Raising Feminist Boys
• Start from your own heart: what does feminism mean to YOU? As a woman, as a man? If you have conflict and uncertainty, then you need to have that conversation with yourself and any others riding the parenting highway with you. What do you believe? Hopefully you will collectively arrive at the neon lit, obvious mantra that it’s just COMMON SENSE and INTELLIGENCE and make that your everyday narrative. Excellent place to start with your boy, then.
• Eschew gender stereotypes in your own home. If your growing fella sees the women around him do the lioness’s share of the domestic load, whilst the men kick back in their 21st century smoking jackets, then you won’t be immersing him in the world of equality he needs to see and feel. It is still amazingly common for men and women to both work full time but not share the chores. Show him equality in action.
• Look and listen to the growing boy in front of you. If he growls with delight as Dad wrestles him to the ground, grand. If he gently grins as he nestles down with a My First Decoupage set, glorious. Don't projecting on to him what you think he should be into. See what shows up in his heart and his passions and get behind those, irrespective of whether they are something other men and boys are lit up by or that you’d like him to enjoy. He will look to you for acceptance and love and, right there, what you mirror to him will build the foundation of a man comfortable in his own skin and not so vulnerable to the damaging ideas of macho that are waiting to colour his emerging identity.
• Boys don’t cry? Real men weep, actually. Vulnerability is the key to everything. Having the courage to connect with others, take a leap, and sometimes fail. When we raise our boys to be feminists we are sending men into the world who can talk about fear, without fear. Men who would neither beat the crap out of themselves nor anyone else in their lives; men who know they are not expected to ride any white horse or, indeed, stay on one. We raise men this way by being these men. And we raise men this way by being women who don’t demand "man up" from the men around us. Snowflakes are complex, beautiful and unique. Just like your boy.
Published by Robinson, How to Raise a Feminist: Bringing up kids with the confidence to change the world is available from Amazon.