There are multiple ways that feminist mothers parent differently than other mothers. From teaching body positivity to deciding to be a sex-positive parent, feminist mothers are altering what many would consider "normal parenting tactics" for the benefit of their children and society in general. How feminist mothers talk about gender to their peers, their children, and even themselves, is another way that they're changing parental discourse, and raising a future generation that will be as diverse as it is inclusive.
While many of us grew up in a time when boys were supposed to "act like boys" and girls were supposed to "act like girls" and transgender individuals were shunned and ridiculed instead of understood and accepted, we're working tirelessly to make sure that our children, don't. If our sons want to wear pink, we emphatically let them. If our daughters want to become scientists, we support their endeavors instead of trying to convince them to simply get married and have children. We celebrate when our sons wear dresses to school and we compliment our daughters on more than just their appearance.
Feminist mothers are not tied down to the stereotypes that society places on gender, and we certainly don't believe that gender is a binary that cannot be broken. So, with that in mind, here are 7 things feminist mothers refuse to say to their kids about gender, because times are changing, and we're proud to be facilitating it.
"Gender Stereotypes Are Factual"
A feminist mother would never tell her kids that gender stereotypes are factual, let alone that their kids should adhere to them. A feminist mom wouldn't tell her daughter that she needs to play with dolls just because she's a girl, and she wouldn't tell her son that he needs to like trucks and violence just because he's a boy. The stereotypes our society has created to try and describe and/or determine gender, are nothing more than the byproduct of total laziness and a limited perception of a number of things involving identity and social function of identity. We want people to be easily identifiable, so we don't have to invest time and energy into getting to know them. We want to look at someone, and assume — based on their gender, because we think that's easy for us to gauge and we don't want to work hard to understand who someone actually is — that they act this way or that way. It's laziness, not reality.
"You Need To Adhere To The Gender You Were Assigned"
Just because a feminist mother says she had a boy or a girl, doesn't mean that she is going to force her child to identify as male or female later on in life. If a feminist mother sees her child struggling with the gender they were assigned at birth, and voicing their true identity, they will be nothing but supportive in helping their child be their authentic self.
"Gender Determines Your Personality"
Your gender isn't going to be the deciding factor when it comes to what kind of clothes you like, what kind of movies you enjoy or what kind of food you crave. If anything, it's the stereotypes surrounding our gender (and the social pressures to adhere to gender norms and gender identifiers) that help shape our likes and dislikes when/if they're based on gender. It's the expectations placed on us due to our gender, not our gender itself, that could impact our personalities.
"Gender Is Broken Down Into Two Choices Only: Boy And Girl"
A feminist mother doesn't believe that gender is binary, and certainly wouldn't teach that belief to her children. Instead, a feminist mom would teach that gender is a fluid social construct; that an individual, while in the course of figuring out who they truly are, might find that they fall on any of an infinitely number of points on a scale between man and woman; and that the whole business of assigning gender was mostly created for the purpose of labeling individuals, and is in no way a part of our identity that we cannot change or even simply explore.
"Gender Determines Your Sexuality"
Gender and sexuality are not one in the same, and one does not determine another. An individual's gender plays no part in their sexuality, and a person's gender can't give someone else insight into their sexuality, their likes, their dislikes, or anything else, for that matter. A feminist mother knows that gender and sexuality are mutually exclusive, and she won't force a specific sexuality on her kids, based on their gender (or anything at all).
"You Need To Dress For Your Gender"
A feminist mother isn't going to dictate her children's wardrobe based on their gender. If her son decideds he wants to wear pink, you won't here her say, "But, pink is for girls." If her daughter wants to wear blue and a baseball cap, you will never hear her say, "Well, dear, that's a boy outfit." A feminist mom will let her children wear whatever it is they want to wear, regardless and in spite of "gender specific" fashion requirements.
"One Gender Is Better Than Another"
A feminist mother would never tell her children that one gender, or any gender, is better than another. Men are not better than women and cisgender people are not better than transgender people. A person's gender doesn't determine their worth, and it definitely doesn't place one individual above another. Although our society clearly doesn't agree so much of the time, and gives multiple benefits to some gender identities over others, a feminist mother will work to undo the dangerous lesson still being taught to children by reminding them that a person's gender is theirs to claim, ours to respect, and doesn't inherently imply anything else about them. Period.