to think there is a mysogynistic culture of hating MIL/'D'M on Mn?

(123 Posts)
bunchoffives Wed 30-Oct-13 12:30:38

I have seen so many threads where the MIL's or DM's actions seem to be perfectly reasonable (or at least open to interpretation) yet they are accused of committing a heinous crime or they have all sorts of unkind motives attributed to them by angry, self-righteous daughters/daughters in law.

Also, there is a general assumption that DMs/MILs want to control or interfere all the time in their DC's/DGC's lives. Or always want to be with them. On the other hand, if the DM/MIL keep their distance they are accused of being uninterested and neglecting their grandparental duties. They can't win!

Is this attitude a transference of general misogyny in culture at large? Unconsciously adopted by younger women? Or is it more personal than that - younger women feel threatened and that their 'power' and authority is being undermined by older women?

fairy1303 Fri 01-Nov-13 10:30:00

when I bought MIL her bday present, I had to hide it in my car as there was not one single cupboard in MY home that MIL would not look in.

I know she is nutjob unusual, but that is bound to cause some friction, no?

ladyantigone Thu 31-Oct-13 17:10:08

It's very true about the male partners causing - well, not causing per se, but ignoring and sometimes facilitating problems between their mothers and their female partners.

Now that is a feminist issue: communication with a man's difficult mother defaults to his female partner. It all becomes wifework. She wants to get along with her partner's mother so tries hard at first and before you know it, things have gone drastically out of kilter. He takes the opportunity to back off from his mother as she's a bit difficult and the woman ends up absorbing, somehow, all of the mother's personality issues and having to keep things right.

Not that I'm talking from experience or anything.

HexU Thu 31-Oct-13 14:29:04

I don't know many of the threads on here surround MIL and DIL someone often points out the issue is actually being caused by the DH.

I work hard to have a good relationship with MIL and FIL - a difficult person - it's been finding where the boundaries are and getting them, and my own parents to understand, we are the parents and are grown ups.

However having that good relationship hasn't meant being a doormat and taking everything.

My MIL and own mother had difficult relationship with both their MIL and mothers and even now have massive resentment towards those people - where as over time I've stood my ground - played their games back at them and made it clear I'm not going to be undermined and if they are straight with us we are with them.

Part of the process can be coming on here or RL venting and then getting advice as to if I am being unreasonable or how to handle situation.

Sometime when you feel got at or tired and emotional little digs or thoughtless comments do seem to mean more than are and sometime knowing that is very hard.

Crocodilehunter Thu 31-Oct-13 13:57:06

I dot see any problems with posting MIL/DM issues on here!
Having to make a family type bond with a person who you might not choose to associate with normally as may have different experiences, upbringing views and opinions is bound to cause friction for some families!

plus you don't have the option to choose your MIL on their personality like you do DP's and friends so its inevitable there will be issues and therefore threads on MN

Similarly it can be hard for DM's to let go of their authority and just be equals to their daughter so that can cause problems to!

And sometimes DM's and MIL's can be utter cows (and we can too)
And we'll be told if we are!

Upsy1981 Thu 31-Oct-13 13:33:32

Quite often on mil threads someone comes along and tells the op off for being cruel to an old woman and I'm always surprised by that as both my own mum and mil are still in their 50's and more active than me. I certainly don't see them as old women to be fussed around and I don't think they'd appreciate it if I did.

It's got nothing to do with misogyny imo but much more to do with what's already been said about a new person taking your child away and also the fact that you are thrown together completely randomly and suddenly expected to get along and share special family occasions with someone who you barely know and potentially rarely see depending on the family geography. It's hardly surprising that it's a tense relationship in a loy of cases.

nicelyneurotic Thu 31-Oct-13 13:31:38

I disagree, I don't like my FIL either. He's miserable and lacks personal hygiene.

My MIL is racist and controlling. I don't feel threatened, it's just not enjoyable spending time with her.

My DSister has nice in laws. It's down to luck.

YouTheCat Thu 31-Oct-13 13:31:32

But I am an older woman. I don't dislike other women generally. But I do dislike the sort that think they can come over all matriarchal (or indeed patriarchal) and meddle in their dil's lives when it is no concern of theirs whatsoever.

My mother would never have gone through drawers for anything, same as I would never have gone through hers. It's about having some respect.

funnyossity Thu 31-Oct-13 12:26:16

Yes curlew thanks for that, I'm an old timer so I did talk of middle-aged men as that's the age range I'm most definitely in!

curlew Thu 31-Oct-13 12:22:14

"There has been a huge shift in women's life experiences from my DMs generation to mine. Broadly speaking mums of women used to be protective of their daughters 'interests and often living nearby and so they were portrayed as the difficult MiLs.

You do realize that the MiLs being talked about were probably born in the 1960s, don't you?

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Thu 31-Oct-13 12:20:35

Op would you go through someone elses drawers, even to buy presents etc?

yes - our housekeep puts clothes away and tidies them. she has never specifically asked, but she is doing a job for us. like the MIL looking after the children. and she is not some stranger off the street.

and why would anyone even care about such a tiny thing? life is way to short to care about something so small and weird.

does the OPs DH/DP care? I doubt he is angry about and discussing it sometime later.

funnyossity Thu 31-Oct-13 12:18:29

There has been a huge shift in women's life experiences from my DMs generation to mine. Broadly speaking mums of women used to be protective of their daughters 'interests and often living nearby and so they were portrayed as the difficult MiLs.

Now some of the mums of middle-aged men find their DiLs over assertive and lacking in "wifely attributes". I think, my poor MiL definitely felt I was pushing a lot of child care onto my husband through laziness whereas I saw it as letting him get immersed in his children's childhoods the way our fathers had been discouraged from doing. She's right that I don't do enough housework but that's a choice I make. I feel sad she never felt she had many choices.

