Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy!
The World I Would Like My Children to Grow Up In
As today is International Women’s Day, I thought I would write about the world I would like my children to grow up in. I didn’t think a lot about the world until we had Aria. I’d thought of myself as a feminist for a long time, as long as I can remember really, but I wasn’t. I didn’t really care that women earned less, I didn’t think a whole lot about glass ceilings or lack of opportunity. I liked to say that I was in favour of equality and that people should all meet the same standards if they wanted the same jobs and opportunities.
That’s all nonsense really. The ‘everyone meets the same standard and and because we say that we’re fair’ approach is something idiots say to themselves so that they can conveniently ignore facts. It’s like saying the running race is fair when the other runners are all being made to wear wellies.
Before Aria was even born I saw someone I am very close to openly discriminated against in the workplace in a way that would have been simply unthinkable had she been a man. If that had been done to me I would have fought through every court and tribunal I could to get back what was mine, but my friend had to tolerate the discrimination as they were pregnant at the time.
When Aria came, my bright little girl, I realised that there are jobs she won’t get that Logan will, things she’ll be advised not to do while Logan was encouraged and choices she’ll have to make (career or kids for example) that would never even be suggested to Logan.
When Aria got her ears pierced I saw the other side to this. Logan wanted to get his done too, and why not? But we didn’t have to speak to Aria’s teacher afterwards, because she wasn’t bullied for having her ears pierced and she doesn’t get taunted for having long hair. At 8 years old my son has already encountered toxic masculinity head on.
It seems to be as though there’s a world out there run by old boring dudes and that those dudes are frightened. We hear lots about what men should do (their own ironing, standing up straight, other equally pointless pieces of advice) but very little on how to treat all people with equality. I see more and more about ‘trad wives’ movements and little about the value of trying to redress the balance of years of discrimination and why positive discrimination is sometimes a necessary part of that. I see groups vilified for asking for equal rights and a different pronoun when being addressed in and it just feels like the world is going backwards.
What I would like to see for my children is a world where we understand that for some people to have equality, other people do not lose out, it’s not a zero sum game. I’d like to see a world where we understand that the better the situation is for each of us, the better it is for all of us all round. I’d also like to see a world where whatever gender, sex, persuasion people are, they have the ability to express themselves openly without being made to feel weird. If it sounds a bit like I’m angry in this post, it’s because I am. I really feel like while things weren’t perfect, we were on our way to a more accepting culture and somehow that changed at some point. The world I want my kids to grow up in is the world I thought I was getting and it feels like we lost our way somewhere.