Of course I’m a feminist. I believe that women deserve the same rights as men. Who doesn’t?
I’m also a mother to three daughters. Wanting them to not be disadvantaged because of their sex has absolutely made me a more passionate feminist. And there a few things I have made definite effort with in how I parent them.
Note that while that I have daughters I think these points should go for girls and boys and gendered expectations placed on them-but I have zero experience as a mother of a son.
For me, it basically comes down to three points.
Their body belongs to them, their are lots of ways to be a girl and having conversations.
THEIR BODY BELONGS TO THEM- This means no kisses and cuddles if they don’t want to & no bullshit of “oh he must like you because he is hurting you”. It means they have a say in how they wear their hair or if they get their ears pierced. It means choosing to be very physically active or not so much. It means raising them in a house that does not shame bodies or sex.
Doing a ballet curtsey in her football gear
THERE ARE LOTS OF WAYS TO BE A GIRL- Willow likes ballet, football, Monster High dolls, short hair, Star Wars and My Little Pony. There is no need to pre-select things my daughters should or should not like based on her being a girl. There is also no need to immediately slap labels on her like “Tomboy”. There are just lots of cool things out there that don’t need to be boxed in to girl or boy. Tannah, on the other hand, wants a hair straightener and a pandora bracelet for xmas. Of course I’m not going to discourage her interests either-being feminine is just one way of being a girl. They are free to be messy, loud, rough, emotional, sensitive, physical or interested in their appearance. They can dress up or down and pick clothes from which ever section has the cooler stuff. I will not place demands on them based on stereotype.
HAVING CONVERSATIONS- “ugh, you know why I hate this video clip?” “This ad is so ridiculous, do you think all boys are like that?” “I can’t believe that Black Widow isn’t on the Avengers shirts either. Do you think it’s fair?” “I personally don’t like fashion dolls because they all look the same, and mostly women have a range of different bodies and skin colours”.
Yep. I’m that Mum. But I want my girls to think. Not just blindly accept what society and media serves up to them. Don’t think your kids are too young to talk about topics like intersectionality or consent. Start small, but start talking. All the time. About everything.