There has been a change in family life that must lead to inter-generational tensions, I just don't see it has to be all about women-hating.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Thu 31-Oct-13 12:13:56

It is my fucking home. Op would you go through someone elses drawers, even to buy presents etc? I respect others privacy

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Thu 31-Oct-13 12:10:56

Unless the reason for going through cupboards looking for medicine because op was in coma, all of her "valid" reasns hould have been prefaced with asking. It uundermines her position as master of her own home, as it does her dh.

funnyossity Thu 31-Oct-13 12:03:59

I don't think it's anti-women to not get on with your own particular MiL. I wish I had got on better with mine but that's an interpersonal and family issue not a power struggle imported from wider society. (Or maybe I'm being naive!)

By the way she would ask permission before going into our kitchen cupboards, let alone bedroom, as would I in my in-laws home.

bunchoffives Thu 31-Oct-13 11:54:25

But why does it 'undermine her position'? She could have had any number of reasonable motives for looking in the drawers as was pointed out on the thread.

Why would a poster immediately jump into this whole discourse about power and hierarchy? That's what I'm trying to get at. What connections are being made when it comes to older women who are mothers/mother-in-law. Why assume it has anything to do with 'position'? And why are the connections made so frequently right across the mn board? What assumptions do we make about older women that are fuelling these overly reactive/defensive (imho) comments?

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Thu 31-Oct-13 11:31:33

Exactly youthecat

Also if it had been a random person, like a neighbor, the Op could have called them out on it... But because of the nature of the relationship and wanting to keep people happy... and not stress out your family you have to keep quiet..Which leads to MN ranting rather than things getting out in the open.

YouTheCat Thu 31-Oct-13 11:27:36

But what possible reason would a mil or mother have for looking through her dil/dd's drawers?

That is nosey and rude. It would still be nosey and rude if a fil/df did it.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Thu 31-Oct-13 11:21:22

It is weird to go through another person's drawers, and it does hugely over step the boundaries. That was the dynamc people were annoyed about

The drawers do not belong to the child until they are old enough to decide what goes in them..they are the op's they are in her home. I keep personal things in the babies rooms because they don't use the space. I'd be furious if someone went through them

bunchoffives Thu 31-Oct-13 11:04:35

GruffBillyGoat That phrase of position being undermined' was a quote actually off another AIBU thread where a poster was advising the OP that she should nip her MIL's behaviour (looking in the kids chest of drawers while looking after them while OP was ill) in the bud because the MIL was undermining her position and it would only get worse if she left it unchallenged. Needless to say I was absolutely nonplussed at the aggressive/defensive overreaction once again towards a MIL.

I know it's AIBU and have been on here for enough years (NC) to understand the almost pantomime caricatures that are performed here, but DM/MIL negativity is across the mn board imo. I just wondered what sort of cultural discourse comes into play in those family dynamics, and whether young women ever question their attitudes towards older women in their families and stop to think where they stem from, as well as vice versa.

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Thu 31-Oct-13 09:27:44

Sinful1 [confused

fluffyraggies Thu 31-Oct-13 07:58:55

'Mother In Law' jokes were the staple of male stand up comedian's routines for years before MN. Let's remember that. The stereotype is not entirely the fault of AIBU grin

A poster upthread was honest enough to say she could see how another woman coming into her DS's lives in the future, and replacing her as 'the most important woman', would make her stabby. I think that was very brave. Not something i've seen admitted often on MN.

Also, IME, as far as knee jerk responses to threads about older female relations go, the classic knee jerk posts on MN are actually the (mind numbing) ''i wish i had a Mother to moan about - mines dead'' type ones.

I think there a always a few posters who get a bit too enraged and abusive about the subject on a posters behalf - but they'll tend to do that weather the posts are about husbands, neighbours, postmen OR MILs.

GruffBillyGoat Thu 31-Oct-13 06:14:49

I simply do not understand your thread at all. There are just as many posts about younger women behaving unreasonably as well, why focus only on those aimed at mothers and MILs.

The forum is called Am I Being Unreasonable, it tends to focus entirely on unreasonable behaviour and situations, across all genders and age groups. Do you also worry about the apparent man hating, friend hating and sibling abuse posted on here? These situations have nothing to do with the age, gender or relationship of the person merely the behaviour.

These are not the cliche MiL jokes, they are real life situations where sometimes the OP is unreasonable, and sometimes her MiL is. There are posters of all ages on Mumsnet who give their opinions, many posting on MiL threads are themselves MiLs.

Although your comments regarding angry, self-righteous DiLs who are concerned about their 'power' being undermined, do make me slightly thlhmm

FixItUpChappie Thu 31-Oct-13 02:22:27

But what seems like a minor issue written out on MN can have so much more nuance in RL. I think its very hard to judge the complexities of someone's entire relationship with their mother on a MN thread.

MIL's and DIL's have been thrown together by circumstance. They are strangers, have not chosen each other, may have nothing in common etc and I think this leaves lots of room for misunderstanding and irritation. I think many MIL issues could be negated by sons being better communicators.

Sinful1 Thu 31-Oct-13 01:50:43

Christ even when it's women bitching about women it's mens fault :/

AveryJessup Thu 31-Oct-13 01:46:45

I've seen a fair amount of negative posts about FIL/ fathers' behavior too, not to mention the endless 'LTB' threads in Relationships.

Maybe it's more common to see MIL / DM threads because they tend to be involved interfere in childcare and parenting so obviously those kinds of issues are more likely to show up on mumsnet than generic family trouble.

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