Friday, 1 February 2013

What rabbits can teach us about feminism

I suspect that my children won't give two hoots about my professional life pre (or post) their existence, so they will probably never read my book, The Noughtie Girl's Guide to Feminism (buy it here).  

Nevertheless I hope to bring them up to be feminists just by modelling what I think the key aspects of feminism are - shared domestic duties, workplace equality, economic independence (or interdependence) and having and using choice in how you live your life.

When my daughter had an operation at three months old, we needed something to do while she was in theatre. We decided to go and buy her a present for when she woke up. We went to the Build a Bear Workshop and bought her a bear. Well, a rabbit actually. You can choose a heart and kiss it and put it in the toy while making a wish. Utterly schmaltzy, I know, but it seemed appropriate at the time. For an outfit we chose doctor's scrubs, and we called it Dr Ormond after the hospital.  

Our daughter has taken an interest in Dr Ormond recently, probably because we are at our GP with the regularity a newborn with all its newborn ailments requires, so all things medical hold a fascination for her.  She has also started to get to grips with personal pronouns, again probably due to the arrival of her brother. She is exploring he and she and you and its and mostly getting it right.  

One popular test of people's gender stereotypes is the riddle that goes something like this: a father and son are in an accident and are rushed to hospital. When they arrive the surgeon takes one look at the younger man and gasps "that's my son." How can it be?  

The answer of course is that the surgeon is the boy's mother.  

Yesterday my daughter was playing with Dr Ormond and dropped him under the bed. "I dropped Dr Ormond," she said, "Where is she?" I was so proud. There's no reason for her to think doctors are men - our regular GP is a woman and her consultant is a woman. Yet still I assumed she would assume doctors are men. Turns out it doesn't matter whether my kids read my book. They don't need to. 

No comments:

Post a Comment