Whether we like it or not, motherhood is riddled with awkward and uncomfortable situations. Whether it's the numerous times a stranger stares at your vagina, the nipple pain associated with breastfeeding, or the unsolicited advice you have to kindly but forcefully turn down, motherhood isn't always easy. Advocating for your kid can, at times, also be awkward and uncomfortable, but these also aren't moments a feminist mother is going to shy away from.
As feminism continues to gain social popularity anew, more and more parents (regardless of gender) are identifying as feminists. As a result, feminist parents are changing the parenting game, including the ways in which they advocate for their children. Whether it's standing behind their sons when they choose to wear pink, raising their daughters to stand up for themselves, or proudly teaching sex-positivity to their children, feminist parents aren't afraid to stand up for their children in any way they need.
Plus, let's face it: Being a feminist will give you plenty of opportunities to practice advocating long before your kids' interests enter the picture. Even though it's 2016, some people are still opposed to the idea of gender equality, and many feminists are met with opposition, often delivered in exceptionally nasty, crude, or even violent ways. Learning to combat that requires no small degree of strength and tenacity. So really, if anyone could shamelessly and successfully advocate for their child, it's a feminist mom.
With that in mind, here are nine ways feminist moms advocate for their kid's needs. There are plenty of battles worth fighting, and the ones that involve our children are most certainly among them them.
They Give Their Kid Room To Advocate For Themselves
A feminist mother believes that every voice matters, including the voices of her children. She's not going to think that her kid isn't capable just because he or she is a child. Instead, she's going to give her kid room to advocate for themselves in instances where they are able to do so. Self-advocacy is a crucial skill that every feminist is well aware of, has probably spent countless hours honing (out of necessity, probably), and undoubtably believes her children should learn and perfect as well.
They Speak Up When Necessary
A feminist mother isn't afraid to speak up and voice her concerns, especially if it means someone will (probably) call her "loud" or "rude" or the perennial favorite, a bitch. Often times, women are told they're loud when they're really just voicing an opinion, and that they're "emotional" when really they're just passionate about something, even if it's a very vital, important issue. Unlike men, women are expected to shrink themselves so as not to offend, but a feminist mother isn't going to buy into the patriarchal narrative that shames women for standing up for not only themselves, but for others.
They Support Their Kid's Wishes
A feminist mother isn't going to advocate for her child when her child doesn't need it. The first and most important part of advocating for your child is listening to them. A feminist mother is going to support her child in whatever he or she needs and wants (within reason, of course; it's not like a feminist mother is going to let her child run around with a pair of scissors just because they think it's fun.) But when her child voices his or her needs, a feminist mother is going to listen and respect her child's voice, instead of pushing a particular agenda on them, for her sake, or anyone else's.
They Don't Shy Away From Confrontation
Let's be real: A feminist mother is possibly no stranger to confrontation, even if just learning to effective manage it when someone else initiates it. I think we would all be hard pressed to find a feminist who hasn't been met by unbridled, even violent opposition by individuals who either don't understand what feminism actually is, or don't like the idea of losing their social and cultural privilege in the name of gender equality. Having met and overcome such opposition, a feminist mother isn't going to be afraid of confrontation when it comes to speaking up for her children.
They'll Present Facts
When speaking up for herself and/or others, a woman often feels like she must first prove herself worthy of the voice she inherently has and has a right to use. Whether it's dressing down her femininity so she's "taken seriously," or presenting a relentless list of facts that someone couldn't possibly argue against, women are put in unique, ridiculous situations that require them to prove themselves before they're granted the respect that men are automatically granted merely be existing. The upside to this? Well, we're all really good at researching and becoming authorities on anything we feel strongly about. Because god knows, our authority will be challenged. It's unfortunate but it's nice to be able to take away some badass research skills. Like, we'll put even the most seasoned of PhD candidates to shame.
They Get/Stay Informed
And because feminists are so damn good at researching facts and presenting them, feminists get and stay informed about the things that matter to them most. We're constantly up-to-date, ever-vigilant about the trials and tribulations our kids could or could not be facing, so that when they come to us and ask for help, we won't just be ready — we'll be able to advocate for them in a way that is beneficial and effective.
They Find/Assemble Allies
A feminist mom isn't going to try to fight every single battle on her own, partially because she shouldn't have to, and partially because every feminist knows the importance of having allies. People are easily persuaded and/or come to their senses when a wider range of individuals agree on the same idea, principle, or concept. Male allies can be vital in the progression of feminism (when they're not screwing it up and/or making it about themselves, which sometimes happens) and that acute knowledge can aid a mother when she advocates for her children. Let's face it, sometimes two voices are better than one.
They'll Find Someone Else, If Necessary
If advocating for her child continuously falls on deaf and defiant ears, then a feminist mother isn't about ending the conversation altogether; she'll look somewhere else. Sometimes, simply put, you can't fix stupid, and a feminist mother knows that even when you don't want to, you have to pick and choose your battles. Some people simply aren't going to believe in gender equality, and some people simply aren't going to believe that, as your kid's mother, you know what is best. Onto the next one.
They're Not Afraid To Rely On Themselves
Last but never least, a feminist mother isn't afraid to rely on herself when it comes to advocating for her children. While she shouldn't be alone in her endeavor to provide her child with safety, security, love, empathy, and respect, sometimes she just might be, and in those moments, she won't shy away from standing alone and standing up for what is right.