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That Hello! STAR MUM thing, and my take on it

That Hello! STAR MUM thing, and my take on it

If you missed that Hello! Magazine (in sponsorship with NEXT) Star Mum competition story, then good for you – that means you’re out there living your best life.

However, for those of us who live online and couldn’t get away from it, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Yes, Hello! Magazine created a competition to crown the best ‘Star Mum’.

Besides the fact that this was a terrible idea; pitting mums against each other in order to be celebrated as the Best Mum when the majority go unnoticed, the main issue was the mothers chosen to represent the competition.

Why did I decide to write about this now? Primarily because the hoo-ha has calmed down and at the time, it seemed as if a lot of people were jumping on this bandwagon like there was no other news going on.

You know me, I like to spill the tea now and again. *Takes a sip.

My point at the time

It was a cloudy afternoon when the image dropped all over Instagram, folks took it upon themselves to tag me in the post as if I were some civil rights advocate. *Insert blank stare*.

Firstly, I may be opinionated, but I am not the spokesperson for all black matters. I’m a Black British female who is married to a white dude. I share my experiences when it comes to racism, but I’m not about to fight every microaggression that’s thrown in my face.

I would like to try and live my life without reminders of daily racial injustices. I mean, yes, I will speak up if something terrible has happened, but things like ‘not being represented in a magazine’ that clearly isn’t aimed at people like me…well, sorry. Let me keep my angst for something that really matters.

I need to make it clear, not every black person is a spokesperson for all black matters. I have never claimed to be, and I never have, nor will I elect a social media influencer or collective to represent or speak on my behalf.

Yes, its good to speak up about things, but when people take it upon themselves to rally up the troops and tell people how they should feel, there’s a problem. And just like that, the original is message is lost.

Star Mum

The problem with mob mentality

There were mums that were furious about the fact that only celebrities were included in the magazine shoot. Some ladies were appalled by the fact that these ladies were all slim. People were astonished that there were no redheads represented. And of course, there were no people of colour, disabled or religious types. The lack of diversity was a no-no.

Remember when I used the term ‘Bandwagon’? The word here is very significant because a whole heap of disgruntled beings jumped on said bandwagon like their social status and followers depended on it.

Virtual trucks containing angry underrepresented mothers holding pitchforks and flamethrowers were driven to Anna Whitehouse’s (@Mother_Puckka’s) Instagram page. Her ^post addressing the infamous Star Mum campaign saga was hung, drawn, quartered and held up for the crowds to see.

Why target her I asked? There were four other mums in that picture too. Well, apparently she was “easiest to get an answer out of”. You know, “because we follow her”, “feels like I know her”. “We want answers”.

So much for Sisterhood

There’s a thing about building people up, only to tear them down. It’s a strange phenomenon.

Amongst all the pathetic comments shaming Anna, a few things stuck out. Why didn’t she say something at the shoot? Why did she take part at all? Why wasn’t a black mother used as a Star Mum representative or judge?

How on earth can one picture define and represent all mothers, and why should a magazine that is aimed at skinny latte loving white mums be made to conform?

Step outside, have a look around, motherhood is already diverse outside of the media. Why do you need a diverse Star Mum competition to validate your capabilities?

I’m going to assume that Anna went to work and did what a lot of others do. They go to work not noticing the lack of diversity around them or in their office.

Some people don’t even have people of colour within their social groups. Some people clutch onto their purses when they see a black 20-something male. They may also go as far to cross the road when they walk by.

Some of you make fat jokes and side-eye the overweight lady in Mcdonalds. Some of you get nervous on a plane when you see a lady in a Hijab. Some of you may even find it weird that lil’ Billy in your kids’ form is being raised by two mums.

Some of you, in fact, a lot of the pitchfork holding Instagrammers never batted an eyelid when the people above were never seen at an event. Never seen in a group photo with your fav ‘stripy top wearing, bobbed hair styled mum bloggers‘ with their *token black mum. Why was it never an issue then?

I found it hypocritical and embarrassing.

Star Mum

*Token. Tokenism is the practice of making an effort to be inclusive of members of minority groups. Token characters can usually be seen in films, in brand campaigns and sometimes in Instagram images.

