Sunday, February 22, 2009

My budding young feminist

I don't know what I said exactly, but my eight year old's response, as she washed her hair and soaked in the tub was, "Why is it 'man-made'? Why isn't it sometimes 'woman-made?'"

She went on: "Why is it 'mankind?'"

I offered an olive branch immediately: "Well, we can always say 'humankind.'"

As if sucked through a vortex back to my college days, where a small number of women actually cared about such language matters, I asked defensively, "Where have you been hearing this stuff? Why does it matter?"

"Because saying something is 'man' takes away from the dignity [yes, I'm pretty sure she used that word] of women."


I've always hated identity politics. I especially hate this kind of ticky-tack feminism. Let's talk about equal rights and equal treatment. Let's not get ourselves twisted in a knot over whether a female member of Congress should be addressed "Congresswoman" or "Madame Congressman."

Sometimes something unusual can occur when someone I love deeply states a view I find offensive (obnoxious or annoying are better terms): I listen and consider it instead of shooting it down. I'm not likely to change my mind on an issue like this, but I am still amazed my eight year old is in tune enough to consider the matter and give it voice. Good for her!

But please, please, dear Lord in heaven, don't let me raise a little leftie.

No comments: