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Mumsnet - a site for parents?

(519 Posts)
anidea Mon 22-Feb-10 12:29:55


We have recently been in contact with Olivia Vandyk of mumsnet regarding the practises and values of this website.
Here follows a transcript of that conversation, see what you think:

On 21 Feb 2010, at 08:54, James Wallace wrote:


My girlfriend and I recently heard about your website and we are interested in your tag line "By parents for parents", when the site is called 'mumsnet'.

We think a title such as this propagates a stereotypical view that women are the main parents, and can't quite believe that anyone would think this as acceptable.

We think we as a society have grown beyond the point where such stereotypes are applicable and we hope we have passed the point where they are acceptable.

We look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

James Wallace and Tania Pieri

On 22 Feb 2010, at 09:21, Olivia Vandyk wrote:

Hi there

Thanks for your comments. We hope Mumsnet isn't exclusive to mums and indeed we know we have plenty of dads who log on and contribute. If it doesn't sound too pompous we think the concept of "mumming/mothering" goes beyond gender so don't feel mumsnet is too exclusive. We did think of calling the site parentsnet.com but it just sounded so hideous.

While the majority of our posters are women, we do have Dadsnet specifically for men to chat here

But folks won't be surprised or bothered by having a male joining in anywhere on the site.

We also have a section for same-sex parents here

Hope this clears up any concerns. Welcome to Mumsnet - do let us know if there's anything else with which we can help
Best wishes

On 22 Feb 2010, at 12:04, James Wallace wrote:

Dear Olivia,

Thank you very much for the response. We're glad to hear that men can and do join in with discussions on mumsnet, but we are somewhat disappointed that there is an apparent need to have separate areas of the sites for dads and gay parents. Every caring parent has one individual goal - doing everything they can to promote the welfare and happiness of their child or children; so why not all work together, talk together, support each other and help promote understanding between different groups whether they are of different gender or different sexual persuasion. These categorisations are irrelevant we believe amongst a community of parents.

We can see that there are definite differences between the sexes in terms of the fact that women are the only gender that get pregnant and have the choice to breastfeed. However, whatever discussions are had between women on the topics of pregnancy or breastfeeding, it would be useful for all parents to join in the conversations so that they may better understand the situation and the difficulties and joys of the process.

We hope you are well and having a happy day,

James and Tania

<happy day.jpg>


On 22 Feb 2010, at 12:10, Olivia Vandyk wrote:

Hi James and Tania
I'm having quite a happy day, though the snow is dampening my spirits somewhat as it complicates all manner of the day's logistics!

Thanks so much for your reply.

Your points below actually sound like a great starting point for a a Mumsnet discussion.
The best place to ask for strategies and tips is our Talk board.
You can post and debate this with our users and see what they think.

Our Talk board is where we get all of our hints and ideas on how to handle issues - you'll be in good hands.
One pointer though, as you're a new poster you may want to avoid posting this in our "am I being unreasonable?" topic to start off with as this is our feistiest area which encourages people to be particularly forthright in their replies.
Again, do get back to us if we can help further.
Best wishes

On 22 Feb 2010, at 12:25, James Wallace wrote:

Okay, thank you for the reply, we will post on the site shortly.

I think they need to lighten up

ToccataAndFudge Mon 22-Feb-10 12:34:46

hmm didn't MN users themselves ask for the gay parents and dad sections?

Seems a bit of a daft argument to me.

Should they rename "Babyworld".......because lots of the posters don't have babies (because they're somewhat larger than the "baby" stage) now.

ChristianaTheSeventh Mon 22-Feb-10 12:34:49

Message withdrawn

SazzlesA Mon 22-Feb-10 12:34:49

Message withdrawn

Rosa Mon 22-Feb-10 12:35:37

I would try it out first then whinge / make complaints / suggestions afterwards.

Welcome to Parents net, granparents net. Nanny and Aupair net. Friends net Step parents net ...Probably foogot a few others as well.

BariatricObama Mon 22-Feb-10 12:35:52

i think you and your girlfriend need to get out more.

SazzlesA Mon 22-Feb-10 12:36:19

Message withdrawn

Lulumama Mon 22-Feb-10 12:36:19

not sure what you are trying to achieve

men and women can comment anywhere on any part of the site, including childbirth & breastfeeding.. women can comment in dadsnet and men on mumsnet

the site is huge, to ahve everything in one big homogenous lump does not take into account the varying needs and experiences of mums & dads

many of these subsections exist because regular uses of Mumsnet wanted them to exist, MN has evolved to take into account the needs/wants of its members

it is by parents, for parents

Rosa Mon 22-Feb-10 12:36:24

Sorry spell check not working !

BariatricObama Mon 22-Feb-10 12:36:26

and lol @ olivia politely passing the dullards over to us

Comewhinewithme Mon 22-Feb-10 12:36:38

Are you just trying to smeak in a really tedious link to your website or something?

PollyTroll Mon 22-Feb-10 12:36:53

Poor Olivia grin

I like the fact that this is an overwhelmingly female site; it's very different in tone and content from male-dominated sites (ie most internet sites), and is all the better for it IMO.

Plus, the womanly nature of it all means that when we want to start threads about bleeding nipples, heavy periods or surprising discharge, we can do so without having to worry about men's sensibilities.

Because of the site's nature, the men who do post here regularly tend to like women (real women, not souped-up femme-bots) and are happy to take part in a conversation on women's terms. Which is still a very unusual thing in the public sphere.

There are a gazillion gender-neutral parenting sites out there; it's not like MN is the only alternative. This site is successful and feted because of its largely female status.

IMO grin

Lulumama Mon 22-Feb-10 12:37:39

it might be stereotypical, but it also true on the whole, that mothers are the primary care givers

CMOTdibbler Mon 22-Feb-10 12:39:57

Not quite sure what your issue is tbh. There are specialised sections for Gay parents, Disabled parents, Adoptive parents, Dads, Grans etc, but people post whereever they feel their post fits in best. But sometimes when it is a topic specifically related to their parental status, they post in that particular section as other people in the same grouping (for want of a better word) will usually check their bit so they are more likely to get useful responses.

And since the users of this site are happy with the way it is, perhaps you'd be better being part of the community first, then judging it

Lulumama Mon 22-Feb-10 12:39:58

I also find it terribly presumptous and rude to email the founder of a v v succesful and well known website, that has hit the headlines frequently, and basically tell them off and say 'could do better' and then post that on the site itself.

Anguis Mon 22-Feb-10 12:40:26

Exactly so, pollytroll.

weegiemum Mon 22-Feb-10 12:41:02


Or just don't have enough to do? unlike busy old me.

KentuckyFriedPenguin Mon 22-Feb-10 12:41:31

anidea - is that your contact with Olivia?

The seperate parts that are mentioned were asked for by members not to feel like that is the only place to post if you are for exapmle a dad but so that IN ONE PLACE you can find "dads" or "same sex parents" just the same as you can find "recipes" "special needs" and "chat".

There already is a dadsnet

NFI Mon 22-Feb-10 12:42:13

Do you really think it is appropriate to C&P an conversation with someone verbatim? hmm you could have paraphrased, I think that is rather rude.

Nice (but not terribly subtle) plug for your own website, by the way.

MNHQ are a private company, not a government organisation, they can call their own website "allmenarepigs.com" if they want.

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 22-Feb-10 12:42:19

psml at Bariatric.

Can imagine Olivia rolling eyes and thinking oh ffs just go and ask them then. 10 kindness points for advising to avoid AIBU. I would not have been so kind smile

DorotheaPlenticlew Mon 22-Feb-10 12:42:37

"Because of the site's nature, the men who do post here regularly tend to like women (real women, not souped-up femme-bots) and are happy to take part in a conversation on women's terms. Which is still a very unusual thing in the public sphere."


And second the question about Netmums: OP, have you approached them with a similar query?

I think they might not quite understand the idea of different topics. It is good to have different sections for different topics but obviously everyone can post wherever they want.

Carrotfly Mon 22-Feb-10 12:44:05


Oh yes, I am presuming netmums has also been approached.

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