Why it took becoming a parent for me to care about feminism (cringe)

kate nash

I’m ashamed to admit that before I became a parent I was not a feminist.  In fact I knew, or even cared little about it (WTF).  I am angry at myself for this, it’s majorly embarrassing.  Having always worked in a male dominated environment, for some reason I found it easier to succumb to the views of the people around me rather than to fight against them.

Breaking News: You can be a feminist without being a man-hater.  Yeah I know, who knew? The definition of Feminism is simply ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’. In laymen’s terms – we are equal.

Like most parents, from the moment I fell pregnant I began to imagine the life he or she would lead.  I wanted my child to have countless opportunities throughout his or her life.  It wasn’t until I really thought about it that the realisation hit me that it was possible that my son or daughter may not be given certain opportunities because of their sex.  It was absurd to me and it became crystal clear that if I didn’t start to change my opinions that I would only be passing on my pitiful views to my son or daughter.  I think it’s important to note that if we had had a son instead I would have also wanted him to grow up understanding that gender equality is imperative and I would have taught him to have equal respect for women and his male peers.

I strive to be a positive role model for my daughter and aim to help her to grow into a strong and confident woman.  It’s important that she understands that she has been born into a life where anything is possible and that her gender does not define her.  Opportunities will not be given or hindered because of she is female.

Last week I decided to watch the new series of The Apprentice.  I was APPALLED (yes the capitalisation really is necessary in this instance) to hear contestant Sarah Dale insisting that her team dress up in skirts, nice dresses, high heels and make up as she felt that it would mean the public buy more of the items that they were tasked with selling.  Really? REALLY? UGH. I have no words.  How Karen Brady didn’t string her up I don’t know.  I saw a comment on Facebook that said ‘If somebody had been as racist as she had been sexist they would have been booted off of the show’.  In the boardroom at the end of the programme her comments were not discussed and she was not reprimanded for her ludicrous demands.  Why?  As a woman trying to get ahead in business she really isn’t going to get very far with those views.  I’m really hoping Sir Alan Sugar makes an example of her very soon.  It’s when things like this happen that make me realise how far I have come and how much my views have changed since having my daughter as I was so incredibly angry with what she was saying.

As a mother I feel as though I should be the one teaching my daughter however, on reflection I feel that actually my daughter is the one who has taught me such a huge life lesson and in fact i’m sure she will continue to do so in many different ways.

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