‘It Took a Lot to Admit I Am Male on Here’. Going Where Few Men Dare to Tread: Men on Mumsnet
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It may be unusual to consider men as a marginalised group, but the male users of the UK discussion forum Mumsnet form a very small minority. While Mumsnet states that it is ‘by parents, for parents’, the vast majority of the users of its discussion board, ‘Mumsnet Talk’ (which has 4.2 million monthly unique visitors), are women. Indeed, Mumsnet has a growing feminist voice (Pedersen and Smithson, 2013). The latest statistics from a Mumsnet census conducted in the autumn of 2013 show that men make up 16% of all users of Mumsnet but only 2–5% of core users.1 This chapter, which has been researched in collaboration with Mumsnet, investigates the motivations of these male users. It argues that the men use Mumsnet because they wish to be seen as parents rather than fathers and because they are attracted by the variety and quality of discussion on Mumsnet. However, not all users of Mumsnet are welcoming and thus the men have to decide whether or not to ‘out’ themselves as men and which discussions to enter.
KeywordsOnline Community Chat Room Discussion Board Parenting Information Computer Support Cooperative Work
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