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Do you have a feminist son? Seems I do!

(36 Posts)

Surprising, as I am a "quiet" feminist, I think, we don't discuss feminism at the dinner table, I don't think. Maybe it is implied though? It is not something i wither on about.

Yet DS (only9) has pulled up his male PE teacher yesterday on telling the boys they were "running like a bunch of girls". He said: "Excuse me, but that is actually an offensive comment to girls. It offends me too". Teacher not amused. I guess it was a bit cheeky of him to backchat.

He is very vocal about the lack of proper strong female heroes in movies (the only fault he can find with his beloved Star Wars).

Despite peer pressure he is friends with girls as well as boys, as he says: "the difference between boys and girls is not important, it is important if someone is your friend. Whether they are a girl or boy is not relevant.".

He feels very strongly about this. I wonder where it comes from, it seems to come from within him, rather than environment (us).

Anyone else have a "naturally feminist son"?

freyasnow Wed 05-Feb-14 11:17:07

DS is 15.

DS: What is a feminist?
Me: Feminists are people who believe in women should be treated equally to men, which currently they are not, as you can see from the stuff you are revising for Geography.
DS: Then everyone should be a feminist.

This possibly comes back to the discussion on the other thread about the moral argument for feminism, where a poster has said that ultimately people believe in fairness or they don't.

yes, it is basically a simple "fairness" thing.

Same with racism or being anti-gay.

I guess that for children, the world is quite simple. Good or bad, black or white, fair or unfair.

And you cannot really explain the patriarchy, or racism or homophobia to a child, as the concepts just baffle them due to being inherently unfair.

It makes me realise how conditioned I, myself, have become of certain treatment of women. You almost accept it as you expect it, IYSWIM.

SinisterSal Wed 05-Feb-14 11:24:13

He sounds lovely FiscalCliff.

chocoluvva Wed 05-Feb-14 11:25:27

DD's (17YO) friend tweeted that he felt "eternal guilt" for being a "young, white male".

I'd love to ask him what he meant, but I can't as I'd have to confess to reading his tweets. blush

Does your DS have a strong sense of justice in general OP?

Good for him anyway.

RobinSparkles Wed 05-Feb-14 11:26:24

Good for your son, Fiscal! Great that he spoke up to that teacher.

Maybe it was cheeky of him to backchat but grown ups aren't always right just because they're grown ups. However, if he said it how I read it then he wasn't being cheeky he was just stating a fact.

yes he does. He finds history lessons quite hard to swallow at times, and can be a bit tearful after learning about child labour and things like that.

He looks tough (big rugby playing lad), but is a big softy. Like his dad I guess!

Some people have a strong sense of justice, it is weird, as I used to have it, but i am ashamed to say it seems to have faded with age. I am not much of a fighter anymore, more an avoider.

living in South America for 10 years has made feel taking on the patriarchy is futile. Sexual harassment was just so ingrained, you were supposed to seek it, and invite it. As a woman, even if you were a lawyer or an engineer or a devoted SAHM, your main priority was to "look hot for your guy" and if he eventually strays, it is YOUR fault for ageing and not being "hot" at all times. It sort of numbed me.

Suelford Wed 05-Feb-14 11:39:52

Sounds like he's an egalitarian more than a feminist (even ignoring the whole "can men be feminists?" issue).

SinisterSal Wed 05-Feb-14 11:59:14

Surely feminism is a strand of egalitarianism. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss him.

That's depressing about South America, Fiscal Cliff. I suppose it is easier to see things from the outside too though.

Thisisaghostlyeuphemism Wed 05-Feb-14 12:26:21

DS (6) rages when anyone talks about 'girls toys' or 'boys toys'.
"They're toys for anybody," he insists. Makes me proud!

curlew Wed 05-Feb-14 12:28:34

I have a feminist son.

I would like to think it's natural rather than the 24 hour a day 7 day a week indoctrination he has been subjected to since birth

FetchezLaVache Wed 05-Feb-14 12:33:09

I don't think it was a cheeky comment at all, personally. He politely but firmly pulled his teacher up on a spot of casual sexism. He sounds like an excellent feminist (egalitarian if you prefer) and I would be extremely proud if my 3yo son grows up to be like him.

maybe feminism is just a subdivision of egalitarianism at times. Or could you argue it is basically the same thing?

