Schools should be safe places for everyone. Yet one in three girls experiences sexual bullying in school on a daily basis, and sexual harassment is routine.
Schools have a unique and critical role to play in addressing harmful attitudes and abusive behaviour. It’s time for schools to make gender equality a priority and support students who are standing up against sexism.
UK Feminista wants headteachers in schools across the UK to sign the Schools Against Sexism pledge. This will commit them to:
- Supporting girls and women who are experiencing sexism and violence.
- Teaching equality, consent and respect.
- Developing policy on gender equality and girls’ safety, and demonstrating this commitment publicly.
It’s horrendous to me that one in three schoolgirls suffers from sexism and/or sexual harassment. I want my son and his male friends being taught that sexism is never acceptable, and I want his female friends to know that they are important and deserving of respect.
Please sign the UK Feminista campaign, and if you are at school or college, once you have signed you will be given information about what you can do in your school to help.
You may have noticed that the site title, Twitter name and Facebook page have changed!
Don’t worry, we’re still the same blog you’ve always loved, we’ve just expanded our ethos a little. I don’t really identify as a mother (I am transgender) but I am a parent just the same, and I realised that the old title – Mothers For Women’s Lib – might have alienated male and genderqueer parents and implied that feminism works solely for women. Of course we know that feminism works for everyone, in an attempt to destroy kyriarchy and patriarchy. So we’ve rebranded as Parenting Against the Patriarchy, and I hope you’ll enjoy our new vision.
Also we’re looking for writers! If you’re a parent or carer of any gender and you have something to say, whether you’d like to be a guest blogger or a regular contributor, shoot me an email; I’d love to have you on board!
Sorry for the long hiatus, but hopefully Mothers For Women’s Lib will be back really soon!
Here’s your chance to request a post. You tell me what you’d like a feminist parent’s perspective on, and I’ll make sure it happens. Go go go!
Philippa wrote a post at The F Word about a “psychiatrist and Professor of women’s health” who has said that women of childbearing age shouldn’t be given antidepressants or antipsychotics in case they accidentally get pregnant. Philippa deftly covers the misogyny ingrained in this, in the concept that a potential foetus is considered to be more important than an adult woman’s mental health for anything from thirty to forty years.
I had a couple more thoughts about this. The first is that it’s pretty heterosexist to assume all women of childbearing age are likely to have sex with men; it completely erases the existence of lesbians and asexual people. Alongside this is the reality that not all women have the capacity to become pregnant (trans women and infertile cis women spring to mind) and many men do.
The second thought I had was “oh gods, another psychiatrist who has absolutely no clue about the safety of psychiatric medication in pregnancy and breastfeeding”. You see, I spent a pregnancy taking antidepressants, with my doctor’s approval. I am currently taking antidepressants and antipsychotics, while trying to conceive, with the complete support of my psychiatrist. If my psychiatrist can see that the benefits to my mental health outweigh the risks to a potential foetus, why can’t this doctor?
Unfortunately I am aware that there are fewer doctors and psychiatrists like mine than I’d like there to be. The majority, unfortunately, are ignorant and uneducated about the safety of various medications in pregnancy – give me a copy of Hale and I’d be more informed than they are! Even many drugs considered “contraindicated” are normally safe, and there are levels of safety to be considered, rather than a simple dichotomy between “safe” and “NEVER safe”. But, not wanting to break the illusion of Doctor/Psychiatrist As All Knowing God Figure, they basically make things up and impose a blanket ban on medications during pregnancy because it would harm their precious egos to admit they’re not sure and then go and look it up.
It’s pretty scary to think that a lot of doctors are going to see this psychiatrist’s report and see that it reinforces their own misguided opinions, and that women’s mental health care might be in jeopardy as a result. It just feels like a huge step back in both the rights of women as human beings, and the rights of the mentally ill to receive treatment for their illnesses. As someone who comes under both categories, I can only hope that more doctors and psychiatrists take the time to admit their ignorance and educate themselves about the real risk factors of psychiatric medications to foetuses.
A couple of years ago I wrote a post about how to teach a child about sex. Now The Mamafesto has written a post in a similar vein which raises some really important thoughts, called Let’s Talk.
Jane Murphy has written an excellent post over at Offbeat Mama.
Autonomy doesn’t automatically mean enlightenment. Responsible ownership must include education — seat belts and bike helmets must be worn, vegetables need to be eaten, hands must be held in busy parking lots, hair must be brushed. I insist that she do these things not to assert dominance over her but because, as her mother, it is my job to teach her how to care for the frame that her persona will inhabit for her entire life.
Having her own body is a privilege. I want her to discover that her body is capable of amazing things. I want her to feel the power that comes with a sense of total control over her own private and finite space in the world. The sense of satisfaction that comes with enthusiastic consent, and the feeling of self worth that comes with a firmly stated “No.” The ability to exercise that control over her anatomy is one that comes with time, but it is her birthright.
Click here to read the full article.