I have always been committed to raising Aodhan as a feminist, but who wouldn’t want to raise their kid a feminist? I mean, once you give it a think, to quote Rebecca West,
Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.
Sadly, too often, feminism is grossly misunderstood and misrepresented. Most feminists I know are nervous about even sharing with their family that they qualify themselves as …. shhhh … feminists.
I think that one of the greatest things I can do is raise Aodhan as a feminist. It is about educating this kid, making him aware of the countless amount of privilege he has and showing him the vast numbers of opportunities that exist for him to make this a world a better place – not just for women, but for everyone.
Here are some of the things that my partner and I do to help Aodhan be a better feminist:
1.Honour and be proud of the work you do as a mother. Kids need to value mothering or society never will.
2. Talk about your life outside of mothering. You are a whole person and our children need to see this in order to see it in other people.
3. Be open about your body, their body and other people’s bodies. We talk about everything; in clandestine moments of nudity, and when questions are asked we talk about it. This allows us to talk about SO much that he should hear: body safety, body autonomy, body confidence and body image.
4. Give your child body autonomy. When my son says he does not want to take his pants off, yet: I listen. When he tells his dad not to tickle him, he listens. Teach them that it works both ways.
5. Ditch the ugly body language, but talk about size.
6. Celebrate women. Talk about women. Love women.
7. Have healthy relationships. Our children will carry what they see and hear about our relationships – romantic or friendships – into their own relationship frameworks.
8. Demonstrate difference. Live difference.
9. Stop bashing other women. This is the ugliest of all the uglies. Judging each other in front of our kids = yuck.
10. Consider media interaction. I think about it all the time. I know how insidious media is and this is one of the biggest reasons why we don’t have a television. Commercials, movies, television shows – they are full of stereotypes and subtle ideas that work against the idea of equality. I am not judging – if you have a TV, TALK about it.
11. Show them that dads are parents too. By Kevin taking an equal share in nurturing and parenting Aodhan we are (hopefully) busting apart the stereotypes that are screaming out things like girls = babies and boys = work/jobs (because, yah, those stereotypes still exist).
We aren’t perfect, we don’t always get it right and although it works for us, maybe it wouldn’t work for you. I think that feminism gets a bad rap, people don’t look at it as a way of embracing and loving the world: I do.