My kids know it. Hell, they learnt it from me. And I hope they too will be using it often. Yep, the F* word. Feminism.
Growing up in the 70’s, my mum taught us kids that song, you know, the one that goes; ‘Anything you can do, I can do better….’ We all took it to heart, which led to some pretty obnoxious moments in our household, but it was her way of giving a big ‘up yours’ to gender stereotypes. As a child I really believed it. But little kids do believe stuff, don’t they? Some of that stuff sticks, the stuff about who they are. There’s no doubt about why they call them the formative years.
I now have kids of my own and I also teach them about feminism. I don’t read them feminist literature at bedtime; but do it in a quieter way. Apart from how our bodies work, in our house, gender is rarely mentioned. It’s feminism in the ‘we’re all in this together, so let’s just get on with it’, kind of way.
So we tootled along in our happy way until last year when, BAM, Primary School. Pop goes the bubble.
I’d had a mild interest in the uniforms. Having seen some of the girls at the local secondary school kicking around in school trousers, I’d assumed it would be the same at the primary. Its 2015, I’d said to myself, surely….ummm, no. It turned out that they are the very same style of uniform that we used to wear 30 years ago. Dresses for the girls, shorts for the boys.
It didn’t sit quite right with me. Those little kids who had smashed it out together in the preschool playground, a place where ‘comfort ruled’, don’t wear your bestest, favourtitist clothes, but clothes you can conquer the world in, all dressed up in ‘big school’ uniforms that appeared so, well, sexist.