This is a bit of a departure from some of my normal posts sharing my family life but recent news stories have really got me thinking about the world my kids are growing up in.
I don’t know if I am a feminist. It is a confusing label that means different things to different people. Some feminism ideas strike a cord with me and others don’t. Maybe that makes me a pick and mix feminist – I’m too busy to figure out the label.
What I am for sure is the mum of a seven year old girl who I want the absolute best for. I want her to grow up in a world where she is safe and has opportunities open to her.
On the surface life seems so much more complicated than it did in my formative years. It is easy to spot danger lurking around every corner with sexual images and revenge porn sites, airbrushed models influencing our body image ideals and social media capturing and broadcasting our embarrassing moments for prosperity. Although is the world really more dangerous or are we just focusing on what we are told to be scared of? More confusion that I’m too busy to figure out!
You may have seen the debate about Charlotte Proudman and accusations from some people that she is a feminazi (a horrible term that was probably invented by internet trolls or people who share their mindset). In a nut shell she called out a senior lawyer on Twitter for sending her a message on LinkedIn commenting on her appearance. She didn’t know him and judged that it was inappropriate to do this on a professional networking site. I saw her on News Night yesterday she clearly is sincere in her belief that this is demeaning and inappropriate.
Many column inches have been devoted to both sides of this story, some I’ve read some I have tuned out (did I mention I was busy?). It makes me question is this debate making the world a better place for my daughter to grow up in? I’m not sure.
What made an impact on me much more than the Charlotte Proudman debate is story hidden away on page 29 of the I Paper yesterday. It detailed two young (alleged) rape victims in India who were shot dead before they could testify in court. The details of the story of horrific. The fact that this is given the briefest of mentions shocks me. Surely this is more relevant to the future safety of girls like my daughter than what you say on LinkedIn?
I can agree to an extent that everyday sexism is on the same continuum as this extreme and violent story. But is the energy and attention generated by the Proudman story focused in the right place when there is life and death examples of sexism seemingly quite prevalent in the world? Or can we afford to do this because we have got all the life and death aspects of female equality sorted here? Have we got the life threatening stuff sorted?
Kylie Jenner and Malala Yousafzai both turned 18 recently. One is a reality star from a privileged family. The other survived being shot in the head by the Taliban for attending school. I’m pretty sure I know who’s milestone birthday got more attention. A google search gives Kylie Jenner 8,220,000 results and Malala Yousafzai 469,000 (I realise that this is completely unscientific). I’m also very clear which one has something to say that I would want my 7 year old year old girl to hear.
I don’t have any answers. Does asking these questions make me a feminist or not? I have no idea. All I know is that it is very confusing to me as an everyday mum. How do I equip my daughter with the skills and confidence she needs to hold her own in this crazy mixed up world? What are the dangers she needs to be ready to face?
I’d love to know your thoughts. Do you have some answers? Let me know in the comments section below.