Stop begging for scraps

Why demand to be invited to a party? Whether it’s an acquaintance’s or UKIP’s?

I’ve reminded my 4-year-old many times that not everyone will be your friend, and that’s ok. The same should be said for brands, magazines, even tv programmes. Who here complained when there was that one token black female who went out with Ross for 5 minutes?

Friends was great, I liked it. But never did I stop watching it because Rachael didn’t end up with a ‘Sanjay’. The show was made and aimed at the types that were depicted in the show. I knew very well it wasn’t for me, but I could still watch and appreciate.

The difference between this situation and say, H&M’s race issue was that they were obviously taking the mick.

They’re happy to have black models sell their clothes to reinforce the fact that they seem to be inclusive, but deep within the structure of their company, they have little representation. No ‘ethics’ making decisions, it’s all smoke and mirrors.

HELLO! Magazine. When have you ever seen them try to depict themselves as diverse or inclusive?  Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’ve sporadically shared many black UK celebs. But they were probably the type of Blacks that pass European beauty standards.

This seemed like an “All Lives Matter” complaint. Quite frankly, not having a white female who isn’t a size 8 on the front cover of a magazine isn’t my fight. Not having a token black woman for the sake of it isn’t either.

I’ll take notice when the media wants these minorities representing their target audience because they want to, not because they’re worried about the repercussions.

Am I boycotting Hello!?

No. I never bought it in the first place. Am I boycotting NEXT because of this Star Mum thing? No. If I boycotted every microaggressive company, I’d have no TV, no internet and nowhere to shop. Mate, I wouldn’t even have a white husband or any white friends.

Mind you, I still haven’t been back to H&M. They crossed the line, not once, but twice.

Oh, as for the internet beef that has been created because of my views. Yeah, I got blocked by a few lol. But what can I say, I’m not going to agree with people because they’re black, or if they have more followers than me *Shrugs*.

Have your opinion, have your voice, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t have mine. I’m still rooting for you though, coz you know, Wakanda FOREVER and all that. I don’t want to see you fail.

 

^Revision 17.05.18 I previously said that Anna’s (Mother_Pukka’s) Instagram post had been removed, it hadn’t! It was still standing in all its glory amongst her colourful squares.

Sareta Fontaine is the founder of Kiki Blah-Blah; a modern lifestyle blog aimed initially at mum’s but has since grown. Since 2016, Sareta has worked on the platform, both designing and creating a space for other bloggers to share their thoughts and feelings, while also sharing hers.

16 Comments

  1. Zara

    I can honestly, categorically say, that I am immensely fed up with seeing the ‘ranter’ on social media. Whilst social media can be fun, it’s also given ground for people to have a voice, and unfortunately for some – used in the way I deem the worst.

    Filled with pure hatred and anger. Venom drips from their fingers onto those keys because they seek a reason to be angry about something or another 😒.

    A new wave needs to be brought forward, one where people can debate like this with tolerance and respect. Not sure we’ll see it soon though.

    But also, Hello mag sucks. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂

    Reply
    • Sophie C.

      Well said. Black people are always ranting on social media. They always have a sense of entitlement and hatred whenever they don’t see colour in a crowd. Did we create ourselves as white? No! Is this a white continent? Yes! Do we agree with diversity and inclusion? Yes! Do we do a lot to promote diversity and inclusion? Yes! Even better than the Africans do. Do we rant when we see all blacks in a competition? No! We are happy for them. Can the ranters just let us breathe and stop being upset about every little irrelevant thing. Someone cannot have a competition without someone being upset about colour or the lack of. Black people really have low self esteem. Why don’t you go to africa or the Caribbean and fight for diversity and inclusion in their media. Last time I checked, their media isn’t that diverse. Don’t even get me started with their mags.

      Reply
      • Sareta

        First of all, chill.

        If you read the post you would have noticed that I don’t speak on behalf of Black people, and you shouldn’t either.

        Your blanket sweeping statement stating “Black people are always ranting on social media. They always have a sense of entitlement and hatred whenever they don’t see colour in a crowd”…if you’re talking about someone that you know that has these feelings, great. However, if you’re saying that black people, in general, have a sense of entitlement then please, pick up a book.

