Freelancer Criticises Media Boss, Twitterstorm Erupts

You don’t want to mess with the Mamamia fandom.

1. As the creator of one of Australia’s most popular websites Mamamia, journalist and businesswoman Mia Freedman has become a prominent social commentator, especially on issues facing Australian women.

Graham Denholm / Getty Images

While Mia has a devoted following online, in recent years she has received criticism for her politics — especially the way she is often regarded as a voice of feminism — and also her business practices (such as not paying Mamamia contributors).

2. Clarification: AEST 11:00, Wednesday 19 March. The editor of has confirmed that that all original contributors are paid for their work.

3. Yesterday, freelance writer Eleanor Robertson created a minor Twitterstorm when she live-tweeted her reading of Mia’s 2009 memoir, Mama Mia: A Memoir of Mistakes, Magazines and Motherhood.

4. Eleanor critiqued Mia’s attitude to sex workers…

6. And magazine journalism…

on beauty editing: 'you're on the frontline. It's like Afghanistan ... with mascara and gift bags' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

that Afghanistan reference was a terrible joke but i think this bit is serious #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

cosmo is 'sold on angst', 'tells you that you have a problem' and 'perpetuates inadequacy' but she's 'thrilled' to be editor #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

'magazine covers of asian or dark-skinned women don't sell [...] but you have to give readers what they want' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

'writing is all about the content' [100 pages ago] 'beauty writing is science, politics, & bullshit with a sprinkle of journalism' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

11. And plagiarism…

'uninspired by [university], i was plagiarising my journalism assignments from a local gay newspaper' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

here, we see freedman's respect for intellectual labour that would later lead to her using unpaid writers #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

13. And 9/11…

'From a human point of view, 9/11 was tragic. From a business perspective, circulation was instantly affected' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

'As I watched the planes hit those buildings, I thought to myself, "I'll never be able to go to New York again"' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

hahahaha oh my god i've read 199 pages of this and even i can't believe they let her slip that clanger in #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

after some tossed off remarks about human tragedy, 9/11 is used as a segue for freedman to dissect her fear of flying #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

17. And models…

'the model was rather masculine looking and we shaped her jaw to make her look less like a transvestite' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

freedman says 'as a feminist' she was happy to replace cover models with pop stars, because models have no skills. #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

reeling from the 'models have no skills' bit. she wanted to be a model & worked in the industry and she thinks they have no skills. #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

20. And, of course, feminism.

be interesting to see at what point freedman "finds feminism", because at 24 she fired a new mother from cosmo #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

first reference to feminism, page 91: 'as a feminist, I felt [token plus size models in magazines] were wonderful for women' #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

'I've just been appointed chair of the Body Image Advisory Group' and feminists were to spend the next three years in hell #mamamia

— eleanor robertson (@marrowing)

23. A number of Mia’s co-workers and fans didn’t take kindly to Eleanor’s tweets.

@marrowing Eleanor, bitching about Mia Freedman & her writing on Twitter just makes you look mean. Not clever.

— Rebecca Sparrow (@RebeccaSparrow)

CUTTING EDGE, YOU GUYS. Tear apart a book a woman wrote 10 years ago because it's a slow news day. Real insightful.

— Kate Leaver (@kateileaver)

Can't understand the vitriol against @MiaFreedman. Far from perfect no doubt, but is @helenmccabe and other Eds attacked for women's mags?

— Gay Alcorn (@Gay_Alcorn)

@marrowing Serious question. If you hate #mamamia so much, why are you spending all this time reading and tweeting it? Would love to know.

— Mrs Woog (@Woogsworld)

@Woogsworld @RebeccaSparrow @marrowing I know. Seriously, what the actual fuck Eleanor? If you find it that abhorrent,why give it oxygen?

— Em Rusciano (@EmRusciano)

So what's the rationale for humiliation of @MiaFreedman today, Heathers? Ad hominem tu quoque or you're just on your periods?

— Helen Razer (@HelenRazer)

. @marrowing what a monumental waste of time. Reading @MiaFreedman, an author you don't like & then taking cheap shots on line. Pathetic.

— kimco (@kim_cowen)

30. But most tweeters were amused by the whole thing.

Look Freedman's been copping a lot of flak on Twitter today, but in her defence huh wait no I got nothing

— Ben Jenkins (@bencjenkins)

What a gift from @marrowing, proof positive that Mia Freedman is a bullying scumbag masquerading as a feminist for clicks.

— Elmo Keep (@Elmo_Keep)

I imagine Mia Freedman's book to be pages of inferences to try to get you to the next page, and on the last page, her giving you the finger.

— Stuart Fazakerley (@stuartfaz)

Follow #mamamia for @marrowing take on Mia Freedman bio. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll want to not live on this planet anymore #feminism

— Siobhan Simper (@sibbysimper)

God (or whoever you believe in) love @marrowing for saving me the pain of reading Mia Freedman's autobiography. Follow her if you're not yet

— Kiwi Kali (@kiwi_kali)

Mia Freedman, credible voice for feminism BAHAHAHAHA #fuckingupgirlsselfesteemsince1992

— Dr Yobbo (@DrYobbo)

Follow @marrowing for live tweets from Mia Freedman's new book. Confirmation Freedman is NOT a friend to women, in her own words.

— Kat Anderson (@Fem_Kat)

Don't read Mia Freedman's book, read @marrowing 's live tweets. It's what Mia would want, cos you get her work without having to pay for it.

— livloxley (@livloxley)

38. Mia Freedman has not commented on the matter herself – but Eleanor’s followers have just about doubled.

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Jenna Guillaume is Editor-at-Large for BuzzFeed and is based in Sydney.
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