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.

vesuvia Fri 10-May-13 12:42:32

A website named something like www.only.mothers.are.real.parents.so.no.fathers.allowed.com would be sexist, because it would discriminate against men who are parents. Mumsnet does not come anywhere close to that.

I wonder if Mumsnet chose their name because there may already have been a website called Parentsnet?

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Oldandcobwebby Fri 10-May-13 12:53:38

I'm a dad, and I don't care a hoot what the site is called. I've picked up good advice, laughed at the stupid stuff and been welcomed.

I agree that the name is inherantly sexist, but as an adult, I can live with that without losing too much sleep over it.

vesuvia Fri 10-May-13 13:01:33

My question to Mumsnet HQ is:

Will Mumsnet be renamed Parentsnet before or after Manchester is renamed Personchester?

TrampyPants Fri 10-May-13 13:08:02

of course the name isn't sexist. hmm

Ilikethebreeze Fri 10-May-13 13:10:21

Personally I would like a whole heap more men on here.
It would widen the topics discussed by quite a lot.
And some debates would be much more realistic with men's perspectives.

I dont suppose, having thought some more and listened to the posts on here, that what it is called is much of a problem.

vesuvia Fri 10-May-13 13:11:28

OP wrote - "It suggests that the forum is only for women, which in turn conveys the idea that women do more parenting than men."

Your comment reminds me of the way that the England football team (of men, the default, of course) and the England women's football team convey that football is only for men, and women do something else that is implicity inferior to football.

tethersend Fri 10-May-13 13:13:52

Well, it may be just me, but I would like to see the name changed to parentsnet.

Aksherlly.

StickEmUpPunk Fri 10-May-13 13:41:28

Well thanks a bunch I am not a parent and no intention of being one!

What would you have done with me then LOL

I'm joking, just adding petrol to the fire.
Parentsnet would alienate all the childless/free.

So that's not the answer <sticks tongue out>

(why am I here ?? - I'm one of the ones who read a liz jones article last year and stayed after I found she was wrong LOL)

BubblesOfBliss Fri 10-May-13 13:47:06

I love the fact that there are far more women's voices than men's on mumsnet - it is like an oasis from domination by men's voices and perspectives everywhere else and I don't actually find the men here add much tbh. They seem like the 'fifth wheels' at best.

Xenia Fri 10-May-13 13:48:08

What makes more of us wince is the class implication - some of us are mummies and mum sounds a bit common as it were. I suspect we can all live with the compromise over the name. Anyway they have registered trade marks in the name so not likely to change it.

EuroShaggleton Fri 10-May-13 13:53:47

I think the OP has a good point actually. Calling a parenting website "mumsnet" conveys an assumption that the mums will be the main parent. A bit like how in many organisations for years maternity and paternity leave have been massively different, helping mums to be seen as the main parent, while entrenching dads as the main WOH earner.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 10-May-13 14:16:05

I would just like more bredth of talk and perspective and experience.
For instance, when the horse meat scandal was going on there were at least 5 threads on the scandal.
On none of them, did I come across a butcher, male or female. I know there are some female butchers. But there was not a single viewpoint from either a male or female butcher.
I only came across one MNetter who could even talk about the food chain in any detail.

WilsonFrickett Fri 10-May-13 14:20:42

But then wouldn't you go to butchersnet for that breeze? I'm not being snippy, I just think that one website can't fulfill all needs for all people.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 10-May-13 14:29:44

smile
But it does feel to me that really, we are only speaking to half the population. That we are maybe unnecessarily missing out a big chunk.
I suppose, in rl, I dont have a problem with men, so would like to chat with them on here as well.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 10-May-13 14:30:29

Isnt going to happen though, is it?

TanteRose Fri 10-May-13 14:35:27

Xenia, vair true not really grin

I think it's racist and UK-centric <fumes>
What about all of us in forrin climes? MamasNet? MomsNet?MuttiNet?

