gaggle of women posting about school lunches and to-do lists and what costume to make for book week, you’d be right. And wrong. There’s much more complicated stuff going on than that.
Case in point here in Australia, of course, is Constance Hall.
With whiplash speed, we’ve seen the Perth mum-of-four gather the kind of following that dwarfs ‘influencers’ and now rivals those of bona-fide media companies.
As her following has skyrocketed, her followers have watched as she fought to save her marriage before falling in love again.
We’ve seen her self-publish a book that frustrated every major publishing house by becoming an enormous bestseller, raising thousands for charity along the way. She’s launched a line of merchandise, including sought-after skirts and pants that work for ‘mum-tums’. She’s gone on a sold-out speaking tour of the UK and Ireland and, perhaps most importantly, created a community of women so loyal, so bonded, they identify themselves to each other with a crown car-sticker and an implicit understanding that they have a sister’s back.
Hall now has an agent, an editorial staff and a radio show. She has transformed her life with the savvy of a businesswoman and the work ethic of an ox.
Her success is to be admired. But this is the internet, so it’s also to be ridiculed and denigrated. There are infamous hate-groups set up specifically to screenshot and criticise every online move that Hall — and other women who write online — make. It seems that there is still nothing so provocative as a woman telling the truth about her life.
And it’s that truth that’s the key to these women’s success. The glorious Sophie Cachia — who formerly blogged as The Young Mummy and has just launched a clothing line of her own — streamed her second labour live and last Saturday followed it up with a blog of professional birth photos that crashed her site the moment she published.
Women of all ages will be poring over those photos for months, either comparing their own experiences, or learning what to expect when it’s their turn.
An ‘old-school’ celebrity — Jennifer Aniston, for example — would spit in your eye before she would tell you what dress she wore to her wedding to Justin Theroux. A video blogger like the YouTube “mum” sensation Kristina Kuzmic posted a full transcript of the vows her new husband recited to her children on their special day. With video and photo-shoot, of course.
These women are smart. They understand that we are curious, sociable creatures. We want to see our lives reflected back at us, and we want to swap wisdom and gossip over the back fence.
But no-one has the time or space for a back fence any more, so we have Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat. And the women we spend our days swiping, Liking and Sharing are becoming our new role models.
We know them, like we used to know the cast of Friends.
It’s this devotion and this tribal allegiance — pick your team whether it’s Pinterest-perfect, sugar-free or hot mess — that inspired me to set a fiction book in an imaginary version of this heightened, emotional world. Because it’s been fascinating to see these women, once dismissed as petty over-sharers, become an actual phenomenon.
Some may have started out trying to make their friends laugh on Facebook, but they have discovered a path to a bona fide business, as long as they’re prepared to share.
Even about that time their husband accidentally shot them in the kitchen.
Holly Wainwright’s debut novel, The Mummy Bloggers, is published today, August 23, by Allen & Unwin....Read more