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How Do We Know What We Know?

How do we know what we know? How does the world around us tell us that it is okay to know, or not? How do we raise our girl children, our boy children, to believe in the sensations they feel in their bodies, the observations made with an unfettered eye, the love and intimacy they feel with us, with each other?

I see my six year old. It is not just her innocence that I want to protect, because at some point her innocence must give way to knowing. It is the integrity of her body, of her embodied mind, of her feeling of rightness in the world, that I want to cultivate. Without emotional intelligence, she is a boat trying to navigate in waters that tell her not to trust her maps, her cues, her direct knowing. With emotional intelligence, she can begin to make sense of a world that doesn’t even usually make sense to grown-ups, unschooled as most of us were in how to emotionally mature (instead of just faking it!). She can call the spades the spades, she can make her mistakes and use their information to fill out a better map, her map, a map to grow with her heart, her body, her mind.

For me, it is fairly easy to give my daughter the information about bodies and sex that she needs as she grows; I have worked to make the language comfortable for myself, and so to share it with her is almost a privilege, that I can give her this better start. Yet with the emotional intelligence, I am required to call upon those places in myself that lost their connection to knowing, that dissociated, that learned tricks of hiding and dissembling. My child’s need\’my need for my child\’to have a richer and more authentic understanding of relationship requires me to step into those places in myself.

Kate Gould

In no particular order, Kate Gould is a writer, Beethoven groupie, feminist, campaigner for sex workers' rights, tattooed lady, etiquette fanatic, insatiable reader, and commissioning editor at The Fine Line. She's doing a PhD in the medicalisation of sex at Edinburgh university and spends most of her time reading in her flat overrun by pet rats, Muffin, Milly, and Olivia. She's been a research assistant to Germaine Greer and Shere Hite, MORI pollster, book critic, magazine editor, over-worked publishing intern, nanny, English teacher, and hotel critic. Her book on flashers, Exposing Phallacy: Flashing in Contemporary Culture, is published by Zero Books. The best insult she's ever heard is “buckle-bunny wannabe” and the best thing she's ever eaten is the raspberry cheesecake in Gaia on Leith Walk.

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