Into the blue

Ladybird on bluebell photo courtesy of my daughter 🙂

No, this is not a comment on the local election results. This blog will be a politics-free zone for the next five weeks (and possibly longer). It’s just Too Much (if I hear ‘strong and stable’ again I might have to throw the radio into the sea)…

Hey, how about some lovely bluebells instead?! These photographs are from last Saturday and a walk in a nearby ancient wood. It is full of bluebells at this time of year (and people doing the obligatory ‘in among the bluebells’ photoshoots). We were lucky with the weather and we almost had the woods to ourselves to soak up the atmosphere. There is nothing quite like it – dappled sunlight through the trees onto a sea of blue (purple) flowers, rich birdsong, woodpeckers drumming, bees buzzing, the sweet scent of the flowers… We took deep breaths and heaved deep, happy sighs – it was wonderful.

I drove over to East Grinstead yesterday evening to hear Steve Biddulph (of the books ‘Raising Boys’, ‘Raising Girls’, and ‘The Complete Secrets of Happy Children’ fame) give a talk about girls’ mental health and raising daughters well. It was pretty powerful stuff. It seems that since companies started marketing to girls as young as 8 years old, there has been an increase in girls suffering from anxiety, eating disorders, self-harm and so on. Of course, there are many other factors and it’s not nearly so simple but his assertion is that ‘the media’ (advertising, music videos, tv shows, films) teaches girls that looks are their most important aspect, that their body will never be good enough, that sex is something to be traded for belonging and/or power and other depressing stuff.

He wanted us to leave the theatre angry (in a good way), to be fired up, a vanguard for the third wave of feminism and he did a pretty good job! He’s written a book (of course) called ’10 Things Girls Need Most’ to help parents help their daughters and it has some hugely sound suggestions. I’m not going to give you a full review as I haven’t finished reading it but if you have a daughter, it’s definitely worth a look.

Do you have exciting weekend plans? I hope it’s going to be fairly quiet here as I’ve got a load of seedlings to pot on and some more seeds to sow, and more digging to prepare another area for planting. It’s seven weeks (seven weeks!) until the village Garden Safari. Yikes.

Have a good one.

 

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16 thoughts on “Into the blue

  1. I find it so frustrating, as a feminist who raised three feminist daughters (and a son, also feminist) born in the late 70s, early 80s, to see my four granddaughters, currently aged 2 to 8 1/2, bombarded by marketers with even more “pink” toys than ever, and with even more emphasis on visuality than we ever contended with in the 80s and 90s. The thoroughly deceptive element of choice suggested that Girl Power could be sexy, and as long as that was a choice, our girls weren’t surrendering their potential by wearing clothes that emphasised their gender and sexuality. But the narrowness of what “the market” convinces us is “sexy,” coupled with the huge portion of our identity that same market suggests has to be tied in with our sexiness, is inarguably destructive to those who don’t fit those constructions. I hope those of you raising daughters do get angry (although I don’t quite see how you can be the vanguard of a third wave — surely that began in the 90s, at the latest, and should be gaining considerable traction by now). I wish society more broadly considered it an anger worth sharing. Thanks for this thoughtful post — and the beautiful photos (and that laydbird shot your daughter took is wonderfully composed!)

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    1. I think he meant the next wave of feminism but, of course, there are many of us who have been banging on about this for years and years. It seems to be one step forward, two stems back, though. I think Girl Power was a cynical ploy!

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  2. I love your village garden safari, it’s such a great idea and a really good way of making sure you stay on top of the garden as well I think! Seven weeks is a long time at this time of year, I’m sure it will all come together fine. Gorgeous bluebell shots, it’s utterly glorious out there at the moment isn’t it. The pressure on children is dreadful, far too much emphasis placed on the wrong things, the perfect recipe for anxiety and stress and everything that comes with that. Off to a pretty nearby town today to have a wander and do one or two chores, then tomorrow will be a day of fishing (middle boy) and birdwatching (biggest). I’m looking forward to it, although I really ought to try and squeeze some writing in somewhere, I’ve been spectacularly unproductive this week. Hope you have a lovely weekend. I’m planning some gardening this morning and a bit of baking. I’d better stop sitting around then! CJ xx

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    1. You’re right – much can be accomplished in seven weeks. I hope you found time to do some writing and had a spectacularly productive weekend (and this week!) x

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  3. It makes you wonder whether the advertisers involved in this stuff are parents? There is an insidious movement going on, fostered even by well meaning adults, that’s making kids afraid of everything too. Girls have always been inclined to put too much attention into the way they look, I think the immediacy and huge reach of social media makes this harder on them these days. Where is the peace and quiet? Xx

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    1. Steve B was particularly scathing about marketeers. I hope none of the people who came up with idea are parents because, goodness, their poor children! I agree, peace and quiet are especially important.

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  4. An ancient forest full of bluebells … it’s the stuff of dreams for me. Since I’ve never seen it myself, I will live vicariously (for now) through your posts. I can even imagine the smells and sounds. Aaaahhh. It’s a good antidote to the subject of advertising to young girls. Sheeesh, I railed against it when my kids were young in the early 80s and it’s so much worse now. And CT makes a good point above about the fear factor in everything. It’s a tough time to grow up. If someone has a solution, I’d love to hear it. Let’s hope Agnes can help make a difference.

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  5. Your walk in the woods looks marvelous. Love the bluebells – what are those white flowers with the bluebells? I am often grateful that we had two boys – though at times Judy yearned for a girl. In the near future, we hope, we will have daughters-in-law and maybe granddaughters.

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    1. Hi Jason, Your comments were in spam – so sorry I missed them. Not sure what’s going on there but hopefully I’ve sorted it out. I think the white flowers are a form of wood anemone but I’m not sure. Fingers crossed for daughters of one kind or another in your future 🙂

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  6. We obviously had the same idea of wandering around a bluebell wood last week. I love the picture your daughter took! You found a huge patch of stitchwort. I read yesterday that it is a relative of chickweed and you can eat it too! That’s awful that young girls are suffering with anxiety and such a young age too. It is so important to identify the causes and provide support at the earliest opportunity. Sarah x

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    1. Yes he does, Cathy. I had a little correspondence with him beforehand then a quick chat after the talk. He said he loved the site which was very kind. Hopefully he’ll remember Agnes and mention the site where appropriate.

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