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?

FannyFifer Wed 30-Oct-13 12:34:11


Dobbiesmum Wed 30-Oct-13 12:35:00

I think you're being a little unfair here, usually if the MIL/DM is acting reasonably the OP is told to belt up. But there are an awful lot of them who do butt in and let's face it very few people post about everything being happy and jolly on AIBU.

Some women get on with their mothers and/or mothers-in-law. Some don't. That's pretty much it, imo.

WhatWouldFreddieDo Wed 30-Oct-13 12:36:13


People start threads about MILs/DMs because there are problems.

Very occasionally we have counter-threads expressing huge love and gratitude to same.

YouTheCat Wed 30-Oct-13 12:38:05

I'm not young. My ex mil was a total nightmare for many many reasons. She belittled me, swore at me, called my dd (when she was 10) a bitch because she didn't want to do something. She would pick a fight over nothing at all. Everything was a drama and, in the rare moments when she was actually speaking civilly to me, she would moan and snipe about her (very nice and helpful) neighbours.

My partner's mother is absolutely lovely. My own mother was fantastic.

I have read some absolute horror stories on here. And while I can appreciate that sometimes the dd or dil might be at fault, more often than not it is the dm or mil. My ex mil came as a total shock to me as I had never encountered anyone like her.

There are threads because there are situations. People who get on fine with their mothers and MILs don't (usually) start threads to tell the world about it.

I don't think you can generalise that these specific relationship problems are caused by misogyny.

Sometimes, I think there are big mismatches in expectations between generations, and that can cause tension. But some people just are interfering and controlling. And others just are distant and uninvolved.

FreudiansSlipper Wed 30-Oct-13 12:44:20

i think we put a lot of blame on women without looking at the bigger picture, we allow excuses for men but not women so i partly agree with you

Fwiw i don't believe all or most mils are awful but the fact remains there are many who do have serious issues. Me being one of them, but i wouldn't say my ils are typical run of the mill irratitating people, they are toxic and wreak havoc to the point of destruction, but here is the only place i can talk about it, likewise do others.

In realife toxic people are not believed to exsist and people look at you like you are barmy for cutting off family members and have even said "life is too short" etc but the the truth is there is no positives in what they bring to my family & i don't see the point in suffering people that will never change.

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 12:47:53

I think YABU.

I'm worried I am going to be a horrible MIL because I can't imagine how I'm going to feel when I'm ultimately replaced as the most important woman in their lives. I just don't know how I'll cope. I can't be the only one who feels this way.

Strumpetron Wed 30-Oct-13 12:47:54


I've thread these threads and nearly all of them are warranted. Even if they weren't, why is it automatically mysogynistic? Can't it simply be women being unreasonable towards their MIL instead of blaming it on the 'patriarchy'.

Strumpetron Wed 30-Oct-13 12:48:05


Mintyy Wed 30-Oct-13 12:48:27

I think you have a point. There is way less complaining about fils, for starters. There are just so many "Mil is unreasonable" threads, they can't all be true.

I sometimes read about these "crimes" that mils are supposed to have committed and come away thinking that the dils are actually the ones who are a nightmare.

Obviously, not in every case!

cupcakeicing Wed 30-Oct-13 12:49:25

You make us all sound like Les Dawson.

GoshAnneGorilla Wed 30-Oct-13 12:58:04

I think people often feel free to talk about old women in a disparaging manner, that they might not feel so comfortable using about other sections of society.

If you think of all the outrage and accusations of "man hater" that get thrown aboutabout on here, mainly IMHO, because people are unused to men being discussed in a critical manner.

bunchoffives Wed 30-Oct-13 12:59:12

Okay if some are truly narcissist, ie they have a borderline personality disorder, I can understand how hard that must be to deal with (although I also think in future times we might regard them as suffering a mental health problem). I'm not talking about those with special problems.

I'm talking about the run-of-the-mill daily incidents when posters seem bent on putting as nasty and defensive a slant on it as they can. Where does that come from? Does it reflect a general culture of seeing older women as battleaxes or pathetically past it?

Crowler for you it's about possessiveness? Competing for the love of the son/DH?

The reason there is less complaint about FILs though is surely that they are far less likely to insult and contradict the way that women are bringing up their children, doing the housework, 'looking after' their husbands, etc? Those are the areas where the majority of the conflicts seem to be.

FILs and fathers may have their own ways of being annoying, but there is much less often a direct clash in areas where women feel they are being personally 'got at' by the comments made.

Mumofalittlegirl Wed 30-Oct-13 13:04:16

If you get on with the matriarch's in the family then they will be perceived to not be interfering or unreasonable.

If you don't get on then of course everything is unreasonable, interfering and outrageous

It's all about perspective

"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?"
Or is it just individuals posting about their individual situations, in the same way that other individual posters post about their fantastic MILs and mothers and how grateful they are to these individual older women?

Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar.

I'd say the 'run of the mill' stuff is often a problem because women are being insulted and belittled day after day, week after week, by their MIL. Each incident may seem tiny and petty, but when it keeps hapening it adds up to a frustrating situation.

There may be cases where the daughter is over-reacting, but I don't think you should assume that is true for the majority of cases.

DidoTheDodo Wed 30-Oct-13 13:05:09

As a MIL (and also a DIL) I do occasionally feel uncomfortable reading some of these threads. It can be such a difficult relationship on all sides - damned if you do and damned if you don't.

I actually think that a great deal of heartache could be avoided if the men in the equations grew some and started being a bit more vociferous in the support of their wives. not in a confrontational way, just making it clear where their current priorities lie.

EvenWickedierDevil Wed 30-Oct-13 13:05:47

I get on with my MIL, far better in fact than with my DM. I am lucky. Some people don't. Why is that misogynistic?

Dobbiesmum Wed 30-Oct-13 13:09:06

I agree with some of your last post, sometimes I find myself reading a thread and thinking 'why are you making such a fuss about this?' But then again I see a lot of threads about all sorts of things when I think the same, not just about other female relatives!
Wrt to MIL's I think there is almost a competition between the 2 women about the fact that the man (son/partner) in the situation should be considering the feelings of any other woman apart from them. I know that both myself and my MIL felt that way for a long time, my SIL still does to a large extent.
When you throw a child into the mix then it can become all out war about who knows best and how much help to give or accept.
Don't know about the Mum part, I have a great relationship with mine but many don't due to their own upbringing.
Can't say that I see it as mysogynistic though.

NewtRipley Wed 30-Oct-13 13:09:23


There's a little of what you say, but a lot of very difficult people out there

cory Wed 30-Oct-13 13:10:50

There are quite a few threads where people complain about controlling or abusive husbands or reminisce about controlling and abusive fathers.

So are we both misogynistic and manhaters then?

Or do we just have a tendency to dislike Unpleasant Behaviour?

I have a lovely MIL and a lovely husband. This leads to rather high standards in the MIL and husband departments.

scallopsrmissingAnyFucker Wed 30-Oct-13 13:11:50

I think issues with DMs and MILs are noticed far more than problems with DFs and FILs. Often with problem MILs there is an arse of a FIL in the background too.

NewtRipley Wed 30-Oct-13 13:13:23


>>>> 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! <<<<<<<

I'd say that many MIL and DM can and do "win", thus proving that there is a middle path between disinterest and over-involvement.

RobinVanPrissy Wed 30-Oct-13 13:13:26

My MIL was a nightmare when I had my first child. MN was the only place I could come and moan unabashedly about her.

I am a feminist. She was bloody annoying. That is all.

WMittens Wed 30-Oct-13 13:15:08

X hates their mother in law, therefore x hates all women.

Your logical leap is astounding. Why would dislike of one individual who happens to be woman, mean a person is misogynistic? That word gets thrown around so much on this forum it's ceased to mean anything (apart from maybe, "bad thing said about a female").

NewtRipley Wed 30-Oct-13 13:15:16


there is ageism on this site. And I agree that ageism, in general, is directed much more towards older women than it is older men.

I'm not sure I've seen that on MIL threads though

Idespair Wed 30-Oct-13 13:16:01

Dil and Mil disagreeing is mysogyny confused ?

Scarymuff Wed 30-Oct-13 13:16:49

I can't see how it's misogyny just because some women don't always get on with some other women. There are far more threads about relationships between couples and they are, equally, quite individual circumstances.

