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Isn't the name of Mumsnet itself sexist?

(160 Posts)
MissPeach Thu 09-May-13 16:17:29

The Mumsnet slogan is 'By parents for parents', suggesting that it is of course, for mothers and fathers. Yet the name Mumsnet would suggest otherwise. It suggests that the forum is only for women, which in turn conveys the idea that women do more parenting than men.

To be honest, it doesn't irk me that much, but it was just a thought I randomly had, and was wondering other opinions on it.

Roshbegosh Thu 09-May-13 16:21:49

Women do more parenting than men, don't they? You have a point but I like the site being more for women than men.

ItsYonliMe Thu 09-May-13 16:23:11

For gawd's sake. Will it make you happier to call it dadsnet?

Do you have anything with anymore substance about it to concern your little head about?

AMumInScotland Thu 09-May-13 16:34:13

It is mainly for mums. It is also (secondarily) for and about parents. It (thirdly) also welcomes members who are not female and/or not parents. I don't see anything inherently sexist about something being aimed more at one gender than the other. It doesn't state or imply that fathers are less important, or that they are necessarily less involved in parenting. It is just labelled in a way that makes it clear it is a predominantly female-aimed forum. Nowt wrong with that, IMHO.

SPsCliffingAllOverMN Thu 09-May-13 16:35:28

It should be Humansnet but then the Aliens would get offended

No I dont believe it is.

Its aimed at women. Just as some websites are aimed at men. It doesnt lessen the value of dads.

anklebitersmum Thu 09-May-13 16:41:54

I vote for 'Parental-unitnet'.

Covers all the mum/dad/step/foster bases and doesn't insult aliens grin

SPsCliffingAllOverMN Thu 09-May-13 16:42:52

Or maybe just Everyone/Everything UnitNet'

LineRunner Thu 09-May-13 16:50:32


thecatfromjapan Thu 09-May-13 16:50:41

Since the majority of parenting is actually done by women - "mothers" -naming a parenting website in a "gender neutral" way would actually have been deeply sexist. Like taking an eraser and rubbing a fact out. Not neutral at all, in fact. A pretend neutrality.

It also flags up that this - massively successful - site was established by women - mothers - how cool is that!

I am really perplexed by how you intend this phrase: "It suggests that the forum is only for women, which in turn conveys the idea that women do more parenting than men."

There is the teeniest implication in there, though perhaps I am misreading you, that it might be incorrect or wrong in some way to convey the idea that women do more parenting than men.
I am genuinely interested in your further thoughts on that.

I'm quite an old lady now, and have been pondering gender and parenting for quite a few of my years. I've reached this conclusion: while there may well be no biological determination to parenting roles, if we look at social roles in the UK, as they currently stand, and analyse the meaning of parenting on a statistical basis, we would be forced to conclude there is a gender dimension to the meaning of parenting. Parenting gendered female, carried out by women in the main, we might call mothering, and the people (actually, women) doing it, we might call mothers. Likewise, we could call the gendered- male counterpart, fathering, carried out by those persons with the biological sex of men mainly, and called fathers. The mothers role tends to be a bit more "present" and involve day to day care - physical and emotional - of the children. On a statistical basis. That is, on a majority basis, at the moment. Male parenting, fathering, at present, in the majority of cases, looks rather different.

We might not feel that the above is ideal. We may work in our own private spheres to alter/modify this. But I think it's a pretty fair summing up of how things stand at present.

Now, given this current set up, isn't there something a leetle weird about people trying to insist that with weasel words you gloss over that?

And I will put my cards on the table here -- I have a sneaky suspicion that one or two chaps are fucking seething - with the rage of those who feel their entitlement to own the whole of the world has been infringed - every time they see the word "mum" in mumsnet. They are furious at the success of this site. And they are furious that it proudly proclaims the presence of not just women, but mothers.

Remember, people feel quite oddly about mothers. Quite a lot of "people" (see what I did there?) feel quite oddly about women.* But you can cube that oddness when it comes to mothers.

*Just look at some of the new stories we've enjoyed this week.

thecatfromjapan Thu 09-May-13 16:52:05

I think we should informally call it "Cuntsnet" and reclaim the word cunts.

"Mumsnet: For uncuntrollable women."

Or something.

LineRunner Thu 09-May-13 16:56:50

thecatfromjapan I like your big post. And your little post as well.

TeiTetua Thu 09-May-13 17:20:36

Isn't the name of Mumsnet itself sexist?

Yes. But its operation isn't, so it's fine. And if the name were Dadsnet and it clearly welcomed everyone, it would be just as good.

Though actually by being Mumsnet, we read it as being clearly about parenting, whereas if it were Dadsnet, we'd be more likely to see it as appealing to a minority within parents as a group (ha ha, take that you Marxists) and I doubt if many women would actually participate.

BasilBabyEater Thu 09-May-13 19:49:02

Love Catfromjapan's post.

Ilikethebreeze Thu 09-May-13 22:21:47

It is not really welcoming to dads at all, because there is a dadsnet section. But anything that dads post on there comes through on here. But everything on here does not go through to dadsnet.
But I get the impression that that is what MN wants it like.
And probably most MNetters as well.
Personally I would welcome many more dads on here, but I would guess that I am in the minority on that one.
Actually I get the impression that MN does not want more dads on here, but I could be wrong.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Fri 10-May-13 00:48:22

Eh? Men and women can post in any section.

How do you feel about Mothercare, ilike?

Snazzynewyear Fri 10-May-13 00:59:39

Yes, let's make sure the place welcomes men in to exactly the same degree as women, since across the vast range of the rest of the internet, men have nowhere else to go and no material aimed at meeting their needs. Poor discriminated against bunch that they are.

Snazzynewyear Fri 10-May-13 01:01:15

Also, I assume the same righteous dissatisfaction is going to be directed at Men's Health, Women's Own etc.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 10-May-13 07:27:28

Good points.
Maybe I am wrong in that case.

AMumInScotland Fri 10-May-13 11:05:55

"Dadsnet" is just one topic on here, like "Relationships" or "Childbirth" - posting in one doesn't bar you from the rest, it just allows for one area of interest to be identified. So if "dads" (or anyone else) wants to discuss something that is likely to be specifically relevant to fathers then they put it there. For instance, they might want to talk about the practicalities of public toilets and changing rooms with daughters, which might get lost in "Chat" with lots of "mums" joining in to moan about toilet provision in general rather than stay focussed on the particular worries which men might have.

Men do pop up all over the place, and join in with pretty much any topic. I'd hope they would be cautious in areas like childbirth or breastfeeding, and make it clear they happen to be male if they want to join in, just as I'd be cautious joining in a conversation about prostate cancer on another forum.

But they are not unwelcome here, unless they individually behave in ways which go against the ethos of the site.

TrampyPants Fri 10-May-13 11:11:31

well, if it was called parentsnet, that would discriminate against non-parents.

I know, lets call it ParentsParentsToBeAndPeopleWhoJustLikeGabbingToLikemindedSouls-net.

I fixed the internet!

StickyProblem Fri 10-May-13 11:17:31

Well said catfromjapan

OP you do realise men are pretty well running the planet? Remove the plank of anti-women sexism before you solve the speck of dust that is anti-men.

OrangeLily Fri 10-May-13 11:52:25

Trampypants has indeed fixed the Internet.

I like the vibe here, it's funny and interesting and downright rude and silly sometimes.

It's also quite often the first website that pops up under questions I giggle and that's how I found it.

I'm not a parent, I would like to be but hasn't happened yet. I love that Mumsnet seems to bring out a brilliant side to women that I haven't seen elsewhere in the media.

WilsonFrickett Fri 10-May-13 12:08:54

I like that it's a female space. OK, men can join in, but it's overwhelmingly female and therefore refreshingly free of the gendered-based trolling that happens everywhere else in the web.

By which I don't mean the site doesn't get trolled, or that members don't troll in responses to OP's, but the particularly nasty reaches of 'shut up cunts' doesn't tend to happen here. (Here being MN, not FWR)

Sunnywithshowers Fri 10-May-13 12:22:56

It was started by two mums. So the title isn't sexist.

There are lots of men on here.

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