Motherhood Has Made Me Feminist AF
I've always considered myself to be a feminist. Afterall, I'm a woman, so why wouldn't I support a movement that represents me and my interests?
I thought I was a feminist... but in all actuality, I don't think I truly realized what it truly means to be a feminist (and support the ideals) until I became a mother to a son.
Feminism is so much more than believing in equal pay, and equal rights; yes, those are some of the main principals, but it involves so much more. It really comes down to the daily messages, interactions, and ideals that we teach not only our little girls, but our little boys as well.
I was speaking with my sister the other day about feminism and ish men unknowingly do-- even the progressive ones who themselves claim to be "feminist". I mentioned something about the patriarchal system dying, to which she responded, "That could never happen." Oh, but it could. And in my heart of hearts I believe that it will. But it starts with how we educate our children in how they think not only about themselves, but how they think about others. This education goes beyond simply being kind. It's an education rooted in not only seeing the person standing in front of you, but also recognizing the potential in that same person (and in all of us) whether male or female.
If you follow me on instagram, then you may already be aware of the following interaction that I shared in my insta-stories... A couple weeks ago I took Arria to the playground. While there she ran into a boy that she often plays with, his name is Varnick. He's someone who she often plays with, but something different happened on that particular day. While at the playground, the both of them had been playing along with another little boy. At one point the other little boy went off to play and it was just Arria playing with his toys. Varnick came back from playing and requested that Arria follow him to one of the playground's castle towers to play with the toy trucks. Arria with the truck in hand had other plans... she wanted to get on the slide, so she started walking in the opposite direction. Rather than letting her go, Varnick then demanded that she had to go with him on the other side otherwise she "had to give her his toy back." He then added "Because I decide who goes where with the toys." It was in that moment that I realized what was going on and I had to set some things straight.
I realized that though he's only seven years old, Varnick was under the impression that as a little boy, he had the authority to tell my daughter what she could and could not do, and where she could and could not go. But even with as young as he is, this mama isn't having it. I had to correct Varnick and let him know that we are all born with have free will. He didn't take to my correcting him very well, and served me a look that could kill. I could care less. Little boys who believe they have the right to control others, potentially grow to become men who think they can dictate and determine the actions of women as well: how they should act, what they can do with their bodies, and who they will ultimately become. Not on my watch. Not with my child.
After the fact, I had to sit Arria down and explain to her that she shouldn't let anyone control how she moved in the world. I mean, she's only two, but I think she understood.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Varnick is a great kid, that will hopefully mature into a great man, but the future is indeed female. It's a new day, and with the way that the natural movement and conscious parenting is blossoming, I believe that it's only a matter of time before "down with the patriarchy" becomes more than a saying, and actually manifests. Luckily this message and ideal isn't one that is just being passed along to our girls... it's a message that our boys need to hear too. I believe that the next two generations of will be the ones to change the way "feminism" is perceived in this country. To be feminine is not to be equated with being week, docile, meek, or homely. And to be masculine, should not mean that our little boys should wear a mask of strength in moments when they feel as though they themselves are in need of support. It's not fair to the children that current society standards paint the gender roles in such a way. I would never want my son to feel as though he has to "suck it up," and face certain difficulties alone simply because he's "a man." And on the same note, I would never want my own daughter to consider herself any less than her brother (in ANY way) just because she was born with an XX chromosome, instead of an XY.
We should ALL be feminists. So I'm grateful to be a mom to not only a little girl, but a little boy as well. Not only will I raise Arria to know that she's capable of just as much as her male counterparts (if not more), but I will raise Jaiyce to recognize and respect the inherit, but subtle strength that lie in all women. Just because he was born with a different chromosome doesn't make him any better, smarter, or more capable than her, his future wife, or any other woman he comes across.
For those of you wondering how you can support, understand, and change the conversation around feminism, I highly recommend this book by Chimanada Adiche. My really great friend Kendra gave it to me as a birth gift after having Arria. It's a great read for both men and woman, and does an amazing job of breaking down the conversation, roles, and actions of gender equality in 15 suggestions. Anyhow, the kids are both starting to awaken from naptime (aka my golden hour, jk lol), so I"ll wrap it up here. But I'd love to hear your take on things: how many of you consider yourself to be feminists/in support of the feminist movement? And if so, how are you raising your children to ensure that all humans have equal rights? Please share your tips below!
Until the next time, #LiveRi¢h and Happy Dream Chaisng!