OK, so I'm a feminist in as much as I believe in equal rights for women, fair pay, etc. But has anyone noticed how the whole 'sexism' thing has turned on its head?
Why is it OK, for example, for men to be portrayed in adverts as 'stupid', 'useless' and/or 'ridiculous', when similar portrayals of women would be seen as an outrage?
Yes, I realise a lot of the 'man-bashing' is done with humour, and is not meant to be taken seriously. But in a society in which the male role model is seriously lacking, are we doing more harm than good? Surely two wrongs don't make a right?
I am in the process of bringing up two loving, smiling and beautiful boys. I am no more willing to bring them up in a world where they are marginalised and laughed at any more than I'd be willing to bring my girls up in a world where sexism against women ruled.
I read a Twitter post last night that I found very disturbing: a woman is thinking of taking her child out of crèche because - horror! - a man is going to be working there.
Since when were all men paedophiles until proven otherwise?
Here in France, there is a marked difference between the relationship between men and children to that which I have experienced and heard of in the UK. When I walk my little children along the street in pushchairs or prams, as many men as women come up to me and coo over my babies - even men who are *gasp!* not with their wives. Men tickle them under the chin, they comment on the fact that they are beautiful.
The only comment I've had from a man in the UK when in a shopping centre is: "you've got yer 'ands full, love!"
The fact is, paedophiles are "out there." And we do have to be vigilant and protect our children.
But if we bring them up in a world where any man who shows a remote interest in a child is viewed with suspicion, then we are raising a generation of fearful children. Boys will grow up to be afraid to express joy when in the company of children... just in case they are seen as 'abnormal.' We will not have male teachers, and, in a world where male role-models are greatly needed, men will not feel able to work as midwives or childcare specialists.
Yes, protect your children. But as well as protect them from danger, protect them from prejudice - even if that prejudice is your own.
Today is 'Valentine's Day' in the Harvey household. All the children - for the first time since October - are either at Holiday Club or Creche and we are going to have a long-awaited lunch out together.
It will be interesting to see if we have anything to talk about, other than the bowel movements of the children, how tired we are and whose turn it is to do the night feed...
Mind you, in many ways, as corny as it sounds, "every day is Valentine's Day" here... More often than not, I am woken up to the words "I love you" (usually Lily, who proceeds to tell me I must get up and whips off the covers, but still...), and not a day goes by without cuddles and kisses galore.
So, whilst lunch out is going to be fab, and remind me that I do still have a husband... there is a little part of me that is desperate for 4pm when my little ones come home.