Btw I have the most amazing MIL and often post about her. She is a great role model and I've learned a lot from her. My own mum? Not so much.

SeaSickSal Wed 30-Oct-13 13:16:50

I think to many posters the MIL as the mother of a man instantly becomes the enemy and a handmaiden of the patriarchy. So I think it's misandry rather than misogyny and I think some posters on here have a streak of that.

fairy1303 Wed 30-Oct-13 13:19:22

For me, many 'run of the mill daily issues' become heinous, hideous issues because my MIL does these things ALL THE TIME.

Life is all about perspective. There will always be two sides to every story, but MN is a place to sound off, rant, and gain some perspective and opinions of others, so people will post about the incidents that have upset them.

squoosh Wed 30-Oct-13 13:20:18



scallopsrmissingAnyFucker Wed 30-Oct-13 13:23:51

It is misogyny SeaSickSal - that the mother is responsible for a man's crappy behaviour (as opposed to the father).

But you raise a good point that often in those threads problems are compounded by the partners actions (or more often inactions) towards his parents and enabling the setting up of the battleground for MIL/DIL because he isn't dealing with the problems.

Yermina Wed 30-Oct-13 13:24:27


I think there are many posters who are deeply intolerant of what I see as just idiosyncrasies when it comes to MIL's (and I'm not one myself).

My MIL has said tactless things to me and has made comments that I could have chosen to chew over and hold against her for years, but I choose not to - because nobody is perfect and one day I might be the one with my foot in my mouth and an over sensitive DIL.

AgentZigzag Wed 30-Oct-13 13:24:46

What kind of relationship do you/did you have with your mum or MIL if you have one OP?

springylippy Wed 30-Oct-13 13:25:54

I think you're right. Toxic individuals notwithstanding.

We need some new fairy tales, turning the current fairytales on their head. One's where it's the young woman who loathes the older woman just for what she represents. I've seen plenty of it in rl as well as on here.

I agree that it's mysogyny. Also ageism (which goes largely unchecked in rl and on here).

WooWooOwl Wed 30-Oct-13 13:36:55


By your reasoning, you are being mysogynistic towards people who complain about their MILs and DILs.

WooWooOwl Wed 30-Oct-13 13:37:10

Meant YABU!

SeaSickSal Wed 30-Oct-13 13:54:44

I think there is also a tendency from a lot of posters who think they are being 'supportive' to instantly assume that the poster speaks absolute gospel.

In reality there is another human being involved who isn't perfect and may be trying to get things right.

Sometimes you get a poster who seems wildly aggressive, unhinged and a bit paranoid who's angry about her tea towels being hung in the wrong place and you get the impression they may not be a walk in the park in real life. But rather than getting sensible advice about how the situation can be calmly resolved you have posters coming on saying 'ooh she's a bitch, ban her from the house, stop her seeing the kids, disinvite her from your wedding'.

Amber76 Wed 30-Oct-13 13:58:09

I don't like my MIL - I think it comes down to control. She had four sons and doesn't get on particularly well with any of her 4 DILS. Before we arrived she controlled a lot of family stuff and was the one to organise things.
Example - my son is being christened this weekend. She phoned me yesterday to TELL me that she has organised a christening cake. I told her that I organised this weeks ago and she should have consulted me first - she got huffy about it. This isn't me being misogynistic - its an annoying situation created by her. No fil issues because he stays out of these things. Fwiw I get on well with older aunts, etc.

Mine is manipulative. She is sulky, she is drama lama, she is suffocating, passive aggressive, just aggressive, pfb with dh, pfb with dd1, presently barely acknowledging baby dd2, rude, incorrigible, narcissistic, witch of a step mum, racist, DM loving, difficult and exhausting. She proudly states she gets on better with men (because women are smarter than to befriend her methinks), and generally a pita.

Sometimes she's loving, funny, approachable, warm and nice. Then ^ returns.... Sometimes a bitch has a few mins off, but she's often just a bitch. That's HUMAN not mysoginistic!

I think people are more likely to ask for opinions on IL relationships online because they need the opinion of an outsider and are less likely to be able to talk to their spouses. No more and no less than that.

AdoraBell Wed 30-Oct-13 14:24:40

I don't like my MIL because she insists on treating DH and myself like we are errant children, and actual children like they are monsters.

I dislike my FIL because he's an agressive controlling cunt of a bully who controls his wife to such an extent that she bullies others in order to keep them under control so as to avoid the rath of FIL.

I struggle to see How this is misoginisic on my part. Or the DIL who no longer has contact, or the one who is ordered to address MIL as Mum and FIL as Dad.


Twiggy71 Wed 30-Oct-13 14:38:54


My ex/mil is a self obsessed, domineering, controlling woman. She opted out of having a relationship with her dgc on my exh and my side whereas still being very close to her other dgc.

And you know what her ds turned into her eventually even though he hates his own dm.

Happy for me though i will be divorced from h before the end of the year.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Wed 30-Oct-13 14:46:00

Is this attitude a transference of general misogyny in culture at large?

I would say it all relates to living in a patriarchy society.

(1) most women have less power outside of the house and because they do most the housework/wifework/child care in their own home, they are accustomed to having the final say on these types of task. bring two women together who are both invested in the rest of the family, and their different views will become apparent.

(2) it is socially acceptable for women (and men) to dislike other women and express this dislike in misogynistic terms.

happydaze77 Wed 30-Oct-13 14:49:05

younger women feel threatened and that their 'power' and authority is being undermined by older women?
THAT is a very ageist comment. Why should a mother not be the one in charge of her own children?! It's her child, not the grandmother's. Older doesn't always mean wiser. There is some horrific advice being given by some older generations, under the guise of 'it's what we did in our day'.

A good MIL (and I am sure there are many of them) will be supportive but not judgemental and would certainly NOT even entertain the idea of any kind of power struggle.

Strumpetron Wed 30-Oct-13 14:50:16

Yes let's blame everything bad we do on the patriarchy because women are so unable to make bad decisions and act unreasonably so it must be the male influence hmm

Crowler Wed 30-Oct-13 14:53:24

Crowler for you it's about possessiveness? Competing for the love of the son/DH?

I suppose, yes. My youngest is 7 so this is entirely speculation. I would imagine, though, that yielding to another woman in your son's life is really hard.

ouryve Wed 30-Oct-13 14:55:06

YABU. I rarely read one that is either an unfounded gripe or a case of six and two threes. In either case, the OP is pulled up on it if she is being unfair or oversensitive.

MrsMook Wed 30-Oct-13 14:58:58

I get on well with my MiL and "mum". I have a poor relationship with my mother. As do most of my relatives. It's about her personality and actions. Her sex is irrelevant.

FiLs and DFs are less likely to involve themselves in domestic and childraising issues that are frequently the source of complaint. They don't tend to be the focus of a post, but they are often in the background.

I can't personally comment on FiL and DF, they died a long time ago, so I have no experience on their role in adult life.

Often on a MiL thread, the DH/P gets criticised for his role. That's not mysogeny.


My MIL is great, my stepmother is great, my mother is a nightmare.
Some of my complaints about her might seem unreasonable but if I sat you down and told you the whole story of everything I think you'd agree with me.

So no, I don't think you can extrapolate from individual relationships necessarily.

BUT I do think there is something to YouAreMyFavourite's Point #1. I think as women we are socialised to care deeply about certain things, to the point they become part of our identities, and so a lot of seemingly minor conflicts take on greater significance.

It's possible for example that I get on so well with my MIL because I'm not really emotionally invested in a lot of the things she cares a lot about. If she wants to make my son's birthday cake or throw a party for my husband's birthday, that's great, I know she'll do a great job and it's one less thing for me to worry about.

KittyFucker Wed 30-Oct-13 15:03:58

I haven't got a MIL thank fuck

But I do have a rather toxic mother. I am not a woman hater, I would really like to have a mother who thinks she should treat her children and grandchildren equally, who knows what gratitude is, who can recognise and respect other people's feelings. Unfortunately I didn't get one like that. That doesn't mean I am misogynistic, just that I don't have a very likeable mother.

