Lucy, today's guest blogger, is a mother of three who lives in the UK. Lucy blogs at Free From , about gluten free food because her oldest child is a ceoliac.She observes the behaviour of the tribes of youth in her free time. But what was she doing at McD's? That's not very gluten free.
He Loves Me . . . He Loves Me Not .. .
I skirted around the group of young people sitting outside, and went in to order. We sat and while he munched chicken nuggets and played with the free toy I watched the gang.
The group had a core group of five males, who sat together at a bench table, being loud. There were some stragglers, all female, who perched on the surrounding tables, occasionally talking to each other, but mostly silent, inspecting their nails. The boys were scruffy and unkempt; the girls were made up and dressed up. They can only have been about 15.
Periodically, the girls tried to join in the core group conversation, tried to attract attention from the table of boys, but were met with abuse. Mostly along the lines of 'shut up, you fat slag'.
The girls were beautiful, in that heartbreaking, young, 'tried-a-bit-hard' fashion. No way did any of those unpleasant boys deserve their attention. These girls should have walked away, done something more interesting, generated their own fun together ... but of course they didn't. Eventually the group got up and wandered off, most of the boys collecting a girl each as they passed.
This sad little scenario is played out night after night in small towns (and larger ones) across the country, and it bothers me. The girls have little or no self-esteem beyond their hair and nails; the boys treat them as worthless, except as a trophy.
It more than bothers me. How many years have women – yes, generations of young women – been struggling to gain equality?
How can I show my young daughters as they grow up that they deserve better than this? How to explain that they do not have to be defined as somebody's girl, but can be strong individuals who know their own intrinsic worth?
How can I show my young son as he grows up that he, too, is worth, and can be, more than this?
I wanted to say to those girls “you're worth more than this” - but I couldn't. How could I, some random interfering stranger? But someone at home should have told them how valuable they are. Daily. And not just for their hair and nails ...