In recent years, feminism seems to have caught fire. I mean, people are no longer afraid to talk about feminism or identify as a feminist and (surprisingly) many people are applauded for publicly referring to themselves as a feminist. Once portrayed as a club that reserved its memberships for women that swore their complete and utter hatred for men, women and men have since disproved the previous unfortunate myths about feminism. Along with many other reasons why this culture shift has occurred, feminist parents inspire their kids to be better and are actively showing others just how beneficial it is to believe and fight for gender equality.
Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people who believe feminism is all about placing "opposing genders" on opposing sides of a very segregational fence. Feminists are still having to fight that unnecessary, fictional stigma. But really you guys, feminism is just about obtaining equality for everyone, opportunity for everyone, and fighting fierce injustices placed on everyone. The goal of feminism is ultimately to put us all on the same side of an equal and accepting fence; not to fight the power, but rather to empower those fighting against the aged corruption that so many people still face on a daily basis.
So how do we solve this conundrum? How do we combat an outdate way of thinking? How do we reconsider our views of feminism? The answer is actually quite simple (free of any abstract thinking or head scratching) as it only requires a bit of common sense: it all starts at home.
If we want the next generation of humans to be decent people, then we need to show them decent examples. Hatred is a learned concept and ignorance is one of its (many unfortunate) side effects. If we ever want to wipe out the sort of prejudice and hatred that breeds division and discrimination, we've got to start by being exemplary role models for our kids to mold their own opinions after.
It is our job as feminist parents to lay down the brick work that inspires our kids to be better people and to create a better future for everyone. So, with that in mind, here are 10 ways any feminist parent can inspire their kids to be better people.
We Build People Up Instead Of Tearing Them Down
Feminist parents don't need to talk down to others in order to make themselves feel big. This includes the times when we're talking to our children. We don't need to yell or belittle or embarrass our kids, in order to exercise and establish our authority.
A little healthy competition is fine but we draw the line at the disparaging trash talk. The world just spins a little better when people encourage one another to be better, not when they push people to the brink of their own sanity by minimizing their worth.
We Get Involved
You don't have to be financially loaded or have tons of free time on your hands (those two pretty much contradict one another anyway, but you get the picture) in order to get involved in various causes. Sometimes all it takes it starting a conversation that leads to greater ideas, intrigue, and action.
Getting involved doesn't have to involve hours of labor (although, yes, that is great and wonderful if you are able to give those hours) in order to make a difference. Even just a few hours spent volunteering at a homeless shelter or a women's shelter (or with any other cause you deem worthy) is all it takes to help someone out.
Feminist parents remember that little eyes are constantly watching us and absorbing every little thing that we say and do (they are sponges, after all), so it's important for us to teach them about serving and helping others and expecting nothing in return.
We Teach Our Kids About Consent And Boundaries
Not only do we teach our children that their body is their body, (and that what they choose to do with their body is up to them) we also stress that other boys and girls have their own rights to their own bodies, too. We teach them that there are boundaries ( and they should never be crossed without explicit consent) when it comes to anyone's body. We teach them that consent can be withdrawn at any time. We teach them that it's not okay to assume that they have permission to do anything with anyone, without consent.
We Speak Up
If we see or hear something that is utterly wrong or hurtful or just the most rude, we don't just sit on the sidelines and hope that someone else will step in. Nope, we are the ones that come along and step in when it's necessary. Our kids will learn that being a bully is never a good or funny thing, because it always comes at the expense of someone else's feelings, and that if they see another kid being picked on it's important to step in and stand up for that kid.
We Encourage Our Kids To Be Who They Want To Be
A feminist parent isn't concerned with whether or not their boys wear blue or their girls wear pink. We're not worried or concerned or embarrassed if our boys don't want to play football and our girls don't want to wear tutus. We encourage our kids to be whoever and whatever it is that they want to be, instead of requiring them to abide by outdated, gender-specific stereotypes that pigeonhole them into a predetermined identity that they may feel uncomfortable or awkward or unhappy with.
If our boys want to be ballerinas or makeup artists, and our girls want to be pitchers or engineers or senators, that's totally fine with us. Whatever it is that lights up their spirit and puts a smile on their face is exactly what they should do. It's their job to choose their own path, not ours.
We Express Our Feelings
If we are happy or mad or sad, we do our best to use our words to express those emotions in a safe and respectful manner. We can't just shut down and lock ourselves away every time we get upset (and we can't explode and act inappropriately either) because it teaches our children that they should be ashamed of how they feel, or out of control when they don't like what they're feeling.
Feelings are hard to navigate sometimes (okay, most of the time) but it's important that we try to sort through them. There's nothing wrong with being angry or weepy and it's definitely not something that anyone should be ashamed of.
We Continually Educate Ourselves And Our Children
Everyone is acutely aware that social media is flooded with opinions. There wouldn't be anything wrong with that if these outbursts and rants were backed by facts and education. You don't have to have a Harvard degree to realize that Donald Trump is a sexist and a racist, for example. Honestly, a little research (well, it doesn't take much research at all in this case) would reveal that in a few seconds.
There are plenty of individuals who want to either complain or blindly regurgitate something they've heard or read, without taking the time to research. Feminist parents live on the facts; they don't debate with theories or rumors, and they most certainly don't choose sides based on popularity or vulgarity.
As a feminist parent, we care about the merit behind people's claims. By teaching our children to educate themselves and know their facts before they open their mouths, we're aiding in raising a much smarter, more productive, more inclusive and understanding generation.
Even if two feminists fall in love and vow to spend the rest of their lives devoted to one another, that doesn't mean that they're incapable of functioning without their partner. Feminist parents and couples love and respect each other, sure, but we're also fully functional on our own and respect (as well as encourage) independence within a committed relationship.
Showing our kids that it's okay to march to the beat of their own drum, to branch out on their own ventures, and to not rely on another person for their overall well-being is kind of a big deal to us. It's important that they see their parents functioning both as a unit and as individuals, because no two people will ever be exactly the same. No two people will always have the same exact opinions or aspirations and that is completely okay because we can still all live together and thrive in our diversity.
Our kids will know that being independent is not something that they should ever have to apologize for.
We Respect The Opinions Of Others
Look, we're all different and it's probably safe to say that there are more daily disagreements than concurrences among the vast variations of opinions floating around, and that's okay. We don't all have to agree in order to get along peacefully.
Our diversity is what makes us so great, and truthfully, we could all stand to learn a few lessons from one another. Feminist parents know how important it is to respect the opinions of others. Just because we don't agree with what someone else has to say, doesn't necessarily mean that that person is automatically wrong and we're automatically right. There's always room for personal improvement, and that usually comes at the hands of a length, in-depth discussion with someone who views the world differently than we do. In other words, agreeing to disagree is a perfectly acceptable conclusion sometimes.
We Push For The Equality Of Everyone
Feminism isn't just about female empowerment. Yes, that is a great thing and a super worthy cause but feminism has roots that reach much deeper than just women's rights.
Feminism is about the empowerment of everyone that has been slighted by social injustices. It's about equal treatments and opportunities for every gender, race, religion, and class of people. It's a feminist parent's goal to teach our kids that we are all born the same and that we should all be allowed the same rights and opportunities throughout our lives, no matter the color of our skin or religious affiliation or place of origin.
The mistreatment of anyone that is based on biased and prejudiced assumptions is never okay. Our society functions so much better when we stand together.