Mumsnet - a site for parents?

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

Hello,

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:

Hello,

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
http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/dadsnet

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
http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/gay_parents

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
Olivia
www.mumsnet.com



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>

www.artyempires.com



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.
http://www.mumsnet.com/talk
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
Olivia
www.mumsnet.com


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

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

KentuckyFriedPenguin Mon 22-Feb-10 12:45:00

would be interested to hear your answer to these questions please ...

1) why have you left a blatant link to your website? That should be paid for in a different section (which you would know as it appears you have explored them all wink)

2) have you raised this issues with NetMums and Dadsnet?
2a) What was their response?

3) did you take the time to look at the threads on MNbefore you emailed Olivia? If you did you will notice several users use the word DAD in their name, the nicknames are anonymous - anyone of us could be male.

norksinmywaistband Mon 22-Feb-10 12:45:18

I agree with olivia, as have other debates on here, Mothering is an occupation which is not gender specific.
If the OP bothered to use the site they may find that out!

Hadn't even noticed the subtle plug of website. Too subtle for me

squeaver Mon 22-Feb-10 12:46:06

No she's a dancer

Very strange

Olivia - diplomatic medal of the day goes to you.

KentuckyFriedPenguin Mon 22-Feb-10 12:46:12

Also, do you have issues with place names too such as MANchester?

paisleyleaf Mon 22-Feb-10 12:48:45

Do the happy days couple really want us to change it all because they've had an idea?
Is their agenda as simple as that?
I'd thought mumsnet was quite successful.
There are other sites.

aoyama Mon 22-Feb-10 12:50:28

"we are somewhat disappointed that there is an apparent need to have separate areas of the sites for dads and gay parents."

I don't understand the disappointment here. I am not a gay parent (or lone parent or a living overseas parent or a parent of a child with sn for which there are 'seperate areas') but I would assume that a gay parent might post something relevent to being a gay parent in the gay parents section with the hope that it would be seen by someone who could help with that specific issue. I wouldn't expect a gay parent to confine themselves to this one area and post other threads such as 'AIBU to not want to go to a wedding of people I have never met', 'dd will only eat bread', 'do you have snow where you live', 'what do do in London for 3hrs without dcs'. Ditto dads posts in dadsnet. You are being ludicrous.

" 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."

Isn't that exactly what we are doing here on Mumsnet?

And the fact that we have grown to be the biggest, feistiest, most influential, most helpful, most interesting and entertaining parentign website on the planet suggests that perhaps we're going about it the right way - sexiest name notwithstanding!

Her legs stretch very well

GhoulsAreLoud Mon 22-Feb-10 12:51:52

Um, get a life springs to mind.

Sorry James and Tania, I'm not good with very earnest people.

What a typo! blush I oughtt to preview before posting, not review after posting.

Obviously I meant sexist name.

GetOrfMoiLand Mon 22-Feb-10 12:53:04

Where are the (boring) OPs?

Come on you two where is your rationale. And don't you know that you can also watch telly or read books rather than concoct your own personal theories on how perfectly good websites shoulkd be amended.

Lol at paisley's 'happy days couple'

WoTmania Mon 22-Feb-10 12:53:32

hmm

Valpollicella Mon 22-Feb-10 12:53:44

Wow. Too much time on your hands to think this all through I think.

Time which you probably could spend redesigning your site tbh...

I don't understand what their problem is?

"it would be useful for all parents to join in the conversations"

Truly, who is stopping anyone from chipping in their tuppence worth?

It's not like we actually read what each other write is it? wink

paisleyleaf Mon 22-Feb-10 12:55:35

Good delegating Olivia.

PollyTroll Mon 22-Feb-10 12:56:05

" 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."

Actually, this paragraph gives me the willies (no pun intended). It's like those men who hang around labour wards saying 'We want a natural birth.'

Some aspects of parenting DO differ between men and women. And maybe some of us women rather like having a space in which we can talk to (largely) other women about these aspects. It doesn't mean that we don't appreciate fathers/grandfathers/men in general - it's just a different space/

ShauntheSheep Mon 22-Feb-10 12:56:21

It all seems a bit like semantics to me and depends on how you define the words 'mother' and 'mothering'. I am the 'mother' in our household but dp as the SAHD does lots fo the 'mothering'.

paisleyleaf Mon 22-Feb-10 12:57:14

Oh, and it is starting to seem as though we need a 'new ideas and criticisms from first time posters' topic.

Flightattendant Mon 22-Feb-10 12:57:33

Oh Fgs

weirdy weirdy people

'

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.
'

Can you not understand that MN is user-led

there is NOTHING to stop anyone joining in anything they want to.

just leave us alone!

PollyTroll Mon 22-Feb-10 12:58:43

lol paisley

So, er, what exactly is the problem? This is a parenting forum frequented largely (but by no means exclusively) by mothers. It is therefore called Mumsnet - this makes it clear that the main link between the majority of posters is motherhood. There are however many posters who are not mothers - and they are welcomed anywhere in the site, but also have "special-interest" corners for their own possible areas of interest - Gransnet, Dadsnet, Mumsnot.

They are not excluded from any area - no-one is! However, everyone is aware that the majority of other posters you will encounter are mothers - and therefore if you want to join in with the forum, you should generally be happy to be in the company of mothers. If not, then this probably isn't the forum for you. A forum that had equal proportions of fathers and mothers would be different, and a forum that was mainly fathers would be different again. Not necessarily better or worse, just different.

GhoulsAreLoud Mon 22-Feb-10 13:00:05

Am having visual images of Oliviamumsnet politely directing them to post that on here and then whispering "kill them" into a secret microphone.

grin

shonaspurtle Mon 22-Feb-10 13:00:39

The majority of posters on this site are female and the majority are mothers. I think the name of the site describes its core user group well.

However, it's not exclusive. People who aren't parents post, men post.

Actually, I can't be bothered typing any more. I'm totally baffled as to your point. Tis pc gorn mad, and in all seriousness I never ever thought I'd say that.

Flightattendant Mon 22-Feb-10 13:00:58

...and what do you WANT the site to be called?

Are you even parents? Why are you posting here? Can I not click on your website unless I am having a happy day?

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