It (hopefully) goes without saying that anyone raising a son should be stressing a pretty high level of respect for women. (And yes, for all people, but let's be real, men are automatically granted respect and full personhood by society in general, so we don't really have to go out of our way as parents to teach our kids how to respect men in the same way we do women because they're already growing up in a world where men are people and women are pretty toys. Glad we got that out of the way.) The point is, Millennial moms care about this super important issue maybe harder than any other group, and they've really run with it. In fact, Millennial feminists are largely making it a priority to raise their sons to respect women, in part because, as hard as we try to strive for it, respect is still something that is hard to come by as adult women. Like, weren't our moms and grandmothers fighting this fight for us? How do we still have so far to go? And thus, our dedication to making sure the next generation is made up on as many women-respecting men as possible. Because, seriously, enough already.
Also, Millennial parents aren't afraid to be feminists, regardless of their genders, and are equally unafraid to raise their sons to be feminists.
The ways millennial feminists are raising their sons to respect women is a collection of little things that, together, make up the very big picture.
1. They Share Household Responsibilities With Their Sons
Instead of leaving the Swiffering or dish washing to either parent or guardian, Millennial feminists share the housework with their sons, showing them that such activities are most definitely not strictly reserved for women.
2. They Promote Female Friendships
By promoting friendships with girls for their sons, parents are making sure their kids are exposed to the idea of girls as more than cute faces and pretty dresses.
3. There Are No More Gendered Phrases Used In Homes Run By Millennial Feminists
Raising sons who respect women is something that Millennial feminists do by being mindful of their vocabulary. There's no talk of opening that jar of pickles "like a man" or "throwing like a girl." It's not actually super hard to give up ignorant, outdated phrases like these, but the meanings behind them tend to stick if you adopt sayings like these at all. I don't think I've ever heard my husband insinuate that he is stronger than me simply because he's a man in front of our son or otherwise. I guess he just knows better.
4. They Lead By Example
Millennial feminist parents not only preach what their sons should be doing in regards to respecting women, but they do them too.
5. They Show Their Sons The Many Different Roles Women Can And Do Have
You know, like the ones that don't include walking around in dresses and bows, blissfully unaware of the world and its infinite possibilities. Feminist moms make sure that their sons are raised routinely seeing women in a variety of roles and powerful positions, and that's it's just normal to them. Because it is normal. Seriously.
6. Teaching Open Communication And Listening Are Parts Of Everyday Life
Most parents, ideally, aim to keep the lines of communication open on a 24/7 basis, ready to field any of the more important questions. Millennial feminist parents are onboard with this, and moreover, are using that policy of open communication to take any opportunity to teach their sons lessons about treating women with respect.
7. They Show Their Sons How To Express Real Emotions
One of the worst (read: most annoying) misconceptions among males is that "real" men or "manly" men aren't as such if they dare to shed tears or even show any indication that they are sensitive to the feelings of women. Millennial parents raise their sons to show compassion and sensitivity just as much as they would raise their daughters to. Because we're humans, not robots, and knowing how to feel your own feelings means you're more likely to identify with and respect the feelings of others.
8. They Scoot Over Dr. Seuss To Add Some Additional Literature
My son's bookshelf is filled with almost all of the tongue twisty Dr. Seuss books of my own childhood. But on the other side of his Superman piggy bank divider of the long line of books, sit his board books about The Boy With Pink Hair and My Princess Boy. Adding more thought-provoking books to their kids' libraries early on enables Millennial parents to get them thinking about diversity and the equality of genders right away.
9. Millennial Feminists Don't Judge Women Themselves
Remember how I said to lead by example? Yeah, that goes along with Millennial parents not judging other women, so that their sons don't turn around and try to copy that sort of behavior.
10. They Teach Social Manners From The Very Beginning
You know, as in teaching their sons the importance of respect as soon as they're old enough to say "thank you." Even if it comes out in a garbled "dank oooh." But along with all of the more common social manners that Millennial feminist parents teach their sons, come the necessity of the respect to be given to women early on, setting the groundwork for these sons of theirs to be feminists too.