Perhaps most people wouldn’t find that so shocking – but if I told you mine was a girls school would you change your mind? I’ve found that Kent’s single-sex selective system brings out quite a lot of negative comments. On hearing that my secondary peers were all female, plenty of people ask: ‘But wasn’t that so BITCHY?’. Well no, it wasn’t. Women aren’t always incredibly jealous individuals competing for the best boyfriend – some of us are actually quite friendly…even to each other!
Barbies shouldn't be left unattended
It was with this in mind that I spent some time reading about a ‘hot’ new book by Steve Biddulph. The basic premise is that girls are facing a ‘crisis’ because of the pressure society puts upon them to grow up too quickly. They want to be beautiful and sexy – long before they can comprehend what sexy means. And when they do become sexually active it’s for the wrong reasons – with the insecurity they experience over their identity leading to mental illness.
As a mother of two girls, I’m horrified to think that this could be the case. But when I really think about it, I’m not convinced that the situation is quite as clear cut as the media furore would have us believe. The cynic inside me also thinks a few outrageous press articles never did book sales any harm…
In truth there has always been pressure on females to behave in – and look – a certain way. And much of the force behind this has come from the male-dominated worlds of industry, media and politics. I find it ironic that much of the critical commentary on the way girls dress, behave and consume often includes some remark about feminism and the sexual revolution. There’s an undercurrent that suggests since females have benefitted SO much from the 'equal' society we now live in (chortle) it’s kind of our own fault our girls are being treated like life-sized Barbie dolls.
But who can save future females generations from self-harm, shattered self-esteem and self-medication by binge drinking? Why ‘parents’ of course – and by that we mean mothers!!! The onus is on us to build up confidence, explain sex and emotions and help guide our girls in life. Excuse me, but I pretty much plan to do that anyway…
Why not speak to your children?
Which neatly leads me onto what I’ve been writing this week (it’s like I plan this stuff!!). A local business mummy (see us women work as a team!) tipped me off about a call for submissions. The topic was women, and specifically stage scripts that focus on their stories and situations not presently represented on stage (women form 68% of theatre audiences but typically there is a 2:1 male-to-female ratio of roles for actors appearing on stage).
I think it’s true to say that the multi-tasking mummy isn’t often represented on stage, as there’s more mileage in a beautiful, young, singleton (playing opposite a male lead apparently!). So I wrote a monologue set at a school nativity play with the ensuing humour only various social gaffes and gaining a decent camera shot can bring. During this exercise I even learnt how to mark up scripts!
Since I had some extra time I also submitted a 100-word entry into a competition judged by Jeffrey Archer. The ultimate prize is a place on a novel-writing course. Well, everyone has a book inside them.
What would your novel be about? (answers please in the comments box below!!)