Mami vs. Mommy

By js, 6 August, 2009, No Comment

The discussion of what is a “mommy” and what is “mami” has emerged.

This discussion has been taken up by Mamita Mala in  Mami Vs. Mommy, Mami’hood vs Motherhood and Hermana Resist in

Have you not seen/read/been transformed by the work of my sisters? and BFP in mamihood versus mommyhood

I like Mamita Mala’s description that

Mami based in my Latina/WOC identity, based in the hypersexualization or the diminishing of my sexuality, based because my mami’hood is a fucking community that I am working every damn moment to create and live in not some marketing tool or playdate

and bfp’s

practical reality that children are a part of our communities and we owe accountability to them, just as we insist that they are accountable to us.

and Hermana Resist

This is my life, my kids life, our sanity.
And for the record, no we don’t start our “media” after we get funded and no we don’t start working on “media” when we’re up for a sabbatical. No we don’t start any “movement” after our grant gets accepted.

I think that these mami woc media activists are reacting against the sense of “mommy” as privileged while also diminutive at the same time. “Mommy”  in the media, especially mommy bloggers, are starting to gain a particular currency in the media. It is a group of women who are writing and who are getting other women to read what they write. Marketers have started to target those women as sources who can use their writing platform to sell their products. So in a way “mami” rejects the commercialization and the co-opting of the “mommy” as a group that was created to hlep and support each other. Marketers are starting to take advantage of that and use that to their advantage. But when does the community and support turn into selling products. When does the audience realize that the platform has been transformed.

The use of “mami” also acknowledges an experience that is different from the mainstream “mommy” many of whom are white and priviledged.
“Mami” of course points to the Spanish version of “mommy” and in the choice of using the spanish the term is radicalized. The women themselves have started the movement to define it.

This definition of “mami” is interesting especially as the whole concept of “mommy” online is currently being defined and/or how the definition has shifted.

This whole “mami” discussion is also reminiscient of the feminist/ woc feminist/ radical feminst/ reject feminist label which has been occuring. These women are countering the mainstream defintion of “feminism” (even, of course, when that defintion itself is in flux in the community itself.) But is this idea of being silence, of their issues being ignored, of their perspective not being accounted for that is similar. So even as these female media activists move and look for community, (from Feministe to Allied Media) they find that the same issues are repeated over and over and they have to define themselves in their own terms.

1. What does it mean to be a “mami” media activist?

2. How is that different from “mommy” (as in “mommy” bloggers)?


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