It’s been an arduous few weeks here; an abundance of freelance jobs (I shouldn’t complain) arrived just as Mimi’s mum had to depart on her longest work trip yet. We all survived the respective late nights, hurried Skype chats, jet lag, and a surprise homecoming gift of food poisoning for Jem. And not a single blog post was written! Meanwhile, in the middle of all that craic, events that seem to signify the apocalypse occurred – Trump’s election.
Now I know I’m so late to the party that by now probably everything has been said, but the seeming normalisation of hate speech (and action) since his election simply terrifies me. In my cosy SAHD bubble, I thought perhaps ‘Alt-Right’ was a keyboard command, not the rise of a new, even Nazi-er, generation of fascists. The ascent of this orange-hued moron, seems to have given carte blanche for those who hold discriminatory views to not just voice them, but be proud of them.
As I do with most things now, I’m looking at this through the filter of how it will affect not me, but my daughter.
The daughter whose appeal (below) on the eve of the elections went unheeded it seems!
I have high hopes for our little girl. I am, of course, genetically predisposed to think of her as clever, beautiful, and her posterior as the source of all sunshine. But I cannot help but worry for her future when it seems that in the pursuit of arguably the most important job in the world, it is better to be an ignorant, lying, racist, MAN with a penchant for sexual assault, than it is to be a woman. And that reaffirmation of the patriarchy, I fear, has the power to compound the message of misogyny in our daughters’ psyches, allowing a system that exploits their perceived inferiority to thrive.
I thought we were beyond this. I thought the world for which I was preparing my Mimi, was one of open minds and borders, one of inclusion and acceptance. But now the reality seems starkly otherwise.
I suppose this is how it goes for parents. I’m sure that my own, who raised us in the 70s and 80s, had also hoped to better the world for us. Despite living through what seemed to me at the time, to be an inevitable threat of nuclear annihilation. Through worries of Chernobyl fallout in the rain, and through the savage actions, attitudes, and prejudice that characterised the troubles around our border town. In spite of all this, they looked up and beyond.
So, taking their example, as I’ve oft done before, that’s what I must now do. As terrifying as this new reality is, our resolve as parents, especially as parents of girls, must be to contradict the bigoted rhetoric that might have them believe that they are in any way inferior. To instill in them a confidence of body and mind that they will ignore boundaries and glass ceilings. To inspire an ambition in them that goes beyond ‘Princess’ – the ambition to be leaders, trail blazers, world changers, even though we have far from created the conditions for them to succeed.
And if Mimi has to fight to get there? Well, I know she’s capable. This morning’s fifteen-minute-fury at having the ‘wrong’ socks put on her by her idiot father showed me that! Watch out, world.