Frettchen Fri 10-May-13 14:41:20

I would say, rather than being sexist, it's just being honest about its target audience, which could potentially have the effect of alienating people who aren't its target audience, but it would only, IMHO be sexist if men weren't allowed.

The way I see it, there are many, many forums on the internet; I used to be a member of a pet forum - it was predominantly for pet owners, but non-pet owners were allowed to come in, ask questions, participate etc. It was just aimed more toward people with pets.

I first heard of MN through my best friend when she was first TTC. I signed up at some point because it looked like an interesting place, but I lurked for such a long time because I felt like I didn't belong, even though I had views on many of the non-parenting topics, mainly because I'm not a mum. I've only started posting this year because I'm starting to plan a pregnancy (using IUI with donor sperm, so not your typical potential mother) and I knew when the time came that I had questions, here's the right place to be.

So yeah - that's my thinking...

That said, my inner devil's advocate is asking 'would it be ok to have a WhiteNet website aimed at people of a specific skin colour but open to all people to join it? My immediate response is that no, that wouldn't be ok, but I can't pinpoint how/why that's different to MumsNet or Men's Health, or Women's Choice...

WilsonFrickett Fri 10-May-13 14:41:39

YY but 'whole population' forums don't do very well. People like to talk to people like them - I agree this can be a bit limiting though. The 'slices' are usually much narrower tbf, MN is actually quite unusual in its breadth and depth of reach.

number of members/cross section of people it covers. Most other forums segment more heavily, like hobby websites, car owner sites, dating, etc.

WilsonFrickett Fri 10-May-13 14:42:53

I think as well <whispers> we have to remember MN isn't a public service. It's making money, which means it has to have a target audience and demographic. And mothers are attractive to advertisers.

TrampyPants Fri 10-May-13 14:45:13

Of course, there are the MRAs who can't bear the idea of a forum which attracts mainly women, and gives them a place to talk and find support. Mumsnet isn't just about parenting, its about forming and maintaining relationships, imo. The name is just what it is.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 10-May-13 14:46:33

You could be right WilsonFrickett and Frettchen.
I think MN would have a collective heart attack if 20,000 men joined, or even 2,000.
But I would have thought 2,000 men would be enough for extra money making?

Snorbs Fri 10-May-13 14:52:06

One way of looking at it was that it was originally set up by a few mums. Also according to whois info mumsnet.com was registered in 2003 whereas parentsnet.com had already been around for a couple of years by that point although I note that it appears to have died a while ago. Thirdly, I find "parentsnet" a bit clumsy. There's four consonants all squashed in together and it doesn't flow as well.

Most importantly for me as a man however is that I genuinely could not care less if it's called mumsnet.com, parentsnet.com, childtaming.com or schplazingo.com. It's a good site. Decent people are welcomed from a very broad range of backgrounds. Fuckwits are shown the door in a swift and often very entertaining manner. It doesn't matter.

Frettchen Fri 10-May-13 14:56:02

From my experience of the site, I think 2,000 men would be welcomed, as long as MN still remained focused on parenthood, including the female-specific bits like childbirth, breast/bottle feeding, maternity leave. The service is effectively accessible to anyone, it just happens, in part, to be more relevant to mums.

MN's a bit confusing because, as Wilson said, it covers such a wide bredth of topics. This makes it a bit harder to see the main focus, and makes it seem more loosely targetted (which is good for business as it means higher ad views and, thus, higher profit.)

WilsonFrickett Fri 10-May-13 14:57:42

Nah breeze, according to marketing principles* they wouldn't make any money of 20,000 men because they couldn't advertise directly to them, and risk alienating the target audience (why are their ads for Gillette razors on my site?) and their wouldn't be enough traffic to Gillette razors to make it worth their while doing that.

*Disclaimer: of course, all marketing principles are deeply, deeply gendered and so on FWR we would potentially choose to disregard that argument. But people tend to make money working on gendered lines.

So actually, I have now talked myself round!! It is sexist because it is based on highly-gendered marketing principles! <about face emoticon>

grin

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