The whole furore over #yesallwomen has started me thinking more widely – reading through the tweets on the hashtag reinforces what I already know, that being a female in this society is hard and that very little has changed in the last 30 years
I know that I am going to have to consider how to educate, empower and protect my daughters because the world we live in hasn’t progressed in the ways I would have hoped
What has really struck me is that raising daughters is probably the easy part of my future parenting – I’ve walked this road, lived through everyday sexism and I understand how it feels – what I haven’t got a clue on is how to raise my son in what feels like an age of continued misogyny
Talking to the men in my life one really strong theme emerges – that they just do not understand how it feels to be female in our society and to have to deal with the daily drip drip drip of these experiences
How do I raise a son to understand what women are facing every day and to call out other boys and men if they continue to perpetuate these behaviours?
As I see it, the only way we are going to move forward is to educate our men to challenge this misogyny head on – yes we can keep telling girls that they need to lean in, that they need to stop doing this or start doing that but until we have a generation of men that sincerely believe that both sexes are different yet equal and who respect women for who they are not what the media portrays as an ideal we are not going to get anywhere
But how do you ensure that you do that for your son?
Is it as simple as avoiding the pink / blue divide – will wearing his tights which say ‘girl’s tights’ on the label help the process?
Is it about carrying on with my career whilst Mr M is at home and practically demonstrating that family roles are interchangeable?
Is it about treating him and his sisters the same in terms of opportunities and choices?
The girls adore princesses but love Lego and tree climbing, they like pink and glittery but should we be considering whether to limit these things and exposure to Disney with it’s passive, reactive, can only exist if they have a prince and a happily ever after role models?
And who are the role models for little boys? Yes obviously Mr M but who else? Should I stop reading Paperbag Princess because, whilst the princess is cool and independent, the prince is definitely not?
Where is the roadmap on how to bring up children so that we break this cycle of sexism?