As a feminist, there are all sorts of things I want and need my son to learn and know about women. More than anything I want him to know that women, just like men, are not all the same. I want him to take the time to get to know the women that become important to him, instead of generalizing or relying on outdated stereotypes.
Of course, dads can be (and are) feminists, too, so I asked a few to tell me what they consider to be the most important thing they want their sons to know about women. Their answers showed me that men and women really aren't so different after all (and regardless of what more than a few famous books would lead you to believe). In the end, we all want our children to be kind, caring, and to avoiding hurting anyone.
I want my son to treat women (and, honestly, all people) with respect and dignity, and to be an ally to anyone who is marginalized. It makes me quite happy that my little one is still at the age where gender doesn't present any challenge to his ideas about who he should play with, how they should behave, look ,or dress, or the toys they should choose. I intend to continue developing his natural openness and commitment to equality and judging by the answers of these following dads (and even though some of them aren't necessarily what I would consider the "most important" thing we can teach our sons about women), I'm not the only one.
"That all women should be treated like he would want his mama treated."
"I teach my son to respect the word 'No'. Whether it's 'No' to sharing a toy or playing a game, I want him to undertand the power of that word."
"I hate the way society always pits men and women against each other and tries to make out we are from different planets. I want him to know we are not so different."
"Words are powerful. I make sure I don't use sexist or aggressive terms when talking about women, including his mom and even though we're not together anymore. I always speak about her respectfully."
"I try to be a good role model. I treat my wife with respect and I demand my son does the same."
"I want him to know women can do it all, but a real man won't make her do it all. I am teaching him how to cook and do the laundry. I want him to be a full partner, not just a breadwinner."
"My son is 8 and is just beginning to realize that girls can be a bit more sensitive than boys. I tell him there are some things you say to the guys, but when you talk to girls you just need to polish the rough bits off!"
"My family means everything to me. I teach my sons that women are the heart of the home, and they must be exalted. Without them, there is no family."
"I want him to know that being friends is the most important thing in any relationship. Start there, have fun, and be respectful."
"That women take a long time to get ready. A really long time. There's no point in losing your patience and temper."