As a feminist, I see the enormous challenge of raising my son amongst a very gender-stereotyped world.
I feel the immense responsibility of teaching him to respect women and to see them as equal to men. There are many things that I want to challenge my son to do differently, but here are some specific things that I want to teach him, as a feminist.
1. To Be a “gentleman” to Both Men and Women
I am not one of those women who will get upset if a man opens a door for me. I do get upset if he opens doors for only women and not men, though. I want to raise my son to be polite and “gentlemanly” towards everyone.
If he sees a man that needs help, I would hope that he would help him. I hate that people put gender into behavioral categories, and I am in no way ever going to encourage that behavior in my son.
2. To Openly Discuss Feminist Issues With Him
When we watch commercials on TV or movies that objectify and sexualize women, I want to talk about it with him. When we watch shows that portray men as these “macho” men that are just looking for the next hook up, I want to point out that those “qualities” are not what makes a real man. I want to discuss these feminist issues with him, so that he is knowledgeable and aware of what is going on in the world.
3. To Pursue Whatever He Wants to Pursue
I hate that society pigeonholes men and women into gender appropriate hobbies and interests. People are always asking me what sports I want my son to play or what age I’m going to let him go hunting.
The thing is, and I know this is a big shocker for some people, but my son may not want to hunt or play sports. He may be interested in taking dancing classes or learning how to cook. Here’s the bottom line, he can do whatever he is interested in doing. I’m not going to force him into doing certain activities because that is what a “man” does.
In a world that teaches men to be tough, insensitive, and unemotionally involved, I want to teach my son to be sensitive, kind, and gentle. In a world where men are always expected to play sports or go hunting (because you know, that’s what real men do), it is so important for me to teach my son to defy these societal expectations and do what he wants to do.