After witnessing the Mother of Daughters drama unfold, a mumfluencer reveals the murky underworld of mummy blogging and the toll it took on her mental health
Words by Olivia Foster
When one of Instagram’s most powerful mumfluencers, Clemmie Hooper, aka @mother_of_daughters (with a still loyal fanbase of 661k), midwife, author and mother of four young girls – outed herself as having made a fake account on the forum Tattle.Life it soon became all anyone was talking about.
Hooper admitted she joined the site under the pseudonym Alice In Wanderlust to try and change people’s opinions after hearing about ‘thousands,’ of comments criticising her and her family and becoming, ‘extremely paranoid’. She claims it was only when users started to question her identity that she began criticising other influencers to prove she was ‘real.’ Hooper even targeted her husband Simon Hooper, aka @fathers_of_daughter, who boasts a following of a million.
One anonymous mumfluencer revealed to Marie Claire how she too had created fake social media accounts after receiving harsh criticism. ‘I can understand why Clemmie did it,’ she said. ‘Truthfully the only reason you do it is because you’re hurting and you feel it’s your only outlet. In my case I was angry at the world and it was an opportunity to vent. It gave me a misguided sense of still being in control.’ She also admits to being ‘addicted’ to the buzz she felt when people posted about her. ‘It’s like a drug. I was hooked and addicted to the gossip. The drama. The arguments. It’s a very easy rabbit hole to fall down.’
Eventually, this mumfluencer realised it was doing her more harm than good and deleted her fake accounts. ‘I had to dig deep to work on my mental health. Once I accepted that I didn’t need validation from followers and other mums I found my worth from within and from my true friends and family.’ She also realised that the time she’d spent fighting her trolls was fruitless. ‘These people don’t want their minds changed about you. After wasting hundreds of hours arguing I know that for a fact. If they say the sky is purple no matter how many days you spend proving them wrong, they won’t change their mind.’
It’s undoubtedly a murky world to navigate with thousands of anonymous people weighing in on influencers’ lives and personalities. And this isn’t the first time Tattle.Life has hit the headlines, in September 2019 beauty expert and writer Sali Hughes posted an emotional video about the traumatic trolling she had endured on the site. A petition was launched to boycott Tattle. Life, which has since amassed over 25,000 signatures. But while many argue because influencers share their lives they should expect a certain level of public scrutiny on a forum such as Tattle.Life, when does this scrutiny stop being fair game and start becoming something more sinister? And what does it say about the state of social media and the paranoia trolling creates that Hooper felt so under threat that she became a troll.
Counselling psychologist Natalie Cawley explains that it’s not uncommon that those who are being trolled go on to become abusers themselves, ‘Abuse literature shows that many victims go on to be perpetrators – with figures showing that around 45-50% go on to abuse. [In this case] the victimisation felt at the hands of trolling may have created an externalising of rage which lead to the abuse of others.’
No one can know Hooper’s full thought process behind her actions, but Cawley says that mumfluencers can be highly vulnerable to trolling because their seemingly ‘perfect’ lives aggravate people’s insecurities. ‘Social media portrays an ideal image of a mother giving advice from organic meal preparation for children, to how to tone a pelvic floor to showcasing their spotless and desirable homes’ says Cawley. ‘This is highly pressurising and can create anxiety and frustration [for those viewing their posts], leading to people feeling angry at them.’
What happens now to Mother of Daughers and her lucrative mumfluencer career is yet to be seen. At the time of writing she’s not posted since November 3rd, and while there are calls for her to be let go from her part-time role as a midwife after it was revealed that some of her posts on Tattle.Life were racially aggravated, no official statement has been made. Apart form her apology on her Stories platform. It is, perhaps, a watershed moment for the mumfluencer community – revealing the undertones of pressure and privilege which fuel influencers to do what they do. But with sites like Tattle.Life still going strong – and a new thread about the scandal now some 260,000 messages long – the fallout from this drama looks likely to run and run.