Tag Archives: feminism

My daughter , my way.

Apologies in advance that this could become a bit of a rant. However I inhabit my little corner of the internet so as I can express myself so surely a little rant from time to time is acceptable??

I think as parents we all have certain aspects of our parenting that we really hold dear. I don’t mean the screen time limits that we say exist but fall by the wayside for the sake of a bit of peace ,but the really important things that matter to you as a parent. It might be cooking food from scratch , or everyone sitting around the table together . It may be ensuring you get the kids out into nature and exploring. It may be ensuring books are a way of life or that they are able to express themselves with art and crafty activities. There are just some things along this parenting journey that you’re not willing to let go off because they are important to you.

I mentioned in this previous blog post about how the older I get the more confident I get in expressing my opinions. This goes together I think with backing and defending my parenting style to the hilt. Something I learnt just this week.

Small girl turned 10 this week. She had a fab time , has already worked out how to turn one special day into one special week and does rock a birthday. We went out for dinner with a group of her family and maybe I was particularly irritated that day or maybe ,I think more likely,that I’m so fed up of the kind of nonsense we sometimes spout around our children that on this occasion I had to pick up on it.

Small girl was talking about a boy in her class and how she didn’t like him and he was mean to one of her female friends.

“Oooo he must like her ” someone said.

“boys are always mean to girls they want to be their girlfriend!”

Now. I have heard this narrative a million times. From when I was a child through to now and usually I can turn a blind eye but actually no.

Let’s not tell her things like that I suggested. I don’t want her growing up thinking if a male is nasty or horrid to her that she should just be flattered by the attention. I said it with a smile , I didn’t go on to do the monologue that was in my head about how bloody dangerous this message is to both boys and girls and maybe I should have because the second I opened my mouth I saw it. The collective eye roll. The collective tut thinking “here she goes again on one of her crazy feminist rants”

I’ve seen it before.

I’ve seen it when I pick up on phrases like “don’t be such a girl” when a boy dares express emotion.

I’ve seen it when I ask people not to tell teen girl to ‘dress more like a girl’

When I’ve tried to explain how toxic masculinity is harming our boys as well as our girls.

I’ve seen it a lot , and I think often it has quietened me.

This time it angered me. I am more than aware I cannot police language around my daughter always. I can though I think ask people who she trusts and loves to be mindful of what messages they send to her and I will.

I want my daughter to know for sure there is nothing she can’t do. That she is strong and powerful and brave and intelligent and that she can change the world.

It’s a massive shame that here in 2018 we’re still pedalling ridiculous gender limiting ideas but I always have to challenge them in front of her in the hope that one day she’ll do the exact same thing. That’s more than worth a few eye rolls.

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Sometimes it’s hard to be a woman – a rant

Its been quite the week for female rants in our house . Quite a collaboration too , all 3 of us females here have each had a whinge about one thing or another .

Share you say ? Unburden yourselves ?

Dont mind if we do….

Earlier in the week teen girl came home with a touch of the outrage about her. This is nothing unusual but this time she had something pretty meaty to get her teeth into. 
An initiative in school had been launched to encourage more elder girls back into sport and exercise . Teen girl is the sporty type and was happy to have something new to try. However …this initiative Fit for Prom was a lunchtime fitness class for elder girls a brilliant idea with an awful name and message. Teen girl and her friends found the Fit for Prom message to be nothing more than a dangerous message that actually if you weren’t slender , toned and ‘fit’  then you shouldn’t really be going to prom. It gives me hope that this group of girls saw fit to take it up with the teacher.
Thankfully the girls PE teacher agreed with them wholeheartedly and said she felt uncomfortable with it too! Apparently this initiative was funded to allow school to put on these extra fitness class. They agreed to keep the funding ,drop the name and keep the class. Worryingly when researching Fit For Prom I found hundreds of articles on how to lose weight quick for Prom , how to tone up for your dress (all aimed at girls of course the boys just need to show up) 

I’m all for encouraging teen girls into sport but using the kind of body shaming that stops them participating in the first place is beneficial to no one.

So….we’ve dealt with this best we can. 

Then comes….lady Doritos….

*Sigh , tut, eye roll , bang head against wall*

If you missed it there was much talk of a new kind of dorito being launched , just for us ladies. Handbag size bags , they wouldn’t crunch loudly or leave ‘dorito dust’ on your hands . Us feminine ladies do not like crunchy crisps or licking our fingers don’t you know!!!

As you can imagine this went down a storm in our house. 

Me : Bloody patriarchy trying to literally silence us.

Teen Girl : Well I’ll just get crunchy ones and crunch triply loud.

Small girl : Licking your fingers is the BEST bit!!!

We don’t want lady Doritos here!

It transpired that these were not going to become a thing , everyone involved denied all knowledge and it was all a big misunderstanding (of course) I’ve read maybe it was a publicity stunt ,get us girls talking about Doritos. I’ll not be getting them again.

Sigh…..let’s see what this week brings in the way of female rants…

PS Dear Doritos,

If you really want to improve your product I’ve a few suggestions:

a) Make it so your razor sharp edges don’t dig right in your gums.

b) Add a slight curve to aid salsa dipping

c) Ditch the BBQ rib flavour

d) Don’t big yourself up with your noisy crunch. Wheat Crunchies blow you out of the water.

Thanks , a lady x


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A little bit in awe of teen girl , an instinctive feminist…

My teenage daughter , she won’t mind me saying , has previous for being a bit of a pain in the arse. I wrote this a while back about why , although it can be frustrating I don’t necessarily see it as being a solely bad thing.

I suffer great mum bias of course but as well as being kind and funny and beautiful and ridiculously cool in a way I certainly was not at 15 she just seems to ‘get it’.