TantrumsAndBalloons Wed 05-Feb-14 12:44:27

yes I have one. Not due to me drilling it into his head, but I guess just because thats what he knows IYSWIM?
He is friends with boys and girls, challenges any stereotypical remark. But then he is very anti racist, anti homophobic as well and will challenge any of his friends with those views as well.

Tantrum, I hope they stay like that, don't you?

For feminism and egalitarianism to work we need both girls AND boys on board, IMO

freyasnow Wed 05-Feb-14 12:56:28

Egalitarianism is an umbrella term. It includes ideas like anarch-syndicalism. Taking a conversation that was clearly about feminism and saying it is about egalitarianism is like taking a conversation that was clearly about Christianity and saying it was about religious belief.

As one is a subset of the other, it is about both, but why use a less specific term unless there are particular reasons why doing so would bring greater clarity?

fair enough. I was looking at it through feminist tinted spectacles.

Suelford Wed 05-Feb-14 13:11:00

I don't think it is just a less specific umbrella term. Feminism has always been for (in both "about" and "pro" senses) women. Whereas egalitarianism is not for either gender in particular.

OP's sons first comment, challenging the "running like girls" is definitely feminist; the second comment about gender being irrelevant and making no difference, is gender-neutral and egalitarian.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Wed 05-Feb-14 13:18:32

Whoo hoo to feminist sons smile I sometimes get genuinely nervous about what dd (should she be heterosexual) have to muddle through when I see the sorry state of the world. takes fiscal's son's number for later

freyasnow Wed 05-Feb-14 13:33:33

Suelford, you could just as easily say that the conversation was about equality between the sexes; in which case you could say that OP's son isn't a feminist, he is a conversationalist, as if the two are mutually exclusive categories. It is contrary to the meaning, social, political and philosophical background to the word egalitarian to try and imply that feminism is not egalitarian (when it is well established as being so and is a major strand in egalitarian thought) or use egalitarian as a precise description of a statement that is about gender, simply because it didn't specifically relate to discrimination against women.

Suelford Wed 05-Feb-14 14:03:25

Feminism is a subset of egalitarianism - that doesn't mean that anything egalitarian is also automatically feminist, just because it is compatible with feminism.

To use your religion analogy, it would be like talking about ideas and behaviour in Abrahamic religions but only mentioning Christianity. It might be more specific, but that doesn't mean it is more accurate than the umbrella term; in fact, assigning certain behaviour to a specific subset, when it is actually practised by a wide variety of groups under the umbrella, would be misleading and inaccurate.

freyasnow Wed 05-Feb-14 14:46:20

But in your analogy, the OP would have to be having a conversation which they claimed was about egalitarianism (like Abrahamic religion) and then only made feminist points (like only making Christian points). That is not what happened. This was a post and thread discussing feminism and you have made out he is 'more egalitarian than feminist.'

The OP asked about feminism and her son advocated three points, all of which include the status of girls or women and the first two of which are specifically about discrimination against girls or women. They were 1. that girl should not be used as a term of abuse, 2. that there weren't enough female characters in action films and 3. that it didn't matter if a friend was a girl or a boy.

In your analogy, that would like somebody starting a conversation which they said was about Christianity and saying 1. I believe Jesus Christ was the son of God, 2. I believe he died to save the world from sin. 3. I believe Moses was an important religious figures and you saying, 'sounds like he's more of a believer in Abrahmamic religions than a Christian.' Statements one and two are statements that are specifically drawn from Christian traditions. You would have derailed a conversation about Christianity to make some wider point about Abrahamic religion, as you have derailed a topic about feminism.

VegetariansTasteLikeChicken Wed 05-Feb-14 14:56:51

I feel like this is the sort of thing that stops the lurkers from posting and I not sure really helps.

Suelford Wed 05-Feb-14 15:05:01

Good point. I had forgotten the Star Wars one, so I was comparing a 50/50 feminist/egalitarian stance, but you're right, it's more like a 66/33 in favour of feminism.

I do think "derailing" is a bit pathetic though, this is a discussion board, we're here to discuss. Don't respond to my post if you don't want to take the thread off the rails (the rails to where? What is the correct destination of this thread?).

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