Too young to be a feminist?


So, we’re sitting in the car driving back from taking the girls to their Kung fu lesson and I flick on the radio. The girls and I like a bit of Radio 4 comedy hour and I see no reason why they shouldn’t be exposed to more intellectual comedy than Peppa Pig (not knocking the muddy puddle queen – we still love you).

Or rather, I saw no reason. One may say I should’ve learnt my lesson after the Women’s Hour fiasco when I had a rather awkward discussion with my then 7 year old about why women might want a doctor to make her girl bits smaller (labia that is). That spawned the unforgettable conversation, “no darling, not many ladies do handstands with no knickers on, but some ladies worry that it doesn’t look very neat….. No I haven’t……. No I don’t want to….. I’ve never really thought about it…. I know you’ve got crinkle scissors. Ooh look a squirrel!”.

Well, today I’d forgotten that lesson, and with beanpole (now 8) and TinyPants (now 7) loaded up in the back alongside their various very feminine weaponry we clicked on Bridget Christie Minds The Gap. To my thirty three year old bitter sense of humour, this was a funny and painfully true representation of feminism. In my infinite wisdom, I totally forgot that every word would be soaked up by my little sponges who spent most of the time asking questions (more of this sort of thing!). Questions like:

  • “Mummy, what’s a mysoginist?”
  • “Mummy, why is she a witch?…… And why is it funny if she’s a lesbian?”
  • “Mummy, who’s Virginia Wolfe? Is she like a lady big bad wolf?”
  • “why didn’t the lady in the bookshop just look on the shelf? She could read Ruby Redford – that’s about girls!”
  • “is a feminist someone who only likes girls then?”

These and many other questions that I had to answer on the fly. I’m rather proud that they took such an interest and sort of get women’s rights (thank you Horrible Histories), but I’m just not sure they’re ready for The Female Eunuch. I’m not sure I am! For now, they seem happy with my explanation that feminism is about the right for ladies to wear enormous knickers which are much more comfortable instead of silly lacy ones, and mummy having a job that she enjoys and being able to read whatever you want and eat Yorkie bars even if they do say it’s not for girls.

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