EyeOfNewtBigtoesOfFrog Wed 30-Oct-13 15:04:30

I do think there is a certain situation that some (perhaps generally older) women find themselves in where they have not been working while their DH has, and they are used to the home and family being their domain. Being a matriarch over domestic matters, arrangements, and new babies gives them a role and feeling of control and in some cases they react to a DIL by trying to assert control over her, her DH (the MIL's son), their children and any arrangements that involve them. There are loads of posts about MILs doing this.

It may be that some MILs cling onto this power at all costs and resort to the controlling behaviour that's often described on here - drama, tantrums, insistence of Christmas having to be their way etc etc - because if they feel that power slipping away they will feel useless and invisible.

I've often praised my MIL on here - she is pretty much uninvolved, but never, ever negative or controlling. And - she has always been an independent, working person and still has a huge amount of responsibility day-to-day as a farmer. Not that they will always correlate, but I'm sure a big reason she has no interest in being the centre of attention family-wise is that she has so much else to do and to validate herself by.

There is also the issue of mothers being controlling and critical to their daughters which is the problem I have. My mum is deeply unpleasant and narcissistic and I'm not just using that as a throwaway term. Nothing is ever her fault, she slags off everything and everyone else but cannot take one iota of criticism without becoming extremely defensive and vindictive. And SO MANY mums of adult daughters seem to be like this and I can't work that one out at all. The reason you see a lot of it on here is that it is an amazing place to get support from people who really know what it's like.

EyeOfNewtBigtoesOfFrog Wed 30-Oct-13 15:07:11

Oh and I'm also a feminist. I'm not sure it's misogynist to find the behaviour of these women unacceptable. One of the reasons I react so badly against my mother is because of the deeply sexist and misogynist messages she sends, which I want to resist and to protect my DC from.

happydaze77 Wed 30-Oct-13 15:12:14

Totally agree, EyeofNewt.

Bonsoir Wed 30-Oct-13 15:18:28

Some women expect their relationships with their DC (and, by extension, with their DCs' partners and children) to be run on their own terms all their lives. These women are the MILs from hell we read about on MN.

scallopsrmissingAnyFucker Wed 30-Oct-13 15:18:38

I agree EyeofNewt with both your posts. I think that there is misogyny in the wording used to describe these women: manipulative, witch, bitch being examples. I also think that misogyny in the wider culture and society that we live in contributes to this behaviour, as other people have also suggested. The lack of power example you give being a perfect example.

But it isn't misogynistic to find unreasonable behaviour by women unnacceptable. Definitely not. It is misogynistic to only notice or apply unreasonable behaviour to a woman or hold men's behaviour to a lesser level than women's.

ithaka Wed 30-Oct-13 15:22:24

YABU. I adore my DM & I am sure I have sung praises on here. My MIL, on the other hand is vile, while my FIL wasn't. Those are just the facts of their personalities.

I seen plenty posters complaining about annoying FIL. As it happens, mine was lovely & universally adored, so I don't join in.

On posts criticising MIL, I can relate as my MIL is grim and universally disliked, so I join in.

No misogyny, just the reality of my family.

MorrisZapp Wed 30-Oct-13 15:29:37

Well one thing definitely is sexist. So many people blame their SIL for any issues that occur in their brother's household. Ie my nephew only has one pair of shoes and can't hop yet, is my SIL a lazy beeatch etc.

Same with MILs to an extent. My MIL sits on her arse, expects a cup of tea, doesn't help with dinner etc etc. Presumably FIL does the same, but without the judgement.

DziezkoDisco Wed 30-Oct-13 15:57:16

I think Morris has a point. It's the fact that the men get off scott free for the same behaviour. Not always but often.

HowlingTrap Wed 30-Oct-13 16:01:24

Why is disliking one woman indicative of how you view the entire female species?, just had this on another section, no one could give me a sensible answer on there either strangely enough.

JustThisOnceOrTwiceOrThrice Wed 30-Oct-13 16:05:22

There does seem to be an automatic clash between mils and dils and I've often wondered if its a control, power, competitive, head of the pack thing.

See it on here loads!

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Wed 30-Oct-13 16:07:34

but no wonder that women care more about doing something related to house and family 'correctly' ...they will be judged more harshly if something goes wrong.

its not difficult to see this sets women against each other!

in contrast men often get widely praised for making small contributions to running the house/child care.

we judge women and men differently and there are consequences!

fluffyraggies Wed 30-Oct-13 16:08:02

For a start this is predominantly a site used by women. It's not 50/50 with male posters. So it's always more likely to be a post by a woman having a moan.

While it's the women who do the majority of child care and 'family interaction' there will always be more falling out 'woman to woman'.

In all honesty how many DHs are expected to ring up their wife's mother to tell her about the kids? How many DHs are the ones trying to organise xmas dinner every year, and worrying about who's going to be put out? How many DHs are out there waving birthday cards about saying WRITE THIS AND POST IT TO YOUR MUM WILL YOU?!

When men and women have an equal role in the family then there will be an equal amount of falling out between male and female members of families. It's not about misogyny.

HowlingTrap Wed 30-Oct-13 16:12:05

I have 2 boys, and although I hope to be a nice MIL,
It's going to be very difficult to see someone else to swagger in and take over 'most important woman in their life' after I have shovelled blood sweat, and tears from birth. grin
It must be very hard, especially if that person is very,very different from you.
I think that feeling can manifest itself in different ways.
I couldn't be more polar opposite to my MIL if I tried,
Whilst there is no outward hostility we just don't 'gel' and I frequently get irratated,
One day I may see it from her point of view.

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 16:12:07

No, it is not misogyny. It is a difficult relationship writ large, that's all.

I get on with neither my mother nor my MIL; it's not as bad as some people have it, but it's not great. MIL would, if we let her, contact us daily with advice for doing everything according to her whim. It drives DH crazy and it makes me furious. I'm not sure that analysing the relationship in feminist terms would be very insightful to be honest: both men and women crave personal power and assert themselves with their children.

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 16:13:48

Although come to think of it, the fact that DH can switch it off and I am expected to deal with her IS a wifework issue, but I suspect that's not what the OP wanted.

JustThisOnceOrTwiceOrThrice Wed 30-Oct-13 16:15:56

I think generally women aren't nice to other women. All the trashy mags are aimed at and bought by women and contain article after picture after article after picture slagging off other women. Their size, their choices in life etc.

I see it with other women in rl as well. Criticizing the woman if a marriage breaks down no matter the story, even criticising female victims of domestic violence. Or blaming the woman if a couple provide rubbish food at a dinner party or wedding. Its all What was SHE thinking! Or blaming the woman if the couple don't visit for long or send a rubbish present.

Men get excused of all these things in rl but massively on here as its seen as the women's area.

The women in step families seem to be in instant competition as well. You only need to look at the step parenting section to see that. The one that bothers me the most is when step mums slag off bio mums for the children's eating habits and table manners, ignoring the fact that the dads have a role in that too. Its just an excuse to criticise other women and set up an invisible competition where they are inferior because of the kids table manners. Competitiveness right there.

Or when the man cheats and the wife blames the ow. Or when you meet a new bloke and he criticises the ex and says how much better, smarter, or prettier you are. He knows that works a lot of the time. Sets the women up in their default position of competing with each other and flatters the new girlfriend. They wouldn't do it if it didn't work.

squoosh Wed 30-Oct-13 16:17:49

I'm nice to other women, my female friends don't seem to despise other women either.

bunchoffives Wed 30-Oct-13 16:20:35

It's not personal relationships I'm referring to.

It's the terms these posts use, the assumptions behind them, the generalisations (eg, I haven't got a MIL yet thank fuck), the generally negative attitude so prevalent towards older women - as scallop says calling them bitch, witch, manipulative etc

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Wed 30-Oct-13 16:53:07

I think generally women aren't nice to other women.

i cannot imagine that being said about any other discriminated group than women.

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 16:55:33

I don't see the problem with calling manipulative people manipulative confused

SO they happen to be women?

mytimewillcome Wed 30-Oct-13 16:57:14

Well said Ladyantigone.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Wed 30-Oct-13 17:22:25

^I don't see the problem with calling manipulative people manipulative confused

SO they happen to be women?^

which would be fine. if we had equality. but we don't. and there are so many negatives that 'just happen to happen to women'

but they don't just happen to happen.

