Monday, 14 March 2011

Back to the barricades... By Kate

I married a feminist. Or a pro-feminist, if you will. Theo nailed his colours to the mast good and proper when he said he would be happier if I kept my surname, rather than adopt his and then exploded at the registrar when she asked, for the purposes of the marriage licence, what our fathers' professions were.

My own feminism had been rather in abeyance in the years since I flirted with radicalism while at university. Sure, I knew the pay gap between equivalent male and female jobs still existed, that motherhood had a tendency to impoverish those who gave up a paying job to care for their children and I would react with fury to any report I came across relating to rape.

But feminism wasn't something I thought about all that much, if I'm honest, until I married Theo. And even then it was usually him who raised the topic.

All that has now changed as I watch my baby changing into a little girl. The realisation that my daughter will have to live in a society where true equality between the sexes is still submerged in depressingly antediluvian attitudes, awash with warped female body shapes and swilling with pornography has made me sit up straight again. I don't want this for her.

I don't want my daughter to be subjected to moronic shouts of "get yer tits out" as she strolls down the street. I don't want my daughter to become one of the 3.4 million and rising (according to a recent government report) women and girls in the UK to be a victim of rape. I don't want my daughter to grow up with the idea that skinny waists and unnaturally inflated bosoms add up to an aspirational silhouette. I don't want my daughter to be paid less than a man doing the same job as her.

I want my daughter to confidently hold her head up high, unafraid to take on the world. I want her body to be the way she wants it to be and no one else. I want her to be proud of who she is and never let anyone else do her down.

Women may have more options than they had forty years ago, but there's still a way to go. And if I can, I'll do my little bit to try and get us there. Because Rosie - and all the other girls - deserve better.

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