Why #Resistance Is The Most Important Thing I Want My Daughter To Learn This Women's History Month

Ad failed to load

Oftentimes when I look at my 3-month-old daughter, my heart simultaneously swells with joy and fear. I am mesmerized by this beautiful innocent: a tiny person who isn't yet acquainted with the realities of anger or hatred or cruelty. But I know that it's only a matter of time before she grows older; before she's presented with the kind of inequality and prejudice most women and femmes the world over undoubtedly face. During Women's History Month, I am especially reminded of the importance of teaching my daughter resistance, lessons I hope will affect not only her relationship to herself, but the ways in which she treats and fights for other women and marginalized groups.

Dictionaries would define resistance as the "refusal to accept or comply with something." It is a highly politicized term, one regularly used as a name for anti-establishment principals, whenever the "establishment" is greatly failing minority communities (as it so often does). It is a term that comes to my mind when I contemplate how women still do not possess full autonomy over their bodies; or when I recall that we continue to make 79 cents to a man's dollar. And that things are all the worse for women of color, trans women, indigenous women, and mothers.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Ad failed to load

According to the Women's History Month (WHM) website, WHM is meant to be a time to commemorate and encourage "the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in American history." I fully plan to introduce my daughter, Luna, to the works of great American women. I hope she'll read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, so that she may be mindful of the intersection of girlhood with race; so that she may be cautious of the ways that simply being born a woman puts her at increased risk of trauma and sexual violence. She will also know Ruth Bader Ginsburg's name: a woman who has long supported pro-choice legislation.

No matter how many powerful women I put on her radar, however, I need her to know that the fight is not over. Not even close.

But I also hope to introduce her to women who've greatly impacted this world far beyond American soil. The United States is not the nucleus of Earth, after all, and I want her to know that as well. I will buy her Rigoberta Menchú's autobiography so that she may learn about the navigation of feminism and indigenousness directly from a fearless voice in indigenous women's rights. I will show her the paintings of Frida Kahlo, who made political statements with her artwork, queerness, disabilities, and unibrow alike. I will hope that Janet Mock's autobiography teaches her a little something about the importance of ensuring one's feminism is intersectional, of carving out much-needed space for transgender women in our actions, speech, and overall politics. All of these humans are individuals who should help teach Luna to listen and fight accordingly.

Ad failed to load

No matter how many powerful women I put on her radar, however, I need her to know that the fight is not over. Not even close.

David McNew/Getty Images News/Getty Images

My daughter was born in 2016, the same year that Brock Turner was released from prison after serving three months of a six-month sentence because a judge felt that any more time "would have a severe impact on him." Nevermind the severe impact his sexual assault had on his victim, who also had to face a lengthy and highly-publicized trial filled with folks who largely tried to deny or belittle what had happened to her. My daughter was born the same year that the first black president of the United States learned his role would be handed over to a president endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan.

Ad failed to load

She was only 1 month old when we learned that that same president was appointing a known white nationalist CEO as his chief strategist, a role rooted in providing counsel to the president on all critical matters. A man with a penchant for comparing the work of Planned Parenthood to the Holocaust via a far-right website. She was also born the same year that it became painfully clear that women are still not meant to have sex for reasons other than reproduction. At least, not if they don't want to face the consequences. At the same time, however, she was born in an era when women are expected to be conventionally beautiful (if not sexy) above being intelligent or compassionate or brave.

A child who will never know a life without the internet, Luna arguably has more inclusive, progressive, radical work and art and words at her disposal than any generation before her.

She was born at a time when legislation around the world allowing or pardoning the beating, rape, and abduction of women — not to mention their murder on the grounds of adultery — still exists. She was born at a time when approximately "72 percent of victims of anti-LGBT homicide were transgender women [and] 67 percent of anti-LGBT homicide victims were trans women of color" in America alone, according to a 2013 National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) report.

Ad failed to load
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images News/Getty Images

But she was also born the year that "feminism" became a buzzword. She was born the same year that transgender rights were questioned and challenged as they so often are, but also fought for deeply and visibly. She was born during the rise of Fourth Wave Feminism, a contemporary incarnation of the movement that celebrates queerness, sex positivity, trans visibility, respect for bodies of all sizes, and digital connectivity and representation. A child who will never know a life without the internet, Luna arguably has more inclusive, progressive, radical work and art and words at her disposal than any generation before her.

As she grows older, I want her to use that technology to better resist. Whether that be by reading and learning about the activism of others, creating her own via a blog or social media accounts, finding the phone numbers of her local representatives, discovering how to utilize fashion to turn stereotypes of femininity and beauty upside down, or simply connecting to voices who can teach her more about equality and representation, I want her to know that she's lucky to live in a time when the internet can help facilitate all of the above.

Ad failed to load

As long as my daughter knows that it's her right to fight for more, ask for more, and strive for more, I believe she will grow to be a fighter. As long as she knows that she can make art and make noise, raise a ruckus and raise new leaders, build bridges and build a world she wants — as outlined in an illustration by artist Mari Andrew — I believe she will remain strong and kind and open-minded. As long as she learns never to apologize for taking up space or having an opinion or using her voice, I believe she will be alright.

A key ingredient to achieving this all will, of course, be other women: Learning from the women who came before her, learning from the women who are still around, listening to the voices of women different to herself, and knowing that it is because of women that she has the right to stand up for herself and others — to resist — in the first place.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack