An Open letter to my daughter about feminism.

An Open letter to my daughter about feminism via Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids.

Feminism often gets a jolly good bashing in the newspapers – you know, the same ones that celebrate male achievement while limiting female achievement to who has the biggest breasts and who can queef the alphabet (something that I assure you, you don’t need to do to make friends, and something that you DO NOT share on the internet if you find you have a talent for it.)


To my dearest daughter Edith,

As you snuggle against my chest in your sling while I type away, trying desperately to edit those last few posts before I take your crazy brothers out for the afternoon, I’m suddenly struck by all the things I want to tell you. I feel overwhelmed by it. There is so much that I know I need to tell you, that I know I need to help you understand so that you can become a well rounded and confident woman.

I want to tell you that I consider myself a bit of a feminist. I make that statement without apology, I’m proud to consider myself as such and I abhor the suggestion that it makes me something I’m not – a bunny boiling, bra burning crazy. I hope that you will consider yourself a feminist one day too because, sweetheart, being a feminist means only one thing – that you are proud to call yourself a woman or, if you are a man, you believe that being a woman isn’t tantamount to being a second class citizen (and yes, men can be feminists too, many many are). If you look it up in the dictionary feminism is defined as ‘the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes’, isn’t that something that sounds like it should be norm in the world you will grow up in my love? Isn’t it just common sense? Well, no, sadly it isn’t – so we have feminism.

Feminism often gets a jolly good bashing in the newspapers – you know, the same ones that celebrate male achievement while limiting female achievement to who has the biggest breasts and who can queef the alphabet (something that I assure you, you don’t need to do to make friends, and something that you DO NOT share on the internet if you find you have a talent for it.) Frequently you will see comments, often most frustratingly from women themselves, about how feminists are the ugly women, the ones who can’t get a man, the ones who are insecure in their relationships and so on and so forth. What I really want to impress upon you, what I need you to know sweet girl, is that feminists are the ones who don’t NEED a man. They are beautiful on the inside and the outside because they are confident in their own ability to be a human being who doesn’t require a member of the opposite sex to complete them. The woman on the telly talking about her nail salon and how she has boosted her sales figures is a feminist, she isn’t ugly or a man hater, but she has gone into the big bad world and paved a path for herself and demanded that the economy treats her with the same respect it would a man.

I also want to make something crystal clear Edie, and if I ever here you say these words I will smack you around the head with a wet fish because nothing bugs me quite so much: You are not an anti-feminist if you are a ‘housewife’. You are not letting the side down if your life goal is to love and adore your partner and have a bundle of kids and stay at home with them. You can be just as much a feminist as the female CEO of a large company because, here’s the kicker, you are choosing YOUR path, YOUR way without societal pressure impacting you. Look at me, I work from home, Daddy works out of the house from early until dinnertime. Do I cook? Yes. Do I clean? Neurotically. Does your Dad expect this from me? To a degree, because we are a team. My darling girl, dinner won’t cook itself and if Daddy isn’t here and we don’t have the money to buy a take out every night then guess whose cooking? Me. It doesn’t mean I’ve demeaned my rights as a woman by taking on the role of cook in the kitchen (and when I was pregnant I often did it barefoot!), it means that I choose to do these things for myself and our family. I choose. Those words are immeasurably powerful sweetpea because not everyone, and certainly not every woman, has that opportunity in this world – no matter what my choice, I would fight to my last breath to ensure I had one. That’s a feminist.

Of course there are extremists in feminism too, there are extremists in every political and religious section of the world. There will be people, often women, who claim to be feminists but at the same time tear you down because you chose to wear a pretty dress instead of a pant suit and that’s pandering to male perceptions of weak women don’t you know. Or because you stay at home with your children and cook your husbands dinner while he works, you’re taking us back to the 1950’s dear! These people are not feminists. They are quite the opposite because they strip you of your choice in life, your value, in exactly the same way as the media. In equal terms there will be people who tell you that you are a ‘bad mother’ because you work a 90 hour week and a ‘bad wife’ because you have your husband at home caring for the kids instead of working (though trust me, the aggro he will get for that would be far greater – he will be ‘lazy’ or ‘sack less’ for a good portion of the time – if you meet a man who values your career and you both choose, together as a couple, that he will be the primary carer for your kids during the week, then he can don his feminist hat too) but I say to you, ignore them, they devalue themselves at the same time as they do you, because as women (and feminist men) we have to stick together and not tear each other down. She chose to work, awesome. She’s chosen to be a stay at home mum, awesome. The overriding factor is that she chose – if she were a man would the world question her choice?  

