I love my mom. In fact, I have never met anyone who doesn't love her. She's big-hearted and warm and smart and compassionate. She is also a die-hard feminist. This last point, in particular, fills me with pride (and relief), because I believe that my children need a feminist grandma. Actually, I think a feminist grandma is the person everyone needs in their life.
In my experience, grandmas are pretty cool. They're like moms but with fewer rules and better access to sugar. But throwing feminism into the mix is like Emeril Legasse throwing extra seasoning into a recipe and screaming "BAM!" I mean, if that doesn't make the whole thing more wonderful and delicious, I don't know what does. A feminist grandma means that she will move forward in her important role (because grandmas are important!) using her influence to help ensure that her grandchildren understand the importance of equality, respect, and consent. She will understand and encourage kids to look extra hard at the status quo and never settle for the answer "just because." Best of all, she's not going to stand opposed to you doing any of this either.
Here are just some of the many advantages of having a feminist grandma in your life, especially as the mother of that grandmother's grandchildren.
Because You'll Always Have Backup
So I don't know if you've noticed at all, but the world can be a deeply disheartening, very misogynistic place. Trying to be feminist and raise your children to be feminist can be an uphill battle, sort of a "you against the world" situation. So it's nice to have someone in your corner who is cheering you on and backing you up on the values you're trying to instill in your children. They're going to need all the positive feminist role models they can get.
Because She Doesn't Promote Gender Normative B.S.
You don't have to worry about Nana telling your daughter, "Oh you don't want that boy toy!" or swaying your son away from all things pink and traditionally feminine. Cool feminist grammy DGAF about these ridiculous, illogical, and totally made up rules. In fact she might just be the kind of awesome lady who actively seeks encourage subversion of those "rules."
Because She's Not Going To Make You Feel Guilty About Working
It is not uncommon (unfortunately) for a woman to be shamed for working after she has kids, particularly by folks from older generations (and socioeconomic groups) for whom such a thing was not considered appropriate. But Feminist Granny is cool with whatever choice you've made and doesn't pretend your economic reality is anything other than what it is. She's also cool if you choose to stay home. Or work from home. Or work part-time. Basically, whatever you decide to do or have to do she's going to support you in it because, duh, of course she is.
Because She's Probably An O.G. Activist
Lots of women come to feminism later in their lives and we welcome and embrace them (I myself wasn't comfortable with the term until my early 20s because reasons I guess). Maybe your mom and/or mother-in-law is a latecomer to the cause (or isn't down with "the f-word" just yet) and, hey, that's fine. We all learn and grow. But sometimes, perhaps even often, feminist grandmas were first feminist moms and feminist young women. In such cases, it's fine to sit by the fire and listen to them talk about how far we've come because of their refusal to sit back and accept the status quo.
Because She Doesn't Care If Your Kid Is Always Naked
Rather than clutch the pearls, she will laugh and talk about how you were always running around naked as a jay bird when you were little, too. No body shame in the feminist gram-gram game.
Because She's Encouraging & Supportive
Empowered women empower women, as they say, and your feminist mother figure knows that she has to pass that along to you in order for you to pass that along to your littles. I mean, how else are we going to complete our not-so-super-secret goal of feminist world domination?! MWA HA HA HA HA!
(Actually, it's not sinister: it's basically just a bunch of people who treat each other fairly and aren't hung up on harmful beauty standards or other people's sexual preferences, but some people act like my feminist utopia is going to have gulags for men and I'm tired of trying to convince them otherwise, so I'm just rolling with it at this point to mess with them.)
Because She Gives Fun Feminist Gifts
Grandmas give gifts. That's basically just a rule of nature. And while you don't want to completely spoil a child, this is just one of those things that parents are going to have budge on a teensy bit. So it's nice to have a feminist grandma in the mix because those gifts can be kickass books about famous activists, toys that are educational and promote social and emotional development, and, yes, even very small pussy hats.
Because She Understands When You Need To Vent Your Righteous Feminist Rage
There are some who say preaching to the choir is useless. Clearly those people never heard of the concept of a rally. But even if speaking into a sympathetic ear isn't productive, it's nevertheless really cathartic.
Because It's Usually Pretty Cool To Have An Opinionated Lady In Your Life
Like, OK, not always because, sometimes, there's only room for one opinion in your already chaotic life. But under the best of circumstances opinionated ladies make for lively conversation and encourage you to think deeply about your opinions, thoughts, and feelings.
Because Your Kids Are Legacy Feminists
Three generations and counting.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.