I would certainly label myself as feminist and maybe some of my preaching that I often feel is falling on deaf ears to all 4 of them is filtering down after all but she’s an instinctive feminist. I think I learnt feminism. I think I saw things happening in the world I didn’t like and then looked to people more knowledgeable than myself to ask questions to and to ask what I should be reading and what I could do as an individual to help.

Eldest girl though , she just seems to know it , she feels it . I’m in awe of that.

The other day we were walking back from the shop. Chatting about the new bank notes. She mentioned there hadn’t been as much as a fanfare about the new £10 note as there had been the £5. I , said ah that’ll be because there are no men on it! We then spoke about what a struggle it had been to get Jane Austen on the note. I told her about all the vile abuse and threats that campaigner Caroline Criado-Perez had received throughout the campaign to get a woman on the note.
My daughter’s response came immediately.

“Well you know why that is don’t you?”

“Because those men took offence to being excluded” I offered.

“Well yes , but especially excluded from being on money . Those kind of men who behave that way see money as power and certainly don’t want replacing by women.”

This had never occurred to me . Yes I’d concluded that the men threatening to rape and kill Caroline Criado-Perez for daring to campaign for a female face to join the Queen on our currency were suffering from such fragile masculinity that they couldn’t stand to see men removed from on a bank note. To equate that with money and power being synonymous had passed me by. Not her though.

Her feminism gives me hope.

Her feminism means she rolls her eyes when comment is passed about why she can’t dress more ‘like a girl’ (” I’m a girl , I’m wearing clothes I AM dressed like a girl”)

Her feminism means when the boys at primary school refused to pass to her on the football team as she was a girl her reaction was to win player of the match rather than have a row.

Her feminism means pulling up girls at school who are telling her friends they should be on one ridiculous diet or another. Telling them they’re spreading dangerous nonsense . I’m super proud she told me she did this whist munching on a chip butty but that’s just me.

Her feminism means pink and blue kinder eggs anger her , that nothing irritates her more than being told she’s ‘ too pretty ‘ to play rugby and should be looking after that face , that has rejected gender stereotyping from being a little , little girl.
Yes she likes the last word , yes she drives her brothers mad winding them up just for fun , yes she’s overly argumentative and yes she has a temper and can strop like a toddler at times.

I’ve always thought and always said though that this girl can and will change the world one day.

I think maybe she already is.

 

 

 

 

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My daughters are a real handful.. I’m so glad

My parenting journey started with 2 sons, born 18 months apart. I wanted to raise thoughtful, kind, compassionate boys and I think I did. As they grew to be the teenagers they are now I wanted them to grow to be aware of the world around them. I want them to make it a better place. I want them to be aware that as intelligent, white, males that they have huge privilege. I want them to use this privilege well. I want to raise good men.

Parenting is no walk in the park be that daughters or sons, we all know that. It’s a long, tiring, emotionally draining slog. I don’t need to say it’s worthwhile though do I?

Well it is!

I may be looking through rose tinted spectacles but I never felt parenting my sons a particular challenge. There were challenging times certainly, but they gave me confidence I was getting this parenting lark right. At 16 and 18 now they are respectful of boundaries, know how far to push them and know what behaviour won’t be tolerated. I know it appears I’m making these boys seem like the world’s most perfectly behaved children. I’m not and they’re not.Raising the boys so far though has been a relatively calm experience.

When my eldest daughter came along it was a shock to the system from the off. Where the boys as toddlers would stop what mischief they were up to at the “No” word,my daughter would laugh and carry on. She’s always identified boundaries then taken a run up and leapt over them. She questions, she talks of unfairness and gets frustrated when she sees it in action. She shouts and argues and needs to say her piece at all costs. So much so she is happy to take any consequences that come her way such is her need to be heard. I feel I should say here that she’s not shouting that she doesn’t want bolognaise for tea or just being obnoxious. In her mind the things she argues for are hugely important to her.

Her little sister shows similar traits of identifying how girls and boys are treated differently in school sometimes and she does have a moan in a way that a 10 year old can. It makes me wonder if girls just inherently know from a young age that they will always need to shout louder to be heard, will have to work harder to be recognised, will always have to fight for every bit of space they want to take up.

In the same vein, maybe my boys know that they can afford to be laid back and a bit lazy as there are so many fights that they’ll simply never HAVE to fight.

Maybe I’m over thinking. Maybe I just have 4 unique individuals and their personalities have nothing to do with sex. I’m doubtful of that though.

My eldest daughter talks of being in the top maths set where when boys finish first they get extension work, whereas if she finishes first she’s asked to help those struggling ( what with girls being all nurturing obviously!) She’s been told off for questioning this, but as long as she’s polite she’s my backing.
She’s written letters to sports shops because she had to buy shin pads for football labelled boys as the shop didn’t label any girls or children’s. It was boys or nothing.You can read her letter here

I’ve been in a shop with my daughter when she’s witnessed a dad tell his daughter she couldn’t have football stickers as they were for boys and to get Hello Kitty ones instead. I saw how she wanted to ask him why? I saw her biting her tongue but really not wanting to (I regret speeding her out of the shop that day. I should have let her ask him why)
Faced with all this and only 15 (I know she’s a whole ton of misogynistic crap to deal with yet) there’s no wonder she’s frustrated. She’s way more aware of the world and sexism than I was at her age. Feminist mum will do that for you I guess. It’s going to make a person question and want to stand up for themselves and others.

I know my daughter will be labelled stroppy and mouthy and feisty (yuk), words never used to describe her male counterparts who behave the same way.

If we can channel her spirit though, surround her with strong females who do listen to her, who don’t hush her or tell her to behave more ‘like a girl’ (something I’ve been picking people up on all her life) I’m hopeful that these daughters of mine can and will try to change their world for the better and that can be no bad thing.

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