Family: Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

A sister learns the importance equal pay


“Your sister was looking for you,” I say to one of the boys.


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“Your sister.”


“Tall, blonde, mouthy.”

“Aw yeah. My sister.” He rolls the idea around in his head.

“It’s because we call her ‘Bro’,” says the other helpfully. “She’s a bro.”

“Am I a bro?” I ask, hopefully.

“No, you’re a mum.”

“Aw. Why can’t I be a bro?”

They laugh.

“Gender’s interesting, isn’t it?” I observe later to my kitchen crew, in the wake of the revelation that only a third of high earning BBC stars are women (I’m surprised it’s that high), and sexists raging that Doctor Who must be male (surely a shapeshifting alien can choose whatever body they want – personally I’d like a canine Doctor).

“Why hasn’t it been a woman before?” is Youngest’s take on it.

“Well, because we live in a patriarchy and…”

“Yeah anyway, it’s about time. But why are people going on about it?”

That’ll be me. Not only do I go on, apparently I sometimes go “too far”, saying things like “having testicles is like being tied to an idiot”. Youngest is right, that isn’t funny, it’s sexist, and as the mother of sons, I’m sorry. Snigger.

But when I see naked slebs parading their bumps (So? I’m more impressed by your music/acting), or politicians being judged on their uteruses instead of their skills, or “influencers”/vloggers banging on about the necessity of shaving their “lady garden” because they’ve grown up in a world where porn is commonplace and they think it’s normal, I can’t help muttering, “It’s like feminism never happened,” usually to Youngest as I think she needs to hear this stuff.

“Each generation has to fight all over again,” I say.

“Hmmm... I think people make way too much of these things,” she says.

“OK, this week you’re getting less pocket money than I used to give the boys because you’re a girl,” I say.

Silence... Before the storm. Yup, she might be a bro but she’s also a sister.