JustThisOnceOrTwiceOrThrice Wed 30-Oct-13 17:27:04

it's the terms these posts use, the assumptions behind them, the generalisations (eg, I haven't got a MIL yet thank fuck), the generally negative attitude so prevalent towards older women - asscallopsays calling them bitch, witch, manipulative etc

Im noticing as i get older that the whole of bloody society has a negative attitude towards older women! Im only in my 30s and i can feel it and be more aware of it already .

Of course this is partly to do with women being judged on appearance so much and so harshly. Its cunting.

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 17:29:22

However in this case, the selected subject is already 'women who are mothers and mothers-in-law' on a site whose users are almost 100% female and either get on with their families or don't.

What are they supposed to say? AIBU to ignore this person's blatant manipulation of me and my family because she is a woman and to point it out would require use of potentially misogynistic language?

It's ridiculous!

ladyantigone Wed 30-Oct-13 17:34:36

I also don't really see how it can be an issue akin to discrimination against older women. Mothers and MILs cannot physically be younger than their daughters/DILs. And you can bet that some of them are discriminating against younger women, if you take that tack: feckless, not suited to responsibility, spendthrift, cannot be trusted to make own decisions etc.

AnyBigFuckingJessie Wed 30-Oct-13 17:42:44

If people do react disproportiately on here (and I'm not sure they do), I think the issue is that we are reacting against a wider culture where you are not allowed to say your mother is abusive or toxic. Been there, lived it, know loads of adults who had emotionally and/or physically abusive childhoods, and we all know and attest to the disbelief victims are met with.

On here, MN has developed a culture where we're allowed to treat women on their individual merits, most of the time.

I'm a feminist: I don't hate men, I don't love women. I simply believe in equal opportunities and recognition. Equality means recognising that all groups of people contain utter gits and wonderful kind altruists. I won't put men or women on a domestic or economic pedestal. Because that would be sexist.

FirstStopCafe Wed 30-Oct-13 18:28:45

YABU I have huge problems with my MIL. She questions my parenting decisions and is incredibly self-centred. She is the only person in my life I don't get on with. I'm pretty easy going and don't fall out with people. I really really want to get on with her but I don't. Seeing her makes me anxious. She doesn't speak to any of her siblings or daughter anymore after falling out with them. This makes me feel quite confident it is not me causing the problems

I certainly do not have a negative attitude towards older women in general.

happydaze77 Wed 30-Oct-13 19:42:55

Ime, it's often older women who have a negative attitude towards younger women, not the other way around. I work in a professional setting and am frequently snubbed by women aged 50+, who would rather deal with 'the man' than 'the young girl' (I'm in my 30s ffs!) Unfortunately, as the women are customers (and therefore always righthmm) I have no power to stand up for myself.

Drhamsterstortoise Wed 30-Oct-13 20:00:21

Eyeofnewt that makes so much sense.Its something I always thought about my mil.We get on quite well but that need to control is always there.

BillyBanter Wed 30-Oct-13 20:04:59

No there isn't.

On some threads there is from some people a bit too much willingness to allocate malicious intent to whoever the thread is about, even if it's not that evident, but it's irrespective of if the OP is about a man or a woman from what I can see.

Where I do see a difference is when the OP is a man or a friend/partner of a man complaining about a partner or ex. People seem a lot less likely to take the OP on their word then and a lot more likely to defend the absent person being complained about.

HappyMummyOfOne Wed 30-Oct-13 20:17:22

I think both MILs and men have it rough on here. The wife/DIL are always in the right hmm Maybe because the post is written in such a way as to garner the response the OP wants.

Have seen many examples over the years and do feel sorry for some where the wife/DIL is clearly in the wrong. Some MILs cant win for toffee and miss out hugely compared to the other grandmother.

Zippitydoodahday Wed 30-Oct-13 20:29:46

My MIL is a bitch. Dh thinks so too. Yanbu.

BillyBanter Wed 30-Oct-13 20:46:39

Mostly it's DILs posting rather than MILs and the present DIL tends to get more sympathy than the absent MIL being complained about.

But a couple of points. 1. There are also many threads about mums too, some pretty abusive ones. 2. If sons took more responsibility for maintaining a relationship between their children and their wider family instead of delegating it to their wife then perhaps there would not be so much friction when family 'cultures' clash. If DHs don't do this then perhaps that is in some way related to their own upbringing.

