RACHEL JOHNSON: A feminist father? That’s a man who lies to his daughter
It’s a touching tableau. Hunky telly historian Dan Snow is taking his kiddy-litter on a weekend outing to an aviation museum, as you do.
‘My daughter was walking down rows and rows and rows of these black and white pictures of Spitfire racers,’ Dan explained on a parenting podcast, ‘and she was going, “Boy, boy, boy, boy, boy, boy, boy.” ’
REMINDER: All historians’ reputations rest not on their telegenic soliloquies but on their records for accuracy. So Dan did what anyone with a heart would do when faced with the cold, hard facts on the one hand; and on the other, a perplexed little girl he wanted to shield from the brute reality that it was a man’s world during the Second World War (and it still is now).
Hunky TV historian Dan Snow, pictured, lied to his daughter during a visit to an aviation museum when he told her that females flew front line missions during the Second World War
Dan, bless his cotton socks, lied his head off to Zia, six.
He told her that women flew on the front line, too (even though he knew they didn’t), then showed her photos of female delivery pilots on his phone and told her they were fighter aces.
Everyone made the obvious point that, as a historian, he had shot himself in the foot by admitting he lies to his three kids about the past. But he’s sticking to his guns.
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‘I’m bringing her up in a way that she’s hopefully seeing her gender as something that is not an obstacle to doing anything,’ he says.
He’s right. We might have a female PM, but even she is happy to admit ‘There are boy jobs and girl jobs’ because she knows this is how we still sort of think, even if it’s unfashionable to say so out loud.
Studies show that gender bias both within and against little girls starts as young at six, the age they begin to disqualify themselves from ‘demanding majors and fields’, according to analysis published in the US Science journal last year.
And why wouldn’t they, when there were, until quite recently, purple babygrows for girls saying ‘I hate my thighs’ alongside navy ones for boys with slogans like ‘Future footballer’ and ‘I’m super’ (since withdrawn after an outcry).Which reminds me. When I was around Zia’s age, a family friend asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. ‘A wife and mother,’ I replied, as that was the only job I’d seen women do. I remember my father frowning at my tragic lack of oomph. He turned to my brother next. ‘World King,’ Boris, eight, said bouncily.
After that, I knew better. The next time anyone asked, I said ‘a journalist’ (because I read Tintin). If I hadn’t had that exchange in 1972, I would not be writing this now.
Even today, decades later, every time another female power list or a book celebrating fantastic, amazing women is published – these are quite the thing in the #metoo era – part of me rejoices but part of me feels embarrassed.
It’s a reminder that mighty Vogue magazine can find only 25 British women to laud, or Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls can drum up only 100 ‘extraordinary’ women in the whole of human his/herstory to inspire children at bedtime.
Fathers play a critically important role in enabling their daughters, and punching them past cultural conditioning, gender and pay gaps, and millennia of being the second sex. I know this.
Dan may put the Snow into snowflake to rewrite history as he did, but he’s my kind of snowflake, for lying to his daughter that the sky’s the limit for rebel girls and always has been.
I call that good parenting, Dan old man.
Donald compares bottom lines
Genuinely didn’t think there could ever be a bigger arse in the Oval Office than Donald J. Trump.
Then the ‘Kim-Don’ summit.
This proves only one thing beyond reasonable doubt.
The President has turned the White House into the world’s biggest live reality TV show.
The President has turned the White House into the world’s biggest live reality TV show
My two Reds are true champions
Last weekend I was supposed to be in Kiev, at the Champions League Final. Something told me it might be less effort watching it on the sofa at home, so I generously told my husband and sons to go on ahead without me.
He booked on a charter from Manchester, which was one of the flights cancelled 36 hours before take-off, leaving Liverpool fans stranded. At the last minute, he found two seats on a flight to Kiev via Riga. My Chelsea-fan son sacrificed his place, and his Liverpool-mad father and brother made the dash to Kiev – arriving an hour before kick-off.
The Liverpool fans in my home flew to Kiev to witness their side’s defeat and would do it again in the morning
Less than 30 minutes in, it was all over, with Mo Salah off. That was followed by two virtual own goals from LFC keeper Karius.
To recap: they’d flown thousands of miles, spent thousands of pounds to watch their club lose horribly.
But they’re Liverpool fans. Painful endurance is the measure of their passion. Even though all hubby Ivo would growl whenever the subject of poor Karius came up was ‘You’ll Never Walk Again’, they’d do it all over in a heartbeat.
Nigel Farage’s kids have German passports.
Jacob Rees-Mogg makes his moolah in Moscow.
Lord Ashcroft ‘lives’ in Belize, I think.
And Nigel Lawson is seeking residency in… France!
Funny how so many of Leave’s chief agitators have made sure they will be personally insulated from the impact of exiting the EU.
Oh well. They’ll be all right, Jacques.
Like Leona Helmsley and her pesky taxes, maybe Brexit in the end is not for the Bad Boys but ‘the little people’.
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