How are you raising a feminist?

(100 Posts)
thecrab Wed 06-Apr-16 21:17:20

Probably a stupid question but it's something I think about a lot, how do I make sure I raise my child to be a feminist?

Twgtwf Wed 06-Apr-16 21:30:15

In answer to the thread title: rather well.

VestalVirgin Wed 06-Apr-16 22:05:06

Depends. Daughter or son?

Daughter, should be easy. Just be a feminist. Raise her to expect to be treated like a human being, not a doormat, and she should become a feminist in due time.

Never slap her, and if you do, apologize. Keep her hair short and let her wear trousers until she wants to choose her own haircut and clothes.
Oh, and don't make her wear bathing suits when she doesn't even have breasts.

Worked alright for me, and my mother didn't even intend to raise a feminist, she just didn't want to have to comb long hair and wasn't so full of stupid gender stereotypes as people nowadays tend to be.

I don't know any male feminists, but I suppose teaching a son kindness and compassion and that "fair" doesn't mean that he gets everything and others get nothing ... might be a good start.
Also, don't let males treat you like a doormat in his presence.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 07-Apr-16 00:04:20

Keep her hair short and let her wear trousers until she wants to choose her own haircut and clothes

Why ? Why should the mother of a little girl not leave her daughter's hair long? And why should she be put in trousers until she can express a preference? What does that say- anything associated with girls is bad? If the child was a boy is he allowed to have long hair?

I agree with teaching her not to be a doormat and I'd add don't go telling her how awful life is going to be because she is female.

mrsmeerkat Thu 07-Apr-16 00:11:46

I don't have a daughter but I have sons and I will be very clear in making sure they do not view household jobs as 'women's work' and to have a general consideration and respect for all. Dh was raised in a very tradition and sexist environment so I have to work a lot on his attitudes. In saying that if i hsd a daughter i would let her wear dresses and hair that was long. I don't see how that is relevant.

Haggisfish Thu 07-Apr-16 00:16:07

We have watched mary poppins and discussed suffragettes a lot. I correct any thoughts of 'boy's' or 'girl's' colours or toys or jobs. Dd is five.

Haggisfish Thu 07-Apr-16 00:18:01

I let dd wear what she likes. She's a bit girly girl for my taste, but I think all girls go through similar phases. I just say she looks fab however she looks and we crack on! She's worn bridesmaids dresses tree climbing and mismatching clashing colours everywhere. I love it.

TeatimeForTheSoul Thu 07-Apr-16 00:19:21

When I notice everyday sexism DC have always talked about it and laughed at it. Luckily we can model equality and have an an amazing granny to talk about. Plus we buy neutral toys and leave it to others to provide the gender biased ones. Unfortunately we seem to live I a bit if a 1959s enclave and school tends to be sexist, so wonderful DH and I tend to talk about it a lot.

BerylStreep Thu 07-Apr-16 00:20:24

I would agree. By being a feminist, you set an example. We have discussions in our house about outdated views of gender stereotyping. I have a fulfilling job, am well educated and have high expectations on how I am treated in the world. It also helps that my Mum was / is quite radical and has always maintained her integrity, even when it has been difficult. All good examples.

TeatimeForTheSoul Thu 07-Apr-16 00:21:05

Could also join the Women's' Equality Party and get them involved. Hopefully it won't need to exist anymore by the time they are old enough to vote.

GreenTomatoJam Thu 07-Apr-16 07:02:12

I let them be without judgement. Toys, TV, games - no boys and girls stuff, just stuff, have a lot of interests, and so far (they are young - 5 and 2) they watch the complete spectrum of cartoons from Doc McStuffins to Paw Patrol to Twirliwoos and I haven't noticed a bias towards boy or girl characters as favourites so whatever I'm doing seems to be working so far.

I have boys, I do keep DS1's hair pretty short (he doesn't care, and it's easier) although DS2's longer (it's beautiful blonde curls - I'll cut if it ever becomes hassle). TBH I have a nagging feeling that long hair on young girls does teach from an early age about taking care of appearance in a way that boys aren't trained, as well as sitting still and enduring (hairbrushing as a child was not a fun experience for me - I had short hair once I was old enough to express a proper opinion)

I teach them to be kind to and think about each other, to be helpful, generous and polite, to try anything and speak to anyone - they are very different kids so they interpret these lessons in different ways, but both as good, and as untouched by patriarchy as can be hoped

LastAnni Thu 07-Apr-16 07:18:06

I didn't change my name on marriage; DS has both of our surnames (double barrelled). I believe this shows him that his parents's identities are equally important.
We both go out to work; we both have time at home looking after DS.
We both cool, do laundry, read stories, take him to football etc. The only difference in our parenting abilities is that DH has no breasts (DS was breastfed until age four).
We never comment disparagingly or approvingly on someone's physical appearance. I'm careful to say things like 'that's a lovely shirt' rather than 'you look nice'.
We don't use words which disparage on the base of gender - so even I swear a lot I will never use the word 'bitch', or say someone is a 'silly cow' or even a 'stupid woman'. Rather, the focus is on the act or the behaviour, not the gender.
Thinking about it, I'm not sure DS holds any steadfast beliefs about the capabilities or roles of the sexes, so I reckon we're doing okay so far smile

TheSolitaryWanderer Thu 07-Apr-16 07:45:28

Through example and by discussion, reading and commenting on everyday sexism in media and RL when we notice it.
Including accepting where she and I disagree on points such as ciswoman and transgender, and understanding that raising a feminist is not the same thing as raising a clone.
DS is part of the same conversations and has been known to speak his mind with friends and acquaintances when he thinks something is illogical.