Maybe one lesson here is to bring our sons up to accept that responsibility.

Boaty Wed 30-Oct-13 21:07:07

I'm now a MIL..since being on this site I micro analyse myself!! grin
Don't forget that daughters and sons are the next generation of MIL/FIL!!

cricketballs Wed 30-Oct-13 21:10:19

I have often on here defended MIL and asked if the op would feel the same if it was her DM in the same situation I get I have 2 DS and no daughter I do worry how I am going to be perceived in the future. I will say now my MIL is no angel on fact there have been times when I could have happily strangled her but I think many on MN do treat their MIL as 2nd class citizens and forget that their DH/DP has a mother that has an interest in their lives/off spring

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Wed 30-Oct-13 21:15:20

I think more women of an older generation take part in more family activities than their male counterparts.

So posters are going to bitch about their MILS more than Fils, because FIL probably don't get too involved.

I think MN is a webste mostly frequented by women.

So it's women bitching about women but I think it is circumstantial more than anything else.

I think men of the previous generation took more of an interest in their family's financial situations so I bet if MN was actually DN that it would be men bitching about their FIL

APartridgeAmongThePigeons Wed 30-Oct-13 21:20:14

I also think so many women of previous generations wern't allowed to have anything but their families that they get very territorial of their sons and see the DIL as taking their place.

I certainly felt that way about MIL when she was around. I Had no problem with her being in dh's life as his mother but the truth is she often overstepped in to giving me advice on our relationship how dh should be fed etc. And I did my best but it really rankled and she passed away before we had kids. NO idea what our relationship would be like if she were alive now that we have children etc.

BillyBanter Wed 30-Oct-13 21:25:22

Putting aside the blatantly abusive MILs a lot of it seems to happen around interference or advice on childrearing. People love to give advice. Read these boards to see evidence of that! MILs, being a generation older than their DILs want to pass on the benefit of their experience but 1. Official best practice has changed over the decades. 2. rejecting their methods can feel like a criticism of their parenting as much as their advice can feel like a criticism of the DIL's parenting. 3. there is more than one way to bring a child up and ideas about childrearing will vary from one family culture to another so there will be clashes there, where that is less likely to be with your own mother whose 'culture' you were brought up into and see as more the norm.

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 30-Oct-13 21:26:38

I don't like my MIL for reasons set out in my current thread in relationships.

MIL has a long history of causing estrangements in her family and falling out with people. I don't.

Pagwatch Wed 30-Oct-13 21:31:02

I think there are few groups more sneered at than older women.
I think people are very happy to assume that a mil will be an interfering cow.
I think many many posters are ignoring that being an older woman and a mil is on their horizon.

And I say that having a very challenging mil

raggedymum Wed 30-Oct-13 22:40:37

I love my MIL. She's great! FIL: eh, I guess he's a nice bloke. Pretty overwhelmed by MIL, and I know from DH had gendered expectations of his son which caused issues when DH was young (when DH wasn't a great mechanic, sportsman, etc.). DM is frustrating and can be extremely critical, but is also a very kind woman at heart and I try to be nice to her even when she is annoying me. DF is very manipulative and not someone I'd associate with if he wasn't family; luckily he doesn't care for direct contact and I can go years only communicating through DM.

I'd probably only post about DM, though, if I was complaining -- because she is the one I want to have a good relationship with and don't always. DF is a lost cause. Could that be part of the issue? That the relationship isn't as desired, so emotional energy goes into it? In that case, it might suggest women are desiring a female relationship, not that they hate women...

BlingBang Thu 31-Oct-13 01:32:06

It is all about perspective. Of course there are some horrible MIL but I always take many of the MIL threads with a pinch of salt and realise that we are only hearing one side of the story.

I'm sure there also plenty of Mils out there who have reason to be wary of their DIL. There is no way that it can all be one way. Being the wife or DIL doesn't automatically make you a nice or reasoned person.

BlingBang Thu 31-Oct-13 01:36:26

I'm the mother of sons only, and the attitude I often read on here regarding MILs depresses me. I'm very fond of my Mil, she's lovely.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

Sinful1 [confused

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 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

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 11:31:33

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.

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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?

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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?

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