Sunday 9 July 2017

Competition: Canesten® Conversations & How To Raise Feminists

Having two daughters is pretty scary. The world is hardly an equal playing field for boys and girls, nevermind for men and women. I see it as part of my duty to raise the next generation of feminists, although sometimes I wonder whether that job is even more important if you have sons.
Ever since I became a mum, I’ve been looking for ways I can instil feminist beliefs in my daughters. I've teamed up with Canesten® to offer one lucky reader a £50 voucher (which you should totally spend on feminist picture books for your kids). To fit in with it, I should I'd share some of the tools in my feminist parenting toolbox:

1. Teach Them To Dream Big
I want my daughters to grow up feeling confident in their abilities. By age six, lots of girls have already decided some subjects and jobs aren’t for them simply because of their sex (you can read an article about it here). Isn’t that depressing? I dread the day my daughter comes home from school and tells me science or maths is for boys, or that boys are smarter than girls. We have a playroom shelf crammed with science books and I try to encourage her natural curiosity. I want my daughters to grow up in a world of options, not a world limited by gendered stereotypes.

2. Give Them Control Of Their Bodies
This is one of the most important things I think I can do for my daughters; teach them to love and have control of their bodies. I never make them hug or kiss when they don’t want to, I think that sends weird messages to children about who has rights over their bodies. These early experiences shape the way our children see the world and how they fit into it. I want my daughters to grow up and feel in control of their bodies.

3. Teach Them To Be Kind
This isn’t specific to feminism, but it’s a core belief I want to instil in my kids. The world needs more nice people. We need more people who look out for others, who are compassionate and who have a positive impact on the world. I am tired of women bringing down other women. The constant bitching, the in-fighting. It’s exhausting. I think it gets worse when you become a mum, all of a sudden you’re pitted against each other in a media-constructed ‘mummy wars’ where we apparently all care how each other choose to feed their kids (we don’t). Dads aren’t pitted against each other in the same way, it’s a feminist issue. I want my kids to be kind and surround themselves with kind people because I think that’s an important step in finding happiness.

4. Encourage Them To Speak Out
It’s hard being different. It’s uncomfortable to be the person who speaks out when things aren’t right. But those are the people who change things. They’re the people who inspire others to speak out, who begin a movement or join one, they’re the people who have shaped the world we live in today. I want my daughters to be confident using their voices. I want them to shout loudly from the rooftops when they see injustice. I want them to fight back.

5. Set The Foundations For Them To Like Themselves
We waste too much time and energy doubting ourselves. I want my kids to be confident in loving who they are. More than that, I want them to love their bodies. The BBC reported recently that girls as young as nine have sought vagina surgery to improve the aesthetics of their vulvas. Isn’t that the most depressing thing you’ve ever heard? Nine. Nine-year-olds shouldn’t even be thinking about what their vulvas look like, they should be too busy playing games and having fun with their friends.

To feel comfortable with their bodies, we have to speak openly with them about their bodies. There are no front bums or lady bits in my house, only vaginas and vulvas. If you can’t label it, how can you talk about it? When I found out I was pregnant with my second child, I bought a sex education book for my first born (I got this one and it’s great, I strongly recommend it). I knew she’d have questions and I wanted to be sure I could answer them with age appropriate honesty. She’s now pretty clued up on how babies are made and I think that’s a good thing. I want this honesty and openness to continue as my daughters grow.

Canesten®  are running a campaign to encourage parents to have open conversations with their kids about intimate health, and I think that’s great. They want parents to talk to their teenage daughters about the symptoms of thrush and other intimate health issues. They’re subjects most parents shy away from and, as a result, most girls probably get this information from their friends (and probably lots of misinformation, too). I’m not sure my mum ever talked to me about that kind of stuff. A Usborne puberty book was deposited on my bed by the mythical puberty fairy once I reached a certain age, but it’s not something I remember discussing with my parents (to be clear, they didn’t create a fictional puberty fairy, they just left a book on my bed).

To promote the campaign, I’ve teamed up with Canesten®  to offer one lucky winner a £50 Amazon voucher. All you have to do to enter is comment below to say what you wish you’d known about intimate health when you were younger.

This post is in collaboration with Canesten®  but all thoughts expressed are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition Terms and Conditions
1. There is 1 prize of one £50 Amazon vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
2. Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of [insert blogger name] here and Bayer plc
3. Closing date for entries is 23 July 2017
4. Entrants must leave a comment on the blog post
5. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries
6. The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen
7. The winner’s name will be available on request
8. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address
9. This is a joint promotion between Watching You Grow and Canesten®
10. Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions

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