How My Granddad Influenced Me As A Feminist #heforshe

Of course I was not born as a feminist, I didn't strut out my mother's womb and ask why a women with the same qualification and skill gets paid less than her male co worker. Why little girls were given baby dolls, while boys were plastic tools.  But it wasn't long before I had someone show me the path, of what really should of always been. My granddad is a very traditional man, and very much a family man. Growing up in a single parent family was hard, but both my nan and granddad made up for my dads lack of reliability. Of course I was influenced by both my nan and mother as females, I could write pages upon pages of what they showed me. But I wanted to talk about my granddad's influence, to highlight that male support can make a massive difference for equality. 

My nan and granddad at the dance room were they first met.

My granddad had a shed at the back of the garden when I was little, he would always be inventing gadgets and making experiments. It's a shame he never copyright his ideas, as he would have easily made millions. Saying that my granddad never cared much for making money, his always been a hard working man who valued time with his family above everything. He was an engine and worked with J Sainsbury (yes the man himself) to help with his stores. His a clever man but very humble. One day my granddad called me to the shed, I was a bit shocked as he does have old fashioned views about women sometimes.  That day he taught me how to make a circuit for a light and was going to teach me how to rewire a plug. I was about six or seven, and I felt like I had discovered that his shed was actual a treasure chest of magic. With the months that followed, he showed me how to make a pin hole camera, and showed me how to make my own animations using his camera. My granddad  grew up in Ireland, and read every book he could. He would go to the local cinema taking the off cuts, reediting them and made his own film. He worked as much as he could, he fixed  peoples fences, was developing his own photos and become assistant  projectionist for the cinema by the age of 13.  He was a local hero, and everyone knew him as the cheeky lad who would always help. He really has achieved so much in life. His was in a band, had a short horror story published,  and has been awarded by J Sainsbury himself for his work. 

One thing his drummed into me was to learn everything I could, and that I could do anything. His never put limits on me as a girl, his never said oh why do you want that it's just for boys. It's odd as with my mum he has an old fashioned view of, that my mum could help with cooking or cleaning I think he saw me as the new generation of women. My nan showed me knitting and how to bake an apple pie, but my granddad would always say he needed my help. We would watch old films Wizard Of Oz and show me how to colour film. He was always filling my head with knowledge of movies, and how sets were built I always looked forward to getting back from school to see what he had planned.   

My granddad and John Davan Sainsbury  

I can recall not word for word, but saying as a joke that 'I should have been a boy' as at school I was told this a lot - I was the only one  in my class who already knew about wiring a plug and making a lightbulb circuit project and this was my male teaches response by the way.  My granddad said " Why? Don't be silly you can do anything a boy can do, and the things you can't are probably not the best ideas anyway." He would always tell me about when he and my nan were young, and that her beauty won over his brain and that her brain won over his heart. I think they were a perfect match, as they were both equals. My granddad would do his share of housework and cooking, and my nan also worked as a civil service in London as well as looking after the four children. She was a very savvy lady, a women who knew her mind. Very strong and sharp as a tack, my granddad knew that sometimes my nan would pretend not know something just so he could impress her it was sweet. She and him together were my rock, they both showed me that if I work hard I could achieve what I want in life. That my gender should not hold me back, and to fight those that used it as a negative. That it's fine to bake pies and do things that are supposedly 'just for boys'. 

Sadly my nan passed away and my granddad had to start again (he could never live in their house without her there), every now and than I pass the old house and get the old flashback of those days. Nowadays my granddad has to get his head around the new technology, his going to be 81 next month and I love that I can teach him how to email, use his iPad that I can share everything that I read with him. He will never know how his words have influenced me coming from a male perspective. That the biggest lesson I learnt is that there is no difference, men and women can do the same jobs that it's not about out doing each other but working side by side to build a better society. That we can be what we want, but we should get the same paid for it that gender should not effect value. 


  1. I absolutely loved this post. You Granddad sounds like a fab man!

    Story Of A Girl

  2. Your Grandad sounds pretty awesome. This is such a lovely post, thank you for sharing! My Grandad to this day is still the greatest person I ever knew xx

    Sophie Elizabeth


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