One of my talents is I can sing. I’m not Adele or anything, but I can warble away happily in tune. I’ve often been complimented on my singing ability, and I’ve done a fair bit of singing in public so it’s not just me who thinks so. The BoogieMeister on the other hand, can’t sing a note (unless he puts on a deep Gilbert & Sullivan bass in which case he can do a passable Pirate of Penzance), but has always desired to be able to sing. The point of this obviously isn’t to tell you how talented I am in comparison to the BoogieMeister (though now I think about it…), but to talk about how our own desires and dreams influence how we view the world around us. Because, tellingly, the BoogieMeister is of the opinion that my singing is on a slightly lower level of lovliness than Lee Marvin singing Wandering Star.
BoogieMeister wants to sing, can’t sing, is envious of those who can, so convinces himself others can’t. See how that works?
I was only thinking about this because I was cribbing blue milk’s idea of recording, at certain moments in time, what I enjoyed most and least about my children (which was only for my private consumption; I wouldn’t be so crass as to openly copy her ideas, goodness me, no). And it very quickly occured to me that the things appearing on my lists were things that indicated I was winning this battle of me v. the Patriarchy. Or at least still in with a fighting chance.
So my list of ‘enjoy most’ about Boogie covered things like her complete lack of concern for the state of her hair, and her complete refusal to adorn it (even if just to keep the bloody thing out of her eyes), her practical, no-nonsense view of clothes (and her unceasing conviction that no clothes at all is better if at all possible), her pride in her lovely rounded belly and how big she can make it if she tries, her reliance on humour for cuteness rather than physical cuteness, her growing awareness that it’s perfectly acceptable to get angry when somebody is doing something to her that she doesn’t like and they don’t stop doing it when she asks them to and the fact that this is coming from a growing awareness that she owns her body, her frequently stated desire to be different to everybody else and the fact that she backs this up by often arriving at school looking – and moving – noticably different to the other girls in her class (a fact she cares about not one jot).
And at least part of the reason I love these things about her is because of what I feel they say about me. Self-involved? Moi?
But they paint a picture of a girl who is secure in her outward appearance, who doesn’t concern herself with physical attributes and isn’t worried about being ‘fat’, who thinks being funny is a bigger concern than her hair, and who thrives from a position of being different.
I ask you – what feminist wouldn’t love her?