Raising a feminist
I am raising a feminist. He currently looks like a 10 month old boy. But what should a feminist look like anyway? I used to think you had to own an I hate men t-shirt, preferably wear sensible shoes, attend Green Party related marches and sign the agreement to never marry one of them.
Turns out I got it slightly wrong. Feminism is not about men bashing, it’s about equality. It isn’t about focusing on gender, it’s about aiming to notfocus on gender, to be offered a job not because of your sex or despite your sex but because of your abilities. Feminism is not just for women, it’s for all of us. It’s about fighting for us all to see each other as equals whatever your gender, age, nationality, movie preference, etc. (I’m in the You’ve Got Mail camp on that one)
I want Jet to have ambition, I want him to see no limitations around himself, I don’t want society to define him and I definitely don’t want him to define himself. If I were to have a girl I would have all the same hopes for her too.
For me being a feminist doesn’t mean you have to shy away from being a girl. Don’t get me wrong I love Topshop and succulents and am always on the hunt for the best mascara (let me know if you’ve found a good one that doesn’t end up under your eyes by the end of the day) To me, being a feminist is embracing all the traits of being a girl: We are passionate and strong and fierce and so are our sons and daughters. We need to nurture their characters regardless of their sex. Don’t tell a girl she’s bossy- tell her she’s strong, don’t tell a boy he’s too sensitive- praise his ability to sympathise.
I have noticed such a shocking amount of gender stereotyping since becoming a mum. I hate the separation of the boys and girls sections in clothes shops. Why do all Jet’s clothes HAVE to be blue, and what if he doesn’t like trucks? It seems he’ll have to have them emblazoned across his clothes regardless of his interests. (Thank God for beautiful small businesses like Tobias and the Bear, The Gray Store, The Little Natural Clothing company helping me battle my aversion to truck t shirts) And recently when shopping for a walker for him why was the girl option a pram and the boy option a race car?
I would hate for him to ever feel like he’s wrong for not liking certain things or for following passions that take him away from the crowd. I want him to grow into a man that loves and respects everyone around him. I want him to treat everyone as an equal whether they’re the Queen or his teacher or a cleaner or a friend.
I don’t feel at all qualified to write about feminism, I have no qualifications or particular reading to stand on. But all I know is that I am raising a child and I know the world I want him to grow up in and I know the small part I can play in creating that world for him. I want him to know that crying is not weak, the under dog makes for the best story, Les Mis is the best musical ever written, Liverpool are the greatest football team, ballet isn’t just for girls, always be kind, fight injustice, befriend the friendless and never use an at home blonde hair dye kit, it never works. (Trust me, listen to your mother- and also bizarrely, your father.)
Happy National Women’s Day folks. Here’s to strong mothers and daughters and sisters and to loving fathers and sons and brothers.