Thursday was International Girls Day and I couldn’t help but feel the irony of that this week, when the news about girls in this country has been so uniformly depressing. If it wasn’t Jimmy Savile, it was reports about the increase in sexual assaults in schools. It made me wonder about the society we’ve created for our daughters.
We know from recent cases such as Rochdale that the attitudes towards young girls we’ve read about in the Jimmy Savile case this week are still prevalent, and that the girls who speak up are not taken seriously.
The shock expressed at such cases strikes me as hypocritical in a country whose mainstream press daily presents a view of young women as passive commodities, there only to ogle and ridicule. I think the normalisation of this view disempowers our girls in very subtle ways. I think it gives a subliminal message to our society as a whole, which encourages the very attitudes that make our girls more vulnerable.
This week I signed the petition nomorepage3 because my daughter has just entered her teens and I think she, and all our daughters, deserve a more respectful representation in our country’s mainstream media.
I think our daughters deserve to grow up in a culture where they see themselves reflected in our national newspapers as valued human beings.
I think they deserve to see images of young women which make them feel confident that their society takes them seriously, and that their culture views them with respect.
I don’t think our daily newspapers should be reinforcing attitudes towards women which make our society a more dangerous and unpleasant place for girls to grow up in.
I would like our daughters to grow up in a society which is a bit kinder to them.
So to celebrate International Girls Day I took a small action in that direction, and I dedicate this week’s blog to all our brilliant daughters.