Melissa Benn: What Should We Tell Our Daughters?

Melissa Benn is appearing at Blackwell’s Bookshop on Tuesday 8th October at 7pm to talk about her new book, ‘What Should We Tell Our Daughters?’


Here is her manifesto:


1. Many of the freedoms and rights you enjoy today are the result of feminist struggles of the past. Learn about, and honour, that history – and carry on the struggle if need be.

2. Don’t let the highly sexualised culture in which we live (and particularly pornography) dictate your view of your own body and desires or tell you what sex really feels like.

3. Your safety is paramount. Judge those who are charged with caring for you – from your family to your school, the police to the law courts – by how much they act genuinely to protect you.

4. Doing well at school is important but it is only a part of the life-long task of developing intellectual confidence.

5. Don’t be too obliging or obedient. Once established as a habit, it is surprisingly hard to break.

6. Discover what gives you sexual pleasure and learn how to ask for it.

7. Develop your own opinions and ideas and learn to express them, in all their complexity, in front of others. Ultimately, it is less frightening than staying silent.

8. Have the highest ambitions for yourself but remember, success is not all about money, power and status. (And failure is an inevitable part of meaningful achievement.)

9. Learn to recognise and trust your feelings and express them appropriately – particularly anger. It is the basis of sanity and true self-regard.

10: Fight for yourself but fight for others too.


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