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 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.

tortoiseonthehalfshell Sat 27-Feb-10 12:28:18

I'm SO glad you lot brought up Mansplaining. The whole 'I don't know if any of you have noticed but sometimes <whispers> women are actually treated differently from men. Have you thought about protesting this, perhaps in sonnet form' thing made me arrive there too.

And I love love love the idea that if non-parents only knew of the inequalities faced by parents, e.g., in changing facility scenarios, they would all be up in arms about it.

I really, really adore the idea that the way to dismantle the kyriarchy is to point out to the privileged that it exists. Heeee.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Sat 27-Feb-10 11:48:32

oh YEEES! twisty would put him in his place (not that we haven't of course) grin grin grin

StayFrosty Fri 26-Feb-10 21:16:17

oh i would love to see james stumble upon, for eg, i blame the patriarchy....

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 26-Feb-10 21:12:07

<does handshake right back, wonders about starting thread where secrets of feminist web hangouts can be shared, reflects that this very mention might point James towards aforesaid havens, rethinks>

StayFrosty Fri 26-Feb-10 20:34:39

lol elephants, my dh loves the whole concept of mansplaining, he does it deliberately for fun grin he blanched though when i told him some bloke had done it for real in the vipers' nest.

<does secret feminazi blog afficionado handshake>

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 26-Feb-10 20:28:43

Don't worry StayFrosty grin Everyone needs to start using the word "mansplaining" to stop the buggers doing it, so mansplain about mansplaining all you want <condescendingly grants special dispensation, with white and jewelled hand>

While you're here James (although actually james seems to have joined Tania in the alternate universe of sleepy bye-byes) perhaps you would like to hear the shocking news about the Pope - Catholic now, apparently! I know! Could have knocked me down with a feather.

overthemill Fri 26-Feb-10 18:20:54

i applied for a job on spare rib but then got confused by the zionism arguments, never workecd that one our from a feminine perspective...

LeninGrad Fri 26-Feb-10 17:52:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

overthemill Fri 26-Feb-10 17:37:08

whoops, mystique i think, typing not being my strong point (I reject all patriarchal contructs)

overthemill Fri 26-Feb-10 17:34:47

OMG thanks MP for putting this in the round up. James and Tania (if she exists...) may wish to go to the seminal texts, The Feminin Mistyque or perhaps The Female Eunich or more latterly, the Beauty Myth (all avaialble in any online store or decent library). Or try back copies of Spare Rib. Then come back and discuss MN with us

mollyroger Fri 26-Feb-10 13:46:00

''perhaps someone has stumbled upon this thread who has considered something that they hadn't thought of before, in which case, brilliant! ...I think! ''

James, your work here is done. why I stumbled accross this thread and Lo! I have considered something I hadn't thought of before.

Minty dumplings eh?!

Now, time to don that cape of baby spinach green and fly! Fly my friend; somewhere in the seething metropolis, someone needs your help to understand something.

Good work, my friends. Godspeed.....

StayFrosty Fri 26-Feb-10 11:42:23

omg the irony elephants, i've mansplained at you shock grin

i'm wondering something myself. last year when i was pg, i had terrible spd. i posted lots on here and got lots of support and useful practical advice from women who had suffered themselves. i know now how Bad i was and blinkered and sexist - asking advice only from women, then a subset who had been pg and given birth, then an even smaller subset who had had spd.

so james i would like to belatedly ask you for your thoughts and tips on coping with spd in pregnancy and labour. hey, no googling! i'm sure your contribution will be tremendously valid.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 26-Feb-10 10:48:05

Meant to say, I think he picked up all possible points by his "what all parents want" comments as well as his revelation that Oh My God Sexism Exists.

James, if you're still here, what have you done to complain to people actually promoting sexism? Anything yet?

ElephantsAndMiasmas Fri 26-Feb-10 10:46:19

Yeah you're not the only one StayFrosty

c&p from my post of 23rd Feb 13:34

While we're here, have you heard of mansplaining, James? Because you're doing it NOW.

"Mansplaining isn't just the act of explaining while male, of course; many men manage to explain things every day without in the least insulting their listeners.

Mansplaining is when a dude tells you, a woman, how to do something you already know how to do, or how you are wrong about something you are actually right about, or miscellaneous and inaccurate "facts" about something you know a hell of a lot more about than he does.

Bonus points if he is explaining how you are wrong about something being sexist!"

BitOfFun Thu 25-Feb-10 23:36:49

Love the mansplaining grin

StayFrosty Thu 25-Feb-10 23:20:29

Thanks Lenin. I for one feel that I have learnt so much from James. as a feminist and a sahm of a ds and a dd, it had never entered my head to think about gender roles before. boy, i sure am glad James opened my eyes, and i expect you are too wink

LeninGrad Thu 25-Feb-10 22:27:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

StayFrosty Thu 25-Feb-10 22:20:11

omg, just waded through this shite.

i think we may have been mansplained at.

WeNeedToLeaveInFiveMinutes Thu 25-Feb-10 18:37:08

You know, I never got to read this all the way through earlier in the week. It's just made feeding time at the zoo a hugely enjoyable experience although the small apes did wonder why I was laughing so much at my "work".

I'm not sure everyone had the chance to benefit from the great knowledge that James had to share with us. I had never, ever, thought about discrimination. Nor had I ever come across ill-informed men who sought to patronise me purely because I had two X chromosomes. Poor James. He must be living in such a nasty world to have come across this behaviour.

confuddledDOTcom Wed 24-Feb-10 16:02:21

I think the point was that us silly women who don't know any better would realise what has been happening to us and thank the man that came to our rescue. Together we would take up the cause, with our saviour at the lead!

Blackduck Wed 24-Feb-10 15:06:48

Kevlar what a brill post, I too am clicking the virtual 'Like' button

OliviaMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 24-Feb-10 14:57:53

Nighbynight - see you're on this thread = please email HQ
you've won our haiku comp.

dawntigga Wed 24-Feb-10 10:03:19

I heart kevlar. It also kept me from losing skin when I came off my bike.


Actually I am not really wondering. The thought just struck me now, trying very hard to erase the image of selfcleaning food from my retina, from a different thread.

I am really wondering what they thought would be the outcome of that email exchange and in turn the first post.

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