        Reply
        • Sophie C.

          Sareta I appreciate your post but as a white woman, I’m speaking the truth. A lot of irrelevant things are taken overboard by black people. Disabled/LGBTQ people don’t go ranting on the media as much as black people do. You gave an instance to the H&M campaign. The boy was just wearing a freaking tee and had nothing to do with race or black people, but black people went mad 😡 about monkey 🐒 being on it. Come off it. No human is a monkey except you r still living in the 1800s when slavery was a thing. Also slavery is over can black people pls come out of that mental slavery that only them could chain themselves in. Black people don’t love each other so much, just like the case of visa bae. They went down on that girl instead of supporting her in her plea for a few quid to solve her visa issues. I immediately unfollow any black person ranting about colourism. It’s not anyone’s fault you were made black, just deal with it. I love Kanye for his comment on slavery being a choice. Choose love already and quit the sense of entitlement. No one owes anyone a spot on their mag. If it’s my mag, I call the shots of who should be in it and it’s never about race.

          Reply
          • Sareta

            I appreciate your honesty because a lot of white females probably wouldn’t share their opinion on this. I think, as a white female you can’t even imagine what it’s like to be a black. Yes, slavery is over, however, racism is still alive and well. Like I said, I’m not about to fight every microaggression, I simply don’t have the energy.

            Yes, I have directly encountered racism. Yes, I have been called racist slurs, unprovoked may I add. Yes, my children have also encountered racism. So to say that many black people discuss race just because they can’t let it go, is insensitive, to say the least.

            Going back to the H&M thing, and only because you mentioned it- Monkey is a racist slur. I have been called ‘monkey’ and many black footballers have been called the same- in this present day. This is why so many were outraged at they had not thought about the implications of dressing a black boy in a jumper calling him “the coolest monkey in the jungle”.

            I don’t believe they maliciously dressed him in that top. However, as a company, they have not been seen to care about the racial issues. If it was my brand, I would make sure that my products were not deemed offensive to anyone. As a big brand, they should be doing more to do that.

            There’s a fantastic book that admittedly, I’m only halfway through, sums both mine and your opinions. Basically why I don’t fight every racial issue and why you may not understand why some do. I’m not speaking on behalf of every Black British citizen, and I think it would be compassionless for you to band every one of us in the same group. https://amzn.to/2Gb4EpH

        • Sophie C.

          May I just add that white people dont rant about mags like Ebony which is black focused. Or channels like BET. And other black focused/targeted media. No one cares about colour, why do black people make it a competition or an issue. As long as you are black in Europe, you will forever be in the minority group because this is not a black continent, so if you are bothered about it, you have to argue with your ancestors. Same way white people will forever be minority in Africa (a black continent) I was watching Rok tv on sky and it’s an African channel showing African films and it’s so rare to find one white person on there. Talkless of gays/disabled people/Asians etc. Why? Why no diversity? Is diversity only a topic for the Europeans? Why so much jealousy that white people are doing well? Y’all can do well too if you put the work in it. Just here waiting for a black person to come up with the next best social media site. The one thing they’ve done so well is with black panther **oh snap, it was written by a white script writer! Still waiting though. Soon come. Even Ebola, the blacks couldn’t fix, but here they come ranting about white people. Okay!

          Reply
        • Sophie C.

          I’ll never know what it feels like to be black nor will you know what it feels to be white, but all I will say is that, we live in a world filled with whatever billions of people and all are different from different backgrounds. Injustice will always be a thing in such a world. Calling someone monkey is just as bad as calling someone an idiot or a fool. Personally, if someone calls me a monkey, i won’t just keep shut and jump on the bandwagon of racism, I will be right up that persons face calling him/her whatever name deems fit. I might even say white maggot if that’s what I think of. An insult is an insult and it shouldn’t be linked to race. Everyone says stuff when they are angry. Sometimes black people even give white people ideas of things to say to hurt them eg monkey. There will always be racism, and other evil vices because we live in a world where there is good and evil. Not everyone has compassion. Can we as mothers just teach our kids to love each other and not teach them colour. I also cringe when I see black people acting in gangster movies. Y’all don’t like being called gangsters so why act in such movies to give white people the idea to clutch their bags even tighter? I also ask why predominately black areas in the Uk always looks so ghetto? Is being ghetto a lifestyle that the blacks can’t drop? Why is Peckham the way it is? And many other black areas? Hun, there’s a lot of questions but all I will say is just support and love those who haven’t caused you any trouble especially racially. We are all brothers and sisters trying to put food on the table.

