Family: Mum’s the Word

PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS

JANET CHRISTIE ,  MAGAZINE WRITER
PIC PHIL WILKINSON.TSPL / JOHNSTON PRESS JANET CHRISTIE , MAGAZINE WRITER
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Swipe right and let the gender politics begin

Going out,” says Middle Child, Hoovering up his dinner. “On a date with a bird I met on Tinder.”

“No! Don’t say ‘bird’. That’s disrespectful,” says Youngest Child, before I can get in with any interrogation about interweb dating.

“Really?” he says. “I thought saying bird was OK – it’s a nice tweety thing. I like birds – the feathery ones, and the...”

“No! It’s not OK,” says Youngest. “It’s disrespectful and sexist.”

“Oh,” says Middle. “Not sort of complimenty then…”

“No.”

“What’s wrong with just saying ‘woman?’” I ask.

“Nah, it’s too…”

“What? It’s too what?”

“Dunno. Woman. It’s…”

“Too wimmin? Like feminist, like me?”

“Er… OK, I won’t say bird, what should I say?” he asks, sidestepping nicely.

“Well, I quite like it when bus drivers call me ‘doll’,” I say, “and that doesn’t stop me being a RAGING feminist,” I add, just to wind anyone up who might object.

Youngest gives me A Look. “Sad.”

“Lassie,” says Youngest. “What’s wrong with calling us lassies? That’s what we say at school and it’s a good word, Scottish, it’s just what we say, and it’s not insulting to anyone.”

“OK, got to go and meet a lassie,” says Middle, and disappears.

“So,” I ask Youngest tentatively, as there have been previous disappointments and setbacks in our journey, “would you say you were a… em... a feminist… em… at all?”

“Yes. I would,” she shoots straight back mildly.

Yay! I do imaginary laps around the kitchen.

She continues: “I think it’s wrong the way things are.”

Yay! More imaginary laps…

“But I think men and boys are the way they are, and the world is the way it is, and…”

Imaginary laps shudder to a halt.

“What? Don’t you think we could fight to change things?” I say.

“Hmmm. Maybe. But right now, I’ve got to go.”

She disappears as Eldest arrives.

“Food. Yas!” he says. “Where’s the bro?”

“Gone on a date,” I say.

“Aw yeah, with that bird he met on Tinder.”

“Well…” n