Deirdre Reynolds is one of Ireland’s busiest freelance feature writers. Covering a spectrum of topics she regularly writes for national broadsheet and tabloid newspapers including the Irish Independent, Irish Examiner and Sunday World. She is also Deputy Editor of the new website Wedding Style.
She is also a familiar face and voice on TV and radio, appearing on shows including Ireland AM, The Last Word and Morning Ireland. Earlier this year 27 year old Deirdre returned from an Eat,Pray,Love-style journey through South America, New Zealand and Australia and here she lends her writing talents to our series of questions…
Because I am a Girl I ask … why we aren’t being treated the same way as our brothers, fathers and boyfriends. Sure, gender inequality isn’t as glaring as it used to be in the days when women were treated as little more than baby-making machines. But today’s insidious, sneering sexism can be almost as bad. The Pope’s recent ranking of women priests alongside paedophiles is just one example – (Il) Papa don’t preach! We’ve all encountered chauvinistic jokes about female drivers, dumb blondes or bitchy comments about our weight at some stage in our lives. But the good news is that, these days, we don’t have to take it anymore. Women should be seen and not heard? Don’t make me laugh! The only place where sexism is tolerable anymore is on TV’s Mad Men.
Because I am a Girl I believe … in girl power – the proper sort, not just the Spice Girl variety involving short skirts and nipple piercings! From the Dáil to the boardrooms, I’d like to see more female leaders – women like Geraldine Kennedy, Mary McAleese, Sinead O’Connor and Garry Hynes, who – whether you like them or not – are striking a blow for the so-called fairer sex. Sixty-two million young girls around the world don’t even get the opportunity to go to primary school – so with more Irish women than ever before in the workplace, let’s make it count!
Because I am a Girl I hope … that little girls will remain little girls. There’s this creeping sexualisation of young girls in society that I find really disturbing. Like all other little girls, I liked plastering on my mother’s lipstick when I was younger – but we need to draw the line at bras, thongs and tan for children. Over 100 million girls under 18, some as young as 12, will be expected to become wives within the next decade. Worse, thousands more are being sold into sex slavery. I hate to see girls, who have the choice, dressing and acting like a twenty-something before their time.
Because I am a Girl I wonder … how the hell my mother did it! At my age, she and my father had three toddlers to race around after and provide for. Remembering to feed our dogs is enough responsibility for me! As I watch my friends and relatives start families of the own, I have enormous respect for mothers – but I still don’t know if I have the stamina or selflessness for it!
Because I am a Girl I dream … of an end to genital mutilation, arranged marriage, rape, domestic abuse, lower pay and everything that attempts to keep us and our sisters across the globe underfoot. Of course, there’s no Fairy Godmother to wave a magic wand for the wellbeing of women everywhere – but it’s important for the rest of us to keep battling on in the right direction towards gender equality. Otherwise, we might as well give up and chain ourselves to the kitchen sink now.
Because I am a Girl I remember … being told by a teacher that I’d never get anywhere after I dyed my hair a screaming shade of pink in school. I’m still out to prove them wrong! In my line of work, with your name and picture routinely in the paper, I’ve come to accept that some people will always want to take you down a peg or two. Both professionally and personally, I’ve had my share of begrudgers. Self-belief is the best revenge!
Because I am a Girl I like … high heels, chocolate and Grey’s Anatomy – and it’s blind luck that I was born on a side of the planet that affords us all of life’s little girly luxuries. Over 900 million females are struggling to get by on less than a euro a day. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have to worry about where your next meal comes from or whether you can afford to send your child to school, rather than all the superficial, silly things that we in the developed world sometimes get our knickers in a twist over.
Because I am a Girl I dislike … the fact that our Government still doesn’t recognise women who love other women in the same way that it acknowledges in law those of us who love men. Every girl is entitled to dream of having a big white wedding – whether their betrothed is a bride or groom!
Because I am a Girl I feel … compelled to stand up for our gender. Whether in the office or on the dating scene, I despise all forms of sexism and misogyny. I often get accused of being a bra-burning feminist or some Lisa Simpson-type do-gooder because I speak my mind – but, hey, who says that’s a bad thing! Our grandmothers and, in some cases, our mothers were silenced by the Church and society for long enough, noughties girls should be loud and proud. With so many other women across the world still fighting for theirs, it seems an awful waste to take our hard-won rights for granted.
Because I am a Girl I … am blessed to have such a great sister and group of girlfriends. I count my only sis Niamh among my closest friends and am still in touch with pals from primary school. From heartbreak to exams and house-sharing, my female friends and I have been through a lot together. To quote Carrie Bradshaw: ‘Trends come and go, but friendships never go out of style’.
– Deirdre Reynolds