          Reply
          • Sareta

            I mean, if you genuinely want your questions answered, I can. I could give you reasons as to why there are entertainment channels, awards, even clothing brands aimed at Black people. However, it sounds like you have your mind made up. Unfortunately, that’s the type of thing that won’t lead to change.

            If however you truly want answers, truly want to understand why some people discuss race then the book that I mentioned in my previous comment is for you.

        • Sophie C.

          I will check the book out at a local library if available. I can’t waste my money on buying a book majority of people won’t ever read and just keep whining on the internet at every little thing white people do. It’s not fair. Anyway thanks for seeing it through my lens. Many white people will never say it but this is how most of us genuinely feel tired of the rants but we try to fake not being fed up of it. Have a good day

          Reply
  2. Michelle

    Thank-you for being so honest!! I’ve never purchased an hello magazine, generally see them at on tables at the dentist reception area! But it’s not something I would go to the shops for tbh! The H&M pisstivity is real, I can’t bring myself to shop with anymore because they consistently continue to take the liberty. No matter how many vouchers they send through my postbox trying to entice me to go back, I just can’t do it!

    Reply
  3. Jay

    Some interesting takes here. I do think anything anyone does seems to attract an angry mob of people who just cannot uplift themselves enough to avoid places where they aren’t appreciated. A lot of the angst would go away if people could just cut out their need to battle over minutiae…

    Reply
  4. Sabena Mendivil

    Ha ha I had no clue about this Hello mag madness lol. I can’t believe these magazines are still making the rounds. I’m 100% with you in fighting the black fight or the mum fight or anyone else’s fight so I can be part of a crew… My opinions on matters continue to be on what matters to me. I love your real spirit and kindness to everything of important without worrying about what a certain ‘clique’ think. I went in on my discussion and maybe it doesn’t entirely relate but it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in thinking the world needs a reality check during a season where reality is not real. PS I swear everyone in Wakanda have a South African accent 🤔 Wakanda forever for real x

    Reply
  5. Tinuke

    Really enjoyed and resonated with this post. It does feel all pitch forks and torches at times doesn’t it?

    I agree, whilst I’d love to see more representation in mainstream media, I don’t get mad when magazines that aren’t aimed at a diverse audience, don’t acknowledge diversity in their campaigns.

    Reply
  6. Lauren

    Wow. This is a fab blog and given me, the unrepresented, overweight, over 40, wonky toothed, 4 kids by 2 dads mum a feeling of unity in the I don’t give a fuck crowd! Good Work Sareta xx

    Reply
  7. jADExXx

    Perfect 👌🏿 Brilliant. On point on all points – basically everything that run through my head whilst observing from a far! But with AMAZING 😉 headings 👸🏽👁 Wise 👵🏽 sideyeing sipping tea ☕️ YES sistrin tell dem & tell dem again! 😘😎🌈✊🏿🔥 Love ❤️ jADExXx

    Reply
  8. Temi

    Good post. You made a lot of valid points. I personally don’t get mad if I see a lack of diversity. I grew up in Africa and most of the media there had little or no diversity many times. So being in the UK isn’t that much different. Anyway, we live in a diverse world, so it will be nice to have some diversity in every works of life. We must also understand Hello magazine’s target audience as part of their business plan. Maybe they target skinny latte white women. I don’t know 🤷🏽‍♀️ but whatever be the case, let us put love first, and love one another. Remove colour from the spectrum and just see each other as brothers and sisters. Cheer whichever mum entered the competition and that’s it. It’s just a fun game not a colourism challenge. I’m black, but sometimes black people just need to drop this racism fight and just let love lead.

    Reply

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