I’ve been pondering feminism for a while. I’m not sure I’m allowed to be a feminist any more, from what I’ve been reading, what with being sort of middle class, and well educated and white and all. And yet my understanding is that if I *am* in a privileged position (which I’m not sure anyone else gets to judge to be honest) surely I should be challenging from within?
But anyway. What I wanted to talk about was raising feminist children. Particularly boys. I would like to think that my attitude that we should be fair to everyone regardless of creed and the colour and the class and the gender (which weren’t in the hymn and should have been in my mind (turns out you can take the girl out of the church, but it’s hard to completely take the church out of the woman)) would rub off on my boys mainly through example. But fairly recently it became apparent that isn’t the case. Small, in particular given that Tigerboy is a bit young to take up any position, is very much not a feminist. He thinks it is grossly unfair that girls get all the best parts in movies, get to have all the neat powers, and he doesn’t want to watch anything like that ever again.
I did wonder if we were watching different films :/ The one in particular that sparked him off was a completely forgettable kid flick about some teddy bear from the future that had been sent back to collect antibodies against a disease and in doing so, gave the two children who found it special powers. In this very limited case, the girl became more powerful. I couldn’t think of any other superhero movie except possibly Electra which we haven’t actually seen, where the woman gets to be the lead character. But at least him stating his viewpoint made me realise that I need to do more than be an example.
I actually need to coach him through this. I need to discuss the things around us, highlight inequalities, be scrupulous in not expecting Big to just help me domestically because she is older and more capable and make sure that he learns to do things too or he will assume that she is doing it because she is a girl, and he is not because he’s a boy.
I’d never thought it through that way before. It’s entirely possible that Small is an extreme case, but I do wonder, other parents of boys, do you know what your boys really think about all this stuff? Because I’ve always wondered why so much of this persists, this anti women attitude, this #justthewomen throw away phrase, when women do so much of the child rearing. Surely we should be gently leading our boys to be better, to think more carefully, to play their parts, to respect women?
Why isn’t it that easy? Because I’m discovering it really isn’t.