Teaching your kids the F-word

Teaching your kids the F-word!

Well, I’m glad that headline caught your eye!.

Do you now have a look of horror on your face? Is your hand poised on the keyboard ready to unleash a scathing complain against CambriLearn, our educational platform and sponser of this blog?

Relax – it’s not THAT F-word we’re discussing here!

Our F-word is FEMINISM. The word FEMINISM is also pretty controversial but is a word and a concept which, I believe, our children need to understand and embrace.

So why are my thoughts on Feminism this month?

Well, a fortnight ago, we lost an icon of feminism. The legendary Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin died from pancreatic cancer. Aretha was a ‘self-taught piano prodigy, vocalist and songwriter who won the hearts and minds of women (and men) throughout the world’ [1].  In a society in which humiliating racial discrimination and the subjugation of women were the norm, Aretha Franklin broke though both of these barriers to become an icon for American women. Her song RESPECT gave the feminists their much needed ‘battle-cry’.

Listen to this song if you have never heard it before and listen even if you have!
(Turn your volume up HIGH!)

Why did this people identify with this song?

“So many people identified with and related to ‘Respect’,” Franklin wrote in her autobiography. “It was the need of a nation, the need of the average man and woman in the street, the businessman, the mother, the fireman, the teacher — everyone wanted respect. It was also one of the battle cries of both the civil rights and women’s movements” [2]

But the Women’s Movement is over… that was the 1960s…

‘Okay’, I hear you say, ’You want me to teach my kids about Aretha Franklin who sang a song saying you should respect women?’

Yes I do, but I want you to take this lesson further.
I want you to encourage your kid to become, wait for it  … A FEMINIST!

‘No ways!’ you shriek “I must tell my kid to be a hairy, angry, man-hating witch?”

And that response is exactly why we need to clear up what this word FEMINIST is all about.

This quote explains why people shy away from the word Feminist.

What is a feminist?

A feminist by definition is any person who believes in and fights for the political, economic, and social equality and equity of the sexes.

Watch this video for an explanation of the difference between equity and equality.

A feminist is not:

  • A feminist is not a woman who hates men.
  • A feminist does not only form relationships with women.
  • A feminist is not a woman who thinks women are better than men.
  • A feminist does not judge the life choices made by other women.

Perhaps one of the best definitions of a feminist comes from a young college student: [3]

A feminist is a strong person who wants equal rights for both genders. A feminist sees equality as a right that should be given freely. I am a feminist. I believe that I am just as good as any man and no person has the right to make me feel anything less than equal. I hope that one day every job will pay based on experience and how hard a person works, no based on whether a man or a woman is doing the job. I hope that one day it will not be looked down on for women to be in the military and for women to be strong. I hope that one day it will not be looked down on for men to be nurses. Every person is equal whether they are male or female, straight or gay, black or white. No person is better than any other person and if you believe you are, then I can guarantee you the person you see as less than you, is the better human being.

Why our country needs feminists.

Despite South Africa congratulating itself for ranking 3rd in the world in female representation in Parliament, (48%) [4] the following statistics clearly show that that South African females are sidelined in our society:

  • Females constitute the largest proportion among those who have had no schooling (55,3%) compared to males (44,7%). [5]
  • Of university graduates, almost half of all South African male graduates are employed ,yet for female graduates this figure drops to 35%. [6]
  • The  SA Gender Disparity report showed that the percentage of female CEOs in the country, sitting at 10%, was lower than the global average of 12%.[7]
  • The Businesswomen’s Association of SA reported that, according to its latest census, about 22% of directors were women, but only 7% were executive directors.[8]

and the most horrifying statistics:

  • On average, one in five South African women older than 18 has experienced physical violence at home.
  • HIV prevalence in women aged 15–24 is four times greater than men of the same age.
  • South Africa has the highest rape statistics in the world, with an estimated 147 women raped every day.[9]


We need to change these statistics.
We need to instill in our children the determination to create a truly equitable society.
We need to create a society in which our daughters are free to express their opinions, make their choices and hold their heads up high.
We need to create an environment in which our daughters can pursue their dreams without living in constant fear for their own safety.


How do we do this….. back to Aretha.


Let’s teach respect – let’s advocate feminism:

  • Don’t accept behavior from your son which you won’t accept from your daughter.
  • Don’t assess your child’s choice on the basis of his/her gender (if Mary want to take Woodwork as a subject, don’t reject this idea simply because Woodwork is for boys’.
  • Your kids model your behavior. Don’t disrespect your partner or accept disrespect from him/her.
  • Don’t allow your kids to disrespect their siblings.
  • Encourage your sons and your daughters to have strong female role models in their lives.

This cartoon illustrates just how behaviour which is considered ‘normal’ or even praiseworthy in men is condemned in females.

Where do we go from here?

We have lost Aretha but her cause is very much alive.
Listen to  the inspiring speech made by Emma Watson at the launch of the HeForShe Campaign by the United Nations.

This speech will certainly have you teaching your kids the F-word!



[1]  https://www.vox.com/2018/8/17/17699170/aretha-franklin-2018-respect-song-otis-redding-feminism-civil-rights

[2]  https://www.vox.com/2018/8/17/17699170/aretha-franklin-2018-respect-song-otis-redding-feminism-civil-rights

[3] https://www.theodysseyonline.com/what-feminist-is-not

[4]  https://www.sanews.gov.za/world/sa-ranks-3rd-women-representation-parliament

[5]  http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/Report%2092-01-03/Report%2092-01-032016.pdf

[6]  https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Matric-mystery-What-happens-to-all-the-girls-who-get-bachelor-passes-20150120

[7]  https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/business-and-economy/2017-05-25-sa-lagging-in-women-at-level-of-executives/

[8]  https://www.marieclaire.co.za/hot-topics/stats-sa-report-south-african-women

Quote: https://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-the-stereotypes-of-feminists-as-ugly-or-man-haters-or-hairy-or-whatever-it-is-that-s-jessica-valenti-121-81-33.jpg





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