It is well-known that if a man is assertive, he is seen as powerful, but if a woman is assertive she is characterised as a bwitch. It seems that despite centuries of progress, deep down there is this little seed of fear planted in all men that wishes for a good burning at the stake now and again.
I want my daughters to read Celia Rees‘s book Witch Child, which chronicles the life of a girl in the 17th Century. The life that women were forced to lead then was appaling, as was the suspicion they lived under all the time. Not so different from the women and children who are trapped in lives not of their choosing right now in the 21st Century.
Abuse of women and children is so common in South Africa, that we have a major campaign against it every year. I am not sure that it is making any difference, but hope that it will in the long run. It might just be up to the women out there to take charge of their lives and make a change. So I say – get in touch with your inner dragon and be prepared to singe a few people along the way. You are welcome to borrow the phrase on the mug – “Would you like to be well done or extra crispy?”.
- Old stories for young readers (guardian.co.uk)