BertrandRussell Thu 07-Apr-16 07:50:53

Among other things, by making sure that the man I chose to be their father is not a misogynist arsehole.

GlitteryShoes Thu 07-Apr-16 07:58:37

I don't model myself as a feminist, but I am passionate a outer equality ( and as the mother of a disabled child I probably notice far mor disability inequality).

I am also a foster carer, and mainly foster teenage girls. They have all had different ideas on feminism and equality, and what I have noticed is that it's far less about role modelling or what sort of toys they were given, but about what they directly experience. One example is the lack of opportunities in women's football. So from my experience I would say it has to come from personal passion and experience, and maybe bringing up a child without exposing them to inequality may mean they don't have fiery passion about it? I certainly don't see less feminism in girls who were bought up in male dominated/ traditional role households- feminism seems to be about personal confidence and drive ( like most passions).

weaselwords Thu 07-Apr-16 08:02:36

Ive got two older teenage boys. I've mostly done it by being me. Never expecting people to do certain things or behave in certain ways because they are a man or a woman. I am a bit guilty of having a "feminist rant of the day" on occasions when something really annoys me, that they roll their eyes at, but listen too.

The one thing I have specifically done is talk to eldest about consent, as it occurred to me that every mother of daughters would be having the conversation about how to avoid sexual assault so I couldn't just assume that eldest had just picked up how to not rape someone without a frank conversation.

VertigoNun Thu 07-Apr-16 08:07:28

I raised feminists. It was unintentional. I remember learning a little on feminism when the oldest was about 11, teaching her and it inspired her to learn more herself.

My dd's had barbie, bratz, pink everything etc. They also had happy street trains and cars, lego, blue bedrooms, trousers etc. There was no pressure to like anything it was child lead. When they were younger their clothes were a mix and I remember someone think dd1 was a boy when she was wearing a light blue cardigan.

I work best nearer the collective method rather than in an authoritive way. I think using ego states of adult to adult helped rather patriarchal/teacher parent to child style.

I am naturally someone who likes ballance.

I am pleased my dd's developed as they did, they have amazing critical thinking skills and teach me now. grin

slightlyglitterbrained Thu 07-Apr-16 08:26:10

DS is only 3 so early days yet. He is now recognising men and women (though is calling them "mummy" and "daddy").

His father spends as much time caring for him (feeding, dressing, changing nappy/potty training) as I do. Try to avoid default "he" for toys.

I suspect it'll all get a lot harder once he goes to school.

SofiaandCleo Thu 07-Apr-16 08:36:21

I always find the majority of these 'how to raise a feminist' ideas I just see as normal. I was raised by 2 autistic people but I'm NT so to me most of the above is just normal life!

I didn't know the concept of woman's work as a child. My mum wouldn't have done 24 hour childcare as she wouldn't have been able to deal with noise/unpredictability.

It comes from my autistic parents being unable to do any hairstyles, they let me dress in all kinds of random clothes, definitely not a doormat as much more likely to be a control freak (which I am sort of as autistics can't be wrong wink). I am not a normal wife, although I've been married my whole adult life. I think men respect you more if you're like this.

Elledouble Thu 07-Apr-16 08:41:19

I'm bookmarking this - my son isn't one yet but I've been wondering how to make sure I bring him up as considerate and gentle - I guess it's modelling the behaviour you want to see?

hejsvejs Thu 07-Apr-16 08:42:06

I've got two DS's. I think I'm raising them as feminists by just being myself and let them do what they want.

I'm on my own with them, I work full time in a good job and provide for them.

I do pull them up on it if they say certain things are for girls and other for boys, saying there is no such thing as a boy color for example.

I've always let them play with what they want, when they were younger and wanted dolls I let them play with them. They are now very into gaming and football but if that's what they like then so be it. It's not up to me to tell them what to like.

TheSolitaryWanderer Thu 07-Apr-16 10:20:50

' I guess it's modelling the behaviour you want to see?'

It's also the men in his life modelling the behaviour you want him to emulate.

MrsJayy Thu 07-Apr-16 10:27:44

Let her wear what you and she like let her play with toys that interest her dont ban glitter or dolls treat her as a person dont get so hung about about gender issues let her explore her enviroment teach her she is a worthy person you will raise a femminist ime. And if you raise a boy raise him the same

Bambambini Thu 07-Apr-16 10:32:21

This is interesting, especially as i have boys and i'm the only female in the house. I don't want them growing up to have stereotyped views on each sexes roles. Problem is that we have a very traditional set up in that husband works and earns the family money and i do all the house and mostly kid stuff. I keep explaining to my sons that we are not the usual as most of their friends mums work.

AllMyBestFriendsAreMetalheads Thu 07-Apr-16 10:41:02

I try and challenge gender stereotypes, and the idea that there are 'girl toys/colours/etc.' and 'boy toys/colours/etc.'. I have an older DD and a younger DS, and DS wants to do everything his big sister does whether that's playing with dolls and cars or having his toenails painted, and I try to go against my 'instinct' to say that something is for girls or boys and let them play with what they want.

A toddlers favourite question is why - and it's a good question! I try to ask myself why a lot when dealing with my own socialised stereotyping.

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