So darling please, grow up bold, grow up strong, don’t let them tell you that you are bossy while your brother’s are assertive. Don’t let them tell you that you can’t have sex with who you want, when you want because it makes you a slut, while your brother’s are just  ‘sewing their wild oats’. Don’t let them take your choice.

Be a feminist, love the men and women around you equally, value their contribution to the world equally and stand up for what you believe in and who you are.

Mummy xx


  1. Avatar August 27, 2017 / 2:14 am

    I am in tears! This is beautiful and just made me feel a lot better. I was having a sad day and you provided me with some motivation. Even though this is for your daughter a lot of women need to hear this.

  2. Avatar August 18, 2016 / 11:55 am

    Just perfect! I don’t have a daughter but if I do this exactly my message to her. Equally it’s exactly my message to my son too who I hope to raise as a feminist.

    • Harriet August 22, 2016 / 8:29 am

      Thanks lovely 🙂

  3. Avatar March 25, 2016 / 12:09 pm

    100% agree with everything you say, your are right it is a persons right to choose what path they want to take, no matter what path that it. Don’t feel pressured to do anything, by anyone.

    • Harriet March 25, 2016 / 12:57 pm

      Thanks Stephanie xx

  4. Avatar March 20, 2016 / 7:29 am

    This is a lovely and powerful letter to your daughter. Print it out and pop it in a folder!

    • Harriet March 21, 2016 / 10:09 am

      Thanks Jodie – I hadn’t thought of that, what a great idea! H x

  5. Avatar March 19, 2016 / 10:24 pm

    Absolutely love this Harriet. I had to educate Ian on what a feminist is a few weeks ago, he was bemused to realise that he is one too x

    • Harriet March 21, 2016 / 10:10 am

      Haha yes Adam was quite surprised too… he’s getting there but he’s still quite stuck in 1930 with some of his views haha! H x

  6. Avatar March 18, 2016 / 11:34 pm

    I love this and completely agree. Being able to choose your career path, whether that’s at home or on the board of a business, is what it’s all about – having the choice x

    • Harriet March 21, 2016 / 10:18 am

      Thanks Rebecca, I think you are so right! H x

  7. Avatar March 18, 2016 / 7:13 pm

    I love this post! I while heatedly agree with this. I want to stay home, look after the babes, clean the house and make bread, that is my choice and that doesn’t make me below my husband in the social feminist or mean I’m shirking my feminist values xx

    • Harriet March 18, 2016 / 8:53 pm

      Thanks Sarah! YES! I am no less a feminist because I wear a bra, shave, cook my hubs dinner, wear make up… the list goes on. What makes you a feminist isn’t believing one or another of these things should be done a specific way but that both genders should be able to choose with equality whether they WANT to do those things. Its a choice, and that is what feminists want – choice. H x

  8. Avatar March 18, 2016 / 5:02 pm

    This was so beautifully written! I think you’d love the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, huge girl power there. If I ever have a daughter I hope she becomes a feminist like us too.

    All the best
    – Cydney x

    • Harriet March 18, 2016 / 5:35 pm

      Thanks Cydney, I will check that out, I’ve never heard of it. H xx

  9. Avatar April 2, 2015 / 12:59 pm

    Love this. Can i send it to my baby daughter too? 🙂 😉 Xxx

    • Harriet April 2, 2015 / 1:55 pm

      Yes! Please do – I would hope that this is something that every mama passes on to her daughter/s. The future generation need to know what feminism really means! x

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