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Wicked mother in laws and step mothers

(32 Posts)
GloGirl Sun 15-May-16 18:03:55

Thinking about it over dinner, are the stereo types just typical women hating?

Funny how the world looks different once you start becoming a feminist.

Cocolepew Sun 15-May-16 18:06:24

No. Im a feminist and my MIL is still awful.
If she was a bloke she'd still be awful.

Euripidesralph Sun 15-May-16 18:06:39

Honestly I think that's too simplistic .... to suggest it is just misogyny is to suggest there are not unpleasant mother in laws etc out there

In the same breath there are also awful step father's and father in laws out there

Lunar1 Sun 15-May-16 18:08:21

I have two amazing mother in laws, and one cow bag step mother. Nothing to do with stereotypes.

treaclesoda Sun 15-May-16 18:08:25

It's like anything I think. On mumsnet people post about MIL who upset them, you don't often year about the ones who are nice.

In the end most people probably find their inlaws grating in some way without actually despising them.

PurpleDaisies Sun 15-May-16 18:08:26

My mil is a nasty piece of work. It's nothing to do with her being a woman.

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 15-May-16 18:08:44

Given that the very first thing someone mentions when a child appears to nit be very keen on a male parental figure is 'is he the biological father' and then 20 posts talk about what a huge risk step fathers are.

I think you are over reaching a bit

NeedACleverNN Sun 15-May-16 18:10:25

My mil....well she's trying to get along with us for a change.

But she has form. She was terribly abusive to my dh both physically and mentally. She has slagged me off something terrible because dh won't stand for it now and "I've changed him".

However compared to SIL2, my mil is a saint

RaeSkywalker Sun 15-May-16 18:12:32

I'm a very passionate feminist. I don't dislike my MIL because my opinions were coloured by a stereotype, I dislike her because she is a deeply unpleasant person.

Wonkydonkey44 Sun 15-May-16 18:14:23

I've had one amazing mum in law and one complete cow bag nothing to do with stereo type !

Myinlawsdidthisthebastards Sun 15-May-16 18:15:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

GloGirl Sun 15-May-16 18:17:25

I completely agree that there are awful mother in laws and step mothers but no one automatically assumes my father in law is a bit of a dick but my DH does get comiserated by strangers when he mentions something about his mother in law. I'm struggling to think of a specific example but I've seen it happen.

I have a terrific mother in law and step mother by the way. Love them both.

Actually I think it was hearing Hanzel and Gretal on the Archers today that has started to stir my mind! blush

CantWaitForWarmWeather Sun 15-May-16 18:24:37

It all depends on the individual person really. I don't think it is typical woman hating.

My dad's partner (technically SM) is lovely. smile

Myself, I struggled as a stepmum - I wasn't wicked and I wasn't evil and I will always stand by that. I was just very depressed and being a stepmum just exacerbated that. But I know people won't have much sympathy or understanding and will always be quick to write me off as a bitch. Think what you must smile

NeedACleverNN Sun 15-May-16 18:29:22

I do think a bit sexist about my SIL2 in the fact that as a woman she is dangerous. As a man she could actually be deadly.

She is erratic, has major mood swings, psychotic (I can actually say that as she takes anti psychotics), paranoid and extremely narcassictic. If she was a man in a relationship with a vulnerable woman....well I dread to think what would happen. As it stands she gets herself into relationships with needy men and then dumps them after a few weeks. She has actually threatened to stab one once and had the knife in her hand and everything. Lucky the man was able to over power her. If that was reversed and she was a man.....doesn't bear thinking about

TimeforaNNChange Sun 15-May-16 18:31:52

There a chapter in a book called stepmonster by Wednesday Martin that focuses on how society demonises stepmothers and puts stepdads on a pedestal. Several very high profile criminal cases in which Social reaction changed when the relationship between child and alleged perpetrator was clarified.

I can't remember if it goes as far as to say that it is a feminist issue but it outlines the social conditioning that leads to these attitudes - which could certainly be attributed to misogyny.

TheFuckersBitingMe Sun 15-May-16 18:33:20

I don't think it's that black and white. There are dicks in every part of life, and MILs and Step Parents might sometimes come under that umbrella. But then, some people's own parents are utter dicks, too. Feminism or not, asshats are asshats.

WorraLiberty Sun 15-May-16 18:37:17

It's funny but I really don't hear half as much moaning about inlaws from men, as I do from women.

I wonder if sometimes it's more of a territorial thing, with them both 'fighting' over the husband/son.

In my personal experience, most of my really chilled out friends just accept their MIL's quirks and annoyances with a silent eye roll, whereas the less chilled out seem to see a personal slight in everything their MILs say or do.

Obviously this doesn't apply to everyone and some people are simply vile.

But all the same, it's quite rare to hear men describe their inlaws in that way.

Noodledoodledoo Sun 15-May-16 18:48:30

My step mum is lovely, but never tried to be anything more than Dad's new partner/wife, never commented on things when not asked. I have a fab relationship with her and would say she fills a bit of the gap left by my mum passing away.

My MIL has a LOT of issues, is generally a nice person but there have been issues and it is not an easy relationship - a lot of it caused by SIL and various ill thought out comments made in the past. I wouldn't say I have a problem with her but don't get upset that we barely see them!

sportinguista Sun 15-May-16 18:48:55

I strangely have 2 mil as DH parents were never married and subsequently married other people. Both are lovely, SFIL is a bit of a nightmare, I can stand about 2 days and then I have to have a break, DH can only manage 1 day before conflict ensues.

I do have a SM and she truly is a step monster, we have little contact and it's better that way! However I am also a SM myself and have a great relationship with DSS who is a lovely young man who we are both proud of.

I think it's just down to personalities and behaviour. If my SM was a bloke I think she'd still be a pain in the arse.

ScreenshottingIsNotJournalism Sun 15-May-16 18:49:40

It's quite simple, woman who are MILs have experienced pregnancy and birth and newborns. So they are more likely to have opinions on such things than their husband. This might maifest itself as being massively understanding and helpful (like my MIL), or being judgemental and nasty.

But on a board that has a lot of new mums, it's just biology it's the older women in the family who have experienced being an expectant or new mum, and not the older men in the family, who have the most to say about it

Sorry OP, I think it's a pretty boring scientific reason for more MIL thread on a board filled with new(ish) mums rather than FIL ones.

Go on a wedding board however, and the complaints are pretty well balanced between the ILs in terms of male:female, MIL:FIL because both have opinions on things such as how much money to contribute etc

HowBadIsThisPlease Sun 15-May-16 18:50:07

There is something about the way women are socialised to behave within patriarchy, and something about the way that it is changing, that creates a particular problematic dynamic for women of a certain age. Nothing the part that patriarchy plays in this isn't to deny that some MILs are cowbags.

Some things that you read often on MIL threads:

- MILs taking baby grandchildren over. That's because they are socialised to believe that the most exciting and important thing a woman could ever do is bear / look after babies, and their time with this is over, and they are hardly able to stop themselves seeing grandchildren as another bite of the cherry

- MILS generally over riding DIL's preferences. This is perhaps because as young women no one asked them what they wanted, so they think that finally they can treat someone else like that. Around childbirth this then particularly intersects with the point above.

- MILs being horrible critical of DILs' housekeeping, especially if she is deliberately fostering a dynamic where her husband takes a fair share. This is because she was brought up to think that a decent woman "looks after" her man in all things domestically, and to her it is shameful if her son has somehow ended up with a low quality woman who can't manage these basic things (even if she is pulling in 6 figures instead). She may well not have known how to do all these things herself when first married, and been pulled up on it by older women, and considers herself simply to be doing her duty in doing the same.

- MILs just generally belittling and putting down DILs. This happens a lot when the women are just very different and have different values and lifestyles. Women of that generation are brought up to think their value inheres in their value to individual men; so if the son has chosen someone very different from her, she can be too inclined to regard that as an insult or a demotion

Truly nice, generous women would get over all the above, but sadly not all people are nice and generous. This is as true of men as of women, but they operate within different social dynamics

Madbengalmum Sun 15-May-16 18:50:08

My first mil was great, my second is an absolute cow!

Appleand Sun 15-May-16 18:52:15

Awful people are awful whatever gender they are or identify as.

Just5minswithDacre Sun 15-May-16 18:52:36

It's probably that, for centuries, women who had the inclination to be ruthless and Machiavellian were mainly limited to being ruthless and Machiavellian in the domestic sphere, and presumably people are more likely to be harsh and manipulative with non-blood-relatives. So the MIL and SM archetypes, like most female archetypes are pre-emancipation domestic archetypes.

iMatter Sun 15-May-16 18:55:31

My current mil is an absolute cow.

My former mil was a lovely, kind, thoughtful amazing person.

It has nothing to do with feminism/misogyny.

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