wavebreak3/Fotolia

10 Ways Feminist Moms Always Have Their Kids' Backs

By
Share
Ad failed to load

Any mother worthy of the title wants to be there for her children. I like to think that most mothers will, ultimately, stand by their children. But I know that's not always the case. And while the moniker "feminist" isn't some sort of virtue guard that keeps a parent from screwing up, I think there are important ways feminist moms have their kids' backs that, perhaps, others don't.

A lot of this ultimately boils down to the idea that feminists are, by nature, roundly suspicious of a number of societal norms. Not all societal norms, mind you. I mean, pretty much all the feminist I know are decidedly anti-puppy kicking and murder. I'm more talking about the societal norms that can't be explained by anything other than the sentence, "Well that's just the way it is," or those that hinge on the concept of shame in some way or another.

Now a lot of people, good people, have more of a "go with the flow" attitude about these aforementioned cultural norms. "Things are a certain way," they figure, "and society has held together more or less, so there must be a good reason for it all, right?" So when a child bumps against those norms, a lot of parents will take society's side. "Boys don't wear dresses." "Girls have to cover up their legs so that people don't get 'the wrong idea.'" "Don't rock the boat."

Ad failed to load

It's not always malevolent or villainous. Very often, these are acts of love (if misguided love), born of a desire to teach their child to fit in, learn respect for authority, and, in theory, be happy. This also isn't to say that feminist moms back their kids up in doing whatever the hell they want. We have boundaries just like everyone else. But we will have our children's back in some of these important moments:

Ad failed to load

They Will Agree That School Dress Codes Are Almost Always Sexist Nonsense

Giphy

You can talk about dress codes as being about "respect" and "teaching kids about appropriate attire for a professional setting" all you want, but the truth of the matter is that these rules disproportionately pertain to feminine clothing and therefore disproportionately affect girls. This sends a whole lot of crappy messages to kids: female bodies are, in and of themselves, inappropriate in ways male bodies are not; girls are responsible for not "distracting" the boys (and boys aren't responsible at all); and a boy's education is more important than a girl's. And don't even get my started on the dress codes that dictate that boys must not wear feminine clothing.

The day my daughter's school calls me to let me know she's in trouble for wearing leggings or a halter top is the day I show up to my daughter's school wearing exactly the same to argue about why such rules are wrong-minded and chauvinistic.

They'll Support Any Extracurricular Activity Their Kids Want To Do

Giphy

Son wants to do ballet? Daughter wants to join the wrestling team? Cool! Feminist moms aren't going to tell their children "no," or even fretfully and passive aggressively try to dissuade them over time, from engaging in a safe activity they've shown an interest in. Kids can play how they want to play and pursue the interests of their choice, whether or not the choice is a typical or "traditional" one.

And, once again, anyone who has a problem with that will find no quarter in trying to appeal to mom.

They Respect Their Kids' Chosen Pronouns

Giphy

Look, I understand that when someone you love, someone you thought you knew so intimately, informs you that you've been getting a fundamental aspect of their identity wrong, it can be tough. But you know what's tougher? Being trans, so maybe making a trans person's coming out and transition about your feelings isn't the way to go.

So if a feminist mom's child tells her, "Actually, mom, I know you see me as your daughter, but I'm actually your son and I'd like it if you used male pronouns," a feminist mom will respect her child's truth and honor it. That's not to say someone who identifies as a feminist is always going to "get it right" or won't be challenged, but she's going to learn and grow in support of her child (and always have their back).

Ad failed to load

They Let Their Kid Play With Any Toy

Giphy

"I see little Spencer is playing with Barbies" a concerned family member might say. "Don't you think you should take them away? Or at least discourage them? That's a girl toy!"

"No such thing!" a feminist mom will declare. She will then either take out an old school boom box and start blaring something by Bikini Kill or "Flawless," or begin a power point presentation gender as a social construct.

They Won't Make Their Kids Give Hugs

Giphy

Some adults believe children owe them affection. Feminists moms do not. Intimacy is never something someone can demand of you — not a husband, girlfriend, boyfriend, random dude on the subway, or even Aunt Carmella — and a feminist mom will go to bat for you if anyone says otherwise. This can be awkward and uncomfortable and may even result in some hurt feelings, but the stakes are too high to let this get in the way. Because there are two vital lessons here: only you get to say what you do with your body, and your mom is someone who will stand up for your right to assert that.

They Will Never Suggest A Weight Loss Diet

Giphy

Healthy eating? Regular exercise? Sure! These are good things that make kids healthy and strong. But they will be done for their own sake— not to get "skinny" or "bikini ready" or for any other aesthetic purpose.

If a kid grows up and decides they want their body to look a certain way through diet and/or exercise and/or plastic surgery, fine. That's their choice. This seed, however, will never be planted by a feminist mom. She has no time for body shaming.

Ad failed to load

Their Support Is Not Contingent Upon Their Child's Sexual Orientation

Giphy

Straight, gay, bi, ace, or pansexual (or anything in between), a feminist mom is like a honey badger: she doesn't give a sh*t. Her child's attraction (or lack thereof) is none of her damn business.

They''ll Be Proud When Their Kids Stand Up & Speak Out

Giphy

Feminist moms are well aware that what's right is not always popular. By encouraging their kids to stand up for their beliefs, they are aware this may sometimes put them at odds with the powers that be (schools, coaches, friends, other parents, etc). But a feminist mom will help her child navigate that line between following the rules, questioning them, and deciding when it is necessary or appropriate to break them. Because they know that, yeah, a lot of rules are complete bullsh*t, and they want to encourage their kids to spot and shovel bullsh*t as a general life skill.

They Won't Shame Their Child For Masturbating

Giphy

Because it's a perfectly normal, natural, healthy urge. There's nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, feminist moms know that those in glass houses should not throw stones.

She may tell her child that it's a private activity, though. So please stop playing with your vulva in the living room, dear.

Ad failed to load

They Won't Make Their Child Perform Their Gender

Giphy

In case you couldn't tell, this is sort of the general theme of the list, but I think this bears mentioning in and of itself, because it's important.

As brilliant gender muse, RuPaul says, "You're born naked and the rest is drag." So much of what we consider to be the natural order of things is actually just systems upon systems of oppression intentionally designed to keep certain people down (like... pretty much everyone who isn't an able-bodied cis, heterosexual white dude of a certain socioeconomic standing). Feminist moms want to dismantle this idea, starting with unburdening (or, better yet, working to never burden) their children with these stupid ideas insofar as it is possible.

In short, feminist moms want their children to know that when they struggle against society, they've always got someone in their corner.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making …
By Liza Wyles

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack