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9 Things Feminist Moms Say To Their Kids When They See Slut-Shaming

There are a number of difficult moments for parents that will be hard (if not impossible) to prepare for. So much about motherhood is unknown (you know, kind of like life itself) and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it's impossible to properly prepare yourself for certain conversations and situations. However, if you're a feminist mom, you might just be better prepared for some parenting junctures than others.

One thing that almost no parent is automatically equipped to handle: helping their kids navigate the complicated, messy, uncomfortable, infuriating social constructs that have been built around the ideas of sex and sexual conduct, especially when it comes to how women are treated and what's expected of them in those areas. Like, we can barely get our own heads around that sh*tshow most days. Where do you even begin to help your kid understand it, and make peace with it...while also instilling in them a sense of responsibility, because after all, their generation is going to have to carry the torch at some point in terms of moving forward sexual politics to an even more progressed, accepting, tolerant, respectful, empowered place?

There are things feminist mothers do differently than other parents, that may better equip them to deal with the worst of the worst. From seeing someone fat-shame a complete stranger, to seeing someone slut-shame a woman, a feminist mother will (in all likelihood) know what to say, and just how to say it to provide her child with a learning opportunity that will assist them in the future. When you believe every gender is equal, and should be treated as such, it is easy to identify when someone is being mistreated (and it's impossible to not call it out and do something about it). Of course, that doesn't mean that a feminist mother is above making her fair share of mistakes, and a feminist mother doesn't have all the answers, either. But, their feminist beliefs will aid them in talking to their kids about the tough stuff, like slut-shaming.

So, with that in mind, here are nine things feminist moms say to their kid when they see slut-shaming.

"What's Happening Is Wrong."

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First and foremost, you need to let your kid know that what is happening, is wrong. It's not OK to shame anyone based on their sexual choices (or worse still, their assumed or perceived sexual choices). Ever. And labeling that behavior as "bad" will let your kid know that when they're sorting out right from wrong, slut-shaming goes firmly in the "wrong" pile.

"This Is A Form Of Bullying."

Make no mistake: Slut-shaming is a form of bullying. It's no different than calling someone a horrible name or some over-used four-letter word or hitting someone or kicking someone or any other form of bullying you can think of. Young adults and older women have killed themselves, because they've been shamed so relentlessly. Slut-shaming is serious and that seriousness needs to be explained to our kids, so that the vicious and dangerous cycle doesn't continue.

"It's Never OK To Judge Someone By Their Appearance."

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You know, it's the whole "don't judge a book by its cover" deal, and it's very true. Seeing someone being slut-shamed is essentially seeing someone being judged. Not OK.

"That's Talk About How That Woman Might Feel Right Now."

I'm not a huge fan of the "imagine if that was your mother, or your sister, or even you" conversation; Our capacity for human decency shouldn't hinge on whether or not we personally know someone else. You shouldn't have to know a person being shamed or being hurt or in pain in order to feel compassion for them. But, for a kid, it may help them understand the gravity of the situation by imagining just how the person being shamed is feeling.

"There's Nothing She Should Be Ashamed Of."

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The idea that a person should be shamed of how they look, how they're dressed, or what they can do with their body (especially when that act is completely natural and part of being human) is entirely societal. We've learned that sexuality is something to be ashamed of. We've learned that being sexual is something to hide. Let your kid know that sexuality is human, being sexual is natural, and there's nothing wrong with it, as long as it is safe and consensual.

"Do You Think This Would Be Happening If That Woman Identified As A Man?"

It's a valid question, and a great way to introduce the idea of gender inequality to your kid. Of course, depending on how old your kid is will determine whether or not they can understand why a man wouldn't be slut-shamed, but a woman is.

"Don't Ever Be Ashamed Of Your Body."

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That person is trying to shame someone for their body. It's important that you let your child know that regardless of shape, size, or anything (and everything) else, there's nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to your body and what you do with it. Your collarbones aren't shameful and your thighs aren't shameful and your shoulders aren't shameful. Nothing about you is shameful.

"What A Person Does With Their Body Is Their Business."

Let your kid know that it doesn't matter what anyone has to think or say about your body and/or what you do with your body. When it comes to most everything, but especially your wardrobe or your sexual activity, the only person who gets to make decisions about you, is you. And no one is entitled to know about your decisions, or your reasons for making them. You don't need to explain why you wear what you wear or why you kissed who you kiss or why you did anything in between or far beyond. Especially strangers.

Or They Just Say Something To The Person Doing The Slut-Shaming Instead

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The best thing you can do for your kid when you see someone slut-shaming someone else is set a positive example. Don't be a nonpartisan bystander, and sit idly by as a human being is made to feel less than. If it feels safe to do so (and make sure you have a conversation with your kid afterward about what makes a situation safe or unsafe to intervene in), speak up and say something, in front of your kid, so that they learn how to stand up for someone when they really need it. Obviously, that means you shouldn't be combative or violent (you know, ever) but you can say something and let the person being shamed — as well as your kid — know that slut-shaming isn't OK or to be tolerated.