What Should We Tell Our Daughters? – details of autumn publication


What Should We Tell Our Daughters?
By Melissa Benn
A manifesto for modern womanhood – and a guide through the perils and pitfalls of parenting girls

We have reached a tricky crossroads in modern women’s lives and our collective daughters are bearing the brunt of some intolerable pressures. Although feminism has made great strides forward since our mothers’ and grandmothers’ day, many of the key issues – equality of pay, equality in the home, representation at senior level in the private, public and political sectors – remain to be tackled. Casual sexism in the media and in everyday life is still rife and our daughters face a host of new difficulties as they are bombarded by images of unrealistically skinny airbrushed supermodels, celebrity role-models who depend on their looks and partners for status, and by competitive social media. The likes of Natasha Walter and Katie Roiphe deal with feminism from an adult point of view, but our daughters need to be prepared for stresses that are coming into play now as early as pre-school. This is a manifesto for every mother who has ever had to comfort a daughter who doesn’t feel ‘pretty’, for every young woman who out-performs her male peers professionally and wonders why she is still not taken seriously, and for anyone interested in the world we are making for the next generation.

Other details

ISBN: 9781848546271Publication date: 26 Sep 2013

5 Responses to What Should We Tell Our Daughters? – details of autumn publication

  1. As a father, what do I tell my sons? Are skinny air-brushed supermodels, celebrities and competitive social media their collective fault?

  2. Dear Melissa Benn,

    I am contacting you in my capacity as Conference Co-ordinator for the Green Party. We are holding a panel discussion on Free Schools and Academies at our Autumn Conference in Brighton on Friday 13 September and would very much like to ask you to be on the panel. Christine Blower is already confirmed, and her office mentioned that you have often shared a platform on this issue.

    If you are interested, I would be grateful if you could give me an email address where I can contact you officially from my Green Party email account.

    Perhaps we could also think about a fringe meeting and book sale around your new book? Caroline Lucas MP has been working on sexism in the media recently and pressures on women. Perhaps you saw her Page3 t-shirt in the House of Commons, which she was asked to cover up? We will be raffling this at Conference!

    Best wishes, Louisa Greenbaum


  3. What do I tell my sons, I didn’t have a daughter. I tell them to be normal! Do mothers suggest their daughters read books instead? I know that is true. What is the purpose of a man then? Men seem to be very quiet on the subject. The only pressure on a female, that I can think of, is to please the male, but it depends upon the type of male, that solves the argument. I remember seeing a similar title to yours on Belief.net a while ago. Is not pleasures a trifle selfish or vain? I’m glad I was different, although men today seem to prefer feminists, and Helen Lewis was crisp with her ‘Taliban Tories’! I haven’t noticed ‘casual sexism’ in the media though, I thought the women were predominant. I look forward to your debates, they sound interesting.

  4. Hi Melissa,
    Thank you for writing this book, I am so much looking forward to reading it. I went to watch the Ibsen play “a dolls house” the other day, with to colleagues here from Uk. I suddenly realised that Uk never really had that dialog about how to respect clever grown up ladies. I will give you me feedback as soon as I can … This topic is something we all need to talk more about .. let me know if you are going to set up groups or workshops, I would like to participate .
    Kind regards

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