Being a parent means having to be on top of what’s going on in your kids lives from the moment they’re born up until they’re ready to fly the coop. It means being endlessly responsible for their wellbeing, and for molding them into the best possible adults they can be. That said (and perhaps I’m a bit biased, but) there are specific advantages to having a feminist mom. Having a parent who believes in equality and speaking up when they see injustice is a definite pro, but also, there are certain questions feminist parents aren't afraid to ask their kids — the important, sometimes overlooked, difficult questions.
Growing up, there were many subjects in my household that were incredibly taboo. We didn’t speak about sex (and still don’t). We didn’t speak about diversity; things like race or gender or class were never discussed at my parents' dinner table. And no matter how many times I came home late or slept in with an obvious hangover, my family never asked me about drug or alcohol use. Because of this, I never felt at liberty to discuss any problems or questions I had about any of these subjects. In retrospect, I wish my folks would have talked to me about these things the way I would talk to any of my fellow feminist mom friends. Now that I’m a parent, though, I definitely plan on asking the kinds of questions others might be afraid to ask.
What Pronouns Do You Want Me To Use For You?
It’s important to ask our kids early on if they’d prefer we refer to them with a different pronoun than what we’ve assigned up to that point.
Do You Understand The Difference Between Sex And Gender?
As feminist moms, we want our kids to have a clear understanding that genitals do not dictate gender.
Is Gender A Factor In Who You’re Attracted To?
Rather than asking if they have a crush on anyone in particular, we might want to simply ask what matters to them in regards to who they’re attracted to.
What Do You Think Of Me As A Parent?
I’ll probably ask this one a few times. It’d be nice to get some feedback because I respect my son’s opinion, even if it may hurt in the future (damn teenagers).
What Are Your Beliefs, If Any?
As an agnostic/atheist feminist mom, I plan to teach my son about different beliefs/religions and also about not having any, and will eventually ask him what he’s decided is the truth for him.
Have You Ever Been Bullied? What Do You Think About Bullying?
An important way to begin the conversation about bullying and to ensure he knows that I am always available to discuss these matters.
How Do You Feel About The Dress Code At School?
Once in school, I’ll definitely ask what my son thinks about the dress code (and whether he notices any discrepancies as to whether they are sexist in any way).
Do You Ever Disagree With Your Teachers? If So, On What And Why?
It’s important to know what’s going on in the classroom, especially if my child has a reason to disagree with the lesson. Maybe they’re teaching him that Christopher Columbus was actually a wonderful explorer (feminist moms would likely disagree), and if he finds a fault in this, I’d like to know how he’s handling it (whether he’s speaking up in class or avoiding the work). This way, if necessary, I can always arrange to speak with his teachers and/or give him tips on how to get through the lessons while still knowing the truth.
Who Do You Think Should Be President And Why? Or, General Questions About Politics
Why shouldn’t we get kids thinking about important things like politics?
What Do You Think About The Rules We Have In Our House?
If my kid feels like some rules are pointless or too rigid, I’d like to hear his reasons and have a discussion about them.
What Did You Think About What We Just Saw On The News?
My child won’t live in a bubble where he doesn’t hear or see news ever, so it’s important to know how certain news stories make him feel. Did something upset him? Did it make him question things like police authority or foreign policy or humanity in general?
General Questions About Drugs And Alcohol
Keeping the lines of communication open about drug use and alcohol use is important for any parent, so it’s no surprise that feminist parents would want to make sure to stay real about this sort of thing. It can help prevent your children from succumbing to peer pressure, while also educating them on the realities of drugs and drug use versus what they’re told in a simple D.A.R.E. class
Is There Anyone You Don’t Like? If So, Why?
Somewhat tied into the possibility of bullying, but also simply to get an idea of whether he has unsubstantiated reasons for disliking someone (say, because they wear certain clothes or listen to a certain type of music or speak a certain way). I hope that I raise my son to embrace diversity, and one way of doing this is to frequently check in on how he feels about his peers.
Do You Know What Consent Is? Do You Ever Feel Like Anyone Is Trying To Push You To Do Things You Don’t Want To Do?
One major topic of conversations I’ll be having with my son is consent. I want to make sure he knows what it is, why it’s important, how to obtain it, how to say no, and what to do if he sees someone else’s consent being taken away/taken advantage of.
General Questions About Sex
Feminist moms are definitely not afraid to ask their kids about sex. Questions along this line would include: Are you thinking about having sex yet? Have you had sex yet? Do you know where to get contraceptives (or would you like me to get some for you)? And so on.
...And Also About Pornography And Masturbation
Have you watched pornography? Do you know that real life is not really like that? And while I wouldn’t ask them if they masturbate, I’d at least ask them if they knew it was a completely normal and healthy thing to do.
How Do You Feel About Your Body? What Do You Like Or Dislike?
In order to instill a positive body image in my son, I want him to be familiar with his body, to feel comfortable talking about it, and to let me know if there’s anything he for some reason doesn’t like about it, so that we can discuss how he came to that conclusion before it becomes some overwhelming point of hatred for him. I also want him to be able to praise his body, and this is a good way of doing so.
Are Mealtimes Enjoyable For You?
I want my son to have a positive relationship with food. It’s very easy to fall into disordered eating (I myself have struggled with on and off emotional binge eating when anxious and stressed). If he tells me that meals are not enjoyable, perhaps we can find a reason why and change things around so that they are better suited to his needs.
Do You Know What Privilege Is?
Discussions of privilege with my white-passing, half-Latino son are going to be very necessary over the years. I don’t want him to feel like it’s a terrible thing that he just so happens to have privilege, but rather to understand the advantages it gives him, and how he can utilize those to help POC and others who have been marginalized.
How Did That Movie/TV Show/Song Make You Feel?
While I know he’s going to end up watching things on his own, while we watch programs together, I want to be able to discuss the plot points from time to time, especially if there are lessons involved, or things that might be problematic. Feminist moms will usually take the time to ask their kids how these programs made them feel, what they thought of them, etc.
And Finally... Do You Want To Ask Me Anything?
Seriously, I don’t think my parents ever gave me the chance to openly ask them questions. Definitely needs to be done.