I have a son and a daughter. I plan on raising them equally.
We live in a generation that is more likely to tell our daughters they can become anything they want to become when they grow up. And so we should. But we don’t often tell our sons the same. We don’t want traditional stereotypes attributed to our daughters that may limit them, but we need to intentionally raise our sons the same.
I am grateful that I am a mother in such a feminist time. It’s our job as parents to raise future generations equal in our households with respect, equality, and social justice.
I am noticing that young boys are still confined to social gender roles. Society is still discouraging them from feminine interests. I’m glad we’ve begun to raise our daughters more like our sons, but equality will never work until we raise our sons more like our daughters.
Recently, I went for a walk alone and was disturbed by my experience. I was followed by a man on a bike. He waited for me to leave the store so he could tell me I was attractive. I was also catcalled on my way to the store and honked at by a group of men in a car. I wondered to myself, if we raise our sons more like our daughters will this type of harassment projected as their ‘form of complimenting women’ still exist?
It’s interesting that skills such as empathy and diligence is still considered feminine.
“Boys and girls cry the same amount when they’re babies and toddlers, research shows. It’s around age 5 that boys get the message that anger is acceptable but that they’re not supposed to show other feelings, like vulnerability” — Tony Porter, co-founder of A Call to Men, an education and advocacy group.
I am not saying I am perfect, but I am trying to raise by son with “feminist parenting”. How I define feminist parenting is simple: I believe in full equality for men and women. My advice is to raise your children to be kind, free to pursue their dreams and to be confident in their choices as long as they are healthy.
Talk to your sons about women achievements such as: well-known women in sports, politics or media. When you take your children to the toy store let them pick out what they want to ensure they feel their freedom of choice.
I am not talking about the money tag; there is no need to dissect this statement. I am simply saying: freedom of choice.
The same goes for clothing.
My son is very beautiful. He has long eye lashes and a very pouty mouth. Sometimes people will stop me and compliment how cute “she” is, but I never feel the need to correct them. It doesn’t really matter. He’s a baby and it’s a wonderful compliment.
This type of mindset also starts at home. My husband and I respect each other. When we do not feel respected by each other we communicate how we are feeling. By doing this we are setting a standard with our children to grow up with hopefully the same values and ideals for each other, future friends and relationships.
For children to reach their full potential, we need to let them follow their interests- traditional or not. So let them. Let them explore. The idea is not to assume that all children want to do the same things, but to make sure they’re not limited with their choices.
Teach your children to care for each other, to take care of themselves. Encourage friendships with the opposite sex. Teach consent and respect; to speak up and never use gender roles as an insult.
Words by Shereen Jupp
Hair by Jaclyn at Ambition Salon
Beauty by Eleni Banakas